Cave Story


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Rating: 4.8/5 (507 votes)
| Comments (86) | Views (640)

Cave StoryCave Story, or Doukutsu Monogatari, is a superb 2D platformer created by Pixel and released at the end of last year. The downloadable game—for Mac or PC—is reminiscent of early NES platformers such as the Megaman series. The game is discussed in detail on the site, but I'll summarise it here. It will probably take you around 4-6 hours to complete, longer if you're inexperienced with these sort of games.

The game begins with a scientist trapped in a room sending a distress call to somebody named Sue. You then take control of your character, whom you know nothing of at the time, but gradually find out about.

After a brief introduction level, and the acquiring of a basic gun, you find yourself in Mimigas village, which will later turn into a hub of sorts. You discover that a Mimigas named Toroko is sheltering Sue, against the wishes of the other Mimigas. You also discover that 'The Doctor' has been coming and taking Mimigas from the village, leaving only six behind. After a brief encounter with the Doctor's minions, you begin the game proper.

There are lots of things to find and discover aside from the main story. There are a large number of Life Capsules scattered around, much like the in the Metroid games. These are used to increase your initially abysmal maximum health.

As well as the Life Capsules, there are also a number of optional weapons that can be gained, mainly by simple exploration. The weapon system itself is extremely interesting and noteworthy. When an enemy is defeated, they either drop hearts, used to increase health, or a number of orange triangles. When orange triangles are collected, your weapon's energy increases. When enough triangles are collected, your weapon gains a level, with a usually very notable change in firepower. The weapons can be built up to their maximum level of three very easily, but taking damage decreases your weapon's energy, so keeping all your weapons at their maximum levels can get somewhat tricky.

The controls are fairly simple and easy to use. Z is used to jump, X to fire, A and S to change weapons, Q to display the item screen and W to display the map if you have the Map Tool.

Unfortunately the game is download-only, but well worth it. Getting the game is fairly simple, but can require a number of downloads. Windows users must first download the game itself. Then, if you want you can download the game's music player. These two files are .lzh, but WinRAR can handle these files easily. The English translation patch is a thoroughly recommended .zip file. Mac users can follow the instructions found on this page.

Overall, Cave Story is excellently made and highly polished, with a superb storyline, brilliant gameplay and generally very enjoyable to play.

Update: Thanks to a recent article over at TIGSource, someone has made an English translated Mac version all ready to go. I've uploaded it here for easy access to JIG visitors.

86 Comments

ninjabunny August 29, 2005 8:13 PM

i played this a while ago and its pretty fun. a nice change of pace from today's hardcore gfx.

tip: if you get the top lvl regular gun, u can get to higher places by shooting downward.

mcass

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I played this game a while back and I beat it... It a nice puzzle platformer... I cant believe it made it in jayisgames... So jay starting to get some downloadable games in here... Nice find...

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Hey, nice to see this game here. I've already played it (and gotten all three endings), but there are plenty of people who haven't yet. And anyone who hasn't played it really should... it's wonderful, better than most games I've paid money for.

There's a great fansite if anyone wants a guide, art galleries, the soundtrack in mp3 format, or simply more info about the game, check it out.

By the way, Jay, you misspelled "Doukutsu" up at the top.

P.S. Thanks for the site. I haven't posted before, but I've found a lot of fun games here.

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Wulfo - nice job with the review. It's an excellent addition here.

Thanks, Astra, I have updated the entry with the correction.

Remister - yes, I have been wanting to include more downloadable games, as there are many excellent ones available. I have another one that I'm playing now that should be ready for review soon.

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Francesca August 29, 2005 10:03 PM

Jay, i'd like to share something i found online which somewhat reminds me of this game:

http://www.unit9.com/grrrgame/

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Francesca - Thanks for that, though I have already reviewed that game here.

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I can't even figure out how to download it.

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Yeah, I'm having some trouble with the downloading. It's confusing me worse than Carnyville....

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Ok, to help out, we'll need to know what platform you are attempting to download for, as there are two different procedures.

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I remember playing this game. Especially the incredibly hard and painful secret area *shudders*.

