Exploitations within this media are something I am not unfamiliar with. Despite that I want to play any game legit, there are those tricks that are too effective not to be utilised. This becomes even easier if a title throws a bunch of unfair garbage at you, making it hard to not want to turn a middle finger back and prove that you can outsmart it. With this in mind, here are my personal favourite gaming cheeses!
#12 Stunning punches (Streets of Rage)
Beat’em ups are not known to necessarily be balanced, but definitely entertaining in their own right with various moves for taking out hordes of baddies. While the jump kick is probably the one most would go to with entries like TMNT 2 because of its effectiveness, I was more into Streets of Rage and thus had enemies that knew how to uppercut. A clever inclusion to make sure you did not rely on this attack, though another one took its place.
Throwing punches continuously leads to a combo, but if you time them right to not make a finisher, the opponent will simply be stunned and stand still. Furthermore, you can even use this to have multiple foes on one side of the screen for dealing damage to all of them with ease. Granted, this does require some skills and making sure that other villains do not flank you, though just the ability to get a breather by a simple hit absolutely does wonders.
#11 Carrying all of your burdens (Fallout)
Fallout is one of the most immersive apocalyptic series ever, and while it has stagnated with the fourth instalment, I still am fond of it. The original is quite tense where every step counts and has a great focus on actual role-playing! However, it is a dangerous world that will make you feel unsafe with even a time limit and resources being hard to come by, which is an impressive achievement when none of its aspects become overwhelming.
When you do happen to find a ton of items that you can use for selling and such, weight limitation is going to be your worst problem. At least, it would have been if it had not been for your companion who can carry anything with no restrictions. Because of this oversight of not giving your buddy visual stats, you can simply throw all of your stuff over to them and be certain that you have a bigger chance to live another day.
#10 Power of alchemy (The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind)
This is more of a personal victory, as I hate this game. Morrowind is ugly, has too much flavour text for me to care, and includes awful combat that is heavy on the dice roll. Sure, the last one is not uncommon to TTRPGs, but here it is ridiculously tedious. Nevertheless, some pals from aeons ago demanded that I persisted and said silly things like; it gets better after the first 10 hours. Fine, I will scratch this off my bucket list, and it was then I discovered how important magic could be.
You see, potions are not only helpful for stat increases, but they stack and last a good while. Focusing on this will make you into a powerhouse that can effortlessly kill opponents in mere hits with proper preparations, making any confrontation a joke. Despite that The Elder Scrolls series has never been balanced to put it lightly, I had to use this trick to even bear the idea of getting past the second town. Now that I have even beaten the final boss in a single blow, can say that those mates of mine are insane and I understand now why we went our separate ways.
#9 Camping (Saints Row)
Frankly, I do not mind camping in multiplayer shooters. Simply hiding in safety and taking shots whenever you are able to, is a neat tactic that can be negated by flanking or playing smart in general. However, in those where you go alone, this can be a problem depending on the opponents’ AI. Most people will probably point towards Grand Theft Auto for such examples, though I wish to use Saints Row since it is more my cup of tea and has its share of bizarre issues too.
Since ammo is impossible to buy unless you purchase the guns themselves, I had to save up and doing so meant not wasting any firepower! The best way to do this is of course to stand by an opening or take cover behind crates, waiting for the aggressive gangsters to run towards you, and then kill them with perfect headshots. It is incredibly easy to misuse, and despite how much more fun it is to run and gun, this will be necessary to do in order to be ready for the campaign’s furious missions that have no checkpoints in them.
#8 Deathly Holy Water (Castlevania)
As a fan of this series, I have made sure to beat any fiend with a fair setup. I have avoided Crissaegrim in Symphony of the Night, ignored the wall glitch in Dawn of Sorrow, and not asked Dracula’s Curse to help me. While it is all hard to not attempt any of these actions once you figure out what powers they yield, I also want to tackle games not knowing their exploits if I am already having fun with them. Although, the moment I beat Death in the original Castlevania, I had no mercy onwards.
He flings tons of spawning sicles towards you and can fly around. This combined with your stiff manoeuvres makes this a harsh fight and the path leading towards him was not exactly painless either. Luckily, there is the possibility to stun him completely by throwing holy waters the moment he appears on the screen. Keep this up, and he will eventually be toast if you have enough hearts. Though I would recommend battling him without this trick, there is also no shame in using your tools cleverly.
#7 Save Scumming (Various)
Now this one is a bit complicated, as using this mechanic without it being for cheesing a sequence, has been done well. Titles like Max Payne and Icewind Dale, are structured to make it unwise to save anytime you are in combat due to how challenging they can be, yet you are expected to do so any moment of breathing room for a steady progression. Probably the most common moments one uses this is for rereleased classics. Though the question then becomes; why do you use it?
Personally, I use it if I need to leave all of a sudden, but I cannot deny that I have been a scum towards unbearably difficult games that are obviously unfinished. I do not mind playing Ninja Gaiden or Contra legit, though I do have my limits when passwords can be insanely long to input or the lack of checkpoints forces me to redo dreadful segments. Supposedly, this is a vague inclusion to this list, yet one I would be an idiot to not include.
