No doubt there are those of you that have never played Spelunky before. More so, there are definitely some of you who have never heard of Spelunky. Lucky for you, I have made it my mission in life to be a Spelunky expert. With endless hours of cave-dwelling logged, here’s a collection of my hard-learned strategies that can help you survive the challenges that lay ahead. But, I can warn you now, it’s not going to be pretty. Take a look at our Spelunky Survival Guide - 10 Essential Tips and Tricks.

Rule #1 Never take the shortcuts.

When you first start making your way through Spelunky, a kindly Tunnelman will appear to help you unlock shortcuts to the four separate stages. At first, this looks like a nice way to sneak past the early levels. Unfortunately, using the shortcuts leaves you highly under-supplied and makes finishing the game even harder. Furthermore, skipping stages eliminates any possibility of reaching the Black Market, City of Gold, or Hell. You’re better served always playing from the start, even if that means dying a lot in the Caves. This tip will hopefully help guide you to success.

Rule #2 You don’t need to collect every piece of gold or jewel on a stage.

At the start of Spelunky, money appears to be very important. It allows you to buy new tools, earn extra health, and rank up on the Leaderboard. However, all three of these achievements can be attained without obsessing over each gold brick or ruby. Stick with the gold that is easily attainable, the jewels that don’t make you waste a bomb, and the golden idol that won’t instantly kill you. Unless you’re in sight of a jet pack, most items will eventually come your way or you can fight a shopkeeper for them.

Rule #3 Do not waste the bombs or ropes at the beginning.

When starting Spelunky, each player has four bombs and four ropes. These are valuable survival tools because they are free. Only use them wisely early-on to increase your bomb totals or for essentials (like glue or the golden key). If you need to use a bomb, try to use it to reach a crate that is blocked in. If you use one bomb to reach the crate and it holds three bonus bombs inside, you’ve just made a profit of two bombs. Always consider the value of the bombs you are using and wasting. Ropes are also important, but can be easily replaced by sticky hands, jet packs, and other items.

Rule #4 Always buy the jet pack (or steal it).

The most important item in this game is the jet pack. First, it eliminates the need to use ropes. Second, it can protect you on a long drop down from injury. Third, it speeds up the gameplay immensely, and will help you avoid ghosts and grumpy shopkeepers. It’s also essential when battling Olmec. So, even if you cannot afford to buy the jet pack from a shopkeeper, always go for it. Even if you see the jet pack early in the game -- pissing off the shopkeeper is worth stealing it.

Rule #5 Damsels are better sacrificed than rescued.

Our next Spelunky Survival Guide - 10 Essential Tips and Tricks involves finding a damsel. When you do, always consider sacrificing her rather than rescuing her. The first time you sacrifice one you will obtain a helpful item (often a compass). The second time you sacrifice one, you will obtain the ultra-powerful Kapala. This item collects blood from dead enemies (and friends), to increase your overall health. From then on, generating health is less of a concern. Plus, if you are playing Spelunky with an eye for City of Gold, your health is inconsequential until after you get to the City of Gold (because you will need to die to use your Ankh).

Sorry damsel, you'll need to be sacrificed. Have a nice day!

Rule #6 Killing giant spiders is advantageous.

Early in Spelunky, you will see giant spiders chilling at the top of a room. These enemies are a gold mine and easy to defeat. Take a bomb and toss it so it sticks in the webbing right under a spider. Once the bomb explodes, the spider dies and leaves behind jewels and a jar of glue. Glue is an essential tool late in the game, and the jewels are easily worth the bomb you just used. Keep in mind that if you get to a level with multiple giant spiders, don’t get too greedy. Take what you need without losing any health in the process.

Rule #7 Practice fighting and avoiding shopkeepers.

It is inevitable that you will need to battle some shopkeepers. If you plan on gunning for Olmec or Hell after that, taking the fight to the shopkeepers in the Black Market has to happen. At first, beating these guys will seem impossible. However, if you have some glue and a rope, sticking these guys isn’t completely impossible. They’re especially easy to tackle in the Ice levels because they’ll jump to oblivion. Early on, practice battling shopkeepers because understanding their weaknesses will pay dividends in the end.

Rule #8 Look for the snake pit in the Caves.

While Spelunky does a great job of randomizing its levels, there are certain rooms that repeatedly appear. One of the best rooms to find is the snake pit. It’s a high pit that has green and blue snakes protecting a pile of rubies at the bottom. The rubies are nice but the real value here is the mattock hidden beneath the rubies. The mattock is worth sacrificing a bomb for because the mattock will allow you to tear through walls and floors without having to spend bombs. The snake pit will often have golden keys and golden chests that help make runs to the Black Market easier.

See the crate to the left? Get that!

Rule #9 Break every crate you see.

There are a lot of things in Spelunky that can kill you. Wooden crates are not one of them. Opening a crate can only help you progress through the game. So, whenever you see one, do whatever you can to crack that puppy open. And, if you’re lucky, you might even find a free jet pack!

Rule #10 Prepare to die.

Spelunky is a punishing game. A cute game -- but a game that will torture you with endless and unfortunate deaths. Don’t take it personally. Just have fun with the experience and always work off of a plan. If you have a plan and goals in mind, eventually your tactics will help you earn the achievements you’re gunning for. Hopefully this Spelunky Survival Guide of 10 Essential Tips and Tricks will keep you playing this addicitng title for many months to come.

Have any guide tips and tricks for Spelunky you'd like to share? Write them down in the comments!