Pro tip: Accessing the Pro levels in The Adventures of Lolo 2

The Lolo games are pretty tough, but maybe you've gotten pretty good that them. You've practiced enough and can finish the levels backward and forward without batting an eyelash. You're ready for the Pro levels.

The second Lolo game has four Pro levels, accessible by going to the password screen and using the password PRO*, where "*" is either A, B, C, or D, depending on what Pro level you want to play.

And these levels are doozies, check 'em out.

Pro A:

Pro B:

Pro C:

And Pro D:

And, yeah, there's only four of them, but they're tough. But you're up to the challenge, right?

When all else fails, consult a walkthrough. Featuring Skullduggery: Adventures in Horror

In my formative gaming years, I used to spend a lot of time playing text-adventure games. You know, the kind with no real graphics that involve you typing commands to your avatar to make him do stuff? One of the ones I spent a huge amount of time with was Skullduggery: Adventures in Horror.

I spent hours and hours with the thing, but just didn't have the chops to finish the game... until I found the walkthrough many years later. (Keep in mind that this was before GameFAQs even existed, so there was no central location for help documents). Using that, I was able to get past the parts that plagued me and finally finish the game.

But, using walkthroughs is a slippery slope. If you're not careful, it's really easy to use them as a crutch and just check for the results of the puzzles presented to you instead of being thoughtful and at least trying to solve them on your own.

As an added bonus, I'm providing the game (as well as its walkthrough) here for you to download, including the walkthrough (not written by me) for your perusal. Just note that 1. this file is "as-is", I make no guarantee that it will even work for you, 2. I can't provide any tech support for it, 3. it won't work under Windows Vista or Windows 7 unless you use an emulator such as DOSBox or Windows XP Mode, and 4. I can't provide tech support for emulators either.

You can download the file here, and good luck! You'll need it!

Pro tip: Skipping most of Level 1-2 in Super Mario Bros. 2

In Super Mario Bros. 2, you can skip large amounts of the game if you're so inclined by using the jumping abilities of The Princess and Luigi.

Take Stage 1-2, for example. Instead of going down the Jar to grab a key, unlock a door, and go through a cave, you could choose Luigi and head for the Ninjis that are standing near the door.

Pick one up and chuck it so it lands somewhere underneath the real high green mesa.

It will start jumping

Hop on its head and begin charging for a Super Jump (by holding Down) and hit the Jump button when the Ninji is at the apex of its jump. Done right, you'll be on top of the hill!

And ready to run right to the end of the stage!

Cutting this stage down to just a couple of minutes.

Pro tip: Starting every race in first place in F-Zero

In F-Zero, you have four hovercars to choose from. All have slightly different stats in areas like top speed, accelleration, and 'grip'.

But they have another attribute that isn't shown on this screen: they start in the same order every time. So what that means is that every race, no matter what position you finished in, the Fire Stingray (the pink car) will always begin the next race in the pole position.

Add to that its good 'grippiness', and you have a great car for beginners.

So go nuts!

Pro tip: skipping most of The Moon in Duck Tales

The Moon Level in Duck Tales is kind of long and sort of annoying, unless...

If you go all the way to the right, there's a pillar that you have to spend the whole stage getting rid of.

But if you lure one of those flying Space Ducks over, stand next to the pillar, and let it hit you...

You go right through the thing and almost directly into the Boss's lair!

Which cuts down the stage to just a minute or so.

Pro tip: doing the Mario Slide

In the original Super Mario Bros. game, once Mario gets Fire Power, all kinds of weird things become possible.

For instance, find a pipe or the beginning of a stage that isn't a water stage or underground, and before the stage starts or you come out of the pipe, hold a direction (either one will work) + Fire + Jump. Done right, you'll jump up and then hit the ground sliding on one foot.

This will wear off after a few seconds, or if you shoot another fireball. And I haven't really been able to find much of a use for it, other than making Mario look foolish for a few seconds. But maybe you can.

Playing games with your spreadsheet program: Part 2

I'll concede that a lot of you probably don't actually have installed on your computers. You're probably sticking with an old version of Microsoft Office that came with your computer 10 years ago. And if you are, then I have a treat for you!

Open your copy of Excel '97, and on a new spreadsheet and hit the F5 button to bring up the "Go To" dialog box

And go to cell X97:L97

From there, hit Tab, then hold the left CTRL+Shift and hit the Chart Wizard button. Done right, you should be transported to a lovely purple and black landscape

Where you can use the mouse to fly around. There is a conveyor out there somewhere that shows credits on it, but my computer was way too fast to get a decent screen shot of it, so you're just going to have to take my word for it.

Pro tip: Doing... Something in Vectorman

Vectorman came out late enough in the lifecycle of the Genesis that I had pretty well moved on to other things, so I didn't get to play it very much outside of the demo machines in the store, which means that I didn't get very much playtime with it.

Which is why when I do decide to play it, after I start getting frustrated at it I pause the game

And then on Controller 1 press: C, A, Left, Left, A, C, A, B. Which kind of spells "CALL A CAB". And when I un-pause the game

Vectorman turns into what looks like a giant Mouse Pointer! He can now go anywhere and when he crosses paths with minor enemies, they explode!

But, when I got to the boss of the area, I had to fight him the old-fashioned way

So there's still some skill involved here.

Pro tip: Accessing Level 0 in Toejam & Earl

The first level of Toejam & Earl seems pretty straightforward, right? Just a small island in the middle of an endless sea to get you introduced to the game, right?

But, say you progress far enough into the game that you get something that lets you travel across the surface of the water, like Icarus Wings

Then you could brave the endless expanse of water and travel Southwest until you make landfall

The island has a couple of presents on it, which is nice, but it also has a hole in it. So you obviously want to jump in

And when you do, you're greeted with a tiny island with a Lemonade Stand, a Hot Tub, and a Hula Dancer

For a nice, relaxing time, and a health refill.

And as a bonus, once you're done here, when you jump off the island you're transported back to the highest level you got to on your adventure. Extra bonus!

Pro tip: continuing where you left off in The Adventures of Dino Riki

The Adventures of Dino Riki is a pretty tough game, so you're going to be seeing this a lot.

But all is not lost!

If you hold Up on the Control Pad and press Start, you'll start at the last checkpoint you passed, even if it was partway through a stage!

Which, aside from having your score reset, is just like having infinite lives.

And you'll need them.

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