It was teased a couple months ago, but it's now been released! The Metroid Mod for Spelunky slickly brings the sci-fi world of spacefaring Samus Aran to the subterranean perma-death platformer. It's the best of both worlds: monsters, items, pick-ups, character skins, music, background art, and even the title and menu screens have all been Metroid-ified. The core game, however, is still pure, unfiltered Spelunky. Fans of either game -- or both -- will love it.
From the intro movie to the splash screen to the selection menu, it's clear that modder joey4track did his best to squeeze as much Metroid as he could into Spelunky. Everything from the color scheme to the UI to the music, including background art of the cavern carvings, has been given attention. It all looks great, and is clearly the work of a real Metroid fan.
Another great touch is in what the modder didn't touch: the gameplay. As far as I can tell, the changes are all aesthetic, and nothing about the core game has been altered. It's still 100% Spelunky. Controls, weapons, enemy speed and behavior, it all still works exactly the same while looking completely different. I found I was immediately running around, jumping, climbing, fighting (also, dying) without ever feeling like I was playing a different game. However! There's a little bit of learning to do.
For instance, you might spot a zebesian pacing around below you. You can tell it's a space pirate... but what did it used to be? A skeleton? A caveman? A tiki man? What about that sova (or nova, depending on which Metroid era you come from ) walking back and forth? Is it a reskinned snake, easy to defeat? Or is it a scorpion that's going to leap onto your face? After observing a creature's movement patterns for a moment, you'll probably be able to guess, but re-learning which monster is which becomes its own little mini-game, and freshens up the experience for those of us who are now completely familiar with all of Spelunky's threats.
Even once you start learning who is who, it can be tricky. Little spiders are now skrees, which give them the appearance of bats while they're hanging from the ceiling, which means even when you know it's a spider, you'll keep thinking it's a bat until you get used to it. Actual bats appear as wavers, and are much harder to spot while roosting, adding a little extra challenge. It's just enough confusion to slow you down and make you think, which might be a welcome change for players who have become accustomed to letting their reflexes do all the work.
There are some other wonderful touches. The ghost appears as -- naturally -- a giant spectral metroid. Instead of sacrificing to (or angering, as the case may be) Kali, you're now paying tribute to mighty Kraid. Instead of stealing a golden idol from a boulder-trapped carving, you're now stealing a Varia suit upgrade from a carving of a Chozo. Unfortunately, you don't get to wear the Varia suit, it's still just an item to sell. But I love the incorporation of the Metroid themes into the Spelunky ruleset.
And, of course, items common to both games, like bombs and high-jump boots, now look like they did in Metroid. Pickups, loot, and items like rocks, crates, gems have all been replaced with Metroid-style images. And, naturally, all your weapons from whips to shotguns have been replaced, again, just aesthetically. Ropes are still ropes. Good old ropes.
Naturally, I didn't finish a game in the time I played, as I'm not particularly good at Spelunky. Last I heard, Olmec was still Olmec, but you're welcome to confirm or refute that for yourself. In terms of playable characters, you'll have a few different versions of Samus to choose from, and one green bug-lookin' dude whose name I don't know. The modder has mentioned he may add more characters in the future from other games, such as Mario or the Castlevania guy.
Look, I can keep on describing how great this mod is while showing you pictures, but it's not really going to come across until you play it. So, if you're a seasoned Spelunker looking to spice up your Daily Challenges, or just a long-time Metroid fan, give it a try.
Installation : It's easy, though you're going to be overwriting Spelunky's original assets, so you'll first want to back up your data folder. On Steam, you can find it in Steam > steamapps > common > Spelunky > Data. Just make a copy of that entire folder and store it somewhere safe. Download the mod from this forum page : just scroll down past the screenshots to the Dropbox link. (I don't want to link directly to his Dropbox). Extract the contents (three folders) into your data folder and replace the files when it asks. Then just start the game and say hello to Samus!
To get your old Spelunky back, you'll have to re-overwrite with your original Data folder contents.