The Rev recently had a rant about collectibles in games and it re-sparked some things I've been thinking about. I must admit, I love collecting things. In game and in real life. I enjoy collecting nick-knacks from conventions and hoarding them "just in case" and I know 95% of it I will never use. I enjoy collecting bottle caps wherever I go (but that's in preparation for the nuclear fallout in the future). I like collecting some things, not everything. "It might be useful" is my reasoning, so most things that I don't see as being potentially helpful in the future, I leave behind. However, in many video games, this counts as everything, and it has made me a better, and terrible person at the same time.
In Super Metroid, the game was almost non-linear. It had a few points where you had to do what it said in order to proceed, you have to have a certain few items and beat all the bosses to get access to the last area, but beyond that, you're free to roam. This may not seem like a big deal, but is. This game is a combination of skill and in game power. If you have better equipment, you can go and do things most people can't at the beginning, but on the other side, if you have great skill at controlling Samus, you can gain access to areas sooner, than the first guy. And since it's the most open ended of all the games in the series, you can completely miss some power ups and still beat the game. However, if you do get it, you will be playing very differently.
You can get super missles, power bombs, spazer, wave, energy tanks (which actually matter), and lots of upgrades early. Not because you got lucky and a rare drop from an enemy helps you out, not because you grind away to make the game easier later, but because you know how to play. You can skip bosses, skip whole zones and explore areas you are not 'suppose to' be at yet, but you can get there, the game doesn't stop you. It has colored doors, but that's something you can get around. It's not a linear item progression. Missiles can help you find power bombs, power bombs can help you find super missiles, a boot upgrade can help you find a weapon upgrade.
Even after you get 100% items, you are nowhere near 100% as powerful as Samus can be. Wall jumps, bomb travel, cystal flash, special attacks with a weapon upgrade and a power bomb (what? Yeah, I don't know what it's called). These are things you may never use (wall jump excluded, you will be using that), but you can, and it could be useful.
With Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, exploration is just as big as ever. There's a story (...*cough*) that you can follow, but the game is also 90% non-linear, so most of what I've said about Super Metroid is the same as SOTN, except that Symphony has drop rates for enemies so you will end up grinding endlessly for items you will never use, and some things are obscure (like not defeating one of the bosses really fast without letting him summon mudmen for you to kill and have on your monster list. What?)
That was a big fucking rant, but what's the point? These games have tons of things to collect, and I love them for it. Other games have tons of things to collect, and I hate them for it. These games reward you for your collection OCD, and with skill to back it, you can break sequences, find power ups early, and through many different play styles, play the game how you want. Shadow Complex, praised as the next great Metroidvania style game, falls flat on it's face, and I'll tell you why.
Storyline: SotN and Super Metroid don't try and pretend the story is a strong point. It wasn't about the story, in fact, even when story was suppose to matter (Every Metroid game after Super Metroid), it wasn't ever that good. That's not why I'm here. Other than Castlevania having an interesting time-line and can cheat a little on throwing in anything of lore and superstition to make it more interesting (ghosts, ghouls, demons, monsters, from any and all mythologies and legends), you still only care for the story enough to find out what you're suppose to do next. You already know the ending anyways (Spoilers: Dracula loses). Having heard of the setting being by Orson Scott Card, I was more intrigued than I initially was. I was only let down even more as the story wasn't ever gone into detail and it wasn't interesting at all. It was a boring cliche and was extremely cheesy. That said, it kind of fits with Castlevania's cheesy yet lovable dialogue. There were a few points where I laughed for the right reasons, but there were six more "What the fuck" around the corner. "Hide me behind the boxes". He proceeds to leave her on the floor in front of the door. Good job, they'll never find her. *sigh*
