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There's a love/hate affair going on with the Indiana Jones character with the big red nose. We're dying over and over, and the controller's close to being chucked against the nearest wall.

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But we hold off: impatience, we remind ourselves, not a virtue here. Neither's greed or curiosity - yet these two offer plenty of reward in the dark caverns of Spelunky.

Spelunky is the new and polished Xbox Live Arcade version of the game of the same name that's been available on PC. It's a 2D platformer, a crazy adventure platformer with randomly generated levels - and new locations for treasures, damsels, items and exits - each time you play. The concept works amazingly well.

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Our Harrison Ford-lookalike has to work through five worlds, each with four levels, and in each one a exit. A exit shaft hidden somewhere in the deep dark caverns. You've just to find it.

Like Indy, our hero's got a whip, but he's also packing whatever will get the job done: bombs, ropes, jetpacks, spiked boots, a compass or even a shotgun. All purchasable in the game's store, paid with treasure found during exploration, and carried over from one level to the next.


Somewhere in these cave systems also lie damsels in distress, vocalising their need for rescue; they're also entirely optional quests that, given your limited supplies, may mean the difference between your own survival or not if you decide to do a Mario. Yet the italian plumber never whipped anyone to death, and that's a potential end to your would-be princess (and loss of extra points come level's end) due to the combo of hectic situations and sometimes clunky controls.

Because unlike Dr. Jones, our explorer will die. Die a lot. There's an infinite amount of retries to attempt a complete run through all the worlds, but each run, but each run will only grant you four hearts - and claimed by attacks from the cavern denizens, dropping into traps or misusing bombs (note: be generous with the expected blast radius). Never has the suicide rate been so high in a video game.

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