2012's HD edition of Spelunky quickly proved itself to be one of this generation's most successful, resilient platformers. Years later, folks are still playing Spelunky, breaking speedrunning records and dying in hundreds of different ways. According to Spelunky creator Derek Yu, one of the game's biggest inspirations, especially in terms of the feel and physics, was the Super Mario series. So what happens when we put the tools to make a Super Mario level in Derek's hands?
In the third episode of our series Devs Make Mario, Derek Yu constructs a hellishly hard Super Mario Maker stage to his own exacting specifications. The result: a stage Derek calls "The Four Towers of Hell," a maximum-length gauntlet spanning four mini-challenges: the Hell of Perseverance, the Hell of Pipes, the Hell of Air, and the Hell of Mushrooms.
After spending seven hours constructing this level — far more than any Devs Make Mario participating to date — Derek's level "Each Hell has its own personality, its own personality, its own character, I kind of like that," says Derek. "And of course, linking each (Hell) is a bridge of death you have to get across."
The resulting course is so dense with ideas and secrets that it actually evokes the semi-randomness and variety of deaths Spelunky players face. "The level ended up having a lot of uncertain parts and a lot of interactions between different elements like monsters and traps that are kind of unexpected, and different from playthrough to playthrough," says Derek. "I like that in general: just having a little bit of unpredictability, and dense level design with a lot going on."
Want to try Derek's level for yourself? The course ID is BD99-0000-0062-6FC7, but be warned: the level is hard. To upload a Super Mario Maker level, you have to be able to beat it yourself, and after Yu handed this to us, it took more than an hour — and hundreds of lost lives — to get through it. Good luck!
Got a game developer you'd like to see try their hand at Mario Maker? Let us know in the comments and they may appear in a future episode!
(Music: NΣΣT - "Tsubaki")