#6 My point to lose! (Super Smash Bros. Melee)
Instalments within the fighting genre are not unfamiliar to exploitations. Turtling, lengthy air combos, and picking overpowered characters are recipes for making them unappealing for many. Even Melee is no stranger to this, with its most famous trick being the wavedash. While I cannot say I am a fan of it, this glitch can be used as an actual strategic one. Yet, one odd move I constantly did that no one seemed to enjoy, was committing suicide to regain health.
This might sound weird, but allow me to explain. In this iteration and the original, you get one point for hitting an opponent off the screen, with them also losing one when this happens. However, if one contender just jumps to their doom, they will be subtracted a single point too. Because of this, I often found myself battling until I was close to being knocked out, and then simply fell off the stage to have my injury be at zero per cent again with minimal cost. I cannot act like this is an appreciated action and I understand why, but who plays the older Smash Bros. entries anyway?
#5 Fighting yourself (Final Fantasy 2)
Despite having tons of problems, I will forever have a soft spot for this instalment. It took big and commendable steps with memorable characters, engaging story events, conversation options through keywords, and a darker world to explore. Combine this with a level system that had you getting better stats depending on what happened in combat, such as using weapons or magic to become more proficient with them, it made this RPG one of the most unique ones in its series with many possibilities.
Unfortunately, this brings in a ton of issues. Having you solely increase your health if you take damage, a gargantuan amount of spells that can only be improved by casting them, the unbalanced arsenal to find, and the overall slow journey, show that this project could definitely have used some polish. Whenever this realisation sets in, I always make my heroes attack and heal each other to upgrade them up properly. Yes, this is truthfully a better method than going around grinding and thus makes the adventure far more bearable. Even if it is still a stupid alternative.
#4 Being a capitalist with ease (Various)
Another one that can be said for plenty of titles, but whenever the economy is a part of the main experience, I go beyond my limits to figure out the best strategy for gaining the most income. Whether it is growing valuable crops, making sufficient trades, or even just playing the waiting game, I am all in for discovering exploits on my own and just doing repetitive tasks in order to become richer than ever.
This is not something that will fix all problems thankfully, as you might still need other types of materials to stay afloat. However, whenever it is extremely easy to become wealthy, it is difficult to not spend an hour just to be sure that you will never starve for cash and be able to buy great equipment! Money regrettably controls the world, but it is then essential to know how to play along. Who says this media cannot teach anything important?
#3 Range over all (Stonekeep)
Honestly, I was trapped between two entries where ranged attacks triumphed all, but this one is the most hilarious example. Stonekeep is an odd, yet beautiful dungeon crawler that has a lot of neat things to it that make it quite engaging. From writing notes on the map to managing your resources, it was always a good time to explore these caverns for secrets and find cute companions, while also being rewarded for paying attention!
Sadly, it is also a problematic product that is all over the place in difficulty, which is made even fiercer due to its real-time combat. Although, it was here I discovered that not only does the game pause when opening the inventory menu, but throwing rocks and arrows is incredibly powerful and works even better without the proper arsenal. This is such a laughable oversight, that I had to do this as much as possible until I found the magical sword hidden on the first floor.
#2 Grinding by mere shuffling (Wasteland)
Ambitions can go far beyond realistic capabilities, which is the main issue I had with this title. Due to its amount of freedom in what you can attempt, yet simultaneously being meant to be played in a specific manner, Wasteland is a fascinating RPG that has not aged well at all. The annoying puzzles are one thing, but the brutal challenge that can quickly kill you with no indication of what you did wrong is the true dealbreaker.
Because of all these irritations, surviving in a fair way was out of the question. Admittedly, I was just going to try to rest on a high ground, where I suddenly noticed that I killed enemies beneath me. I did not use up any of my ammo and seemed to be gaining constantly XP by simply moving back and forth! What a fantastic exploit, and you bet I kept doing this in order to stay alive in this dangerous world that can nonchalantly end your run in a matter of seconds. Though at this point, I would say play the sequel for an actually good experience.
#1 One-up trick (Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels)
Who beat this instalment without doing this?! A game so ridiculously hard it was not even released outside of Japan, The Lost Levels feels like a nasty joke. Using assets of the original Super Mario Bros. with better sprites, it goes further with more coloured enemies, bizarre placements of obstacles, and new hazards like the wind! Even with unlimited continues, the mere idea of restarting any area is just a big nope.
Thankfully, it seems like even the developers knew this and thus placed a turtle shell in the beginning for you to rack up extra lives with. That in itself sounds great, but you are going to be wasting this if you only acquire 99. You have to go onwards to a specific combination that is a scrambled mess which showcases you have a sufficient amount to maybe be able to see the ending with. At least the normal one, since who in their right mind went so far as to see the best version?
So, my dear friend Casper. I know you are all about the PC master race, but I think it is about time we gave the little guys some love too. By this, I mean those that fit in the palm of your hand. I want you to make a list of games that were better on a handheld than on the home consoles or computers, excluding direct ports you can find on modern devices like the Switch, Steam Deck, and phones. These titles do not have to share the same name, but have to be released close to each other. After all, it is more fun to see unique adaptations than those with mere lower resolutions or touch controls.