Pro tip: Holy Water has 1,001 uses in Castlevania 2

Castlevania 2 is a bit different from the first and the third games in the series, it was more 'RPG' than 'platformer', making it a bit of an oddball. But most of the mechanics stay the same. Like the sub-weapons that you collect. Some of them cost you some Hearts to use (which are also the currency in this game, meaning you throw away money every time you use a sub-weapon) with a few exceptions, like the Holy Water.

The Holy Water costs 0 hearts to use, so you can toss it around as much as you want. What can it do? Well, it can briefly stun enemies (it hurts them, too, but not by a whole lot)

If you enter an 'empty' room or a dead end it can make some blocks disappear

Revealing a hidden passageway or a secret item

And it can be tossed in front of you in the Mansions to see if the floor ahead of you is solid or an illusion. All for free!

Just so long as you don't mind hearing the crash of the bottles every couple of seconds for the whole time you're playing.

Oh, and the other 998 uses? Uh... I don't know, I just always wanted to use that expression.

Pro tip: Selecting your stage in Darkman

Darkman is another of those games based on a movie that I'll never see. But maybe you saw it and bought the game for some reason, and if so, were probably wondering to yourself, "Boy, I wish there were some way I could pick what level I started on instead of schlepping through the whole game every time."

If that's the case, today's your lucky day!

First, toss in your Darkman cartridge and on the title screen, highlight 'High Score', hold down Right and press the A Button.

Done right, you'll be whisked away to the 'Control Screen'

Enter the password DERMA (which sounds vaguely skin-related... clever, I guess) and you'll have lots more options available

Which means that you can start on any stage that you want!

Which is good for: starting a new game where you left off last time, practicing those annoying Photo Stages, or hitting 'W' and just jumping right to the ending.

Pro tip: you want two controllers to play Smash TV on the NES

Take a look at this original arcade cabinet for Smash TV. You might notice that it's got four joysticks, two for each player. That's so you can move your guy around shoot the thousands of baddies that accost him in a direction independent of his movement. If I had to compare it to a less-ancient game, it's kinda like Geometry Wars.

But, like a lot of early arcade games, there was a version made for the NES, but if you've ever used a NES controller, you know that there just aren't nearly enough buttons to simulate two joysticks. Just can't be done.... with one controller.

So you definitely want to pick the second option on the Player Select screen, 1 Player 2 Controllers

That way you can move with one and fire with the other. Just be aware: you don't hold the controllers as normal, you rotate them clockwise 90° so that the Cross Pad is on top. That way it's much easier for your right hand to use it. Of course, for a better arcade-like experience, you'll want to track down two NES Advantage controllers and use them. But, you'd have to be pretty dedicated to the game to want to do that.

Pro tip: Another frequently missed treasure in Castlevania

One of the things about Castlevania is that there are lots and lots of goodies hidden all over the place with no indication that they're there. That makes finding them by accident kind of a rare occurrence.

Like this part of Stage 6, for example. It's the hallway that leads to the second boss, a giant Flying Medusa Head.

If you make your way to the fourth arch and stand in just the right place for a few seconds...

A moneybag will rise up out of the ground for a quick 1,000 points!

A couple of things to note, though: 1. The game is really picky about where you stand to activate the moneybag, and 2. There are lots of the smaller Flying Medusa Heads attacking you in their sine-wave pattern, which makes it tough to stand still for the few seconds required to trigger it.

But, there are plenty of people who are old hands at this game that might not know about it, so it's worth perfecting your technique to impress them.

Pro tip: Level select and extra lives in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game

The second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for NES is based off the first one for the arcade, try to not think about that too much.

But, since it's based on an arcade game, it's kind of tough, and there are button codes for level select and for bonus lives to help you out. But why bother with choosing one over the other when you can have both?

First, go to the title screen

Then (kind of quickly) enter the following code:

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

You won't get a confirmation 'ding' or anything, but hit Start and choose your Turtle

If you put the code in right, you'll then be able to choose your starting stage

And when you start playing your chosen stage, you'll have 9 lives to play with

It's totally win-win!

Pro tip: Invincibility in Ring King

Ring King is a kind of tough game. You have to take your underpowered boxer up against a whole host of guys much more powerful and skilled than you are, which hardly seems fair.

So that's why I like to even the playing field a little bit.

When you're at the Training Gym screen

Grab a couple of controllers (or an NES Advantage with the snazzy switch to toggle between Controllers 1 and 2) and (quickly) press the following sequence.

Controller 2: A, Controller 1: A, Select, A, Controller 2: B, Controller 1: Select, Controller 2: A, B, Controller 1: B, B

You won't get any confirmation or anything, but when you go to the match, you'll notice that you can take all the punishment the other guy can dish out

And it won't cost you any stamina

You will actually have to land a few punches if you want to win, though, so it's not a total cakewalk.

Pro tip: Enabling turbo mode in Hatris

Hatris is one of those games made by the guy that made Tetris in what I assume was an effort to recapture the magic that Tetris had. But it wasn't really that good.

But, I suppose that some people like sorting hats that fall from the heavens, so this tip is for them.

If the hats don't quite fall fast enough to give you a proper challenge, you could go to the title screen

And hold Down on the control pad and press Start.

Done right, when you start the game, you'll see the word 'TURBO' down in the bottom-right portion of the screen

Forcing you to be on top of your hat-sorting game.

Pro tip: Continuing in Super Pitfall

I was really disappointed with Super Pitfall. The game has nothing to do with the old Atari 2600 games of the same name, and to make things worse, the game's really not all that fun.

But if you've run out of other things to do, you might be tempted to play this a time or two. And given the shoddy controls, you're going to see this a lot

But, if you're really determined to keep playing, once you're taken back to the title screen, you could hit Select, A, A, A, Select. Done right, your guy will move down to a third, hidden option.

Which will allow you to continue where you left off.

And you can do this as many times as you need. Though, after playing it for a while, I'm not sure why you'd want to.

Pro tip: Seeing the ending to Hook any time you want

The NES version of Hook is a pretty terrible game, but if you absolutely must see the ending, I have some good news, I guess.

First, go to the title screen.

Then grab Controller 1 and press Right, Up, Up, Down, Down, Right, Left, Up

Done right, you'll hear a sound, then hit Select to see the ending... which really just consists of two screens of text with a Tinkerbell flying around in front of them.

Or, you could just start the game. If you do, you can use the compass to point to a stage and hit the B button to move around on the map, and the A button to play any stage you like.

But since you've already seen the ending, I'm not sure why you'd want to do that.

Pro tip: Walking through a fish in Kid Niki: Radical Ninja

Kid Niki is full of hidden passages and bonus stages, some of which are... different.

Like take this spot in Stage 4, for example. It's the platform directly after the second moving platform.

Jump up a few times and the next platform will turn into a fish!

Walk off the platform, directly into the fish's mouth and...

You're in!

You traverse the length of the fish (there's nothing in it but bones), and you come to the exit

Well, how else did you expect to get out of a fish?

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