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: invincible Minnie

Some of the bosses (and some of the regular characters for that matter) can be a real pain in Mickey Mousecapade, but with a little prep they're pushovers.

In the very first stage, you're going to want to take the time to get the second Star, which goes to Minnie.

Then, carefully using ladders you can actually get the two mice separated

And, since Minnie's invulnerable, you can use her to attack enemies while Mickey hangs out at a safe distance

And if you didn't bother getting that star at the beginning, well then you're out of luck.

Pro tip: setting off fireworks in Super Mario Bros.

In the original Super Mario Bros. (and its huge number of remakes) you get to slide down a flagpole at the end of each level.

Once you slide down and go into the mini-fort, you might see some fireworks, which give you 500 points each. There might be one, three, six, or zero.

But what triggers it?

Great question!

The amount of fireworks you get is dependent on the last digit of the timer when you hit the flagpole. If the digit it 1, 3, or 6, then that's how many fireworks you get. Anything else nets zero.

I find that the best way to guarantee a 6 is to stand on the top step as far left as you can. Then, when the timer's last digit hits 9, hold B, run and jump onto the flagpole. Then you get the 5,000 points and six fireworks for 3,000 more, which nets you a total of 8,000 points (plus the bonus for whatever's left on the timer).

Not too bad!

Oh, and this tip only works on levels that actually have a flagpole. So it's a no-go in the big castle levels.

Pro tip: Nightshade: Constructing a Dinosaur

In Nightshade you need to go around doing Good Deeds (tm) to gain popularity. The game's crammed full of them, and some are hidden better than others.

Take this dinosaur skeleton in the museum for example.

If you examine it, you find a loose bone, which you can TAKE, but it causes the skeleton to collapse, which causes you to lose popularity, which is a bad thing.

But, you can then OPERATE the pile of bones left on the floor to create:

The correct dino! Which nets you more popularity than you lost.

The bone you removed was extra, so you get to keep it to use later on in your quest.

Good luck!

Pro tip: Lots more Battletoads

I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating, Battletoads is a tough game. And you can take certain measures to pad your lives a bit, but you'll find out pretty quickly that you need more.

So, make your way to Level 2, the big tree-thing. And find these weird silver bugs with stingers.

They only take one hit to defeat, but they kind of bounce up when you hit them. Hit them again when they bounce off the wall. Then hit them again and again until.


Once they give up the 1up, they fall down off the bottom of the screen. And you can do this once for each of the bugs that you find in the tree.

Just be warned that the other bugs can sting the one that you're bouncing off the wall and if they get the last hit in, you get nothing.

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: 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: Blaster Master's Area 5 boss is a pushover

In Blaster Master's Area 5 you come across a boss that is not susceptible to the pause trick, a giant crab.

Making things tougher is that this crab shoots out a ludicrous amount of bubbles that keep you from pelting its weak spot (its face) with grenades and have a side effect of killing you pretty quickly.

So what I do is exit and reenter the corridor leading up to the boss over and over again picking up gun powerups from the square enemies that litter the area. It's kind of tough since, if you get hit, you lose some of your gun power. Once your gun is fully charged, it's pretty unstoppable.

Then you can go ahead and enter the boss's room and hold down the A button (your grenade button) while wailing away on the B button (your gun button). Holding down the grenade button will ensure that you keep facing the same direction while you move back and forth, allowing you to keep up the pressure.

Eventually the crab will explode somehow and the Dive attachment will be yours!

Which will make maneuvering underwater so much easier.

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