Will's blog

Pro tip: The Ghostbusters Connection

I was lured into buying the newest Ghostbusters game over the weekend, and I've got to say, it's a better game than the last Ghostbusters game that I played.

But, right at the beginning, I started to explore and found this interesting screen on one of the computers in the firehouse:

Which looks startingly like this screenshot of the ending sequence from the old NES game

Which doesn't seem like much, I know, but the NES game came out in 1986, so if you're younger than about 24, you might have missed the connection... until now.

Pro tip: laying off the superhero business in Nightshade

In Nightshade you have two meters, Health and Popularity.

You gain popularity by beating up villains and doing generally superhero-type things, and you lose it by being defeated in battle. There are certain events where you need to have your popularity built up pretty high to trigger. so what would you do if your popularity dipped too low, there was no more crime to fight, and you got stuck?

So what I do is, once my popularity is maxed out and I see some kind of thing that needs doing

I just pass it by until I need the popularity boost. Which doesn't sound like a Superheroic thing to do, but, hey, I'm a pragmatist when it comes to this stuff.

Pro tip: Dealing with Wall 1 and Wall 2 in Blaster Master

There's really no way around it, Blaster Master's a hard game. And when you get through Area 7, the controls start to change and mess with you.

In Area 6 you acquire Wall 1, which lets your tank go up walls, and in Area 7 you acquire Wall 2, which lets your tank roll across ceilings.

Which is pretty great until you try to jump off a platform. Since you have these great new Wall attachments, your tank will go down the ledge instead of flying through the air.

Meaning that when you jump, you jump off the side of the ledge, potentially into Doom(tm).

So, instead, what you have to to is, right before your tank hits the edge of the platform, briefly let go of the direction that you're holding, then jump. Once in the air, you can start holding the direction again. Done right, you'll jump pretty much as far as you did before.

Yeah, and it's kind of annoying that you have to relearn how your tank handles 7/8 of the way through the game, but at least it's not in impossible feat.

Pro tip: Offing yourself in The Adventures of Lolo

So let's say that you're playing through The Adventures of Lolo and you accidentally make a puzzle unsolvable

There's no time limit, so what do you do? Reset your NES and use the last password that you got to start over?

Well, yeah, you could do that, but there's a better way.

If you press the Select button, Lolo will do... something, and lose a life, resetting the level

You can do this as many times as you want... until you run out of lives, but since continues are unlimited, it's not a huge deal.

Just be aware that you're going to be applying this liberally as you progress through the game, it gets kind of tough.

Pro tip: Fun with Red Shells in Super Mario Kart

The red shells in Super Mario Kart are pretty useful, mostly due to their homing capabilities.

But they're not perfect.

Say you're in Battle Mode. You have a Red Shell and your opponent is stopped in the middle of a wide open area

You drive toward him and start to powerslide so that you just miss him

Then you fire the shell just before hitting him, so it sails right past

If done right, the shell will go around and around your opponent's kart, but since the turning radius of the shells isn't that great, will never hit him

Don't believe me? Check out this video

The shell will keep orbiting around your opponent until he moves or the shell hits something else on the course!

Of course, I was never able to find much of a use for this, other than it's something that looks kind of neat, but maybe you can.

Pro tip: Don't return your feet to the starting position in Dance Dance Revolution

If you watch the Attract Mode of most Dance Dance Revolution machines, they will eventually go into a tutorial on how to play the game, and in it, the demo character will stomp on an arrow, and then return its feet to the center. Check it out (it starts at about 0:58 in this clip):

And I see a lot of beginners playing the game like this... and stumbling around. Why? Because the arrows in the songs are set up so that you don't return your feet to center after hitting each one, which has the side effect of reducing the number of steps you have to take to hit all the arrows. Check out the kid's feet in this video:

If he returned his feet to the center after every time he hit an arrow, he wouldn't be quick enough to hit all the arrows, and neither would you.

So don't do it!

Pro tip: A medium difficulty skill chain in Tetris Attack

Today we're going to look at one of the slightly more advanced skill chains you can do in Tetris Attack / Puzzle League, something that I'm going to call a Delayed Skill Chain.

Starting with this puzzle here

we first slide the Green Tile to the right so that it falls down and creates a 4-combo

Then, moving quickly, we move the first Yellow Tile over so that it falls on the Green Tiles as they clear

Then we (quickly!) move the second Yellow Tile over to the gap between the two that are already there

So that it falls to where the Green Tiles were before the other Yellow Tiles fall

So when they do fall, you get a quick chain!

And since it's a little bit easier to see the timing in video form, I've prepared a short clip for you

Pro tip: Undying in Quake 4

If you're like me (and, you probably wouldn't be reading this site if you weren't at least a little like me), then you probably will occasionally play a game part way through, forget about it, and then pick it up again months (or sometimes years) later. So what do you do when you go back to a game like, say, Quake 4, and just want to get through the rest of the story?

Well, you could press the Left CTRL + the Left ALT + the "~" keys all at the same time to bring down the Console. You could then type the word "Undying" (without quotes, natch).

Done right, you'll get a confirmation message, and the result?

Your health will take a beating (like normal), but can't ever dip down past 1 (not like normal). Which effectively makes you immortal. You should be able to finish the game now, no problem.

Pro tip: Why some things are worth 7650 points in Pac-Man games

While playing through Pac-Mania, I noticed that the point values while eating the ghosts seemed to take a fairly normal progression: 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc. Getting a little further, though, and they took a strange turn

They started to be worth 7650 points. Which was odd, I thought. This score popped up in a couple of other Pac-Man games, too, and it made me think that there had to be something to it.

And I was right.

I was able to determine that this is a form of Japanese wordplay called 'Goroawase' in which you use the phonetic pronunciations of a string of numbers (which can apparently have multiple pronunciations in Japanese) to make them sound kind of like other words. So breaking down our 7650 could yield:

7 = NA
6 = MU
5 = KO
0 = O

Or "NA-MU-KO-O", which sounds a whole lot like the company that put out the game: Namco.

And it's totally lost on 99.9% of the non-Japanese video game world... until now.

You can learn more about Goroawase here.

Pro tip: Healing up (almost) any time you want in E.V.O. Search for Eden

Most of the actual gameplay in E.V.O. isn't all that hard... but then you come to the bosses, and they're way bigger, stronger, and more maneuverable than you, which hardly seems fair.

But you have one weapon on your side, your Evo menu.

If you're low on health, pop it open

And choose anything, like changing the length of your neck, which doesn't affect your attack or defense

And when the process is complete, full health!

Any minor change will do it, so it's usually a good idea to stock up on E.V.O. points before facing a tough challenge.

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