Anyone having trouble downloading or patching the game, there is a prepatched game for download at The Underdogs. Scroll down to where it says "Where to get this game".

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This game is awesome... especialy with an old N64 controller!

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I, too, am fairly confused as to how to download it. I have Windows, and generally use Firefox, but I can use explorer. I tried to download it and it said that I didn't have the program to open it (?) -- or at least it asked me to choose which program to use to open it and I had no idea.

Or maybe I'm just horribly confused . . .

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Terror Byte August 30, 2005 10:08 PM

I downloaded the game and have played it alot over the last day or two.

I've gotten 4 weapons so far. Reguar beam gun thingy, fireball, rocket launcher, and newly acquired bubbler.

I've heard that you can go back to the gunsmith and get a newer weapon but I don't know how to get back or when to go to get the better gun..

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Kat - the game download file is a .lzh file, which is a compression format that is similar to .zip files.

WinZip and WinRAR are utilities that will decompress .lzh files. Click here for information about these utilities.

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To Terrabyte: You can't get the Spur for a while. Later on, ou'll get asked if you want to swp your Polaris Star for a Machine Gun. SAY NO.

After leaving the Labyrinth (You'll see), go back to where you started the game, found by going to the top of Mimiga Village.

Unfortunately for this, you need the Booser v2.0. to get this, simply don't talk to Booster when you see him in the labyrinth, then go to Arthur's house after leaving the Labyrinth.

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I have Windows XP. All I really don't understand is how to work the translator patch thingy. I've tried and it seemed to work, but then I get error messages (or I think they're error messages; I can't tell, as I don't speak Japanese) when I try to start the game.

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you are utterly evil for reviewing this game. i have not been able to stop playing it for the last 2 days, 7 hour stretches, eyes blurred, fingers cramped, tendons screaming. evil demon you! =)

i have mac, osx 10.3.8, by the way, g4 ibook, and had no problem downloading or getting the translation; what little process downloading/installing it involved, the quality of the game was worth it. am pretty surprised a game of this depth and quality is available for free.

by the way, yours is one of my favorite sites, i frequently come back to it for the quality of the games you review. thanks for the good work.

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evilwumpus August 31, 2005 3:23 PM

If you search around, there's an installer program that is packaged with the english patch and music player. Just run the program and say where to install it. I'm addicted slightly less than mongrel. Can anyone give tips on dodging Ballos' second form? I'm equipped with the spur. Also, you can reach the gunsmith without version 2.0. Boost over from the cage instead of from right below it.

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I'm trying to download it on the Windows xp

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To anyone who is having difficulty downloading and running on Windows:

It seems that WinZip does not like the .lzh file the game is contained within. Instead, use the WinRAR link that Wulfo included in the review to download WinRAR.

To download the Cave Story game files:
1) Right-click the "download the game" link above and select "Save Link As..."
2) Save the file to a place on your storage volume that you'll remember where it is (I suggest the Desktop).

To download the Cave Story English translation files:
1) Right-click the "English Translation patch" link above and select "Save Link As..."
2) Save the file to the same place that you downloaded the game (I suggest the Desktop).

To open the Cave Story game files:
1) Download WinRAR.
2) Install WinRAR.
3) Double-click the previously downloaded dou_1006.lzh file. Doing so should launch the WinRAR application. If it does not, manually launch the WinRAR application and drag the dou_1006.lzh file to the WinRAR application window.
5) Click "Extract To"
6) Choose a place to store the extracted game files.
7) Click "Ok"

To install the English translation files:
1) Double-click the previously downloaded doukutsu.zip file. Doing so should launch the WinRAR application. If it does not, manually launch the WinRAR application and drag the doukutsu.zip file to the WinRAR application window.
2) Click "Extract To"
3) Select the same folder that you extracted the game files to.
4) Open the folder "doukutsu" that was just created.
5) Move all of the files from that folder into the folder "dou_1006".
6) Double-click the Cave Story Translation file
7) Click Next
8) Click Next
9) Click the button "..."
10) If you saved the game files to the desktop as suggested above, simply choose the drive letter where your desktop files reside and the correct path should be displayed. Otherwise, you will need to locate the game files within this dialog.
11) Click OK
12) Click Next

The files should all install successfully.

