Helping those less pro become more so.

Two years of Pro tips

Two years ago today, I had a vision. A site where I could tap into the vast amounts of video game information I've accrued over the years and put it into an easily digestible format, based on an Internet meme, which was, in turn, based on a particularly clumsily-worded spot in a magazine.

And now, two years and 544 tips later, I'm taking a bit of a break to dabble in some other projects. Does that mean that this site is dead? Probably not, but I definitely need to take a little bit of a breather.

Thanks for visiting!

Pro tip: Shooting the Duck Hunt dog

So, we've all been playing Duck Hunt, missed the quota of Ducks, and had the Dog laugh at us.

But if you're playing the Arcade version (a.k.a. Vs. Duck Hunt), you get a special Bonus Round every once in a while where the Dog leaps out of the grass.

Which is totally your opportunity, so let fly.

He'll complain a little bit, but, hey, some folks might say that he had it coming.

Pro tip: Watching where you swim in Super Mario Bros. 3

You might remember some months ago I told you about a semi-secret passage through the grassy areas of Super Mario Bros. 3.

One of these stages is 3-4, which features water in some of the pits that you have to navigate.

The same rules apply here, too, hug the wall to try and get away from a marauding Cheep Cheep and hit that dark patch at the bottom of the screen

And you dead.

So, try to not do that, okay?

Pro tip: Avoiding using the spinning slash in Ninja Gaiden

When you're playing Ninja Gaiden, one of the most useful powerups is the spinny-slashy thing. I'm sure it's got a name and everything, but I never bothered looking it up.

But, really, what it does is make Ryu a spinning Whirlwind of Death(tm) every time you jump and press the B Button

The problem is, that it costs you five of your spiritual energy point thingies. Again, I'm sure that they have a name of some kind, but I never bothered to learn what it is.

Which could leave you high and dry at any moment, with no spinny-juice left. So, what do you do?

Well, if you press and hold the Down arrow on the Cross Pad, when you press the B button, you just do a regular sword slash.

Which is free, as far as your point thingies go, and leave you better equipped to fight the bosses.

Pro tip: Boom Boom is a pushover

When you're playing through the little fortressy levels of Super Mario Bros 3, you come across a miniboss, Boom Boom. A lot of people have trouble with him for some reason, but he's actually a giant pushover with the right technique.

You have to stomp on him three times to do him in, and he varies his attacks by flying around or leaping across the room or whatever. All you have to do is time your jumps so that you land on him at the exact moment he recovers from being stunned. That way he doesn't even get to use his Crazy Attacks and you finish him off in just a few seconds, like this video demonstrates.

Making the boss room trigger a sigh of relief instead of inducing mild panic.

Pro tip: Checking out the debug menu in Kickmaster

So let's say that you have a copy of Kickmaster for some reason, and you're tired of slogging through the first couple of stages because of the bad control, the wonky hit detection, or any number of other reasons.

Well, in that case, you could go to the password screen.

And enter this password

Done right, you'll be taken to the Debug Screen

Which doesn't look so much like a debug screen as a level select screen.

But, hey, nobody's arguing semantics here.

Pro tip: Seeing a hidden message in Gradius

Gradius has a reputation for being pretty tough, mostly because it is. But if you do take a crack at it, you can view a secret message before you go to get your head handed to you.

First, either turn off your NES or go to any screen you want.

Then, on controller 1, hold the A + B buttons and either power on or reset your NES. Done right, you'll see this message.

And if that doesn't motivate you to do better, I'm not sure what will.

Pro tip: Skipping levels in Alien 3

Okay, so you have a copy of Alien 3 that you're trying to work your way through, but you're having trouble with one stage or another.

So you pause the game for a breather

And then you press

Left, Right, Up, Down, Left, Right, A, B, A, B

Suddenly you find that the stage ends and the next one begins!

Which works for any stage (just don't skip the last boss, it kind of makes the game crash), which makes it a great way to preview later stages or to continue where you left off if you have a power failure or something.

Pro tip: infinite lives in Dirty Harry

I really don't know what possessed someone to greenlight a project to turn a movie from the 70s into an NES game almost 20 years later, but they did, and that's what we have to live with.

So, if you go to the password, and put in the name "CLYDE" as your password

And start the game proper, you'll find out that you have lots of lives!

And they don't go away when you screw up and the bad guys get the upper hand.

Which means this is just a long, slow slog to the end of the game, if you can stomach it for that long.

Pro tip: Seeing who's behind R.B.I. Baseball 2

You might remember some months ago I wrote a bit about seeing the credits to R.B.I. Baseball, but it turns out that this same button combination works for the second game in the series, too.

Just go to the title screen

Hold A + B and press Start, and behold!

More people who made baseball games for your NES!

How fun!

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