pro tip

Pro tip: Avoiding traffic in Ghostbusters

One of the annoying parts about the first NES Ghostbusters game is the driving portion (the everything else is also pretty bad), but if you absolutely must play it, there is a way to cut down on the amount of time you have to play this game.

On the driving segments, you can press Up on the Control Pad to drive as fast as possible. Then hang out in one of the corners of the screen.

Due to a glitch, you'll actually use slightly less gas at full speed and most of the other cars on the road will sail right by you.

Just remember that this isn't foolproof

But it's close enough for me.

Pro tip: Disabling throws in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

Since there's been some hubbub lately about this Mortal Kombat movie-pitch thingy, I figured it would be appropriate for a Mortal Kombat themed tip.

So, in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, after choosing your characters, you come up to the Vs. Screen, which has this row of symbols across the bottom.

Which you and your opponent can manipulate by pressing the buttons on your respective side of the cabinet. So, say you both press Low Punch exactly one time so that the display looks like this

Then when the match starts, you'll get confirmation at the bottom of the screen that the code worked

This one, for instance, disables throwing, so you have to beat up your opponent the old fashioned way... with punches, kicks, and special moves.

Pro tip: enabling Arcade Mode in The Guardian Legend

The Guardian Legend is a kind of weird game. You have stages that alternate between spaceship shooting (kind of like Gradius) and foot-based action adventure (kind of like The Legend of Zelda).

But what if you don't have time to (or just don't want to) play the adventure stages?

Well, you could go to the Password Entry screen and enter the super-hard-to-remember password, "TGL"

And hit 'END'

Then start the game as normal. After making your way through the first stage and beating the boss

Instead of going to the Adventure Mode stage, you'll just mosey on to Stage 2

Greatly speeding up this game!

Thanks to reader J for this tip!

Pro tip: Practicing the bonus stages in Donkey Kong Country

In Donkey Kong Country you have these animal helpers that you can ride, which kind of give a little variety to Donkey Kong's banana-hunting exploits. And each of those animals has their own bonus stage where you have to collect lots of emblems that look like the animal that you're riding.

But getting there takes a lot of work, and they're kind of rare. So you may not be as practiced as you want to be when it's Game Time(tm).

So what do you do?

Well, you could go to the Intro sequence.

Grab Controller 1 and press Down, Y, Down, Down, Y (which, if you write 'D' instead of 'Down' spells 'DYDDY', which kind of looks like 'Diddy')

Done right, you'll be taken to a cave full of complete sets of the Animal Emblems

From there you just collect the complete set and begin your bonus stage!

And you can do this as often as you want, so practice away!

Pro tip: Starting with a powered up ship in Star Soldier

I admit, I never really played much Star Soldier, so I used a couple of shortcuts to help me along with the game.

For instance, if you go to the title screen

Grab Controller 1 and hit Select 10 times, then on Controller 2 hold Down and Right on the Cross Pad, then grab Controller 1 and start holding Up and Left on the Cross Pad and the A and B buttons. With all of those held, press Start on Controller 1 a couple of times (you might need a couple of extra hands for this).

Done right, your ship will be significantly powered up!

And those powerups will reset when you lose a life, so go nuts!

Pro tip: Skipping a huge chunk of stage 4-3 in Super Mario Bros. 2

Stage 4-3 of Super Mario Bros. 2 is a kind of long one. You have to go across an impossible-to-jump-over gap, then climb up one tower and down another before fighting the boss of the area.

But you can skip most of that.

First, choose the Princess.

Ride the Birdo Egg across the gap as normal

Then, instead of going through the door, make a flying leap toward the right.

Once you land, go in the second door on that platform

To skip right to the boss's chamber!

This cuts the stage down to just a couple of minutes... unless you go in that door that I told you to not go in. That one is locked on the other side, which will require you to scale the tower, grab a key, and then go back down, which totally negates taking this shortcut in the first place.

Pro tip: Performing the shoulder tackle in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

One of the things about playing arcade games is that you don't really have much guidance to tell you the ins and outs of the game. So, when I got the Super NES version of Turtles in Time, I was surprised to learn that there was a move in the game that I didn't know about, a shoulder tackle. The instructions in the manual were kind of vague, but I was eventually able to figure out what to do, and I'm going to share that with you today.

To do it, you first start running (depending on how your game is set up, either by double-tapping a direction or just holding it in for a few seconds)

Then, while running, press the Jump Button to do a handspring, which doesn't actually do any damage to anyone

Then, the instant that completes, press the Attack Button to do your shoulder tackle!

And, since it's kind of tough to follow along with just my description, I've provided an animated .gif for you here.

And, yes, this does work on the arcade version.

Pro tip: Shooting through walls in Gauntlet for NES (or 'Why you should never pick the Warrior')

One of the most useful techniques in the NES Gauntlet port is shooting through the gaps in some of the walls to clear out a bunch of baddies in total safety before rounding a corner.

Unless you pick the Warrior. He's got the strongest weapon, true, but he's slow, and when he tries to shoot through the corners

He totally can't, his shots are too large.

Making the Warrior almost completely useless, so I wouldn't bother picking him... unless you want to make the game harder on yourself for some reason.

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: Video Walkthrough of the Dam Level in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Recently I came across an article titled: 'The 15 Most Annoying Levels In Video Game History', and right at the top of the list was the second half of the Dam Level (a.k.a the second half of Level 2) from the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. This level seems to come up a lot when people start talking about tough levels in games, but it's really not even all that hard as long as you remember to stay away from anything that's glowing. I've prepared a video walkthrough to illustrate.


No, the Dam is child's play compared to Level 4, the JFK Airport. That level is an exercise in annoyance and difficulty, and one that we'll have to tackle another day.

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