Gameplay: Depending on what you have access to, you will fight enemies, bosses, and even travel differently in Metroidvanias. In Metroid, you run and shoot with your gun, freeze enemies and shoot missiles, go hyper speed and run through them, and space jump to your destination. In Symphony, you attack and defend with your shield, swing with your big two-hander, transform into an animal and fly/run through your enemies, fly up waterfalls in bat form, hyper-jump up high cliffs, you equip your crissigram/vorpal blade/Alucard Shield+Shield Rod and walk through your enemies. You actually play differently as you gain access to new abilities. In Shadow Complex, you have missiles, foam, and grenades, but most of the time, melee and your gun will kill things just as fast, if not faster, than any of your 'upgrades'. Why does it even matter? Also, you have less reason to find collectibles because none of it is necessary for the boss, as you LITERALLY BECOME IMMUNE TO ENEMY ATTACKS later in the game, and you get unlimited ammo for your secondary weapons when you grind to enough levels on the higher difficulties (also, it's not difficult, ever, it only becomes cheap with enemies doing tons more damage, instead of smarter or better enemy layout or something). You never get a new weapon, you just get a better one. There's no choice about it, your gun is just better in every way. No drawback, no descisions. "Ice beam freezes, but takes an extra shot to kill, spazer has better coverage but plasma does better damage (Note, you always took Plasma)." In Castlevania, it's even more expansive in options because you have a million fucking things you can equip to cater to your playstyle. In Shadow Complex, there's no choice of guns, the pistol is shit, the SMG is better in every way possible. The SMG is shit, the Inertial Element is just better. No questions asked, so good that we throw away our old gun immediately. Every time. There's no thinking to this game.
Also, that fake 3D with shooting into the background auto aim crap gets really old, really fast. I can't count the number of times I'm trying to shoot the guy right next to me, and it shoots at a box or target way i the background instead, getting me killed because there's five guys coming out of that hallway, and I'd rather shoot them than stop the machine gun fire directly in front of me. Shadow Complex did something amazing. Took the exploration out of a Metroidvania, took the skill out of Metroidvania, and added in Grinding, Frustrating Controls, and monotonous cramped level design.
Oh yeah, that level design. It felt too cramped and it was a pain to find where places connected. Nothing on the map is all that distinctive except for the top levels, and navigating becomes a frustrating chore. Expansiveness and ambiance are what made Metroidvania games great. You knew which areas were which areas, and it never felt forced. In Metroid, the zones were connected, but were separate and unique. In Castlevania, the world was even larger and each area was given space to breathe, having hallways or passages that exist merely to add flavor or scenery. I wanted to explore both of these worlds, with their cold chilling water world, or their crypts and graves. The hot air warping in the background, the lost souls trapped in the prison, they were each exciting to discover and you remembered them. Even if you couldn't remember them perfectly, a look at the map will help you find the general area. In shadow complex, there were three or four distinct rooms, but there were so few areas that were bigger than 2x2, you're always looking at a bunch of small indistinguishable rooms, or a dozen 2x2 rooms. There's no markers, as there's a ton of save rooms and they're not very distinct, and all the rooms look the same. There's different areas, the factory, the research area, the cave, but most of it is just one or two rooms in a large zone, and all of it looks like a factory. There are no landmarks to help you in this game, and if you tried looking at the mini-map, you'll see a map that has most of the grids filled in and compacted together. It felt like they were limited by how much map they wanted (or could use) and instead of spacing things out to make the zones have space to breath and feel unique, it's all mushed together.
Exploration is a joke, because there is no new zones to discover, no new power up to stumble upon. They tell you how many things you need to get, and they aren't that interesting. Jump twice, Jump Three Times? Can't get a jetpack this late in the game? Speed boost was interesting, but there was only 3 or 4 places you could use it, and all of them was designed to be used. There were no hallways to travel that became easier once you got that upgrade, they wanted to make sure you could not break the game in any way (Excpet by glitching it, freezing it, having enemies clip through the walls, and you clipping through the floors to crash the game). In fact, they put in one specific scene for speed runners and sequence breakers to get access to certain items early. They built it in. That's a fucking cheat. There's no discovery in this game, no exploration, you are always being led by a leash and it's just as well, because searching for something interesting on your own will leave you disappointed. You can only find missiles behind doors that can only be opened with missiles, you can only get grenades behind grates that open with grenades, and foam with foam. They took no risks with this game and to call this a Metroidvania is a spit in the face. There's nothing beyond linear gameplay (unless you like acquiring useless fluff that you don't need and will never use), unless you want them to spoon feed you a cheap excuse for replay, that being their new game+, keep your level upgrades (unlimited ammo, etc) and "you can sequence break if you get to this place after a boss and follow through this convoluted path to get certain items early". Oh, thanks.
