Cavemen are a relatively common enemy in all areas.[needs further research]
When idle, a Caveman roams around slowly, aimlessly wandering off ledges and hopping over obstacles. Cavemen will pick up certain items (e.g. gold, pots, Pets) if they encounter them. Some Cavemen spawn asleep, and wake up when a Spelunker nears them. [distance needs research]
They will enter a "frenzied" state when they see a Spelunker, which causes them to start running. In this state, they only run forwards and will not stop or change direction unless they run into a wall. They do not jump when frenzied, so can be easily escaped by climbing upward. They will also run off ledges without thinking, so tend to get trapped in pits. While running they can trip over items lying on the ground.
A caveman's line of sight only extends horizontally in front of them for about 6 tiles, so they cannot see anything above, below or behind themselves.
Once angry, a Caveman will not stop attacking unless stunned, at which point he will wake up in a passive state. He will resume attacking if he sees the Spelunker again, but otherwise will not remember a thing.
After meeting another Caveman, Tiki Man or Witch Doctor[further list needs research] they stand in front of each other and seem to exchange a few words. After that both return to their regular behavior.
Unlike many other enemies in the Dwelling, Cavemen have multiple hit points and can present a challenge to players first exploring the early areas of the game.
Cavemen only become frenzied when Spelunky Guy enters their narrow sight-line. Therefore, the ideal plan is to sneak up on Cavemen and KO them before they ever see you. As frenzied cavemen cannot jump, climbing to higher ground is an effective way of escaping from them.
When they take modest damage (such as being stomped or whipped) they will be stunned for several seconds. During this period they will be immune to further jumping or whip damage, meaning that a total of 3 such attacks will be necessary to kill them. Accordingly, it is often easiest to simply stun a Caveman and move past him.
It is useful to get an intuitive sense of how long a caveman lies stunned before he wakes up. Being ambushed by a rousing Caveman can be an easy way to lose a hit point.
The Caveman's stun period can be used to capitalize on these latter weaknesses; throwing a stunned Caveman into a dangerous situation can serve to deal with him permanently.
Some cavemen can be found sleeping, rather than walking around. If the player approaches them in this state, a blinking sound will play three times, and the caveman will then wake up immediately in its frenzied state, regardless of whether or not the caveman actually saw the player.
A frenzied caveman will trip over any object in its way, such as a rock, arrow, or treasure. this will stun them, but for only a brief moment.
Cavemen will also pick up and hold objects they find on the ground, including treasure, pets, rocks, and even weapons, although they cannot actually use any items they hold. They will drop whatever they are holding whenever they are attacked or trip. If they enter a shop, they may take an item from there, provoking the Shopkeeper.
- Cavemen are based off of Neanderthals, an extinct sub-species of modern humans.
- In an online interview Derek Yu stated that he modeled the Caveman after being inspired by his acquaintance George. This has led to some lending the nickname 'George' to the Caveman.
- The Cavemen, being frozen in the Ice Caves, has a reference to Ötzi the Iceman, a natural ice mummy from around 3200 B.C., found by scientists in the Tyrol Alps of Europe.