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Jay,
Thanks for the step by step -- I finally got it to work!

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Wahey! I'm glad it worked for you, Kat. =)

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Sorry if I didn't make it all clear about downloading. There are instructions at the bottom of the linked page.

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When i right click the link it says
"The link could not be saved. The web page might have been removed or had it's name changed"
and when i normally click on it, it says

Not Found

The requested URL /authors/VA022293/dlItem/dou_1006.lzh was not found on this server.

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I played this some time ago and it was a lot of fun. I'd definitely recommend it.

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Yes, Mike, it appears that the game author moved the file. I believe I located it here.

Can someone confirm that is the same file? Or is just a Windows 95/98/ME version of the game?

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evilwumpus September 3, 2005 8:10 PM

Does anyone have tips for Ballos? Specifically, his second form. I either get landed on or shoved into the imps.

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This game rocks hard. I've just finished it and I MUST play through it again to get the hardest ending.

CURLY!!

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Here's an interesting looking fan site for the game.

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This game keeps crashing right during the point where you get the girl robot to help you fight.

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On the off chance you see this Jay, the download link doesn't work anymore. :(

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Any other mac users having trouble getting the whole .dmg to download? It seems it finishes the download before it's actually complete, game starts but crashes with black window. Have tried download dozens of times, mostly "finishes" in under a second.

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I'm a mac user, and I managed to get it downloaded and running fine. It's great fun, I've just started and can tell it's good.

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Huzzah!

Great game.

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Beat this with all 3 endings quite some time ago, did it again recently.

Anybody up to challenge my 4:52 Hell Completion Time?

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An utterly amazing Hell run...with only 3 HP maximum.

And it still trounces my 5:59'0.

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Eeek! Here's the URL...

(http://youtube.com/watch?v=P3K48x3hx94, in case I mess up the HTML again. I really should clear out the cobwebs in my brain...)

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Michael Osborne March 3, 2007 2:56 PM

I downloaded the app but when i put down Destop and clicked next it stated that there are no files to be updated..... WHAT DOES IT MEAN? -___-` I need help!!!!

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MR. scary May 8, 2007 9:09 AM

hey guys! guess what?

i got the heck spur!! woo hoo i am happy! jingle bells! jingle bells! whoops hehe.

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MR. scary May 12, 2007 1:48 PM

hmm the hell is pretty hard.. i did the 2 endings good and bad now redemption ending i watch the video oddity it was terrible.

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Hiro Lune June 8, 2007 10:58 PM

I'm not sure I understand what you mean in calling Oddity's video terrible, 'Mr Scary.' I'm certain that running through the Sacred Grounds without taking damage and with the craptastic Polar Star is a feat to be commended, right? Heck, I haven't even beaten the sacred grounds yet, actually...

I've beaten the game twice with the good ending (The second time was a hard mode runthrough). I didn't bother to get the bad ending, because it's just not my style to give up halfway like that. Next I'll go for the Redemption ending. It's really a very good game, one of those jewels of gaming that you rarely ever see.

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-The best fan site, (To my knowledge) is
http://www.miraigamer.net/cavestory

-Obtaining the Spur does not require Booster V 2.0
I just tried it on one of my mid game saves, and I can get back to the first cave with v 0.8
What 2.0 is required for, is the secret level, Hell.

-The Spur is the most powerful weapon in the game, when fully charged

-If you're playing Cave Story for the first time, I'd recommend taking the Machine Gun, as it provides a rudimentary flight system at level 3 as well as decent firepower, something most beginners need at that point.
I'd save all the hard stuff (Spur, Booster V 2.0, Secret Level etc) for your 2nd replay of the game.

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lopsidation August 6, 2007 3:12 PM

I can't seem to save my game. I am using the Japanese version, with winrar370, and always save at the little discs. I exit the game by pressing ESC twice, and when I go back it starts over. Any help?

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wow...this is one freaking amazing game. I notice however, an alarming absence of posts on the comments... perhaps this should be re-posted, to show it to the now larger JIG fan base?

