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Golden Idols are a type of treasure present in all areas of the caves that appear as giant grimacing faces made out of solid gold. They are extremely valuable, but are almost always guarded by elaborate traps that make them risky to snatch.

Some particularly elaborate traps will activate on hair-trigger notice, as even a slight nudge moving the idol to the side can activate them.

Unlike other treasures, the player does not get the Idol's monetary value immediately upon touching it - it must be picked up and carried to the level exit, or sold to a Shop by setting it down inside.

Idols can also be sacrificed to Kali by placing them upon an Altar. While this will not immediately reward the player with any money, it will spawn a Golden Monkey which can potentially earn more money than the idol was originally worth.

There exists a special, more valuable variant of the Golden Idol, known as The Tusk Idol.

Types of Idol Traps

Giant Log Trap

In the Dwelling, Idols that pay out for $5000 can be found under a giant log carved and hung up by Quillback to defend his treasure. As long as the player is able to get out of the way of the Log Trap immediately after picking up the Idol, the player will return unharmed with the idol in hand.

There are three variants of this trap; standard Log Traps and ones with either Push Blocks or Bone Blocks on the sides of where the Idol sits.

Spear Traps

Guide showing the two most common paths to the Idol.

In the Jungle, a player can find a Golden Idol worth a significant $10,000 in a dangerous chunk containing Thorny Vines and Spear Traps.

Although confusing and intimidating to collect at first, Jungle Idol traps have a specific path to take to collect the Idol. With either Spring Shoes or Spike Shoes, the player can take a much simpler path, as either shoes allow the player to stand on Thorny Vines. The recommended paths are elaborated in the above image.

It is highly recommended that one obtains as many Idols as they can in The Jungle if they intend to legally obtain large quantities of items in the Black Market.

Lava Trap

An Idol Trap in Volcana. Just like the Log Trap, simply pick the idol up and start running for the hills.

In Volcana, Idols worth $10,000 can be found just under a pool of lava. If moved, two Powder Boxes will detonate, causing lava to fall onto where the Idol was.

Although one of the easier Idol traps to beat, a player should plan their moves carefully after the Idol is taken, as the lava can spread into locations that the player does not want it to be, such as in the way of loot or even blocking the path to the exit door.

Cavemen are also liable to spawn near the idol and pick it up, triggering the trap.

Giant Clam Trap

A Giant Clam guarding a Golden Idol in Tide Pool.

Giant Clams can be found in Tide Pool containing, among other items, Golden Idols with a sell price of $20,000. If the player stands in the middle of the clam where the Idol sits, it will shut, destroying anything on it.

The "trick" to collecting an Idol on a Giant Clam is standing on either the left or right side of the Idol, whipping it, then moving to the other side to collect it without stepping on the middle portion so to not trigger the Clam.

Giant Crush Trap

A player using the Push Blocks beside the Idol trap to stop the Giant Crush Trap from destroying both them and the Idol.

In Temple of Anubis, there can be a Golden Idol valued at $20,000 inside of 2x2 sized hole with a Giant Crush Trap above it. This Giant Crush Trap will fit perfectly in the hole if the player attempts to take the Idol, destroying them both.

There are two push blocks next to this hole, and the player can use these push blocks by pushing them in the way of the Giant Crush Trap. This lets players take the Idol without fear of being crushed, although they should be cautious of the Giant Crush Trap when making their way out of the contraption.

Boulder Trap

Activating the Boulder trap in the Ice Caves.

In the Ice Caves, an Idol worth $25,000 can be found under a familiar statue from Spelunky Classic and HD. Taking the Idol will trigger a Boulder to fall through the head of the statue, rolling into the direction of the player.

Although fairly easy to dodge (having to be two or more blocks above where the Golden Idol originally was and out of the way of the boulder's spawn point), the destruction that it may cause as it rolls through the Ice Caves can be catastrophic, possibly even running through Shopkeeper Vaults, Shops and Kali Altars, angering them.

Forcefields + Spark Traps

A player having secured the Idol at the center of a Neo Babylon Idol trap.

Within Neo Babylon, the player can find a Golden Idol guarded on both sides by four Forcefields and two Spark Traps, netting the player $30,000 if they can secure it.

Unlike most Idol Traps, this one does not have any specific "trick" to access the Idol, aside from being patient and waiting for the hazards to be out of the way of the player when going for the Idol. It is important to consider that more than just two Spark Traps and even UFOs may spawn around the Idol, potentially making securing it a more strenuous task.

Frog Traps

Multiple Frog Traps and an Arrow Trap defending the Golden Idol from potential thieves.

Golden Idols in the Sunken City are worth $35,000. There, the player can find them being protected by four Frog Traps and possibly even an Arrow Trap or two. Along the sides next to the idol can be numerous different treasures and valuable items, such as Pets.


