Spelunky Guide - Secret Zones

There are many secret places to go to in the caves of Spelunky, accessed in different ways and found in different zones. Most of these secret zones have a unique character to unlock per, and generally have some kind of advantage to be gained by going there. In exchange for that rewarded advantage, is a high concentration of risk for venturing there and/or defeating the boss that calls that secret zone or level their home. The hardest to reach zone out of them all is Hell, the technically final zone to the game beyond the temple, which has the final boss of the whole game. The secret zones will be listed in order of appearance in the game through multiple articles.

Black Market

  • Journal entry: You may be able to purchase some one-of-a-kind items in this hidden place…

The Black Market is a secret level found in the jungle. It can only be found once per play through, on the level two-one, two-two, or two-three. The entrance is hidden from view or access by a dirt tile of the jungle, and usually is fairly indiscernible by looking for it with the naked eye. To find it, aside from random luck, you will need the Udjat Eye from the golden chest in the Mines. The Udjat Eye, the closer you get to the hidden door, the quicker it will flash with a blue aura and make a tinking sound. When you are confident you have found the spot for the hidden entrance, destroy the tile that blocks it with either a mattock or a bomb, which will reveal the entrance with a special sound signifying that you have found a secret.

Entering inside, at first this level will seem like any other in the jungle, but very quickly you will see there is a shopkeeper’s shop, and then another shop, and another. The black market has a couple floors of shops, with several shops in them, each with a shopkeeper manning them. There is even the chance wheel shop and a mercenary shop. Mostly anything that you can buy in the game from a shop can be bought here, at the inflation level of the jungle.

You will be tempted to browse for a while, and linger at your leisure, as this seems to be a safe place – so long as you have not angered the shopkeepers at any point in this play through. However, the black market is still set to the two minute and thirty second limit of a ghost appearing. Regardless, do not anger the shopkeepers while in this zone, unless you are feeling particularly brazen or else have a death wish, as every single shopkeeper will flip out and be out to get you.

Aside from being able to purchase nearly anything, the true purpose of the black market is the Ankh, an artifact that can be found in a shop hidden away at the back of the level. This ankh cost fifty thousand gold, and acts as an accessory item. If your Spelunker acquires this artifact, he will then have the ability to resurrect if he dies. He can only resurrect once, and then the Ankh is shattered. While this can be useful, even at such a high price, the point of the Ankh is to gain access to somewhere else as well. Usually the exit of the black market is located on a lower area of the level. Monsters and traps will usually be around outside of the shops, but in small number. These can be tiki traps, cavemen, and frogs.

The Worm

  • Journal entry: In one end and out the other.

The Worm is another secret level in Spelunky, able to be accessed from the first level of either the jungle and ice cave zones from a floating, pulsating orb up on the wall. What this is, or probably is, is the worm’s tongue. The beads of sweat that appear on it are likely the tongue salivating, which usually increases the more it is interacted with. This tongue is like a lure, set out to be a trap. Nothing at all will happen unless you place a damsel onto the tongue. You cannot be holding the damsel either. The damsel will waken, and try to run, but will be stuck on the tongue, a lot like it is webbing. Then the worm will emerge and swallow the damsel whole. You will not want to do that though, as the point is to be on the tongue with the damsel – just not carrying or holding the damsel.

When your Spelunker is swallowed by the worm, a level change corridor will appear with the usual scoreboard, except with the fleshy terrain of the worm. The secret level of the worm takes place inside of the giant worm, featuring its own unique enemies and traps. Depending on what zone you entered the worm from, will change what additional monsters are found, as some monsters found from the jungle or the ice caverns will appear, such as the yeti or bats.

The level generated in the worm is like a deep shaft, as is the deepest level in the game, while also being very narrow. The terrain is fleshy structures, making angular forms, while an unseen heat shivers in random spots on the screen. The inside of the worm is very hazardous to the Spelunker with its own brand of traps. Your goal is to make it to the bottom of the level, alive, and possibly to snatch a very special item.


  • Worm Egg: One (1) HP
    • Journal entry: It’s filled with worm babies. Gross!

A worm egg is a green, fleshy sack, held and attached at the bottom to the flesh of the worm. A worm egg’s classification is more nebulous than most, as while it is a monster entity, its behavior is more like a trap. A worm egg has three worm babies inside of it, along with some maggots – which are the tiny creatures that reside in the worm. When the Spelunker gets close enough, and for long enough, the worm egg will burst open, releasing these monsters. You will be able to tell when a worm egg is starting to hatch, as it will be wriggling and shaking. If you happen to touch the worm egg, it will also hurt the Spelunker for just one heart of health.

