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Spelunky Guide - Haunted Castle and the Mothership

Contained within this article are the secret level of the Haunted Castle and the Worm, both discoverable within the Jungle main zone. Each of these hidden levels has their own special secrets that are explained below.

Haunted Castle

  • Journal entry: Long ago, the knights who dwelt here were cursed with eternal life.

There is a third, random level event that is like a hidden area, called the haunted castle. To access it, the random level event of ‘the dead are restless’ must occur, and then you must find the royal crown gravestone and possess two bombs. Place a bomb at the gravestone, then climb inside the hole made, and place a bomb at the crowned skeleton there. Destroying this specific area of terrain will open up a hidden, temple-like doorway with a chiming sound signifying you found something secret.

Before entering into the haunted castle, assuming you have a bomb left over after unveiling the entrance to the haunted castle, it would be wise to search for the gravestone labeled ‘A.S.H’ and acquire the shotgun buried beneath, as the shotgun will be of incredibly use in the haunted house. Be careful of not instant killing certain enemies you might want to sacrifice to the altar, if you can, as the shotgun can one shot if enough bullets hit the monster, such as the mantrap.

As your Spelunker exits the door, the message ‘A wolf howls in the distance…’ will appear. To your left there will be a crenellated structure of brick-like stone – the haunted house. Within is a plethora of monsters, ranging from vampires, jiang shi, snails, bats, frogs, monkeys, and knights. To be able to get inside, the normal way, you will have to climb down the staggered terrain, which should have at least a couple ladders. Be wary of any monsters like frogs about.

There is then a moat filled with a few piranhas. Quickly skip across this and pass the threshold of the castle. The door will close behind your Spelunker, and considering the amount of monsters inside, along with the density of them, your Spelunker will likely be attacked. Many of these monsters are those that fall down stunned, so if your haunted castle happens to have an altar to kali, this level is superb for building favor and reaping the rewards for it. Of course, this comes with heavy risk due to the hazard of the place, filled with so many monsters. The altar that appears is altered here. It lacks a statue of the six armed kali, and instead is framed by two stone pillars, and a curved stone background splattered with a carved face.

The exit door is roughly at the center of the haunted castle, with a blue house flag above it. This is very simple to get to if you climb down the outside of the castle first, but the point of getting to this level is to accrue favor with kali, defeat the boss and loot his shield, or else find the unlockable character here.

Monsters

  • Green Knight: One (1) HP (from suit), Two (2) HP (as caveman)
    • Journal entry: Who or what is inside this haunted suit of armor?

Green knights are humanoid enemies entirely encased in a bright green suit of armor. This armor protects them from both whip damage and jump attack damage. The only way to damage them is from a weapon or a thrown item. Just a single attack that damages the green knight will cause his suit of armor to fall away, useless, revealing who he is really is – just a caveman.

Green knights behave very similarly to the cavemen. They’re just more difficult to fight due to their partial invulnerability to damage. Once you break off the armor, and stun the caveman, you can easily use him for sacrifice.

  • Black Knight: Three (3) HP
    • Journal entry: The lord of the castle. He fights with supreme confidence and won’t give up until death.

Do not underestimate this monster, as this is the haunted castle’s boss. You can find him in the upper floor of the haunted castle, usually guarding the unlockable character’s coffin. The black night carries a large shield that protects him from any damage hitting his front, making him invulnerable from that area. However, the black knight can be harmed from behind with anything, from whip attacks to jump attacks, unlike his relative the green knight.

Due to his low health, he can be quickly defeated, but the black knight is a swift moving boss, and one strike with his shield will instantly kill your Spelunker. If you manage to stun the black knight, he will also drop his shield. You can pick up his shield, if you are quick enough, and actually defeat him with it. Without his shield, the black knight’s aggressive behavior then mirrors the green knight’s.

This shield bestows upon the Spelunker the same benefits it did to the black knight, but due to the many directions attacks come in, the shield does not protect the Spelunker as much as it would seem to. This is because the shield only protects the Spelunker from any damage in front of him or her.

Unlockable Character

The unlockable character is located at the top of the castle; flush with the western wall, but beneath the crenellated roof. There is a block that has to be pushed out of the way, otherwise the only obstacle….is everything inside of the castle. This is including the Black Knight the guards the upper most area of the castle.

You could entirely skip the dangers of the castle – most in particular the Black Knight - by climbing on top of the castle’s roof, usually facilitated by a rope, and blasting open a hole inside directly above the shaking coffin. Usually there are several monsters lurking on top of the castle’s roof though, and are made a little difficult to fight with the crenellations. Still, if you are not after anything inside of the castle aside from the unlockable character, it would be better to scale the roof of the castle and pierce directly to the shaking coffin, than to clash with the Black Knight boss.