The trick to obtaining the Idol is to first drop an item down to where the Idol is to trigger any possible Arrow Traps, then using the niches on the sides of the trap which contain treasure to stay out of the range of the Frog Traps.

The player will also not take fall damage if they drop down from the top of the trap to the bottom where the idol sits, making entry much easier for the player.

Note that two Frog Traps may spawn at the bottom of the trap by the idol, meaning that dropping down to the bottom and running into the niche by the idol is not a feasible option and that the player risks being infinitely hit by the two Frog Traps until they die.

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Golden Idols are a type of treasure present in all areas of the caves that appear as giant grimacing faces made out of solid gold. They are extremely valuable, but are always guarded by elaborate traps that make them risky to snatch.

Unlike other treasures, you do not get the Idol's monetary value immediately upon touching it - it must be picked up and carried to the level exit, or sold to a Shopkeeper by dropping it in their Shop, as long you aren't 'wanted'.

Idols can also be sacrificed to Kali by placing them upon an Altar. While this will not immediately reward you with any money, it will spawn a Golden Monkey which can potentially earn more money than the idol was worth.

The Golden Idols are one of the more obvious references to the Indiana Jones franchise.

A Golden idol appears in tutorial level 3

Value

As with all treasure, the value of the Golden Idol increases incrementally in each area of the game:

The Mines: $5,000
The Jungle: $10,000
The Ice Caves: $15,000
The Temple: $20,000
Hell: $25,000

In The Mines

The boulder knows how to roll...

In the Mines, Golden Idols are found placed on a stone altar underneath a gigantic stone carving. The Idol rooms can not spawn at the bottom of the mines.

Grabbing the Idol causes a brief rumbling before the carving's head explodes, releasing a giant boulder that smashes through the terrain as it rolls.

Boulders may be escaped from by simply descending the cave, or climbing to higher ground at least 3 tiles above the floor (this can be done with the aid of a ladder, a rope or climbing a terrain).  If you stay still and duck about two tiles from the side of the stone platform the idol was resting on the boulder will bounce over your head.

If you're standing on top of a platform only two tiles above the floor, note that you can fall on the boulder and get crushed if you don't jump over it as it approaches - and it's a good idea to sprint away from the boulder for a while after you land, in case it rebounds off the edge of the level with enough momentum left to start rolling back towards you.

Unlike the classic version, bombing the platform that it sits on or whipping the idol sets the trap off immediately, instead of disarming it. However, if timed correctly, bombs can be used to counter the boulder's course, stopping it most of the time, as the boulder is affected by explosions.

The boulder can be prevented from falling if the Golden Idol is removed from play before the boulder spawns. This can be done by quickly selling it, sacrificing it or even destroying it (eg. by crushing with a push block) before the rumbling stops.  This is not a perfect solution however, as it relies on the Idol generating near enough to somewhere you can get rid of the idol quickly, but this may be the only way of successfully taking the idol without consequence if it spawns next to a Shop or an Altar.

Note that the boulder first rolls to the direction you are; by choosing one side or another you may aim for a wall which will slow the boulder down, or at least for a path with fewer holes, if you want to avoid crushing a Shop or Kali's altar down there.

In the Jungle

Golden Idols in the Jungle are found placed on stone platforms above pools of water. Lifting the Idol will cause this platform to

Jungle golden idol.png
collapse from the outside inwards, dropping you into the water if you don't move fast enough. Sometimes the ponds are empty, but other times they may contain a few Piranhas or Frogs in them.

Should you fall into the pool, you will not be able to get out without using a rope or some climbing gloves. You can also use a bomb if the wall is thin enough, and simply blast your way out of the side.

The trap can be easily escaped by sprinting to either side as soon as you pick up the Idol - just make sure the path is clear before you do.

Restless Dead Levels

Boo! It's trap, a haunting daunting trap!

Ice caves golden idol.png
In Restless Dead Level feelings, the Golden Idol is replaced with a Crystal Skull. The Crystal Skull is worth $15,000 - three times more valuable than a Golden Idol found in the mines - but the trap that guards them is much deadlier.

Crystal Skulls are found inside a small catacomb enclosed with bricks and a Push Block on either side. There is an undead Skeleton in each of the four corners, and lifting the Crystal Skull itself immediately causes the Ghost to enter.

In the Ice Caves

Golden Idols found in the Ice Caves are placed high up on platforms of thin ice suspended above a platform covered in spikes. With the aid of a cape or a jetpack, collecting these Idols is relatively easy. However, without such means these Idols can be difficult to reach, let alone retrieve safely.

You can use a rope to climb up if the platform is near enough solid ground, or throw a bomb to blast the Idol off the platform, although this will throw the Idol unpredictably, and possibly send it falling into the Abyss.

