When all else fails, consult a walkthrough. Featuring Skullduggery: Adventures in Horror

In my formative gaming years, I used to spend a lot of time playing text-adventure games. You know, the kind with no real graphics that involve you typing commands to your avatar to make him do stuff? One of the ones I spent a huge amount of time with was Skullduggery: Adventures in Horror.

I spent hours and hours with the thing, but just didn't have the chops to finish the game... until I found the walkthrough many years later. (Keep in mind that this was before GameFAQs even existed, so there was no central location for help documents). Using that, I was able to get past the parts that plagued me and finally finish the game.

But, using walkthroughs is a slippery slope. If you're not careful, it's really easy to use them as a crutch and just check for the results of the puzzles presented to you instead of being thoughtful and at least trying to solve them on your own.

As an added bonus, I'm providing the game (as well as its walkthrough) here for you to download, including the walkthrough (not written by me) for your perusal. Just note that 1. this file is "as-is", I make no guarantee that it will even work for you, 2. I can't provide any tech support for it, 3. it won't work under Windows Vista or Windows 7 unless you use an emulator such as DOSBox or Windows XP Mode, and 4. I can't provide tech support for emulators either.

You can download the file here, and good luck! You'll need it!

Pro tip: changing the lift settings in Parsec

For today's pro tip, we go all the way back to 1982, just before the video game market crashed horribly. We go back to a home computer system/personal computer manufactured by a company now known for calculators and pitched by Bill Cosby.

No, really.

One of my favorite games for the system was Parsec. You had to shoot alien ships without overheating your laser, dodge obstacles, and manage your fuel supply.

Once your fuel reaches critical levels, a refueling tunnel will appear to test your maneuverability to get at the precious resource.

But, going through the tunnel (especially later in the game) requires fine control, which your craft just doesn't have.

Or does it?

Down in the center of the screen toward the bottom, you see where it says "LIFT 3"? That determines how fast your ship moves vertically. 3 is the fastest setting, and 1 is the slowest setting. How do you change it? By using the 1, 2, and 3 keys on your keyboard. Something not immediately obvious to me since I got this game without a manual many years ago.

So, by changing the Lift setting to 1

We can easily make it through the tunnel, refueled and ready for more action.

Just make sure you bump the Lift back up to 3 before you start shooting aliens again. Otherwise they're way more maneuverable than you are.

Pro tip: control the frog during the demo of Frogger

Frogger is one of those games that just about everyone's heard something about. There's just something appealing about making a frog, who can't swim somehow, cross a road and a river to make it to his home.

And, if you let the title screen sit there long enough, like in most arcade games, you get a non-interactive demo of the game.


It's only non-interactive until the frog onscreen gets to the final row of logs/turtles before the opposite side of the screen.

Once the frog gets there you can use the joystick to gain control!

Though you can't do much, you can still play a tiny sliver of the game for free, that's fun, right?

Pro tip: doubling your firepower in Galaga

In Galaga you have these enemy bugs that take two hits to destroy.

They're the only ones in the game with a tertiary attack, instead of shooting or running into you, they can fire a tractor beam.

If they hit you with the beam, they'll capture your ship, and then attack you with it, it's dirty pool.


If you can shoot down the enemy bug without damaging your ship, then you get yours back, and it's grafted onto your ship, doubling your firepower.

The downside is that now you're a much bigger target, and have two of your ships in play at the same time.

Is the tradeoff worth it? You'll have to decide that.

Just make sure that you don't let your last ship get tractored. That's a pretty lame way to lose the game.

Pro tip: taking corners faster in Pac-Man

Take a look at this screen shot from Pac-Man.

Specifically look up at the pink monster, you'll notice that its eyes (which indicate which direction it's moving) are angled down when it's not quite to the intersection yet. Now, take a closer look at the game boundaries.

The boundaries are rounded, which might just seem like an aesthetic choice on the part of the designers, but it's also a tool you can use. Taking a cue from the monsters you should try to press the direction you want to go before you get to the intersections. That way you can round the corner a fraction of a second faster than you would if you waited until you were in the middle of the intersection.

And in those higher levels, a fraction of a second can mean the difference between clearing the maze and putting in another quarter to start over from the beginning.

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: Blow up enemies faster in Dig Dug

Dig Dug is just weird, you have to use an air pump to inflate enemies until they explode. You press your button, shoot out an air hose, and then wail on the button to keep on inflating whatever helpless creature you stab with it.

But, in the heat of battle, you might really wish that you could pop those baddies faster.

Good news for you, then.

When you're pumping up something and then press a direction on the joystick, you start moving, but the enemy that you pumped up stays pumped up... for a while. You can then throw out another line and give it another pump. Then move, then pump.

Even easier, if you just walk toward the creature while tossing out air hoses, you just kind of pop them in record time.

And it's not even that gross to watch.

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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