Pro tip: Using Half Life's Gauss Gun to really tick off your friends

Remember that gauss gun I told you about the other day? It turns out that the gun can also be used to convince people that you're cheating. If you're into that kind of thing.

Okay, so, first, get a gauss gun.

Then, find a wall, preferably one that one of your opponents has just run behind. Then, charge up the gun and let fly a shot. If you've charged it fully, the shot will bore right through the wall, and right through any poor schmuck who's using the wall for cover.

It's kind of tough to aim this way, you know, since the wall's opaque and all. But it's really satisfying if you can do it with any kind of frequency.

Pro tip: Running faster in Painkiller

Painkiller is an interesting game where you have to guide an unassuming everyman through some rather twisted scenes in Purgatory and eventually Hell. None of which made it into today's tip... Sorry about that.

Since you're one going up against many, you have to master avoiding... well, pretty much everything. And one of the best ways to do that is to keep moving, it's harder to hit a moving target, after all.

Your regular old running speed is 11. 11 what, I don't know, but it's 11 units of speed.

As a side note, I used the console command 'speedmeter 1' to show how fast I'm going for illustration purposes.

You'll notice that when you jump, that the speed raises slightly, not too surprising, I guess. But here's the part where physics kind of go out the window. If you jump again as soon as you hit the ground you'll notice that your speed increases again. Jump and it increases yet again.

Presumably, you can keep on hopping like this, increasing your speed and filling up your speed meter down there until the meter is, well, full.

I can't quite fill it up, I keep running into stuff that slows me down (but due to the wonky physics, slamming into the wall at 28 speed units doesn't actually hurt).

This has the handy effect of making you way harder to hit by pretty well anything that's hostile to you. The downside is that it gets a whole lot harder to aim your guns at things. But that's a small tradeoff, right?

Pro tip: Alternate uses for Ether medallion

There are lots of times in the Super NES Legend of Zelda game where you will find a situation like this:

It's pretty obvious that you need to get across that chasm, and it's also pretty obvious that there is a quantity of invisible flooring in some configuration, since there are enemies standing on the gaping nothingness. Usually, though, when you find a place like this, there are lanterns that you have to light which will illuminate the floor somehow, but what if they go out before you get across? Or, worse, what if they're not there to start with? You could create a fake block with the Cane of Somaria and walk slowly across the floor, pushing the block in front of you and then use a piece of graph paper to map out where the pitfalls are. But that sounds way too tedious and far too much like work for me.

What you might think about doing is using your super-handy Ether medallion. Which will damage enemies in the vicinity, but also has the side effect of lighting up the room and momentarily revealing the floor's layout.

Now, as long as you can remember that floor layout for the ten seconds it'll take to cross it, you're in great shape. Or, if you're like me and forget halfway across, just use it again for a refresher.

Pro tip: Play Earthbound with one hand

Yeah, Earthbound's a great game and everything. Really. But, wouldn't it be awesome to be able to play the game with one hand, leaving the other free to do... other stuff?

Turns out that you totally can do that.

Just use the control pad to move (duh). You can then use the L button to check/talk to/generally interact with everything in the world. Then you can use Select to bring up your status screen,

then hit L to bring up the rest of your menus. From there you can use the control pad for navigation, L for 'confirm' and Select for 'cancel'.

Now, I'll admit that this can get a little tedious when you have to do stuff like inventory management, but it's totally possible to play this game with your left hand while your right hand is otherwise occupied (*snicker*).

Pro tip: How to get in an inaccessible room in Ganon's Tower

While going through Ganon's tower in the Super Nintendo Legend of Zelda game, you'll notice that there's a sealed door across a pit.

It's trivial to unseal the door, just chuck a bomb across, but how do you get Link over there? There's nothing to grapple your hookshot to. There are two ways that I know of. One is to set another bomb next to you and let the explosion send you sailing over the gap, but that seems a little ham-fisted to me. A more elegant solution is to press A to start your dash, then turn to face the wall just before you actually start moving, done right, you'll smack the bricks on the walkway and bounce across the gap without actually costing you any hearts.

