What to do when you're cursed in Spelunky 2

Spelunky 2 curse
(Image credit: Mossmouth, Blitworks)
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Spelunky 2

(Image credit: Mossmouth)

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Not long after venturing into this underground maze, you may find yourself afflicted by the brand new and decidedly unpopular Spelunky 2 curse. You can be cursed by specific enemies and items throughout the game, and this status effect reduces your character's health to a single heart. There's no way to increase your hearts without lifting the curse, so if your healthy little character has suddenly turned grey, you need to lift the curse pronto. Bad, right?

Wrestling with this puzzling effect on top of every other enemy and trap can make spelunking exceedingly difficult. The more you know about these mysterious ailments, the more likely your chances of survival. Naturally, this guide contains a few serious spoilers, so read ahead at your own risk. Anyway, here's what happens when you get a little too close to enemies like the Witch Doctor, and what you can do to avoid being targeted by the Spelunky 2 curse.

Before we get started, here are all the enemies and items that can inflict the Spelunky 2 curse effect:

  • Witch Doctor: Found in the Jungle zone.
  • Cat Mummy: Found in the Temple zone.
  • Curse Pot: The grey pot with the ghost engraved on it, found on most levels.

How to handle the Spelunky 2 Witch Doctor

The Witch Doctor resides in Spelunky 2's Jungle zone and can quickly put a downer on your time exploring the depths of these levels. They're easy to spot, dressed in a purple mask and outfit. You can also find them strutting around with their trusty flying skull sidekick. According to their journal entry, the Witch Doctor is a Tiki Tribe elder with magical powers. Unfortunately, they're not particularly friendly, and they won't hesitate to send their annoying skull spirit straight at you. 

Akin to the Tiki Man and Caveman enemies, the Witch Doctor paces on a platform until you get close enough for it to notice you. It can then place a mark above your head, which will deal one damage to you, unless you can interrupt its spell by attacking it. 

Even if the Witch Doctor hasn't spotted you just yet, if its floating skull sees you closeby, it'll begin to drift towards you. You have a few seconds to dart out of range, but if the skull manages to touch you, you'll enter a cursed state that makes your character turn a worrying shade of grey. Regardless of the number of hearts you've accumulated on your run so far, being cursed reduces your bank of health to one, so a single hit from another enemy will kill you. If the skull attacks while you're already at one heart, you'll die instantly. 

Avoiding and eliminating the enemy 

The Witch Doctor may look intimidating, but it's quite easy to skitter past them, providing that level generator is on your side. The skull cannot stray too far away from its master, so you can just outrun it. Similar to other enemies, stomping on the Witch Doctor's head will stun it, and you won't have to repeat this process if you're wearing spike boots. Your whip also stuns this enemy, but be mindful of the fact that standing next to it also puts you within range of its skull spirit.

(Image credit: Mossmouth, Blitworks)

Can you cure the Spelunky 2 curse?

There are reportedly a few ways to lift the curse effect. One confirmed method is by dying while holding the Ankh. However, in true Spelunky fashion, there are plenty of secrets in this game and it takes time to discover them all. 

There are rumours claiming that the curse can be lifted by sacrificing something at one of Kali's altars. Although, after testing this by placing multiple enemies—including a dazed pet—on an altar, I remained cursed. 

Redditors have mentioned that completing the challenge on one of the Temple levels awards Elixir instead of the Clone Gun, which heals the cursed status effect. Fans have already compiled every journal entry into a shared document, and the elixir description outlines that it'll cure any affliction, so it sounds promising. That said, making your way from the Jungle zone to the Temple of Anubis is very challenging on a single heart. The enemies in the Temple zone are incredibly powerful, not to mention the Cat Mummies that also have the ability to curse you. Navigating the levels and completing the challenge to receive the elixir is not for the faint hearted.     

Benefits of the curse

While being cursed sounds like a huge headache, some players are claiming to have found a secret Ghost Shop on 1-4. There are no Witch Doctors or Cat Mummies this early in the game, but you can be cursed (inflicting the same status effect) by getting hit by one of the Curse Pots. I've yet to find this shop, but I'll update this guide if I happen to stumble across it.

Emma Matthews

As PC Gamer's guides writer, Emma is usually juggling several games at once. She loves competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty, but she always has time for a few rounds of Hearthstone. She's happiest when she's rescuing pugs in Spelunky 2.