Pro tip: Castlevania's Death is a pushover

The first Castlevania game is pretty tough, mostly because the enemies are way more maneuverable than you and hit harder than you, which seems a little unfair. One of the more common sticking points is the boss of the fifth area, Death. But, with the proper preparation, he goes down pretty easily.

One of the first candles you come across contains Holy Water.

You're going to want to hang onto it for the duration of the level, and make sure you use it frequently enough that you get the Triple Shot.

Don't be tempted by the Cross toward the end, that's Fool's Gold.

Then, once you get to Death's room, start jumping and lobbing Holy Water on the upper-right platform.

Death will come down, land on the explosions, and get stunned.

Keep on jumping, tossing Holy Water, jumping, tossing Holy Water, etc. until

You win!

And Death didn't even have a chance to move.

Pro tip: Starting off with partners in Castlevania III

In Castlevania III, you run across these helper characters that you can take along on your journey to put the beatdown on Dracula. The thing is, though, that you have to choose the correct path, and they're pretty deep into the game.

But you can bypass all of that.

When you start the game, at the Name Entry screen, if you put in this name.

You can start with Grant as your partner

If you put in this one

You start out with Sypha

And if you put in this one

You start out with Alucard

Of course, this keeps you from getting lots of free lives, so you'll have to decide whether or not the trade-off is worth it to you.

Pro tip: Skipping levels in Little Nemo The Dream Master

Basing a video game on a movie that itself was based on a comic that was written in the 1900s seems like an odd thing to do, but Little Nemo The Dream Master is just that, apparently.

The game's stages are actually a little on the long side, but you have a secret weapon at your disposal.

Go to the title screen

And press

Up, Select, Left, Right, A, A, B

Done right you'll have a new option, "Dream Select".

If you move your cursor down to it, you can press the A button to hear a sound, every time you do, you'll skip that level. Press it once to start on Level 2, twice for Level 3, and so on.

Which is an easy way to continue more or less where you left off if you decide to give up and turn your NES off for a while.

Pro tip: Viewing a Secret Message in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was a pretty terrible movie, which, for some reason, got re-imagined as an even worse Saturday morning cartoon series, which in turn had a video game based on it.

But say you're playing the game and you run out of lives.

Normally you see this message (if you have any continues left)


If you hold Down + Left + A + B, before the screen comes up, a different message appears

Kind of sappy, eh?

Pro tip: Seing the ending to The Magic of Scheherazade any time you want

The Magic of Scheherazade isn't a super-long game or anything, but it is a little lengthy to play through in one sitting. And your progress is saved via passwords, so if you want to take your old saved game for a spin, you're going to have trouble if you've misplaced your old password sheet.

But, you've got a secret weapon.

Just go to the password screen and put in this password

Press Start and the ending sequence will begin!

I'm sure you can find a way to use this information to your advantage.

Pro tip: Changing the text to Japanese in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: DragonStrike

I never really played much Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, mostly because I didn't know there wasn't such a thing as "Beginner's Dungeons & Dragons".

Nevertheless, there were a few games that were released for the NES, like DragonStrike, which is a game where you take a dragon around and blow stuff up.

But what if you went to the copyright screen

And then pressed

Up, Right, Down, Left, Up, Up, Down, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right

Then the game would reset, and with the exception of the copyright screen, the rest of the text in the game will be in Japanese

And to reverse the effect, you either turn the game off and back on, or do the trick again at the copyright screen.

Now, why you'd want to if you didn't know how to read Japanese?

Well, you probably wouldn't.

Pro tip: lots of continues in Ninja Gaiden III

It's really no great secret that the Ninja Gaiden series of games are tough. Ninja Gaiden 3 is particularly unforgiving because you only have 5 continues at your disposal instead of the unlimited continues of the previous games.

But we can fix that... sort-of.

First, turn on your game and press the Start button to go to the title screen, but don't start your game.

Instead, let the title screen fade out and the opening cinematic will start. Press Start to go back to the title screen. Once you've seen the title screen eight times total, hold Up + Left + A + B + Select and press Start.

You won't get a confirmation or anything, so you'll have to spend all of your lives to check. If you were successful, your continues should have gone up from 5 to 99

Will that be enough for you to complete the game? Probably not at first, but it's a start.

Pro tip: winning Monopoly the cheap way

In the NES Monopoly, you can play with up to eight players, either human or computer.

And before the dice roll, you can press Select to bring up a screen

where you can choose a player to change from human to computer, and vice versa

I presume that this is because games of Monopoly can take just shy of forever to play, and if people join or leave the game, you can keep it going.

But if you're playing against computer opponents, you can also use this feature to turn a CPU player into a human one, then have it give you all of its money, then turn control back over so that you win the game.

So, yeah, it's a little underhanded, but if you're not playing against actual people, no problem.

Pro tip: Super Warp in Battletoads & Double Dragon

The Battletoads games are hard. So are the Double Dragon games. Mash them together for whatever reason, and you get a game that's also pretty tough.

But you have a secret weapon.

If you go to the Character Select screen

Then press

B, A, Down, B, Up, Down

You'll hear a noise. Finish selecting your character by pressing Start and behold!

The Super Warp Zone! Which also gives you five lives to play with.

And you're going to need every one of them.

Pro tip: Infinite 1ups in Super Mario Bros. 3, the Tail Method

A while back I told you about a trick to racking up a lot of lives in Super Mario Bros. 3. But, you kind of have to wait until you're almost halfway through the game to do it. Isn't there a way to stock up on lives beforehand?

You betcha!

Make your way to 1-2, the second stage in the game. Make sure you have the Raccoon Tail and make your way to the pipe that generates an endless supply of Goombas.

Let a few build up around you and then start jumping on them.

It's kind of tricky, but what you want to do is to hold down the A button when you land on them to bounce toward the top of the screen, then rapidly press the A Button to slow your descent. Repeat this over and over (without touching the ground) to eventually be rewarded with


Yeah, it's a little bit more work and a little bit slower, but you can do it so much earlier in the game that it's worth giving yourself a little bit of a buffer until you can make it to World 3.

Oh, and this also works any time you can get 3 Dry Bones together in a place with high ceilings.

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