Also, adding in 'instant kill' lasers and fire to places? That's kind of pointless. Having doors that are one way and areas sealed off for no apparent reason other than "We want to make you take the long way" is mind numbing. I can understand you wanting the player to get the power up in the next room after the boss, but making certain areas permanently one way, and some doors never open again makes this game have a lot of dead ends (that do NOT appear on the map).It turns the game (even more) into a arcade shooter than Metroidvania game. Suprisingly, the best part of the game was the VR room it had. The last level only, everything before that was mostly boring. If the game had been just 30 or 40 of these kinds of games, with power ups to get and a time to beat, rather than a shitty map and crappy story, I would have enjoyed it 100 times more. Also, the game is short, in a bad way. To get 100% and do everything takes little effort. Even in Super Metroid, exploring took a long time and finding everything could be a challenge. It's nearly impossible in Castlevania. Even after you beat these two games, you could replay it and do things differently and get access to different things and play differently. Not so with Shadow Complex. Your modes are "Frustrating" and "More Frustrating".
Controls: The controls in Super Metroid were great, but could be better. They were made better in later installments, but it played beautifully still. Minor inconveniences at worst. In Castlevania, they were fluid and responsive. There was no delay between you telling him, and him doing. In Shadow Complex, the controls get me killed more than anything else. Shooting at the right target becomes an exercise in patience. Climbing around is annoying too, as you want to drop to the floor, you end up grabbing a ledge, or trying to get off a ledge, you jump up and go where you don't want to. Shooting straight up is also teeth-grindingly annoying, as you can only ever shoot up from in front of you, never directly above you. Try to aim directly above you and you end up turning the other way, and still aiming too far away. It's always up slightly in front or behind you. In water, this is greatly enhanced as you have to turn around to face your enemy, you end up aiming poorly as you flip and turn trying to aim at your target. Jumping out of the water to aim at someone or trying to aim at someone while you float on the water can be frustrating as well, thankfully these things don't come up very often (water related), but the vertical aiming does.
Ambiance/Setting: Some people might not care, but I do. As I said with gameplay, Metroidvania games are dripping, drowning in ambiance. You remember that room with all the pink spores or the one with bubbles, you remember finding a pitch black area or scenes with rapidly rising lava. You remember the confession booth where the damned revealed their sins, or the room with a fountain with water that turns into blood, the butcher with meat hanging, the prison bars shaking as the eternally damned try to escape. These things stay with you and make areas memorable. When you want to come back, you remember it. The bosses in both games were memorable as well, although Castlevania not as much as Metroid, only becasue there were so many of them and the second half of the game, many of them felt necessary. Changing areas can change the way you play, because you know (or don't know) what to expect. The music changes and reflects the setting (most of the time, again, Castlevania, second half of the game, you know what I mean if you've played. You'll get tired of that ONE SONG). There is none of this in Shadow Complex. There is no music, each area is as forgettable as the last, the bosses were never memorable (Weaknesses to exploit? Unique look? level designed for him?).
There were only two (three?) bosses (besides the last boss) that was interesting. the first one where you had to use grenades to blow it up with the gas in the pipes, and the rolling ... thing. The rolling thing actually slowly loses life as it rolls around, and my friend went to take a call and forgot to pause, came back 10 minutes later and saw the boss at half life, never even touching him. The third (?) boss is the one with tall legs, you're suppose to freeze the joints and pull open it's back side and sticky a grenade there but standing there and holding down the attack button works just as well, I never did it once. There are these super soldiers you meet that are suppose to pose a challenge but I started firing straight in front of me and they never touched me. Their projectiles are destroyed by your bullets, so it was literally no challenge. Also, I stumbled onto the last boss. I LITERALLY accidentally arrived at the last boss and was so disappointed that the game ended on such a low point. I thought I was maybe, two or three bosses away from the end. Everything before was to prepare me for the uber-mech or the death chamber, but I guess not.
