At the end of World 1, World 3, and World 4, Terra Tunnel appears and asks for help unlocking shortcuts. You can take these shortcuts from your base to the bottom of 1-4, 3-1 with no Olmec, or 5-1. Playing through a shortcut doesn’t unlock every achievement, but it enables you to practice worlds that you aren’t as used to, without having to get there on a really good run and kill yourself due to inexperience.
Here’s what Terra Tunnel asks for for each shortcut:
After World 1:
- 1 Bomb
After World 3:
- 1 Rope
- A weapon
- A mount
After World 4:
- A hired hand
- Golden key (from level 1-2 or 1-3)
The last two are really the only ones that are that difficult. Hired hands appear in world 4 often in 4a-1 and are also dropped by the enormous fish in 4a-2. They can also be found in the jail level feel (thanks to Steam user ZONE BASE in the comments). The safest way to get a hired hand to 5-1 is to hold them, but it’s vital to note that they jump out of your arms every few seconds. You have to constantly be dropping it and picking it back up to keep holding. Note: Unlockable characters found in coffins are also accepted for the shortcut (thanks to Steam user Illus in the comments).
The golden key is the golden key that unlocks the Eye of Udjat chest. Carry this all the way from the beginning to the end of 4-4 and you will unlock the final shortcut!