Pro tip: investigating a Ghostbusters strategy myth

The NES Ghostbusters game isn't very good, but that didn't stop me from playing the heck out of it when I was younger. Mostly because I didn't have much better to do.

Fast forward a few years and I find mention of a technique for raising money that I had never heard of. It's all over the Internet, and boils down to:

buy the Ghost Alarm for $2000 and sell it back for $3000. Keep doing that until you have all the money you need.

But, I didn't have a copy of Ghostbusters to test, so I went out and found the only copy of the game within 10 miles of my house at great personal expense ($3.95 American).

I popped the game in and went to work.

I immediately went to the Shop:

Bought a Ghost Alarm for $2000

And sold it... for $1000

Then I kept doing that until I couldn't buy anything else, and the game was unwinnable because I didn't have any equipment.

But, given the prevalence and specificity of this tip, I'm thinking that there might be some revisions floating around out there that have this bug, but it certainly wasn't in any that I had.

Pro tip: Super Mario Bros. strategy myth

In the original Super Mario Bros., in the X-1 stages (2-1, 3-1, etc.) there are hidden 1UP mushrooms.

Sometimes they're there, and sometimes not. But what's the key? Why are they so fickle? In How to Win at Nintendo games Jeff Rovin thinks he's figured it out. Page 191 says:

[In level 5-1] [w]hen you reach the second floating Block (behind the wall) you'll find a One-Up Mushroom between them ... but only if you haven't been hurt prior to reaching the area.

Now, this is partly right, the mushroom is right there... sometimes. Getting hurt has nothing to do with its appearance, though. There are two ways to make them appear.

In the prior X-3 world (in the case for 5-1, it'd be 4-3) you have to have collected all of the coins.


You have to have warped directly to that world (i.e. warp to world 5, the 1UP will be there).

Works every time.

For their locations, I humbly suggest that you take a look at a prior pro tip.

And that wraps up this week's myths. We'll return to regular ol' pro tips next week.

Pro tip: Double Dragon strategy myth

You might remember this screen shot from a prior tip about Double Dragon for the NES.

I said that I liked walking off the edge of the platform like that because Billy makes a silly face when I do. But was that the wrong thing to do? Page 58 of Compute!'s Guide to Nintendo Games seems to think so, Steven Schwartz writes:

Also, don't just walk off the end of the wall. Jump if you don't want to lose life points.

I tested this by walking up to that same ledge and walking right off a dozen times in a row. The result? No life lost.

So go ahead and make Billy pull that silly face by walking off that wall, it won't cost any life points.

Sorry, Steven.

Pro tip: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles strategy myth

Today we're going to take a look at one of the strategies for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Compute!'s Guide to Nintendo Games.

You start out the game in search of April O'Neal, who has been captured by Bebop and Rocksteady. On page 160 it says:

In the sewers, run Rocksteady into the far right wall. He can't turn around, and can be attacked from behind.

This is a little confusing to me since you don't run into Rocksteady in the sewers, you run into Bebop.

I ran him up against the right wall and he was able to turn around just fine. So on to Rocksteady, who's in a building near a sewer.

I ran him into the far right wall of his room also, and he was able to turn around with little effort.

So, it looks like this one is false.

Sorry, Steven.

Pro tip: Blaster Master strategy myth

Blaster Master is a pretty tough game, but Jeff Rovin's How to Win at Nintendo Games #2 would have you believe that it's a lot tougher than it actually is.

In Area 4 you come across an area that is blocked by two doors, with a keyhole on the outside of each

And the strategy for getting on the other side is as follows from page 31 of How to Win at Nintendo Games #2

"Here's a special tip: When you come to Stage Five at the end of Four, there are two Doors , and you need a Key for each. If you only have the one you got for killing the long-tongued, fire-breathing Frog Mutant at the climax of Stage Four, don't despair! Open the first Door, get out of the ol' Rover, and climb the ladder all the way up. Take a mighty leap from the top, staying close to the wall on the right; if you land on the lock, you'll open the Door. You'll lose that Jason's life ... but it's better than standing around with your hands in your pockets, unable to continue!"

So, first you have to beat the boss of the Area to get a Key, no problem there.

Then you come back to the doors and open the first one.

Climb out of your tank, climb the conveniently-placed ladder to the top of the precipice.

Then jump off, hugging the left wall, and aiming for the lock.

It opens, you die. Totally right!


One could also just climb down the series of ledges slightly to the right, then walk over and unlock the door with the same key (it doesn't disappear after being used, which is different from a lot of games).

That way you can open the door to continue while not costing yourself one of your precious extra lives.

So it's totally true as presented, but there's a better way.

Pro tip: Mega Man 2 strategy myth

The How To Win at Nintendo Games series was indispensable to me for a long time. Mostly because for $4 I could get a guide to a couple dozen video games, written out in fantastic detail. This saved me a few hundred dollars on cartridges and let me vicariously experience some games that I might not otherwise have gotten to. They're kind of like a dead-tree edition of GameFAQs before there was a GameFAQs.

This week, I'm going to take a look at the How To Win At Nintendo Games series and some of the other series of these hint books and pull out some of the tips, tricks, and strategies that just don't sound right for one reason or another and verify their accuracy.

On page 127 How To Win At Nintendo Games #3 you see this nugget in the Mega Man 2 chapter:

[Heat Man] is most susceptible to the Air Shooter (which you've already collected, right?).

So, I tested it by collecting the Air Shooter, going to Heat Man's stage and facing off with him.

Hitting him with the Air Shooter is kind of tough, but if you do, you damage him slightly. Here's his energy meter after one shot.

I tried out some of the other weapons on him and when I got to the Bubble Lead, one shot did this much damage to his energy meter

and three shots did him in.

So, I'd have to say that Heat Man is most susceptible to the Bubble Lead. Sorry, Jeff.

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