Helping those less pro become more so.

Pro tip: Avoid fireballs the easy way

In the first level of the Super NES edition of Battletoads, you have two parts where you're pelted with Hot Flaming Death From Above via a couple of volcanoes in the background. you have to keep moving in a zigzag pattern or they'll smack you right in the head. It's like they know where you're going to be.


Well, they do know... sort of. It appears that the fireballs will take into account the direction and speed that you're going and land directly in your path. Sneaky.

But, if you get behind a chunk of scenery and run into it, you can trick the game into thinking you're running one direction or the other, but since you're not actually moving anywhere the fireballs will harmlessly explode right in front of you.

Just like that. This even works in two-player mode. Just make sure that both of you are on the same side of the scenery running the same direction. Otherwise you risk KOing your buddy... which might actually be pretty funny.

Pro tip: Bionic Commando, infinite energy recovery pills

The original Bionic Commando game is kind of tough, especially when you start out. For a while it takes little more than a stiff breeze to kill your hardened combat veteran. Shoot a few enemies, though, and you notice they drop these bullet-shaped things. Collect enough of them and you get these green dots up on the top-left corner of the screen that let you take some more hits.

Now, kind of early in the game you go down this kind of long vertical shaft (*snicker*) with enemies parachuting down all around you. They come down in a pretty predictable pattern of 'just in front of you', and when shot once, they yield the precious, life-giving bullets.

If you work your way down so that you're in one of the little offshoot rooms that has an immovable barrel in it and keep running into said barrel, you'll notice that troops parachute in directly in front of you. Shoot 'em, collect the powerup with the ol' grapple arm, and repeat ad nauseum.

We're running into the barrel, by the way, so that we grapple out to the side to grab the goodie rather than diagonally up to grab the ceiling for no real reason.

Getting two or three lifepoints is probably about all you're going to want to spend time getting, since it takes progressively more bullets to get each additional point. But, hey, go all out and get all 9 if you want to. It'll make the game way easier.

Pro tip: Tetris Attack... STOP!

Tetris Attack is a game that's all about matching up colored tiles to make them disappear before they hit the top of the screen and ruin your day. After a while the game speeds up, and your reflexes slow down (well, they seem to, anyway). Wouldn't it be great if there was some kind of way to arrest the geyser of blocks so you could think about your next move?

Other than pause, smart guy.

Right before your game ends, you'll notice that the tiles do a little panic dance just before your game ends and you off pouting in the corner. But! That's the time to strike!

Right when the tiles are doing their Dance of Doom, you need to make a clear of 4 or more tiles or a chain of at least two clears. Do that, and you'll hear a voice yell, "STOP!"

Then you'll notice the little clock-guy over there on the right. He gives you a few seconds where the stack doesn't move and you get to take a little breather. Keep the blocks just licking the top of the screen while you make combos and chains and you can extend the stop for quite some time.

Just make sure you have a clear waiting in the wings so you can reinstate the STOP! when the time runs out.

Oh, and this works on Pokémon Puzzle League, Puzzle Challenge, and Planet Puzzle League.

Pro tip: Eat some super bombs

Super Metroid is a game full of little complexities and mysteries. For instance, let the game sit on the title screen for a couple minutes and you'll get some hints. Pretty nice of the developers to put that in, I think. The hints are pretty mundane, though, until you see this scene:

It's kind of hard to see what's going on in that picture, but the gist of it is this: Samus is low on energy, curls into a ball, sets off a Super Bomb, then gets cloaked in a mysterious light and begins regenerating health.

How do you actually do it? Great question!

First, you have to grievously injure Samus. Get her health down to below 50 with no reserve tanks. We're talking the direst of straits.

Then select your Super Bombs, making sure you have around 11 of them, and 10 Super Missiles, and 10 Regular Missiles. Highlight your Super bombs, curl into a ball (press Down). Hold L, R, and Down, then also press and hold the Fire button.

Done right, your bounty hunter will be cloaked in a mystical veil where she will somehow consume her weapons and convert them into energies. And, yeah, she'll be low on armaments, but she'll be high on life points, which is a pretty good trade-off, right?

Pro tip: Cursed ring is cursed

In the US version of Final Fantasy 3 (or Final Fantasy 6 for you purists out there) you can get a cursed shield. Break the curse and you get the best shield in the game, the Paladin Shld. Pretty snazzy, eh?

Later on in the game you get another cursed item, the Cursed Ring, which is also cursed... obviously.

Logically, though, you'd assume that if you could uncurse this ring then it'd be super-awesome, too, right?

Not quite.

It doesn't matter what you do to the thing, you can wear it in a million battles, you can wear the ring by itself while you fight a thousand dinosaurs (kinky!), or you can try to fight five hundred battles by using nothing but superballs. It won't matter. The cursed ring stays cursed, and essentially worthless.