And since it's kind of hard to get the timing down from just my description, you can see it in action here.

Pro tip: How to kill a Goomba more than once

The Goombas in the original Super Mario Bros. games have kind of a rough existence. All they can do is walk slowly toward Mario in a not very menacing way. Even rougher is that there's a glitch (or maybe it's a feature?) that lets you kill them twice. This is actually kind of tough to pull off.

First, find a place where there's a koopa in a shell, something for it to ricochet off of, and some Goombas. Like in World 3-2, for example.

What you have to do is kick the shell away from you, then quickly start stomping Goombas.

On its way back stomp some Goombas, and if the shell collides with one of the flattened Goombas, it'll get killed again. Brutal!

To explain it a little better, I've created a short animated .gif here to show it in action.

Man, sucks to be those guys.

Pro tip: Avoid fireballs the easy way

In the first level of the Super NES edition of Battletoads, you have two parts where you're pelted with Hot Flaming Death From Above via a couple of volcanoes in the background. you have to keep moving in a zigzag pattern or they'll smack you right in the head. It's like they know where you're going to be.


Well, they do know... sort of. It appears that the fireballs will take into account the direction and speed that you're going and land directly in your path. Sneaky.

But, if you get behind a chunk of scenery and run into it, you can trick the game into thinking you're running one direction or the other, but since you're not actually moving anywhere the fireballs will harmlessly explode right in front of you.

Just like that. This even works in two-player mode. Just make sure that both of you are on the same side of the scenery running the same direction. Otherwise you risk KOing your buddy... which might actually be pretty funny.

Pro tip: Bionic Commando, infinite energy recovery pills

The original Bionic Commando game is kind of tough, especially when you start out. For a while it takes little more than a stiff breeze to kill your hardened combat veteran. Shoot a few enemies, though, and you notice they drop these bullet-shaped things. Collect enough of them and you get these green dots up on the top-left corner of the screen that let you take some more hits.

Now, kind of early in the game you go down this kind of long vertical shaft (*snicker*) with enemies parachuting down all around you. They come down in a pretty predictable pattern of 'just in front of you', and when shot once, they yield the precious, life-giving bullets.

If you work your way down so that you're in one of the little offshoot rooms that has an immovable barrel in it and keep running into said barrel, you'll notice that troops parachute in directly in front of you. Shoot 'em, collect the powerup with the ol' grapple arm, and repeat ad nauseum.

We're running into the barrel, by the way, so that we grapple out to the side to grab the goodie rather than diagonally up to grab the ceiling for no real reason.

Getting two or three lifepoints is probably about all you're going to want to spend time getting, since it takes progressively more bullets to get each additional point. But, hey, go all out and get all 9 if you want to. It'll make the game way easier.

Pro tip: Eat some super bombs

Super Metroid is a game full of little complexities and mysteries. For instance, let the game sit on the title screen for a couple minutes and you'll get some hints. Pretty nice of the developers to put that in, I think. The hints are pretty mundane, though, until you see this scene:

It's kind of hard to see what's going on in that picture, but the gist of it is this: Samus is low on energy, curls into a ball, sets off a Super Bomb, then gets cloaked in a mysterious light and begins regenerating health.

How do you actually do it? Great question!

First, you have to grievously injure Samus. Get her health down to below 50 with no reserve tanks. We're talking the direst of straits.

Then select your Super Bombs, making sure you have around 11 of them, and 10 Super Missiles, and 10 Regular Missiles. Highlight your Super bombs, curl into a ball (press Down). Hold L, R, and Down, then also press and hold the Fire button.

Done right, your bounty hunter will be cloaked in a mystical veil where she will somehow consume her weapons and convert them into energies. And, yeah, she'll be low on armaments, but she'll be high on life points, which is a pretty good trade-off, right?

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