Pro tip: Choosing the correct weapon in Mega Man: The Power Battle

The arcade Mega Man games are just like the console versions, just distilled down to the boss fights.

And, also like the console games, each of the Robot Masters has a weakness to one of the weapons of the other Robot Masters. It's kind of like a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, only with six choices.

But how do you know who's weak to what?

Easy! Just try everything you have in your arsenal, and if you hit on the weak spot, the screen will flash white.

Which is kind of hard to show here, since this site has a white background, but trust me, you'll notice it.

And it's way easier to see than trying to check out the power meter at the bottom of the screen during a heated battle.

Pro tip: Understanding angles in Puzzle Bobble

Aiming your bubbles in the Puzzle Bobble games can be a little tough, you have to occasionally bounce your bubbles off the sides of the playfield to get them into the positions you want, which can be kind of tough without your guide there to help you.

But, if you think back to your high school physics class, specifically the principles of reflection, you won't need that guide.

Basically, the principles of reflection state that the angle that something hits a flat surface is the same angle that it's going to leave that surface.

So if you check out the geometric pattern in the background, you can use that to gauge where your shot's going to go by following an imaginary line that cuts the squares where you're aiming. This works really well if you aim so that you're going from corner-to-corner, making really easy to follow 45° angles.

Or you could just lose and continue and get your guide back for one round. Your call.

Pro tip: Secret Characters in Super Puzzle Fighter 2: Turbo: Part 1

The Puzzle Fighter games are a bit... different. You have to take characters from the Darkstalkers and Street Fighter series up against each other in a battle of wits by sorting colored blocks.

But say, for example, that when you select your character that you highlight Morrigan (Felicia if you're player 2)

Then you hold down the Start button and hit Down on the joystick 13 times, and then press any button to select your character?

Why, your character turns into comic-relief character Dan, who's typically a little on the weak side in all the games he appears in (but can be unstoppable in the hands of a skilled player).

Can you finish the game with underpowered Dan?

Good luck!

Pro tip: Easy(er) Spinning Piledrivers in the Street Fighter series

In the street fighter games, the Russian guy Zangief has one of the most powerful moves in the game, the Spinning Piledriver.

You perform this maneuver by doing a 360 on the controller and then pressing punch

But, that is kind of tough to get right, since when you press any of the 'Up' directions, your guy jumps, usually out of range of the move.

It turns out that you don't really need to go the full 360 degrees, just 270 will do

In fact, any 270 will do, so go nuts.

Also, this works with any move requiring 360s, including T. Hawk's crazy face-smashing move

And this applies to games in the whole series, including sequels and crossovers. Pretty much anything with the words 'Street Fighter' in the name.

Pro tip: Klax: The Big X

Since it's not the 90s any more, I don't know if it's still time for Klax, but I still enjoy it on occasion. You have a bin and have to sort colored tiles into it in such a way that three or more of the same color line up horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. You get bonuses for chain reactions and such, and for clearing more than three tiles at once.

The biggest clear, it would stand to reason, would be one that was diagonal from each corner and meeting in the middle, hence the 'Big X'.

It's actually kind of tough to set up one of these things, since you pretty much have to work on it from the beginning of a wave, and then not mess things up by getting a clear that collapses one side of the X, but it's worth lots of points if you can pull it off.

And once you get so far in the game, you'll have to create one to proceed anyway, so might as well get some practice in early.

Pro tip: double team moves in the Simpsons arcade game

The Simpsons arcade game is just weird, and not really related to the show very well. Of all things, you have to rescue Maggie from Mr. Smithers, who had just robbed a jewelry store.

But, that's what we have to work with, so we'll deal with it.

You play the game as your Simpson of choice and anyone else around the machine does the same.

You run along, beating the armies of identical twins, until you get to the end of the stage, then you fight the boss character, and then go on to the next stage. No surprises there.

However, the stages get pretty tough after a while, mostly because the amount of enemies you have to deal with at once gets pretty ridiculous.

But you have a secret weapon in your arsenal.

If you have a friend, or some random guy decided to play this game with you, you can make your characters do super-powered double-team moves. The trick is that you have to get them standing next to (almost on top of) each other to pull them off.

Once you get them standing close, just let go of the joysticks and all the buttons for a couple of seconds. Then someone will say a catchphrase and begin the attack.

It doesn't last too long, probably because it's a bit more useful than your regular punches, kicks, and vacuum cleaner shots, but you can do it any time you want... assuming you can get to a safe spot for a couple of seconds.

And this works with any combination of two characters you happen to have, so go nuts.

Pro tip: Karnov Spotting

Karnov is a character that starred in his own, very surreal, game. He's a 'circus strongman' who could breathe fire. His game was pretty unremarkable, but it was really tough.

Mostly it was tough because big, 'muscular' Karnov could only take one hit before he'd die (occasionally, he could take two, the first one would turn him blue, the second would turn him dead).

Fast forward a little bit to another video game called Bad Dudes, a game where you have to rescue President Ronnie who had been kidnapped by ninjas.

Make your way to the end of the first stage to find:

Karnov has managed to make his way to New York and has joined a clan of ninjas for no readily discernible reason, and he's also managed to grow the ability to take more than one hit before he dies.

He also turns up later as a sub-boss, only he's blue... clever.

Pro tip: Showing off in Crystal Castles

Take a look at the first screen in Crystal Castles.

You see how the top of the castle seems to spell out FXL? Now check out the high score table.

That's right, whoever has the high score for this game will have their initials (or their favorite 3-letter word) emblazoned on the first board for all to see.

Until someone comes along and beats it or the power's shut off.

Pro tip: Asteroids doesn't give you brakes

Asteroids is one of the granddaddies of the arcade games. You take your ship and have to shoot down endless fields of the titular space rocks.

You have at your disposal the following controls: fire weapon, rotate left, rotate right, thrust, and hyperspace.The functions of all of those should be pretty obvious (except maybe 'hyperspace', that sends you to a random spot on the playfield). But you'll notice that you have no brakes.

So keep it in mind that: 1. You better be happy with the direction you decide to move in because 2. there's no friction in space, so you're never going to slow down... unless you collide with an asteroid.

Or if you can artfully thrust in the exact opposite direction you originally did.

Pro tip: Mario jumps high enough to kill himself

I've mentioned that Mario in his pre-Mario Bros. days was real fragile. If he fell from much further than he'd fall at the apex of his jump, he's dead, which always seemed harsh to me.

But take this screen from the Donkey Kong arcade game:

You'll notice that there are these two elevators, one going up and one going down

While you're waiting for one to take you to the level you want to go, you might decide that you're bored and play with the buttons to kill time. But, hit the jump button when you're riding the Down elevator...

Suddenly the laws of physics go out the window and Mario jumps his normal height while the floor plummets away from him.

Yep, that means that he's fallen too far and buys himself a new farm.

So, I wouldn't recommend it.

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