(Disclosure: I’m a Nintendo Ambassador and they sent me an NES Classic Edition to play with. Boom!)
Sup, nerds. It’s been great walking among the people, but the truth is that for years, I’ve been hiding my true identity, and I think it’s finally time you know it.
The truth is, I’m Z-Ro, the last Nintendo Game Counselor. Born in the 80s, honed by playing with power until I bled pixels. By the time the Nintendo Power Line faded away, I had gone into hiding with nothing but an NES and a dream that one day I may use my power again. That day, friends, is today.
There can only be one, baby, and I’m it! Cowabunga!
But I’m not just here to tell you ultra-fake life history. Oh no. I’m here today to share with you the secrets you need to know in order to beat almost all 30 of the games that appear on Nintendo’s brand new, totally rad NES Classic Edition.
I’ve been shredding NES games for years, keeping binders of all the sickest maps, the gnarliest secrets, and the most tubular tips and tricks. Also, I’ve been making a lot GIFs of myself, so there’s that too.
But you’re here to learn tricks for almost all of the 30 NES Classic Edition games, right? Then let’s begin!
1. Balloon Fight (1985)
Actually, it’s super gnarly, but the only tip I can give you for Balloon Fight is to stay toward the top of the screen. Since hitting an enemy from higher ground kills them, get high and stay high, dudes!
2. Bubble Bobble (1986)
There are some passwords you should know if you’ve been grinding all night trying to beat the game. If you want to skip straight to the final stage, B4, enter the password EGJJJ. Or, if you just want to skip a heinous level you’ve been struggling with, enter DDFFI for a level select (go back to 1P or 2P continue and press A to make the level number increase and B to decrease).
3. Castlevania (1986)
The Grim Reaper is the hardest boss in the game, but there’s a way to kill him faster than you can say “don’t fear the Reaper, dude!” Grab the holy water in the fifth stage and don’t get rid of it for another sub-weapon. Once you get to the Grim Reaper’s room, start throwing the holy water where the he appears on the right platform and don’t let up. He’ll be dead in seconds!
4. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1987)
You can bumble around Transylvania collecting Dracula’s body parts until monkeys start to fly out of your butt, or you can just enter the following password to get all the items you need and a flame whip: C1EN WMAK JXKN VMZK.
5. Donkey Kong Jr. (1983)
No big tricks to be had in Donkey Kong Jr. but remember that if you want to climb faster, grab onto two vines at once! Cowabunga!
6. Donkey Kong (1986)
This is most embarrassing, dudes, but Donkey Kong doesn’t really have any tips, tricks or cheats either! It’s a tough game that rewards good reflexes and strategy. It also helps to polish off a basket of wings with Billy Mitchell‘s BBQ sauce!
7. Double Dragon II: The Revenge (1989)
It’d help if you had more lives in this game, and luckily, you can get some. Start a 2-player game alone and beat the enemies on the first screen. Before advancing, beat up the second player over and over and you’ll score their lives for your own!
8. Dr. Mario (1990)
This sick puzzle game doesn’t need many many tips or tricks, but if you ever get frustrated and need to quickly reset the game, press Select + Start + A + B together.
9. Excitebike (1984)
If you’ve got the original Nintendo Entertainment System, you can reset Excitebike mid-game to hear alternate music on the title screen and in the game.
10. Final Fantasy (1987)
There are a lot of cool word-of-mouth things in Final Fantasy. First off, get on your ship and press A+B about 55 times. You’ll get to play a sliding puzzle that’s mildly entertaining and not at all rewarding. But if you’re looking for rewards, let’s talk about the Black Belt. He might start off weak, but that’s because his DMG is double his level – so once you get to level 10, he gets gnarly! Just don’t equip a weapon on him or his rating will decrease.
11. Galaga (1988)
Remember it’s not bogus to let that tractor beam capture your first ship, then shoot the enemy that’s captured it the next time it swoops down. Now you’ll have a double ship and twice the firepower!
12. Ghosts ‘n Goblins (1986)
This game is so heinously hard that some people need a level select cheat just to see the whole game! If you’re one of those people, at the title screen, hold Right and press B three times. Then press Up (and release it) and press B three times, press Left (and release) and press B three times, then press Down (and release) and press B three more times. Finally, press Start to bring up the level select. Use A and B to change the level number and then press Start to play!
13. Gradius (1986)
The “Options” in Gradius were these rad little companions that gave you extra powers. Want to start with full Option powers?! Sshhyeah! Once you start your game, pause it and enter the Konami code: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, B, A and Start. If done correctly, you’ll be decked-out!
14. Ice Climber (1985)
You know, dudes, I’ve been playing Ice Climber for 30 years now and I’ve found that there’s nothing that I can teach you that help beat this mega-tough game!
15. Kid Icarus (1986)
Don’t let the Eggplant Wizards get the best of you! Need to continue your game? After you die, and before the title screen comes back up, press B, A, B. Boom! Also here’s a bonus: get lower item prices by pressing A+B on controller 2 while in the shop.
16. Kirby’s Adventure (1993)
Having trouble with gnarly bosses? Get the crash ability and hold onto it – when you get to a boss room, unleash the crash ability once the boss meter fills. It’ll mega-drain his power, dude!
