Pro tip: Using Arthur's Gold Armor to avoid hits

Arthur in the Ghouls 'n Ghosts games is really fragile. One hit and he loses all his armor, and another reduces him to a skeleton. Which is rather unfortunate since the world he lives in is swarming with monsters, each more lethal than the last.

But, if you're lucky enough, you can get a suit of Gold Armor

which is equally as fragile, but lets you do magical attacks.

What's not immediately obvious is that when you're doing these magical attacks, you have a (very) brief window where you're all but invincible. It's basically as long as Arthur is holding his arm in the air. It's kind of hard to see here, but there's an enemy passing right through him unharmed.

It's really hard to get the timing right, since the window you have kind of depends on the weapon that you have equipped. But if you expect to get any kind of good at this game, then you're going to have lots of opportunities to practice it as you pump the quarters into the machine.

Also, this works in the Super NES port.

Pro tip: Using a quarter to say 'I got next'

It doesn't really happen too much any more, but you might run into this scenario some time.

Make your way to an arcade and notice that there are lots of people standing around some machine. On the glass, you might notice that there is a line of quarters or tokens lining the bottom of the glass.

These have been put there by the folks gathered around to watch the game. Each one is someone's place in line to be next at the game. Once the game's over, the loser walks away and the person who's quarter is next in line gets to play.

You do have to do a little work to remember which coin is yours if there's more than about 4 up there. But it's worth it to make sure everyone gets their fair shake at whatever the new game happens to be.

Just make sure you don't immediately put in another of your quarters if you should lose and there are coins waiting on the bezel. That's just rude.

Pro tip: get in the monster corral

Super Pac-Man is one of the many Pac Man games that kind of fall to the wayside when people think about the series. So you might not have played it, and might not have learned everything there is to know about it.

So here's a pointer.

You see the corral in the upper-middle of the screen? the one that the monsters regenerate in? You can't get in there, right?


You totally can go in there. Now you normally wouldn't even dream of such a thing, since the monsters' touch is lethal, but if you've just eaten a power pill, go on in there and go to town.

Just be kind of careful, though. The monsters don't have to go real far to regenerate, and they're primed to smack you down if you're not careful.

Pro Tip: Read the instructions so that you know what you're doing

Sometimes I take it for granted that some people will use all of the information available to them when they learn how to play a game, but they don't. Most people like to jump in and start going full-bore. Sometimes, that's fine, and you can learn all the gameplay you need to be moderately successful by ham-handedly jumping in and wailing on the buttons, hoping they do something useful.

But you can do it a little more quickly. Take Q*bert, for example. Let the game sit there with no money in it and you'll see some screens that teach you how to play the game.

That screen succinctly describes everything you need to know about how to play the game.

Now, I fully realize that most games nowadays are an eensy bit more complicated than Q*bert, so they come with manuals that are upwards of a dozen pages in some cases (a dozen pages smaller than a 3x5 index card, even). But you'd be amazed what the developers put in there. It's almost like they want you to know how to play their game and give you a handy pocket-sized reference.


Pro Tip: Using the edges of the screen to really amaze people who are easily amazed

You know Donkey Kong the game right? Rescue the girl from the gorilla at the top of a series of construction sites, yeah? The thing is, though, Jumpman (later known as Mario) is extremely fragile. If he falls more than a few inches, it's instadeath for him, so you probably don't just jump off of girders willy-nilly.

Even though you totally can.

The edges of the screen are distinct boundaries. If you hit one while on the ground, nothing especially exciting happens, but if you hit one while jumping, you kind of bounce off of it and fly back the other direction. I pretty much only use this tip to grab the hammer on the left side of the final board.

It's not really that useful of a tip, I know, but it is showy. And you can't be Pro without being a little bit of a showoff, it's just too much fun.

Pro Tip: Bonus points in Marble Madness

If you've ever played Marble Madness, then you've probably seen this screen.

You'll notice also that there are these numbers on the ground kind of outside the regular field of play.