Oh, and this game is evil. It addicts you up to the point when you reach the secret level, and then you can't stop playing. So then you're stuck running that diabolically impossible level time and time again. Finally beat it, though. Dang thing took me around 20 tries. Now I can't go back to run-of-the-mill games, and spend my days waiting for something of similar caliber...

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WOW. I just watched a video playthrough of this game, it looks so fun, and its storyline was actually rather gripping for such a simple 2D Game.

To those interested in seeing the video, check it out:
Link: Let's Play a Cave Story - by DeceasedCrab

Also, this guy has a witty commentary to accompany it. Although it "spoiled" it a little for me, I know it'll still be a challenge, so at least his handy tips will save me many a death.

Curly doesn't have to die, yay! =)

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Jacob X891 December 4, 2007 7:21 PM

1: cave story was the best game i have ever played. if you are unsure about downloading it, DO IT!!! DO IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!
2: yes, deceasedcrab is freaking awesome. i am addicted.
3: a fun fact: your life will not be complete until you complete this game. and not the cheap midway ending, at least the half-best ending (aka the defeat-the-final-bosses-then-run-away-because-a-child-told-you-to-jump-off-of-a-cliff ending.

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cave story rulz

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> Unfortunately the game is download-only

What's unfortunate about that?

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Jacob X891 Author Profile Page January 20, 2008 3:26 PM

I notice you marked this as kidsafe... you are aware of what goes on inside Chaco's house?

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i can only move the guy up and down in the begining how do you select anything? i cant start!

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oh one more thing you can go fullscreen by pressing tab

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hey how do i get out of the laberin i cant kill the big boulder qny tip?
and by the way this web is amazing

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On the bottom level at Mimigas Graveyard (one ne the first levels) ther is somethink (worm?) walking in the grass. It looks like grass with brown dot on the top. You will see that dot moving. if you try to talk to it you get "Yeah! Whaddaya wan?"

Didn't find out any use for it though...

Nce game!

Zulumat

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Good eye, Zulumat.

There are a couple secret messages scattered throughout the game that are just for fun, but that "worm" in the Graveyard does have a purpose. You might find out later on.

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I cant seem to get the english translation zip file to open. im using the latest winrar and when i try to open the file i get a message saying "this archive is either an unknown format or damaged."

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I'm using a Mac - eMac 1.42Ghz, Mac OS X 10.4.11 and this game just
crashes 2 seconds after starting? Any clues from other Mac users to why?

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Matt Weiner June 29, 2008 5:19 PM

hampster -- you have to press 'z' to start or load a game. And you press 'z' after each line of dialogue. They really should've included this in the readme.

BTW, jay, the site's comments pages are loading really slowly for me since the redesign (I'm using Firefox on a Mac).

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Hmm, the game downloaded fine, but I get errors when I tried to download the music player and the english translation patch.

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yep i cant get the translation file to open

says the same as kp's.

i tried playing it without the translation but its just too awkward!

please help!

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please?

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To anyone with problems using the translation patch, this link should work http://agtp.romhack.net/download.php?id=cavestory .

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cheers :)
was very enjoyable to play

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What is this? Cave Story has been rated 4.9/5?

THIS...IS...SPAR-...er...MADNESS!

Also, play Cave Story.

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This game OWNS. I recommend getting the spur if you're going for the best ending. Any1 know where to get a jenka's nightmare walkthrough?

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Seems like a very good game, I've heard alot about it and been wanting to download it for a while, however, it seems that the music player link is broken.

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Ah, never mind, immediatly after posting I found out it seems I don't need it..

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Man, Pixel should have won some sort of award for the love & time he put into making this wonderful game. The story alone is genius, and the whole game was just put together so well. It's classic.

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ganondox May 23, 2009 9:31 AM

How do you download winrar?

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Hey ganondox, this link should work http://rarsoft.com/rar/wrar39b2.exe

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I am having trouble where the character doesn't respond to Z without a delay.

I get through the starting cave
But it takes a few seconds for my press of z to register, so I cannot avoid the spikes in the first cave...Does anyone else have this problem?

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Hello, not sure if someone alredy posted about this, but there is a fan site (http://www.miraigamer.net/cavestory/) where you can see many ports like the Mac ones, Linux ones, and even PSP, or others.

