Pro tip: Using the whistle in Nightshade

Bats in Nightshade are particularly annoying because they kinda swoop in and take some pretty healthy chunks of your health away when you're not really looking.

But if you've found the whistle, you can totally take care of them. Just find it in your inventory and OPERATE it. It turns out that bats in this game hate the sound it makes.

And they clear out of whatever room you're in

Making it much easier to walk through without the danger of getting rabies.

Pro tip: Draygon is a pushover in Super Metroid

In the watery part of Super Metroid, you eventually come across a giant sea creature called 'Draygon' that you have to defeat to proceed. He's usually pretty tough to take down... unless...

All over his room are these turrets that shoot at you during the battle.

Which you can (and should) shoot with a couple of missiles to break them, which turns them into little electrical hazards.

Then, let ol' Dray pick you up and start swimming around the room (you'll get hit a couple of times, but it's worth it)

He's start swimming in wider and wider circles (as long as you don't break free) and will eventually take you within grappling range of those busted turrets. Which you should totally do.

Which will hurt a little bit, but the current mostly gets passed on to Draygon and kills him in pretty short order.

And you hardly had to do anything. It's win-win!

Pro tip: Don't grab a Hammer Suit while in Statue form in Super Mario Bros. 3

When you're playing World 7 of Super Mario Bros. 3, you might come across a Tanooki Suit in the Fortress, mostly because you kind of need it to complete the stage. So by the time you reach Stage 7-8 there's a good chance you still have the suit on... if you haven't managed to get hit and lose it.

And in 7-8 there's a pipe that leads to a room with a Hammer Suit in it, which you obviously want because Hammer Suits are awesome.

And if you're feeling a little silly, you might turn into Statue Mario (by holding Down and pressing B) while you wait for the suit to bounce onto you.

And if you do, you'll grab the suit, turn into Hammer Mario, and be Gray!


You also won't be able to enter the pipe at the other end of the room. You'll be stuck in there forever!

Or at least until time runs out, costing you a life and the powerup, so I don't recommend it.

Pro tip: Evolving into a human in E.V.O.: Search for Eden

Play E.V.O. long enough and you'll find this hidden grove of dinosaurs that talk about these weird creatures with the head of a cat and the body of a rabbit.

If you decide to take that fairly obvious clue, you end up with your cat-rabbit thing

From there, choose 'Body' → 'Ramothecus Body' to spend 5000 of your EVO points and become a monkey.

From there, keep going back to 'Body' → 'Evolve Further', and you'll evolve further (duh)

And again

For Human Form!

The human is kind of quick, and has a decent attack with that club. But this is definitely a one-way path. Once you hit this, there's no turning back and no more experimenting with combinations of body parts.

You also might be wondering how the same creature can evolve both into a female mermaid and a male caveman. And to that I'd just like to remind you to repeat to yourself that it's just a game and you should really just relax.

Pro tip: Strafing in Blaster Master

Some time ago I mentioned a technique for defeating one of the bosses in Blaster Master that involved a maneuver known as 'strafing' (even though it's not really strafing). Strafing in this case means firing your weaponry in one direction while moving in another. Normally, this is impossible in Blaster Master.


If you first fire a Grenade, and then hold down the A button, Jason will stay facing the same direction, no matter what you push on the Cross Pad. Observe:

Which is incredibly useful for flying enemies that attack in irregular patterns... and certain giant crabs.

The only downside is that while you're doing this you can't fire your grenades, but if you keep your gun powered up, that's not too much of an issue.

Pro tip: using the Diamond Blocks in Pengo

If find an arcade cabinet of Pengo (which is going to be kind of tough these days), you might be tempted to play it. And once you do, you're going to notice that in the middle of the playfield are these blocks with diamonds on them

They've got a couple of interesting features: they're indestructible and if you line up all three of them so that they're touching...

The screen freaks out and you get 10,000 points! As an added bonus, all the Sno-Bees in the level are stunned, for a few seconds

Giving you a pretty sweet advantage (even if it is temporary).

The only problem is that in some levels the blocks are placed in such a way that it's virtually impossible to get them lined up, so if that happens, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Pro tip: Holy Water has 1,001 uses in Castlevania 2

Castlevania 2 is a bit different from the first and the third games in the series, it was more 'RPG' than 'platformer', making it a bit of an oddball. But most of the mechanics stay the same. Like the sub-weapons that you collect. Some of them cost you some Hearts to use (which are also the currency in this game, meaning you throw away money every time you use a sub-weapon) with a few exceptions, like the Holy Water.

The Holy Water costs 0 hearts to use, so you can toss it around as much as you want. What can it do? Well, it can briefly stun enemies (it hurts them, too, but not by a whole lot)

If you enter an 'empty' room or a dead end it can make some blocks disappear

Revealing a hidden passageway or a secret item

And it can be tossed in front of you in the Mansions to see if the floor ahead of you is solid or an illusion. All for free!

Just so long as you don't mind hearing the crash of the bottles every couple of seconds for the whole time you're playing.

Oh, and the other 998 uses? Uh... I don't know, I just always wanted to use that expression.

Pro tip: Counterpunching in Super Punch-Out!!

If you've played the Punch-Out!! games enough, you've probably gotten the basic strategy down of Dodge Punch, Throw Punch. Which is great for most situations, but when you're ready to step up your game you need to master the art of counterpunching.

Throwing a counter-punch is easy... in concept. All you have to do is wait for your opponent to throw a punch

Then counter with the same punch on the same side (i.e. if he throws a Left Jab (your right) you counter with a Right Jab)

Done right he'll be stunned and ripe for a few more punches

So you can unload a little more.

Master this technique and you can shave precious seconds off your KO time in Time Trial mode, which is great, but you can also completely destroy the computer opponents and show off to your friends, which is really what Super Punch-Out!! is all about.

Pro tip: free extra lives in Donkey Kong Country

Let's say that you're playing Donkey Kong Country. You've put in the code for 50 lives, but you've burned through most of them on a particularly difficult spot.

What do you do?

Well, you could go back to the very first level of the game, where Donkey Kong bursts out of his treehouse.

Then turn right around and go back in for a free 1up!

Once you've collected it, just pause the game and hit Select to exit the stage, and you can go back in to collect it again. Do this as many times as you need for more 1ups!

Just don't go in the bottom entrance, there's nothing there but an empty Banana Horde, which will make Donkey Kong sad, and we don't want that.

Pro tip: you want two controllers to play Smash TV on the NES

Take a look at this original arcade cabinet for Smash TV. You might notice that it's got four joysticks, two for each player. That's so you can move your guy around shoot the thousands of baddies that accost him in a direction independent of his movement. If I had to compare it to a less-ancient game, it's kinda like Geometry Wars.

But, like a lot of early arcade games, there was a version made for the NES, but if you've ever used a NES controller, you know that there just aren't nearly enough buttons to simulate two joysticks. Just can't be done.... with one controller.

So you definitely want to pick the second option on the Player Select screen, 1 Player 2 Controllers

That way you can move with one and fire with the other. Just be aware: you don't hold the controllers as normal, you rotate them clockwise 90° so that the Cross Pad is on top. That way it's much easier for your right hand to use it. Of course, for a better arcade-like experience, you'll want to track down two NES Advantage controllers and use them. But, you'd have to be pretty dedicated to the game to want to do that.

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