Mothership

  • Journal entry: An impossibly large alien craft.

The mother ship is located in the fourth level of the ice caverns, accompanied always by the random level message, ‘It feels like the fourth of July in here!’. Unlike the other secret levels or zones, there is not any needed requirement to enter the mother ship other than locating its conspicuous entrance. You can find the entrance to the mother ship in either the upper right or upper left area of the level, within a vertically positioned spacecraft. The door is upon a ledge set into the side of the shaft that is at the center of this spacecraft. It was previously explained that you can either use a couple ropes to reach the door, or else blast a hole directly to the door if you are already at that high of an elevation – preferably with the bomb paste accessory item.

Due to the nature of the random level event associated with the spawned mother ship entrance, there is a higher prevalence of UFOs throughout the level. This can have the effect of a couple, even a few, UFOs drifting back and forth inside the two tile wide shaft. They will continually bounce off the sides of the shaft, making a very narrow patrolling route that almost certainly ensures that your Spelunker will get hurt if your Spelunker tries to go up through the shaft without dealing with them. Sometimes those UFOs trapped in there will not even hover upwards, where they would have a little bit more space than just the shaft to patrol back and forth in.

You have a few options, none of which are that optimal. If you are not confident in your ability to take them out, and do not have access to the higher area of the vertical mother ship, or just do not have bombs, you will have to take a heart or two worth of damage getting up to the mother ship entrance, by hastily scaling with a couple ropes and moving past the UFOs when your Spelunker has a brief window of flickering invulnerability. This is quick, but gives you no option as to not taking damage.

The second option is to use the special properties of ropes to take out the UFOs. When your Spelunker throws up a rope, as it unfurls it can damage anything it comes into contact with, generally something it is reaching up towards. Try to lean over the ledge of the first set within the spacecraft to do this, timing when your rope unfurls to hit the UFO. Hopefully the UFO will crash harmlessly against the open shaft of the mother ship, and if one spawns, the alien will parachute down and past your Spelunker. If you have to, you can jump across the gap to the other ledge and toss up a rope when your Spelunker is in the open air. It’s possible your rope will miss, and it’s also possible your Spelunker will get hurt in the process, but at least your Spelunker has a chance at killing the UFOs without getting harmed.

The third option involves the usage of well timed bombs, or else bomb paste buffed bombs. It is not too uncommon for the broken terrain of the ice caverns to generate alongside the upper portion of the vertical spacecraft, allowing your Spelunker to get up that high without using ropes. Lob a bomb, and another if necessary, at the siding of the vertical spacecraft to blast an opening into the spacecraft right to the ledge that either has the entrance to the mother ship, or the entrance to the mother ship on the opposite ledge.

After entering into the mother ship entrance, your Spelunker will emerge from the lower left of the level, contrary to what is customary for Spelunky. The terrain is composed entirely out of the grey spacecraft tiles, formed into more straightforward corridors than most levels. These corridors are interrupted intermittently with pillars that are short enough to be climbable without the aid of a rope. These pillars can provide some cover from the turrets and aliens.

Pay close attention to the details of the tiles, as some of the tiles are actually elevators and the turrets tend to blend in with the surrounding environment. Immediately below the flooring your Spelunker first steps onto is an endless abyss just like the one in the ice caverns. The difference is that normally this abyss is sectioned off, as the flooring of the mother ship is continuous without any openings. But the terrain can be destroyed as always, and one of the monsters here can also do that.

Alien technology that was scattered in the ice caverns is featured here in greater number and density, although the mines are absent from the mother ship. Often you can use the spring pads, which are easier to see without the covering snow, to leap over pillars and ascend floors.

Keep in mind, once you successfully complete this mother ship level, you will once again return to the fourth level of the ice caverns.

Monsters

Anything alien related appears in the mother ship, including UFOs, aliens, and turrets. Less rarely are there monsters from the ice caverns, like the yeti and even the caveman.

  • Alien Tank: One (1) HP
    • Journal entry: The survival rate of tank drivers is at an all-time low.

