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.
As with all treasure, the value of the Golden Idol increases incrementally in each area of the game:
|The Ice Caves:||$15,000|
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
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.
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
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
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.
- 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.