Spelunky 2 hasn't even been out for a full week, but there's a good chance that top players and speedrunners have already figured out its biggest secrets. Building upon the infamous Spelunky Eggplant run that creator Derek Yu didn't even think would be possible to perform solo, the sequel has a series of secrets that make a path for a super-challenging run that pushes players' abilities, patience, and good fortune to the limit—and people are already pulling it off.
If you haven't played Spelunky 2 on PS4 yet, are waiting for the PC release on September 29, or just don't want to be spoiled on the game's deeper secrets, you should turn back now. For those interested in how Spelunky 2 compares to the games before it, my review from last week just barely scratches the surface of spoilers for later worlds and hidden mechanics. After a brief recap of Spelunky's Eggplant history so far, I'll be diving straight into spoilers.
In Spelunky's HD remake released on Xbox 360 in 2012, Derek Yu and programmer Andy Hull added a hidden pathway to Hell, a new fifth world. Players quickly figured out the steps required to reach Hell pretty consistently in playthroughs of the roguelike platformer, but it wasn't until the PC release a year later that a bigger mystery was solved. Players knew of the existence of a fragile, secret Eggplant item, but nobody knew if it had a purpose or if Yu and Hull were just trolling people with aubergines.
Once the PC release was out, people took a look at Spelunky's code and realized that the Eggplant, which can only be obtained on select runs, was actually meant to be used against the boss in Hell. In addition, it was clear that an "Eggplant run" was intended only for Spelunky's co-op play. Despite that, streamer BananasaurusRex successfully executed the first solo Eggplant run on November 10, 2013 thanks to a bug, luck, save manipulation, and his top-notch skills.
Okay, after this line break, it's time to talk about Spelunky 2's big secrets. Spoilers ahead.
In the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, September 21, Twitch streamer Hectique became the first player to complete Spelunky 2's Eggplant run. Well, sort of.
The Eggplant item does indeed return for Spelunky 2, and the method for obtaining is the same: if you find a wrapped gift in a shop, you can take it to an altar for Kali, the Goddess of Death, and sacrifice it there to receive an Eggplant in return. The Eggplant can be squashed easily, meaning players need to be careful as they bring it through Spelunky 2's worlds. Just to reach Spelunky 2's regular ending, you need to traverse almost as many levels as you do to reach the end of Hell in the previous game. That would make a similar Eggplant run arguably more treacherous in the sequel, but there's a new friendly NPC who can help out: Waddler, a giant mustachioed blob, can hold items for players between select worlds.
Hectique managed to obtain an Eggplant in Spelunky's first world and took it to the first of three Waddler stations, located in the third world. Along the way, he was following the steps required to get to Spelunky 2's equivalent of Hell, named The Sunken City. In the first world, HectiqueX obtained the Udjat Eye, which then helped him access Vlad the Impaler's castle in the second volcano-themed world. There, he grabbed Vlad's crown (if he'd gone to the other option for world two, the Jungle, he would've needed a different crown).
Continuing to follow the steps to unlock The Sunken City in the fourth world, Hectique eventually grabbed the Eggplant from Waddler again in the world five Ice Caves. With the Eggplant in hand at the ice caves, players can sacrifice it on a specific stone altar to find the Eggplant Child, an NPC who resides in the level's Moai head (a reference to the bug that made Spelunky's solo Eggplant run possible in the first place).
From there, Spelunky 2's eggplant run tasks players with safely ferrying the Child through the sixth, highly dangerous world while also completing the tasks to unlock world seven, The Sunken City. A few close calls later, Hectique managed to do it, bypassing Spelunky 2's regular final boss with the Eggplant Child following him.
Once in The Sunken City, Hectique was testing out a theory: many others had gotten to The Sunken City by that point and had defeated its boss, Hundun, but nobody had managed to get the Eggplant Child there yet. In every randomized first level of the world, there's a locked door next to a unique statue. HectiqueX brought the Child to the statue, laid them down in the statue's arms, and poof—the locked door opened.
This brought Hectique to what was the last-to-be-documented area in Spelunky 2, the Eggplant Kingdom. It's a peaceful area with no hostile enemies or traps, and waiting at the top is King Yama, the boss from Hell in Spelunky. Slapping Yama's Eggplant-transformed face granted Hectique an Eggplant crown and oodles of health pickups.
Then, shortly after continuing on to the next level of The Sunken City, Hectique's game crashed. This was actually the second time Hectique's game crashed after managing to reach The Sunken City (Spelunky 2 has already received a patch fixing some stability and performance issues on PS4, but still, ouch).
Hectique then managed to get to the Eggplant kingdom again less than a day later, only to die from an unfortunate Hundun fireball that tossed him into some deadly spikes. Since then, however, another player by the name of Wolf managed to complete an Eggplant run and killed Hundun afterwards, which does not appear to unlock a different ending. At the moment, it looks like the run's big reward is the opportunity to visit the Eggplant kingdom.
So, Spelunky 2's solo Eggplant run, this time a fully intentional path, seems to have already been mastered. It does, in many respects, seem easier than the old Eggplant run despite the longer path, but there may be an even more challenging route that awaits the most experienced players. Already, players have figured out how to reach levels beyond Hundun's boss fight, but right now it's not clear whether those levels are hiding even more secrets or a possible third ending.
I'll spare you the details on that other hidden world for now. Rest assured, even if players have seen all there is to see in Spelunky 2 already, they'll just start challenging themselves to finish it faster and with more arbitrary restrictions, leading to more of the thrilling speedruns that the Spelunky community has been churning out for years.