The one monster – that is not a mini boss – unique to the mother ship. The alien tank is a small, titanium tank with an open muzzled gun at the front. A tiny, green alien sits atop it, unarmored. With only one health point, alien tanks are swiftly felled; but their destructive capabilities are high due to what they shoot from their tanks – bombs. These bombs are identical to the bombs the Spelunker has in his or her arsenal. They will roll out, usually with less carrying force than the Spelunker would have with his or her throw, and explode. It’s common for the bombs to bounce off of objects, sometimes right back at the alien tank. It’s also possible to pick up the bomb that the alien tank lobs out, and toss it back at the alien tank. The hazard that the alien tank presents is a swift death from the high damage, and the high area of effect their bombs have. It is usually best to dispatch the alien tanks first out of anything else in the area, even a mini boss, as the alien tank is quickly dealt with.

Just be keen not to be smacked by a bomb. It will not explode upon touching the Spelunker, but getting hit by a thrown bomb will deal a heart of damage, and also stun the Spelunker, almost assuredly resulting in your Spelunker’s demise.

  • Alien Queen: Twenty (20) HP
    • Journal entry: The mastermind of the alien invasion. She has incredible psychic powers.

The Alien Queen is the boss of mother ship secret level, whom which guards an item unique to the game and not found elsewhere (well, very, very rarely can it be found anywhere else). She is distinguishable by her large, green form, with a multitude of tentacles in an altogether bulbous, amorphic shape. She has a single, large purple eye as well. It is vital to not mistake her for an alien lord.

The alien queen rests on a platform upraised like a pedestal, which is protected by a couple force fields. Usually the structure the alien queen is housed in is shaped like a backwards letter ‘C’, making only one normal opening to the alien queen that is protected by those force fields. Always nearby the alien queen will be the plasma cannon, identifiable by its conspicuous purple paint and bulky shape.

She is a completely immobile boss, just like the alien lord, but has highly destructive powers in only one form. Once the Spelunker gets within a certain range of the Alien Queen – and this can and will be off screen for your game window – a reticle will periodically be placed at where the Spelunker approximately is. Once this large, cross hatched reticle appears and goes still, it will not readjust. Keep your Spelunker moving, specifically away from that reticle. It should be instinctive to dodge this reticle, as its purpose and repercussions is practically shouted at you. The Alien Queen is not aiming a gun, to produce this reticle, but is actually charging her psychic powers. If your Spelunker does not move soon enough when the reticle is aimed at your Spelunker, then your Spelunker will get zapped for a total of ten hearts of damage, and become stunned if your Spelunker surprisingly has sufficient health to survive the zap.

The alien queen is a similar fight to the alien lord, except that she is harder to get to, and a little bit more aggressive due to the reticle attack. She will take two direct blasts of a bomb as well, instead of just the one that the alien lord needs. You can try destroying the wall directly behind her to get access without having to climb above her, making your Spelunker susceptible to psychic attacks if there are any alien lords nearby – which there usually are.

Otherwise, throwing some ropes up and timing your bombs in between the flare ups of the force field should make quick work of the alien queen. It is important to defeat her quickly, as the area impedes dodging her fatal attacks due to how cramped it is, and how difficult it is to get in and out. If you happen to have a teleporter, it is remarkably easy just to telefrag the alien queen due to how large her model is and the fact that she is stationary.

It was previously mentioned that it is vital to not mistake the alien queen for an alien lord. This applies in the opposite as well. An alien lord will be in the upper area of the mother ship always, protected in a similar structure as the alien queen is. As many as two total alien lords can spawn, which results in a highly disastrous environment for your Spelunker. If you need to, hastily destroy the alien lord, but spending the additional time fighting the alien lord lengthens your Spelunker’s exposure to the queen’s devastating attacks. You have a very small window open to you to react and dodge the alien queen’s attacks, unlike the slow moving psychic circles of the alien lords. Plus, you do not gain any reward for defeating an alien lord in the mother ship, aside from a journal entry if you had not already bested one – or died to one. The situation in which you would need to defeat an alien lord, in order to be able to focus on the alien queen, is when an alien lord is too close to the alien queen and the generated structures’ of the level are too unforgiving to make it feasible to take out the alien queen while dodging all the chasing psychic circles.

Your prize for defeating her, and the entire point of entering this optional level, is the plasma cannon – the most destructive weapon in the game. If you thought the shotgun was strong, this is far more so.

Unlockable Character

The unlockable character is hidden behind a few force fields, up on a ledge in a green bubbled capsule. Just be quick about getting up there while the force fields are down, and also quick getting out, as your newly unlocked friendly NPC is particularly susceptible to the damage of the force fields. This unlocked character is a grey robot, with treadmills for feet. Since he lacks legs, his animations are slightly different than the rest of the cast of Spelunker characters. Mostly that just equates to a lack of leg animation, such as when scaling a rope.

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