The Black Market is a secret level accessible from The Jungle which contains seven shops. It is the only place to obtain the Ankh, a powerful item which must be obtained to reach The City of Gold and eventually Hell.
Finding the Black Market
The entrance to the Black Market is always found on one of the first three levels of the Jungle (2-1, 2-2 or 2-3). It is always hidden behind a ground tile, so you will need bombs or a Mattock to reveal it.
Even without the Udjat Eye, you can sometimes see the leaves surrounding the entrance sticking out from behind a wall. You can also find the entrance by chance upon destroying ground tiles, but this is unlikely.
Because of the random nature of the Black Market's entrance, it is quite possible for it to end up in unusual or inconvenient locations.
Inside the Black Market
Inside the Black Market are seven shops, one of which is always a "Spin the Wheel" shop and another of which sells only the Ankh. The rest of the shops are generated randomly and can contain any type of items.
It's possible that the Shopkeepers will go aggressive even when the Spelunker has not interacted with them. Fire Frogs, Snails and flying corpses can make the Shopkeepers upset.
NOTE: Wanted spelunkers will still be treated with hostility despite the name implying that it is an illegal marketplace.
- You must visit the Black Market if you want to go to Hell, because the Ankh lets you get the Hedjet (an item which, along with the Scepter, is required to gain access to the City of Gold).
- The Ankh costs $50,000 and so can be tricky to obtain if you do not wish to anger the Shopkeepers. Ghostrunning can help you acquire enough money to buy it, though it is very risky.
- You may kill and rob the shopkeepers if getting $50,000 before entering the level doesn't seem likely, thus allowing you to get a lot of items. If you have a shotgun, start killing shopkeepers at the top of the level. If not, start at a shop that contains one. This is, like ghostrunning, risky and can be difficult if the player has no weapon, bombs or ropes.
- You may also explode the tiles in front of the first shop to make the shopkeepers fall to the bottom layers, leaving the top layer safe. This can be really useful if the Spelunker has no weapons or the shopkeepers were already made aggressive before or upon entering the Market.
The Black Market is a hidden level which always generates six random shops and a unique Artifact Stall on the first three layers.
The entrance is always generated randomly on one of the levels in The Jungle. The door to the Market is always hidden behind a solid block which must be destroyed to enable entry.
The Udjat Eye is very useful for finding the location of the Black Market, but is not strictly necessary - It is possible to find the entrance through blind luck, but very unlikely and nearly impossible to do intentionally since the entrance can be hidden anywhere within a span of three levels, and you will only have so many bombs or mattocks to search with. However, if the entrance is on a level with the Dark feeling, it may be hidden between two torches.
The Artifact Stall always generates here and nowhere else. It sells the Ankh, which is necessary to reach The City of Gold. Keep in mind that the Ghost will appear on this level as usual; do not spend too long robbing the shopkeepers or gambling.
Visiting the Black Market will prevent the random generation of shops for the remainder of the game, so be sure to stock up on everything you think you may need. If you pass on an item, your only hope of getting it later is to find it in a crate.
Note also that the level is just as dangerous as the rest of the Jungle levels, with enemies and traps spawning normally along the edges and the bottom layer of the level. Indeed, if the resident Shopkeepers get crotchety it can be one of the most dangerous places in the game!
Clearing Out The Black Market
Besides simply purchasing all of the items, which is very expensive, there are several ways to get every item, with differing levels of difficulty. Note that the Ankh, due to the level's layout, may only be stolen or purchased.
Killing The Shopkeepers
Angering any shopkeeper in the Black Market is extremely risky, but with right equipment (namely a shotgun), it is possible to systematically clear out the shops. Killing Shopkeepers from off screen with shotgun blasts is an excellent way to accomplish this, though it tends to be difficult to lure out the Ankh shopkeeper to do so safely with him. The best method for dealing with him is to rain bombs on him from above. This method works well because generally you will have quite a number of bombs from the other shops in the Black Market, after robbing the other shopkeepers. After killing him, you can even continue bombing your way to the exit, to avoid having to deal with any surviving shopkeepers. However, doing so will probably mark you as wanted for the rest of the game, spawning a shopkeeper at every future level exit. However, that will allow it to spawn more shops, but you are wanted in each one.
A second method to clear out the shops is to use the man-eating plants, since at least one is usually present on the level. If one manages to get the plant to eat one of the shopkeepers, items belonging to the eaten shopkeeper may be taken without paying (with the exception of the Ankh) and the shopkeepers will remain passive. Bombs and ropes will automatically be added to your inventory by simply walking over them while other items will have to be manually picked up. It is important to note that the shopkeeper that was eaten will become aggressive once he escapes from the plant. However, the other shopkeepers will not follow and their items will also be free.
If you have a teleporter, you may telefrag the shopkeepers to kill them without penalty. They release blood when gibbed (useful if you have the Kapala), but their death is not attributed to you, and the other shopkeepers will not become angry. Note that only the items on the left half of the level will become unowned, and pick-upable. Because of this, you way want to drag other items from the right-hand-shops to the left side before telefragging their shopkeepers.