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cave story should have been 1st place in 2005 October 13, 2009 1:05 AM

Cave Story was hands down the best game they listed for 2005 even though it was released in 2004, who ever voted in 2005 were probably to lazy and scared off by this gem just because it was in japanese.

This is one of the top 5 indie games ever made this past decade. It it the #1 or #2 platformer and those people from 2005... should have at least tried it out. Before Plants vs Zombies this was rated #1 and I did not expect the ranking to change at all.

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I figured out my issue. Its probably something with only my graphics card, but just in case anyone was having this problem:

Setting the game to be windowed will fix the lag problem

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Amonynous December 6, 2009 4:16 AM

Hey, where is that tow rope!?!?!?

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At first, I really loved it. The story was great, the retro graphics were great, and the gameplay was great.
Then I got to the area with the giant eggs.
Before I knew it, I was being swarmed by flying creatures which were too high for me to reach, And half of them were shooting at me. And if I killed them, 25 came to take their place. Coupled with the hopping creatures, this made it impossible for me to progress. I tried backtracking away from the place, but even when I went BACK, they kept spawning and flying and killing. I died twelve times. That was just plain ridiculous. I was using a fully leveled Polar Star weapon, and a missile launcher, but it was still comPLETELY impossible for me. If they're going to stick in so many enemies at once, the enemies at least need to be weak. But no. I would shoot at one 5 times and it still wasn't dead. Since I had saved, I couldn't go back by dying. If I fell, I was instantly killed by the white wave thing.
If they're going to throw that at you, they should at least make an easy mode. Now that I can't go further due to this idiotic difficulty jump, I hate this game. Infinitely. It was a waste of time, methinks. Time to find something else.

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Gorblick Master December 22, 2009 4:24 PM

GRAAGH! I've spent two hours trying to get that one health upgrade next to where the big jellyfish was in Grasstown. But I can't give up since I know they're too important. :(

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@ Anonymous
The tow rope is in the room where you fight the core. Before talking to Curly, hop down to the bottom right hand corner and look around for it. You can only get it if you don't take the booster.

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ugh, the way the environment moves and wavers gives me headaches, anyone know how to make it scroll without jumping around?

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Nautilus199 Author Profile Page August 21, 2010 3:30 PM

Best long platform game
EVER!!!
This was challenging, fun, unique, well-paced: everything a game should be. I've beat the game, but I went back to try to conquer the hell stage. I've come close, but not succeeded. Thnx SO MUCH for featuring this game, Jay.

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Could someone please post a link to a one-click download, because this process is too complicated for me, and I am very afraid of screwing up my computer.

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repairmanman Author Profile Page November 22, 2010 11:03 PM

i thoroughly enjoyed this game, and i am currently trying to beat ballos

if anything should be put in the vault, it is this

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BEST. GAME. EVER.

Best of all, it's free and can be used even on somewhat-old computers like mine. Be sure to mention these things when you show it in the Vault. (You will, won't you?)

Got this a day or two ago, and I have done NOTHING else since. I'm stuck in the

Sacred Ground, trying to beat it in under 6 minutes. I have the Spur, Nemesis, Fireball, Bubble, and Super Rockets. I hate how you can't heal after the Undead Core battle (I'm stuck with 35 health at the beginning :P)

Yeah... it's not working.

If any game is vault worthy, it's this one right here.

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I played this a while ago, and I could not get past the Doctor with the red crystal. I think I may replay the whole thing, and do the non-logical choices, such as not trading in my gun.
(I have gotten the "lazy" ending though, and I've gotten the rubber ducky gun (Vengeance, is it called?) and the bubbles.)

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The Linux download link should be up there somewhere …

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I am new to downloaded games for mac. I can't figure out how to get out of the very first cave. i can move and jump but moving over the save icon does nothing. help? thankyou

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fightingfiresinthespire Author Profile Page December 5, 2013 11:37 AM

Hey Elisabeth. When I first played this I was confused about the first level as well.
You have to go up to the top right of the room and press the down arrow key to open the door.
Hope this helps.

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