17. The Legend of Zelda (1987)
Of course you know that you can enter your name as “ZELDA” to immediately start the Second Quest. But did you know that this game has a secret save screen? At any time during the game, press Start on controller 1. Then on controller 2, press Up and A at the same time. Now you can save your game without dying (I mean, the NES Classic Edition does let you save any time through save states anyway). Also, you know those bubbles that take away your ability to use your sword? No sweat! Just blow your whistle and you’ll be able to use the sword again!
18. Mario Bros. (1983)
It’s the Mario game before the Mario game! Super fun, really simple concept but hard to master. Make sure you save the POW block until you truly need it – don’t waste it on a couple of slow turtles.
19. Mega Man 2 (1989)
Mega Man 2 is mega hard, and if you’ve never gotten past all the robot bosses, you can now! Go to the password screen and enter: A5, B2, B4, C1, C3, C5, D4, D5, E2. Now you’ve got all the robot weapons, items and four E tanks as well!
20. Metroid (1986)
If you want to have a little fun tooling around the world of Metroid, go to the password screen and enter the password NARPAS SWORD0 000000 000000 (that’s all zeroes after SWORD). This password will give you every powerup, an ice beam, and – oh yeah – infinite energy and missiles. You don’t have to be Justin Bailey to have fun with this code!
21. Ninja Gaiden (1988)
Ninja Gaiden is one of the hardest games on the NES Classic Edition. If – and this is a big “if” – you can get to Area 5-3, there’s a 1UP on the third floor of the tower. You can collect it, go back down the ladder, and then back up and the 1UP is back! You can do this as many times as you want. Of course, you’ve got to get to 5-3 first. Gnarly, dude.
22. Pac-Man (1984)
Nothin’ here to teach you, other than to try not to double-back into empty corners!
23. Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream (1987)
Think you’re good enough for the Another World Circuit? At the password screen, enter 135-792-4680 and then simultaneously press A+B+Select. You’ll fight a bunch of tough enemies with different ranks than the normal game and if you beat Mr. Dream at the end, it will display your round time for ultimate bragging rights!
24. StarTropics (1990)
Another game with few secrets. But did you know that when you first face the C-Serpent, if you let him hit you with a fireball, you can simply jump through him while you’re flashing and invincible? Gnarly! Also, skip the hullabaloo with dipping the letter (virtually) in water – the frequency you need is 747.
25. Super C (1990)
You can’t use the Konami code for 30 lives, but in this super sequel, you’ll be able to score 10 lives at the title screen by pressing Right, Left, Down, Up, A, B and then Start. For two a player game, press Select before pressing Start.
26. Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Classic! Want to continue your game (Pssh, I know you can save state on the NES Classic!)? At the game over screen, hold A and press Start and you’ll start in the world where you just died. Whew! Now, you want to explore Minus World? At the end of 1-2, right before you enter the pipe that brings you out to the flag, break the two ceiling blocks next to the one touching the pipe. Stand on the lip of the pipe, facing left. Duck and jump backward toward that brick without breaking it. With any luck, you’ll magic through the wall into the warp zone, except the first pipe will bring you to Minus World, starting with -1. Now you’re playing with power!
27. Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988)
What would a Mario game be without a warp pipe? In World 1-3, when you find the potion, go all the way to the right of the brick building and drop the potion. Enter Subspace and go down the vase – you’ll warp to World 4! When you get to 4-2, get through the first section of the level and enter the door. Move right and there will be three rock platforms with plants to pull. Pull the lonely plant on the third platform and take the potion you pull to the right until you see a vase. Drop the potion next to the vase, enter Subspace and go down the vase to warp to World 6!
28. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)
Want to get to World 8 quickly? All it takes is two warp whistles – radical! In stage 1-3, make it to the group of colorful platforms – you’re in the right place when you see a red turtle on a white platform. Boot the turtle off and duck on the platform until you fall through it. Run through the rest of the level and you’ll go behind the black end area. You’ll appear in a Toad house and be rewarded the first whistle. For the second, enter the mid-world castle. Move through the first area and get the raccoon tail before the first door. Jump on the Dry Bones, then give yourself a running start to the left to fill your P-gauge. Once you take off, fly up to the right above the hallway you just came out of. When you get to the end, press Up to enter the hidden door. You’ll appear in a room with a chest – collect the second warp whistle from it! Now that you’re back on the map screen, use the first whistle. That will bring you to the warp zone – but you’re not done, dude! Use your second warp whistle and you’ll warp from the first row of worlds down to the World 8 warp pipe!
29. Tecmo Bowl (1989)
There are so many codes for this game that the only one I’m going to give you is a silly one. Enter 3 9 7 B F F A 5 and you will play as an invisible team. Gnarly, dude!
30. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (1987)
There are lots of little cool secrets in Zelda II, one of which is that if you’ve got the fairy spell, you don’t need to use keys. When you come to a locked section of a palace, use the fairy spell and you’ll go through the keyhole! If you’re still not completing palaces fast enough and your mom’s calling you for dinner (“holy dang, mom, hold ON“), pause the game with controller 1. Then take a second controller and hold Up and press A. You’ll be taken to a screen that will let you save your game so you can have dinner with the family, since that’s SO important to your mom. Bogus.
So there you have it, dudes and dudettes! Take it from me, Z-Ro, the last Game Counselor, that these tricks will help you beat a ton of the games on the NES Classic Edition! What’s your favorite game on it? Did I miss a good tip, trick or cheat?