If you use the conveniently-placed ramps to get your little marble over there, then you get a nice bonus.

1,000 points times the number you landed on. Pretty awesome for pretty much no effort.

Oh, and this works on the NES port, too.

Pro tip: Scoring lots of points in Qix

Qix is kinda old, but there really hasn't been a game like it since.

You have a marker that you have to use to block off portions of the playfield. The portion you get is the smallest area that doesn't contain the Qix (which is the pulsating line-thing in the middle of the screen.

You can either draw fast or slow. Slow gives you more points, of course, but is way more dangerous. So, what you want to do is carve up little sections using your fast draw

And then make the last section with your slow draw

Bam! Huge points!

Pro tip: Marvel vs. Capcom secret characters part two

Today, we bring you another installment of the hidden characters in the Marvel vs. Capcom game. If you're tired of Roll, you might want to try your hand at another secret fighter.

Okay, so go to the select screen and highlight Morrigan.

Then, quickly, move the joystick Up, Right, Right, Down, Down, Down, Down, Left, Left, Up, Up, Up, Up, Right, Right, Left, Left, Down, Down, Right, Right, Down, Down, Left, Left, Up, Up, Right, Right, Up, Up, Left, Left, Down, Down, Down, Down, Down. Done right (and fast enough) and your reticle will go off the bottom of the screen and you'll select the mysterious Shadow Lady.

She looks and controls kind of like Chun-Li, but she's a little bit different.

And just to remind you, you have just about 10 seconds to put the code in right, so you better be fast and accurate... or good with whatever player you end up on if you run out of time.

Pro tip: Marvel vs. Capcom secret characters part one

Marvel vs. Capcom has a pretty sizable list of characters that you direct to pummel each other for no real reason. There are representatives from both the Marvel and Capcom universes here, but there are even more characters on the roster that you can get to, though you have to go through a bit of a rigmarole to get at them.

So, what happens, for instance, if you start your cursor on Zangief

Then move your joystick Left, Left, Down, Down, Right, Right, Down, Down, Left, Left, Up, Right, Up, Up, Right, Right?

Why, your cursor would go off the side of the roster and you'd have Roll selected. Roll, as you may or may not know, is the 'sister' of Mega Man.

Roll controls a lot like Mega Man, but she's small, weak, and kind of slow. So, why would you want to choose her?

Because beating someone by using an underpowered character is pretty embarrassing. For the guy you beat, of course. But that's going to take a lot of practice.

Pro tip: Easy combo breakers

Killer Instinct has a kind of convoluted combo system, which we'll talk about in depth another day. You can, with skill, string together lots of moves to just pummel your opponent senseless for several seconds.

Good thing, then, that there's a method to break the combos in mid-stream. A move that everyone has called, oddly enough, a 'combo breaker'. The breaker is different for each character, but it's normally just one of their regular moves done at the right time, and with the right button.

Okay, at its basic form, a combo consists of an opening move (the Opener), an autodouble (for a couple more hits), and then a finisher for a few more hits and the icing on the cake.

Problem is, though, that to break the combo you have to have timing and a pretty deep understanding of each character's moves.

Timing. You have to do your breaker during the autodouble portion of the combo (or the linker stage, but that's another pro tip). Not too tough, right? Just have to learn to recognize where the opening move ends and the next couple of hits start. Now, the 'intimate knowledge' part comes in. You have to recognize whether the autodouble was initiated with a weak, medium, or strong button, and press the corresponding button to break the combo. Weak breaks medium, medium breaks strong, and strong breaks weak.

But that's a whole lot of memorization, attentiveness, and, *gasp*, work!

Turns out that there's a slightly easier way.

On the 'Vs.' screen (that shows the matchup) press Down + Start and you'll hear this sound.

Then, the combo breakers get way easier. Now you can do them with any strength button you want. Though you still have to get the timing down.

But once you get that down, you're in great shape.

Oh, and it works in the arcade version, too.

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