In the Temple

Ceiling Trap

This idol looks so easy to get...

...that it hurts to get trapped by it.

There are two different Idol traps found in the Temple.Normally, the Idol will be found in a small chamber that appears empty. However, as soon as the Idol is lifted, the doors slide shut and a spiked ceiling slowly descends to crush the Spelunker. Escaping this trap requires a Bomb or a mattock, as there is no way to escape without destroying the walls once the trap is triggered. If a hole is blown in the floor, be aware that spikes will descend through the hole until they hit something solid.

It is also possible to place a push block in the doorway before retrieving the Idol, which prevents the door from closing fully. You can then push the block away and the door will remain half-open, but this obviously requires a conveniently placed push block.

Sacrificial Pit Levels

On levels with a Sacrificial Pit, the Idol will always be found alongside a Damsel offered as a virgin sacrifice above a pit of danger, typically

The depth of the pit is about the depth of the level

consisting of several Arrow Traps and a pool of lava.

When you pick up the Idol, the floor beneath it will immediately collapse and drop you into the pit. This is almost always fatal unless you have some way to stop your fall and make your way out of the pit, such as a jetpack, climbing gloves, a cape or a parachute. You may also need some ropes or bombs.

The pit will not collapse when the Damsel is taken, so she must be taken first if you intend to retrieve both. Note that the walls of the pit containing the Damsel and Idol are three tiles high, meaning that you need to prepare for some way to climb back out once you drop onto the lid of the pit.

Using a rope is one way of retrieving the Idol. If you're fast enough, you can grab the rope the instant you take the Idol, preventing you from falling.

Hell

The spike balls are the real danger in hell

Golden Idols found in Hell are generally guarded by a huge number of Spike Ball traps. To retrieve it, you must carefully dodge the spike balls, while attempting to pick it up.

While blowing up the spike balls may sound like a good idea, it can potentially destroy a great portion of terrain, destroying gold, the idol, and even the spelunker.

Trivia

  • The golden Idol counterbalancing a rolling-boulder trap is, of course, a direct reference to the iconic scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones retrieves a booby-trapped Idol in an ancient temple.
  • A golden idol can be placed on an altar to get a Golden Monkey instead, the amount of treasure you can get from this monkey is worth more in the first areas of the game and is worse in the later areas.
  • The Golden Idol is the icon used to represent Spelunky, both on the Classic and HD versions. It is also used as the favicon of Spelunky World and the Spelunky Wiki.
  • It is still possible to sell Idols in a Shop even when wanted by dropping one off a ledge or throwing it onto the shop floor without the Shopkeeper noticing you. As long as he isn't attacking yet (Patrolling in an 'on guard' state, but not hopping around or shooting), the idol will be accepted and you will receive payment as usual. This can also be done on top of a Vault.

Bugs

  • If the player is holding an Idol when swallowed by the Worm, the Idol will not be exchanged for money and will be left 'floating' in the level.

    Had that bomb been just a little to the left...

  • Using bombs or the mattock, it is possible to destroy one of the idol's support blocks without moving the idol. This will leave the idol hanging over an edge, without setting of the associated trap.

See Also

Editbutton.png

Golden Idols are a type of treasure present in all areas of the caves that appear as giant grimacing faces made out of solid gold.
They are extremely valuable, but are always guarded by elaborate traps that makes them risky to snatch.

Unlike other treasures, you do not get the Idol's monetary value immediately upon touching it - it must be picked up and carried to the level exit, or sold to a Shopkeeper by dropping it in their shop.

Golden Idols are one of the more obvious references to the Indiana Jones franchise.

Value

As with all treasure, the value of the Golden Idol increases incrementally in each area of the game:

The Mines: $5,000
The Jungle: $10,000
The Ice Caves: $15,000
The Temple: $20,000

In the Mines

A Golden Idol in the Mines

In the Mines, Golden Idols are found placed on a stone altar underneath a gigantic stone carving.
Grabbing the Idol causes a brief rumbling before the carving's head explodes, releasing a giant boulder that smashes through the terrain as it rolls.
Boulders may be escaped from by simply running away and descending the cave, or climbing to higher ground at least 3 tiles above the floor (this can be done with the aid of a ladder or a rope).
If you're standing on top of a platform only two tiles above the floor, note that you can fall on the boulder and get crushed if you don't jump over it as it approaches - and it's a good idea to sprint away from the boulder for a while after you land, in case it rebounds off the edge of the level with enough momentum left to start rolling back towards you.

Alternatively, you can disable the trap completely by setting a bomb off on the platform that it sits on. Make sure to demolish both tiles of the altar or the boulder drop may not be disarmed.
Destroying the altar may propel the Idol into a wall, ceiling, or even into a Spider web. You may then pick up the Idol without fear of retribution, although Idols trapped in spider webs above you may be complicated to retrieve.

