Pro tip: Getting a fast lap time in Super Mario Kart's Vanilla Lake 2

In Super Mario Kart's Vanilla Lake 2, the center of the field has become melted, and kind of dangerous to drive on, y'know, because it's a lake.

But you can use that to your advantage.

While you're racing, as soon as you cross the finish line, take a hard left and head straight into the water.

Then, at the last second, turn 90° to your left so that you go back behind the Start/Finish line before Lakitu picks you up. Done right, you should be on the next lap.

Which will whittle down your best lap times to well under 10 seconds!

Not bad!

Pro tip: 50 Donkey Kongs in Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country really isn't that hard of a game, but some of the maneuvers you have to pull off are a little frustrating, so it would be nice to have a few extra chances.

If you go to the File Select screen

And press

B, A, R, R, A, L

on your controller (which kind of spells 'Barrel') you'll hear a confirmation noise. Start your file and blam!

50 Donkey Kongs (or Diddy Kongs, whichever way you want to look at it)!

Now you have plenty of opportunities to try and discover the hidden goodies littered throughout the game.

Pro Tip: Mega Man X2's Sho-Ryu-Ken

You might remember a while back that we talked about getting a Ha-Do-Ken for Mega Man in the first Mega Man X game. So, it might not come as a huge surprise that there's a similar secret in the second Mega Man X game.

The conditions you have to meet are similar. You have to have found all of the E-Tanks, heart tanks, Zero parts, and sub-weapons. Basically, every collectible in the game. Then make your way to the third Fortress stage. You'll eventually find a ladder up high enough that you'll have to lure some enemies over and hit them with the Crystal Hunter to make platforms.

You'll have to then traverse a kind of treacherous path, with some pretty tough spots.

Once you get to the vertical shaft, hug the left wall to enter a hidden passageway to find a weapons capsule!

Inside is Dr. Light, who is apparently a big fan of Wayne's World.

Hop in and you get Street Fighter's Ryu's signature move, the Sho-Ryu-Ken!

Which you execute by pressing Forward, Down, and Down-Forward + Shot. It looks kind of cool, but you get it at nearly the end of the game, so you don't get to school very many bosses with it, and its range is so short that you'll probably get hit before you get a chance to actually hit something with it.

But, hey, don't worry about that!

Pro tip: Game Boy Player, not feature complete

The Super Game Boy was great, it let me, for the first time, play Game Boy games on my television via my Super NES. It also, with certain games, allowed for way more colors than the 4 that most Game Boy games supported. I mean, take a look at this Donkey Kong screenshot.

Isn't that great? Extended color palette, custom screen border, and when Pauline gets yoinked away at the end of the stages, she actually calls for help.

Now, if we take a look at the same game in the new-fangled Game Boy Player for the Game Cube

The enhanced palette is gone, the custom border is gone, and Pauline's cries are reduced to a sad little squeak (sounds kind of like a goose blowing a kazoo).

So you might want to keep your Super NES and Super Game Boy around if losing access to those things means anything to you.

Pro tip: shell dodging Super Mario Bros. 3

In Super Mario Bros. 3, you come across tons of shelled enemies, which you can pick up and carry around. Throw them at question blocks, and they reveal their contents for you.

But, if you take your favorite shell up to a block, and get real close to it (without touching it)

And then let go of your shell, it'll hit the block, and then bounce back toward you

but it'll sail right through you without causing any damage!

And you might be saying "So what? I could just throw the shell at the block from further away and achieve basically the same thing." And you'd be right, you could do that. But this way, you don't have to dodge anything when it ricochets off your target.

Pro tip: Cool Spot's secret menu

In the middle-to-late 80's the 'Spot' in the 7-Up logo became a kind-of popular mascot.

Which, naturally, spawned a couple of video games. A couple of kind-of-tough video games.

But you have a way to tip the scales to your favor, and make one of the slightly less tough.

In the Super NES version, you get a couple of title screens, including this one with the Virgin logo

From here, if you hold down the L and R buttons and press the Select button 30 times (!), you get taken to a Secret Menu

Where you get to try out any of the levels that you want.

Just be aware of 2 things, the option 'Lives' gives you unlimited life, so you can take all the hits you want in a level, and the 'Press Start to Begin' message means that you'll leave the screen and start the game proper. You'll want to press Select to try out the stages.

Pro tip: free elixirs in Final Fantasy 3/6

In Final Fantasy 6 (released on the Super NES as Final Fantasy 3), elixirs are handy because they fully restore a character's HP and MP.

But, they're kind of hard to come by, especially at the beginning of the game, when resources are limited.

So let's turn our attention to the clocks that litter the game. If you find one, walk up to it

and "check" it with the A button.

The result? One free elixir!

Now, this doesn't work on every clock in the game, but it does work on most of them. So make sure you check them all out when you see them.

Pro tip: Selecting your level in Super R-Type

Like a lot of shooting games, Super R-Type hates you. And that means that you'll be seeing this a lot.

So, if you want to see the later stages, you either have to spend some time practicing or...

You could go to the Difficulty Select Screen

Hold down the R button and press Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up. Done right you'll hear a confirmation sound.

Then, start the game, and pause. While paused press Select, R, and A all at the same time. If you're successful, you'll see a number appear in the lower-left corner.

Letting you select whichever level you want.

Just be aware that levels 00-07 are the Easy difficulty and 11-17 are the same levels on Normal difficulty.

Also, good luck!

Pro tip: Recording passcodes the easy way: Super Castlevania IV Edition

In the not-too-distant past, to save progress in some of your games, you'd be given a password of some kind. Which was usually fine until you get something like this one from Super Castlevania IV.

Now, what're you supposed to do with that? Draw a little 4x4 grid and draw symbols in each of the squares? Write out the words "heart, space, space, holy water", etc.?

Well, you could do those things, but I prefer to substitute numbers for the symbols. Like so:

Then the code becomes:

4 1 1 3
2 1 1 4
1 1 1 1
1 4 1 1

Which is much easier to write down, much easier to type, and much harder to screw up. It's a

Pro tip: Getting $R Million in Vegas Stakes

In the Super NES game Vegas Stakes, your goal is to wander around the different casinos of Las Vegas and eventually earn $10 million.

And eventually you get access to the Royal Palace casino which features, among other things, no maximum bets. So let's say that you get close to your goal of $10 million. Real close, like over 9.9 million. Then you head to the Roulette Wheel and plunk down your whole wad on one number.

The ball spins, and if you win:

You win well over $R million!

Which, according to my math, should be around $350 million.

Maybe none of the developers thought that someone would be dumb enough to blow that kind of cash on such a long bet, I don't know.

But I sure was.

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