Pro tip: Watching where you swim in Super Mario Bros. 3

You might remember some months ago I told you about a semi-secret passage through the grassy areas of Super Mario Bros. 3.

One of these stages is 3-4, which features water in some of the pits that you have to navigate.

The same rules apply here, too, hug the wall to try and get away from a marauding Cheep Cheep and hit that dark patch at the bottom of the screen

And you dead.

So, try to not do that, okay?

Pro tip: Avoiding using the spinning slash in Ninja Gaiden

When you're playing Ninja Gaiden, one of the most useful powerups is the spinny-slashy thing. I'm sure it's got a name and everything, but I never bothered looking it up.

But, really, what it does is make Ryu a spinning Whirlwind of Death(tm) every time you jump and press the B Button

The problem is, that it costs you five of your spiritual energy point thingies. Again, I'm sure that they have a name of some kind, but I never bothered to learn what it is.

Which could leave you high and dry at any moment, with no spinny-juice left. So, what do you do?

Well, if you press and hold the Down arrow on the Cross Pad, when you press the B button, you just do a regular sword slash.

Which is free, as far as your point thingies go, and leave you better equipped to fight the bosses.

Pro tip: Boom Boom is a pushover

When you're playing through the little fortressy levels of Super Mario Bros 3, you come across a miniboss, Boom Boom. A lot of people have trouble with him for some reason, but he's actually a giant pushover with the right technique.

You have to stomp on him three times to do him in, and he varies his attacks by flying around or leaping across the room or whatever. All you have to do is time your jumps so that you land on him at the exact moment he recovers from being stunned. That way he doesn't even get to use his Crazy Attacks and you finish him off in just a few seconds, like this video demonstrates.

Making the boss room trigger a sigh of relief instead of inducing mild panic.

Pro tip: Avoiding walking off a nonobvious precipice in Double Dragon

Double Dragon isn't a terribly long game, but you only gt three lives to work with, and that makes it somewhat of a feat when you finally do get to the last boss (spoiler alert, I guess).

But what might not be obvious (at least it wasn't obvious when I first played this stage) is that where the blue stuff is on the bottom of the screen is the wall of whatever building you're in, and there's no rail there, so stray too far down there and

You dead.

So you might want to stay up in the top 80% of the screen just to be on the safe side.

Pro tip: An easier way to record passwords

It might be hard to believe now, but there was a time that if a game took longer than a few hours or so to complete, that your progress would be saved via a password, and depending on the game, these could range from just a few letters, to pictograms, to full on extended alphabets.

Take a look at this password screen from Willow, for example

Look at that mess! Upper case and lower case letters, gigantic serifs, numbers, symbols. It's like a typewriter threw up on that screen. And if you mis-transcribe one character? Yep, your password and your hours of progress are lost. Forever.

That sucks.

The solution?

One would be to adjust your penmanship so that each character you write looks unambiguously different from the rest, but that's a whole lot of work. I like to take the slightly lazier approach.

Digital photography has progressed to the point where you'd be hard pressed to find a device that doesn't have a camera in it, so I like to grab whatever digital imaging device I have handy, snap a picture, and then use it for reference.

Of course, if I suck at photography and manage to take a blurry, unreadable picture it's just as useless as one that I wrote down poorly, so it's definitely not infallible, but it's a step in the right direction.

Pro tip: An easier warp in Snake Rattle 'n Roll

I admit, the warp in Snake Rattle 'N Roll I told you about a few months ago is kind of tough to get at. If you just give up completely trying to get it, I have a consolation prize for you.

In level 1, you'll notice these tiny islands floating out in the abyss. One of them has nothing on it. How conspicuous.

Hop on that island and hit the B Button to be whisked away to Level 3!

Which isn't quite as far as Level 8, but you also didn't have to work as hard, so I'd say the tradeoff is worth it.

Pro tip: Viewing a sad, short scene in Super Castlevania IV

In Block 6 of Castlevania IV, you eventually come across a hallway where these chandeliers fall and try to crush you.

But, you'll notice that there's one archway that doesn't have one. Hit the ground there with your whip to reveal a secret staircase!

Where you'll find a ghost walking around with his ghost-dog

And if you kill off the dog

The Ghost will fall to his knees and begin to cry

Which is kind of sad, really.

But then you get to load up on powerups, which makes it OK.

Pro tip: Rocksteady in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a pushover

A while back I busted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles strategy myth, but I'm pretty sure I know what the guide was talking about.

When you finally do encounter Rocksteady at the end of Level 1, there are these crates on the right side of the screen. Jump up to the top of those and switch your Turtle to Donatello.

Rocksteady will run to the right, get stuck on the crates, and try to jump up at you. Donatello's Bo is the only thing that can reach him when he does that

But you're safely out of the way of any harm, making this battle much easier (though it really isn't that hard to start with).

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: Getting out of a level in M. C. Kids

Ever been playing M. C. Kids and started up the wrong level? Or maybe you screwed something up beyond repair and just need to start over?

Well, then I've got some good news for you!

Just pause the game (by hitting Start, natch)

And then hit Select. Done right, you'll lose one of your lives

But you'll get kicked back to the Map Screen. So I'd say the trade's worth it... unless you're on your last life... then you might want to reconsider.

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