Pushing a sliding block onto the platform is another way of taking the Idol without triggering the trap.

In the Jungle

A Golden Idol in the Jungle

Golden Idols in the Jungle are found placed on stone platforms above pools of water. Lifting the Idol will cause this platform to collapse from the outside inwards, dropping you into the water if you don't move fast enough.
Sometimes the ponds are empty, but other times they may contain a few Piranhas or Frogs in them.

Should you fall into the pool, you will not be able to get out without using a rope or some climbing gloves. You can also use a bomb if the wall is thin enough, and simply blast your way out of the side.

The trap can be easily escaped by sprinting to either side as soon as you pick up the Idol - just make sure the path is clear before you do.

Restless Dead Levels

In Restless Dead Level feelings, the Golden Idol is replaced with a Crystal Skull.
The Crystal Skull is worth $30,000 - three times more valuable than a Golden Idol - but the trap that guards them is much deadlier.

Crystal Skulls are found inside a small catacomb enclosed with bricks and a Push Block on either side. There is an undead Skeleton in each of the four corners, and lifting the Crystal Skull itself immediately causes the Ghost to enter.

It should be noted that, just like Idol traps in the Mines, you can also use a bomb to destroy the platform the Crystal Skull is placed on. This disarms the trap, preventing the Ghost from spawning until the time limit expires as usual.

In the Ice Caves

A Golden Idol in the Ice Caves

Golden Idols found in the Ice Caves are placed high up on platforms of thin ice suspended above a platform covered in spikes.
With the aid of a cape or a jetpack, collecting these Idols is relatively easy.
However, without such means these Idols can be difficult to reach, let alone retrieve safely.
You can use a rope to climb up if the platform is near enough solid ground, or throw a bomb to blast the Idol off the platform, although this will throw the Idol unpredictably, and possibly send it falling into the Abyss.

In the Temple

Ceiling Trap

A ceiling trap in the Temple.

There are two different Idol traps found in the Temple.
Normally, the Idol will be found in a small chamber that appears empty. However, as soon as the Idol is lifted, the doors slide shut and a spiked ceiling slowly descends to crush the Spelunker.
Escaping this trap requires a Bomb or a mattock, as there is no way to escape without destroying the walls once the trap is triggered. If a hole is blown in the floor, be aware that spikes will descend through the hole until they hit something solid.

It is also possible to place a push block in the doorway before retrieving the Idol, which prevents the door from closing fully. You can then push the block away and the door will remain half-open, but this obviously requires a conveniently placed push block.

Note that the underside of the block ceiling of this trap always deals death when contacted, even before the spikes have been revealed.
If you touch the underside while flying with a jetpack or exploring with climbing gloves, you will be killed in spite of its harmless appearance.

Sacrificial Pit Levels

The top of the Sacrificial Pit

The bottom of the Sacrificial Pit

On levels with a Sacrificial Pit, the Idol will always be found alongside a Damsel offered as a virgin sacrifice above a pit of danger, typically consisting of several Arrow Traps and a pool of lava.

When you pick up the Idol, the floor beneath it will immediately collapse and drop you into the pit. This is almost always fatal unless you have some way to stop your fall and make your way out of the pit, such as a jetpack, climbing gloves, a cape or a parachute. You may also need some ropes or bombs.

The pit will not collapse when the Damsel is taken, so she must be taken first if you intend to retrieve both. Note that the walls of the pit containing the Damsel and Idol are three tiles high, meaning that you need to prepare for some way to climb back out once you drop onto the lid of the pit.

Using a rope is one way of retrieving the Idol. If you're fast enough, you can grab the rope the instant you take the Idol, preventing you from falling.

Trivia

The Golden Idol as seen in Raiders.

  • The golden Idol counterbalancing a rolling-boulder trap is, of course, a direct reference to the iconic scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones retrieves a booby-trapped Idol in an ancient temple.
  • The Golden Idol is the icon used to represent Spelunky, both on the Classic and HD versions. It is also used as the favicon of Spelunky World and the Spelunky Wiki.

See Also

Items
Accessories Bomb PasteBook of the DeadCapeClimbing GlovesCompassHedjetJetpackKapalaPitcher's MittSpectaclesSpike ShoesSpring ShoesUdjat EyeVlad's AmuletVlad's Cape
Equipment AnkhArrowBombsParachuteRope
Objects ArrowBig ChestBox of FlaresChestCorpseCrateCrystal SkullEggplantFlareGolden IdolKeyLanternMattock HeadMystery BoxPiranha SkeletonPotRockSkull
Weapons BoomerangBowCameraCrysknifeFreeze RayMacheteMattockPistolPlasma CannonScepterShieldShotgunWeb GunWhip
Miscellaneous Royal JellyTeleporterTreasure
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