Destroy the worm egg before it can hatch, and the worm babies will be defeated inside. This will not count towards your score though, but you do not want to run the risk of being overrun. This is more an issue when there are multiple worm eggs nearby.

It is safer to pop a worm egg from a distance, if you happen to have something throwable like a boomerang.

  • Worm Baby: One (1) HP
    • Journal entry: It looks small now, but adults can grow to the length of several miles.

Worm babies are the most common enemy found in the worm level, as they appear wandering around and also spawn from the worm eggs. They are tiny, snake-like worms, with a gaping mouth and yellow skin. They are similar to snakes in their patrolling behavior, but are willing to fall off ledges to pursue the Spelunker. This can lead to their death by spikes, or else an easy way to avoid them altogether, as they have no way to scale up walls if they fall into a pit of some kind.

Worm babies are weak, dealing a heart of damage on contact only, but move faster than their equivalent monster types. Just be careful to not be overwhelmed, and to aim your attacks on a worm baby with precision. By the journal entry, apparently these worm babies are the infant version of the worm your Spelunker is at present.

  • Bacterium: One (1) HP
    • Journal entry: A dangerous single-celled organism that feeds on decaying matter.

Bacterium are the commonly occurring, spike lined green orbs that patrol throughout the worm level. They move along the structures they’re found at, following along the entirety of its surface that is continuous. If there is a gap, or if another structure is not in physical contact with the bacterium’s structure, the bacterium will not patrol over there. They move quickly, but not so quickly that they cannot be outrun from. The danger in the bacterium is coming into contact with it, as it will hurt the Spelunker for a damage of one heart. They will then disappear, so it is possible to sacrifice a heart of health just to get past it, instead of it being a continual blockade. One can be simple enough to avoid, but the issue comes when there are multiple, which is a common occurrence in the worm level unfortunately. Striking them with a whip will only stun them, and a shotgun will not even harm them. Like popping a balloon, you have to throw an object like a rock at the bacterium to defeat them. You could also use something stronger, like the special melee weapon found at the bottom of the worm level. Jumping onto a bacterium will also hurt the Spelunker, but at least pops it.


Spikes make a return here in the worm level, although they are styled in the theme of the worm level; and due to the strange formation of the terrain, pose a great danger to the Spelunker. Be mindful of where your Spelunker falls. Keep close to graspable ledges.

  • Acid
    • Journal entry: Caustic stomach acid that slowly burns away the flesh. Beware of the bubbles!

The green, virulent acid is prevalent inside the worm, collecting in pools and basins. Acid is like a step between water and lava, in that your Spelunker can swim in acid, but will gradually receive damage while submerged. Every three seconds your Spelunker will be hurt for one heart of damage. And any bubbles that float at the surface of the pool of acid will also deal the same amount of damage. Items will not be dissolved or burnt up when submerged in the acid, but monsters that fall in will perish like they do in lava too.

You can avoid the damage from the acid if every couple seconds your Spelunker jumps out of the acid, returning to swim again. It’s dangerous, but it’s better than just taking the damage if you have to swim through acid to get somewhere.

Around the bottom of the level there will be a broad basin of acid that contains a special item, the Crysknife. This item replaces your Spelunker’s whip. While that might be alarming, this crysknife destroys anything it strikes in one hit, making it incredibly valuable. Keep in mind, this includes damsels as well. So not carelessly swipe at one if you want to gain that heart of health at the end of the level, or else sacrifice the damsel.

To get at the Crysknife, it is safest and easiest just to puncture a lower wall of the acid, so that the liquid drains. You could also drop a bomb at the bottom of the basin of acid, so that the entire liquid drains and you can immediately see the crysknife.

  • Cell Tiles

More a terrain feature than a trap, cell tiles are tiles made out of four flesh colored cells, similar to tiny brown irised eyes. Usually cell tiles form in great collections of each other, and must destroyed to get by. Unlike most tiles, cell tiles can be struck with a whip to disappear. However, on the background you will see a depression in the vague shape of the cell tile. After a few seconds, the cell tile will reappear just as it was, as if the flesh was regenerated by the worm. If your Spelunker is standing where the cell tile reappears, he or she will be blasted apart and perish. This is the only hazard they pose.

Unlockable Character

Also found around the bottom of the level is an unlockable character unique to the worm level. Instead of a coffin, it is a green sac. There tends to be some kind of hazard around, usually spikes. The unlockable character is the meat boy, a Spelunker that looks like he has no skin, so he is completely red.


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