Although, you can use it to learn X-Zone if you want, so it's not a total waste.

Pro tip: Skate or Die 2, unlimited lives

The story mode in Skate or Die 2 is nigh impossible. But there's another mode you can play to pass some time. It's you with three minutes and three boards (a.k.a. lives) to score as many points as you can.

But, pulling off tricks is pretty tough, and if you fail, you'll probably break your board... or worse, usually in a comically tragic fashion.

And, since it's so easy to fail, you're probably going to have a real hard time making it for the full three minutes the first couple of hundred times you play it.

So, what do you do?

Start a new game, move your guy to the top of the ramp, wait until he scratches his head, press Start, Start, Select. Done right you'll hear this sound.

Once you hear that, you'll have unlimited boards and be able to crash all you want. Though you'll still have that pesky 3 minute timer to deal with. Not a whole lot we can do about that.

Pro tip: Exploding Critters

In Warcraft III, during all the warring hubbub you might notice the occasional random animal running around the landscape. You can ignore them or attack them. They don't drop any treasure or put up much of a fight, so there's no real point in doing either. Unless you just want to test how sharp your swords are.

But, if you get particularly bored, you can try clicking on them... which doesn't do a whole lot. Click it about four dozen more times and...

Ka-freaking-boom. The critter explodes with a mushroom cloud, flying giblets, and ground deformation. It's pretty intense. Kinda makes me wonder what the creatures of Azeroth eat.

Unfortunately, while the explosion is pretty awesome, it doesn't actually damage anything. Anything other than the critter that self-destructs, that is. So you can't use it as some kind of stealth bomb thing.

Pro tip: Alternate uses for a ketchup jellybean

In A Boy and his Blob you take control of a guy with a pet blob.


He has to use the blob to do pretty much anything, and he does that by giving the blob (Blobert) jellybeans. Each flavor jellybean will make the blob turn into something different and occasionally useful. Except the ketchup flavor. I'm not even sure where you'd get ketchup flavor jellybeans, Jelly Belly doesn't make them. Though I can't imagine they'd be any worse than those Buttered Popcorn beans.

But, I've gone off on a secant.

Anyway, the ketchup bean is used if you lose your blob somehow and he can't get back to you. Throw the bean and he'll 'catch up' to where you are.

Very clever.

But, if you throw a honey flavor bean at your blob and before he finishes transforming throw a ketchup bean at him, he'll turn into a brick wall.

What does the wall do? Does it block enemy projectile chocolate kisses? Does it hold up a slowly closing door while you race to the other side to hit some control switch? Does it just look cool?

Unfortunately, the answer to all those questions is 'no'. The wall doesn't do anything other than waste a couple of jellybeans. But the masonry looks kind of nice, so it's got that going for it.

Pro tip: Don't believe everything you read, the Konami Code edition

Just about everyone knows about the ol' 'Konami Code'. It's even got its own Wikipedia entry. But for those that are too lazy to click the link, the gist is this: Starting with Gradius, a sequence of button presses (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A) gave (in that game) lots of armaments. Since then it's found its way (sometimes with slight variations) into lots more games, most by Konami, with varying effects.

Somewhere along the line, though, the ubiquity of the code became something of a legend and it started popping up in other games. Wikipedia has a long list of such games, one of which caught my eye.

* 3-D World Runner (DOG, NES) - Pausing the game and entering Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A will cause a message to come up saying "I AM NOT KONANI".

I have the game, so I decided to give it a shot. I started a new game, paused it, entered the code and was greeted with this:

I thought that I might be having some problems with entering the code properly. Even though the NES Advantage is the best controller ever made, I sometimes have trouble hitting left or right without also hitting up or down, so I swapped out the Advantage for a smaller standard NES controller.

Started a new game, paused, entered the code and got this:

I was starting to feel a little frustrated, so I searched the Internet, looking for a picture that would corroborate this story and I found... Absolutely nothing! In fact, the only references I found to the code working in this game either just referenced the Wikipedia article or copied the info from it verbatim.

So, the lesson is: if something doesn't sound right, go out and test it! It may not be.

Pro tip: Uncollectable money bag in Castlevania

The original Castlevania game had lots of hidden bags of treasure that would only appear if you squatted down on a certain block or stood still in a certain place for long enough. However, there's one treasure sack that can't be collected by any means. Why's it there? No idea.

First, make your way to what the game calls 'Stage 9', but what is actually the end boss of the third area. Find this block:

Now, just press Left for a few seconds and viola! A money bag that pops up in a completely inaccessible location.

Ultimately, this is kind of pointless, but you might be able to use it to win a bet or something.

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