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Health refers to a character's state of vital well-being, symbolizing their capacity to withstand injuries without dying.

Health is represented objectively, in numeric units known as 'hit points' or 'hearts'. Most characters in Spelunky have a finite number of hit points (HP) which are lost when they take damage. When a character runs out of HP, they die.

Health, as displayed on the beginner hud with the amount of HP in the heart

Damage can result from a wide range of sources - either from being attacked by a monster, getting caught in a trap or by falling from a great height.

Some sources of damage deal multiple hit points worth of damage in a single stroke. Other scenarios can even cause instant death regardless of how much health a character has (being crushed by a boulder, impaled by spikes, eaten by a Mantrap or by falling into the Abyss).

Note: If the character has more than 99 health, it is possible to survive spikes.

Gaining Health

Health is a valuable resource in Spelunky. The player Spelunkers begin the game with a relatively low total of hit points, and increasing the total number of hit points is a slow and difficult task.

They are not much tougher than many of the monsters they will face on their adventure, and are always outnumbered, meaning that every single hit point is precious.

A Spelunker starts each game with 4 HP, but it is possible for them to gain more health - either to recover from injuries or to improve upon their initial fortitude - by completing one of the following tasks:

  • Bringing a Damsel to the level exit (rewards 1 HP)
  • Buying a kiss at a kissing booth (rewards 1 HP)
  • Collecting Royal Jelly (rewards 4 HP)
  • Absorbing eight drops of blood with the Kapala (rewards 1 HP)

    The Kapala to the right when full increases the health as displayed on the advanced hud

  • Earning 32 favor points at an Altar (rewards 8 HP)

The maximum number of displayed HP is 99, this number can only be reached by making use of custom deathmatches or exploiting Mummy vomit with the Kapala. This is not a hard limit and the player can go past 99 HP, however, the game won't display anything higher than 99 and HP will be reset to 99 once the player goes into the next level, making any extra gained HP useless outside of the level where it was obtained.

Bugs

  • Due to no hard limits on the HP value and it being stored in a 4-byte integer, it is possible to overflow and underflow the value to the point where gaining more than 2,147,483,647 will kill the player and going below -2,147,483,648 will revive the player. This would take a several years of playtime to achieve and therefore practically impossible without cheating.

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The health gauge, displaying four hit points.

"Health" refers to a character's state of vital wellbeing, symbolizing their capacity to withstand injuries without dying.
Health is represented objectively, in numeric units known as 'hit points' or 'hearts'.
Most characters in Spelunky have a finite number of hit points (HP) which are lost when they take damage. When a character runs out of HP, they die.

Damage can result from a wide range of sources - either from being attacked by a monster, getting caught in a trap or by falling from a great height.
Some sources of damage deal multiple hit points worth of damage in a single stroke, and some scenarios can even lead to instant death regardless of how much health a character has - Being crushed by a boulder, impaled by spikes, eaten by a Mantrap or by falling into the Abyss are all examples of ways a character can die immediately, even with large health reserves.

Gaining Health

Health is a valuable resource in Spelunky. The player character, the Spelunker, begins the game with a relatively low total of hit points, and increasing the total number of hit points is a slow and difficult task.

He is not much tougher than many of the monsters he will face on his adventure, and is always outnumbered, meaning that every single hit point is precious.

The Spelunker starts each game with 4 HP, but it is possible for him to gain more health - either to recover from injuries or to improve upon his initial fortitude - by completing one of the following tasks:

  • Bringing a Damsel to the level exit (Rewards 1 HP).
  • Buying a kiss at a kissing booth (Rewards 1 HP).
  • Absorbing eight drops of blood with the Kapala (Rewards 1 HP).
  • Gaining 48 favor points at an Altar, and for every 16 points above that (Rewards 4-8 HP).
Technically, the maximum number of hit points you can hold is limited at 99. In practice however, this limit is probably impossible to reach outside of custom levels without cheating.

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