Mod of the Week: A Bunch of Spelunky HD Mods

Have you been playing a lot of Spelunky ? Maybe even playing it every single day for the Daily Challenge? Do you feel that even though Spelunky is different every single time you play it, it's just not different enough ? Do you promise not to hassle me about these not really being mods but just file replacements? Then read on!

Since this column will be covering a bunch of different unrelated "mods" I'm just going to talk about them first, and then below I'll give all the links and various installation instructions, which vary from "Piece of cake!" to "Why is this so f**king complicated? I JUST WANT TO PLAY SPELUNKY AS A PUG!"

Let's start with an aspect of Spelunky most would agree could use some changing: the soundtrack. I'm not suggesting the new Spelunky's music is bad. It's fine. But the original music was better than fine, it was damn fine , and deserves to be heard by this new, young generation of Spelunky players who weren't around in the days of yore (2009). I mean, wouldn't you rather listen to something like this while playing ? That's why you should install the Classic Music Pack : it replaces all the new music with all of the original music.

While we're getting all nostalgic for the original version of Spelunky, why not take the lovely, fancy new HD graphics and completely restore them to their old-timey pixelated glory? You can do that too, with the Pixel Mod . Not only does this turn back the clock on the visuals, but it does away with the new HUD which, while pleasantly attractive, is also frustratingly opaque and has been known to occasionally make a good hiding place for spiders.

Maybe going full-on pixel is a little too much of a commitment? You can plant a spiked boot in both worlds with the Classic Chaos mod. It gives you chunky graphics when it comes to most of the environment, gold, gems, and pots, but leaves your character, enemies, weapons, and certain surfaces in all their HD glory. It's a nice compromise for those who want to act retro but really aren't that retro, sort of like when I pretend I prefer the original Ocean's Eleven or Cape Fear to the remakes.

Even if you're not interested in changing the music or visuals, it's hard to resist playing as a different Spelunker once in a while. For instance, why not play as the Damsel for a change?

You've seen her standing around helplessly, handing out kisses to Spelunkers, the same Spelunkers who are just as likely to sacrifice her to Kali in exchange for some bomb paste, or throw her across a cave to set off a trap or open a crate, or simply leave her behind because they don't want to part with a rope. Now, finally, SHE can be the one treating Damsels horridly.

You can also play as another helpless inhabitant of the game, the Pug!

Once you've had your fill as playing as the most abused characters in Spelunky, why not play as one of the bad guys? Vlad, the adorable little vampire with the nifty cape and useful amulet, has apparently decided to become a dapper little undead adventurer.

What's more, rather than crouching like the other Spelunkers do, Vlad hides his face in his cape. It's super cute.

And what would running, jumping, shooting, and climbing be without Mega Man? And you know, for all the different worlds Mega Man has fought his way through, dropping him into in Spelunky for a few minutes makes you realize he's actually had it pretty easy. Spelunky is just brutal.

Mods can do more than enhance games, they can also fix problems. I'd say at least 311,784 of Skyrim's 948,672 mods fix issues and bugs with the game (the rest add naked boobs). Here's a Spelunky bug that's probably been bothering you since day one: there's a small, nearly invisible shadow that briefly appears above the spikes that you can see if you record the footage and zoom in and slow it down to a crawl and watch it repeatedly. Take a look here. Frankly, I never noticed and would never have noticed, but if you did notice, now there's a solution: the Lighting Normal Map Fix . Yay!

Okay, let's get some of these installed. First things first : find your Spelunky data folder (for the Steam version, it's in Steam > steamapps > common > Spelunky > Data). Make a copy of your Music and Texture folders. Put them somewhere safe: you're going to be overwriting some files, and you'll need these if you want to revert the game back to normal.

Classic Music Mod : Simply replace your Music folder with the one contained in the download, and enjoy the retro (and superior) tunes.

Pixel Mod : Take the contents of the download and drop them into your Textures folder, overwriting the originals.

Classic Chaos Mod : Same as with the Pixel mod, drop the two files into your Textures folder, replacing the originals.

The Damsel , Pug , Vlad , and Mega Man characters are .png files. Download 'em!

Next, download the Spelunky Mod Installer , and install it, and run it. You'll see a menu screen, and at the bottom you'll see a link to download Python 3. Download and install Python 3.

Now, take the .png file for the character you want, create a folder called "repack" and drop the png file into it. Then, zip up the repack folder. On the Installer menu screen, browse to your Spelunky folder, then browse to the location of the folder you made, then choose Texture Mod from the little drop-down bar. Then click "Install Mod." Start up the game, and you should see your new character in the selection screen (typically replacing one of the default characters.)

There's also a tool for installing mods called Spelunktool that I didn't try because it involved launching things from command prompts and just thinking about that made me tired.

Finally, you can find the Lighting Normal Map Mod here. The final link is the rar with the fixed texture files. I personally did not install this one. And, if you want to poke around for some more mods, this is a good repository .

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.