Pro tip: Play one stage sans music in Castlevania

The Castlevania games typically have pretty good music for their respective consoles, but in the first NES game there is a way to temporarily turn it off if you have some bizarre reason to want to do so.

First, pop in your Castlevania cartridge and power on your NES. Then... don't touch anything. Eventually a demo will play

Let it go and cycle back to the title screen. Continue not touching anything and a second demo will play.

Let it go and cycle back to the title screen.

Finally, you can touch something!

Hit Start on Controller 1 and the game will start as normal, except when you get in, the music will be gone!

(It's real hard to get a screenshot of music not playing, so you'll just have to try it for yourself)

Once you do something that makes the music change, like fighting the stage Boss, the music will start up again and not go off, so enjoy it while you can!

Pro tip: Fun with White Blocks in Super Mario Bros. 3

In Super Mario Bros. 3, you find these multicolored blocks everywhere that look like they're part of the background, but play it long enough and you'll discover that the White ones have special powers: Jump on one and duck for a few seconds and you'll go into the background of the stage, behind the scenery. This is important for getting the warp whistle at the end of Stage 1-3.

But, it's important to note that other blocks in the game have the same effect.

For example: Make your way to Stage 5-7 and go down the first pipe which will take you down to ground level.

At the end of this section will be a White Block. Duck on it and (quickly) jump up and go through the pipe back to the clouds. Done quickly enough, you'll still be in the "background" and completely untouchable by enemies!

But you can totally hit them, so it's a one-way street.

Just be aware that this wears off as soon as you enter the pipe at the end of the stage, so enjoy it while it lasts!

Pro tip: Lots more subs in The Hunt for Red October

If you're playing through the NES adaptation of The Hunt for Red October for some reason, you might start thinking to yourself, "Gee, I wish there was some way I could make this game easier". And if you were, today's your lucky day.

First, crash your subs into the landscape until you run out, which sounds counterintuitive, I know. But when you crash your last one, and before the screen tells you "Game Over", pause the game.

Then while it's paused, grab Controller 1 and press

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

Under normal circumstances, that is your single-use Level Skip code, but since we're out of ships, the circumstances change and instead, you're given a full complement of submarines! How many? Well, the counter rockets up to "I5" if that tells you anything

Which means you can play this game until you finish it or you're absolutely sick of it. Win-win!

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.

Pro tip: Jumping higher in Contra Force

In Contra Force, like a lot of games, one of the things that adds to the challenge is that your characters aren't able to jump infinitely high, kind of like in real life.

But you can work around that.

If you jump as normal (and hold down the A Button)

Then hit Start to go to your Status Screen (while still holding the A Button)

Then immediately leave the Status Screen, you'll jump again! And you can keep this up to jump pretty much as high as you want

It's really tedious to do, and it apparently doesn't work in some sections of the game, but it's better than nothing, right?

Pro tip: finding MissingNo (or 'M) in Pokémon Red and / or Blue

I have to preface today's tip with a serious warning: Do not try this at home! Seriously, doing this glitch can corrupt your save game, costing you hours upon hours of work, or worse. I'm doing it here so you don't have to.

To find the mysterious Glitch Pokémon MissingNo (or possibly 'M), perform the following steps. You'll need to be pretty far into the game (at least far as Cinnabar Island)

1. Start in Viridian City. Find the guy that offered to teach you how to catch Pokémon

2. Take him up on his offer and watch the show

3. When he's done, immediately Fly to Cinnabar Island (yes, I know the picture says Fuchsia City, don't worry about that)

4. And begin Surfing up and down on the thin strip of terrain where the water and the land meet (remember, even encountering this thing can cause some game hiccups, don't do it)

5. Eventually a battle will start, and the Pokémon is a glitchy mass of pixels with a 'M in its name or MissingNO. It's level 0, so it shouldn't be much of a challenge to capture or defeat (extra warning catching it causes lots of glitchy and unpredictable behavior, don't do it)

6. As an added bit of fun, if you fought 'M, like I did here, the sixth item in your inventory will have inexplicably multiplied to an amount so big, that the numbers glitch out trying to display it (around 128)

If MissingNo or 'M is caught, glitches will happen (in fact, just encountering 'M will make weird things happen). But, like I said, this can have disastrous effects on your saved game, whether you save it or not.

Pro tip: Using the Pause button to your advantage in Mega Man

The first Mega Man game (like hundreds of other games) has a 'feature' where if you get hit, your character flashes for a few seconds and is invulnerable. And in Mega Man, this also extends to the boss characters. Probably to keep you from trapping them in a corner and getting a cheap victory.

But you can totally get a cheap victory anyway.

If you hit a Robot Master with a shot of any weapon you like, he'll start to flash

But if you hit Select to pause the game and wait a few seconds

You'll find that the momentary invulnerability he enjoys will wear off while the game is frozen.

Allowing you to unload a stream of shots, and as long as you pause between each one, they're all going to hit home.

Making it much easier to win.

Pro tip: Experience Sharing in The Legend of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link

The second Legend of Zelda game is the only one with this weird experience point system. Get enough points and you can level up your Attack, Life Points, or Magic Points. And, after a while, it takes a lot of points to get to the next level. Thousands of 'em, in fact.

But, if you go to the end of one of the Castles and set a jewel in the statue at the end, your experience is ratcheted up to the next level, no matter how much you have to go.

So, as soon as the experience starts counting up, pause the game

Do a Quick Save by hitting Up + A on Controller 2

And start a new game (or continue an old one)

You'll notice that your new Link will start to get the rest of the experience points that the old Link was going to get before you paused and exited the game!

Which is great for a few levels early on in the game.

Though this does have rather limited use. You have to actually get pretty far into the game for the amount of experience points that transfer to amount to more than a level or two for the new guy, which kind of implies that you're going to be pretty far in the game (or have finished it at least once). But if you're sharing the game with a less-skilled player, it's a good way to give him a bump up in strength to make the early going slightly easier.

Pro tip: Gravity doesn't work like you'd expect in Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers

When you're playing through Chip 'N Dale's Rescue Rangers, you'll occasionally come across these grey crates that you have to stack up to make any progress.

But, if you grab one of the crates off the bottom of the stack, you're going to be in for a surprise, the ones on top don't fall down!

Which will allow you to do some interesting thing with their formations.

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