There's never a sense that anything you do is taken serious or makes a difference either. By the end of the game, all that you accomplished was annoy them as they were already ready with their final plan. You fight enemies and except for a few scenes (when they're scripted to respond the same every time so it feels boring anyways), they just start shooting and die, and that's it. No reinforcements like in a metal gear game, no reason to play stealth (although they force you to at times, so I guess it's not technically stealth). It was kind of cool using vents and hidden passages to explore in the beginning, but they become frustrating as your only means of travel through many zones, and it's not like you ever need to stealth, even when given the opportunity. Doors don't lock up, they don't send out more patrols, enemies don't ever get harder (Guy with gun, big guy with gun, guy with grapple beam and gun, repeat. Also, the grapple guy is a fucking asshole, immune to melee and deals a fuckton of damage). The gameplay and exploration were boring filler until the good stuff starts up. At least, you were hoping for the good stuff, only to be let down. And the design of the areas were meant to look interesting, 9/10 were just annoying. You can't see the floor you're suppose to break because of the camera angle and the foreground so you end up shooting anything and everything you have to try and find that passage way. Jumping and flailing around like an idiot.
Metroidvania games to me are about the destination, not just stopping to smell the roses, but also checking under them for a new upgrade. You play at your own speed and are rewarded by exploring the expansive, flavorful worlds that were created. The controls feel like an extension of your own body as you equip yourself with what you want and blaze through the game. You were rewarded when you solve a puzzle, discover a pattern or find a secret. With Shadow Complex, the journey wasn't that interesting and the story tries too hard to make you care. Shadow Complex was a journey that had you on a short leash and took you through a boring factory to arrive at someplace you didn't want to go anyways.
And even as I ranted about how much I hate this game being branded as a Metroidvania game, I still think it was a decent game on it's own merits. It took chances, some were (briefly) a success (at times), and the polish and look of the game was fantastic. It was a good attempt, but to call it a Metroidvania makes me want to punch babies.
Spelunky is a hard and unforgiving game that will bring you nothing but pain and anguish. Apparently, I'm a fan of that so I keep coming back to it again, and again, and again. If you haven't heard of it yet, The Rev did a post about it in an Indie Nation. Other Indie Nation games got me interested, this grabbed me and pulled me in kicking and screaming. I played this game a lot, and wanted to share my survival guide to Spelunky. This isn't a walkthrough, it's just a few tips to help out. If you want a walkthrough, more detail on the game, or more help, check out the wiki or find videos on youtube. Before I begin, I would recommend using a game pad of some sort, I'm using a 360 controller. It makes it a lot easier, and you can map buttons with ease. This is my setup:
X - Whip
Y - Inventory
A - Jump
B - Run
L - Bombs
R - Rope
A few things to note, the trigger buttons don't work, those are the shoulder buttons. And there was no place to map the shop purchase button so I use the default P on the keyboard (then again, I never use Inventory so I might swap that out). This kind of control scheme is comfortable for me since I'm used to playing Megaman and such, but do whatever feels comfortable for you. One of my friends prefers the keyboard over the gamepad. Only thing I dislike about the controller is that it's hard to press up without hitting left or right. So up+jump to climb rope or ladders fast, ends up being me jumping off to my doom sometimes.
This will assume you've played the game at least a little bit and played through the tutorial. I also assume you have the most updated version as of this post 99.9, as many things have changed from previous versions. If you want to have things spoiled and that magic of discovered taken away or you don't care, then by all means, read on!
WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
Now just to set the record straight, you better prepare to die. This guide won't save your life, even an excellent player will die a lot. This is just to help you get over the small stuff that kills you so you can get to the big stuff... and uh, to learn from your mistakes and to study the game better... so you can die later... listen, this game is hard.
Feet : You have them, and they are good. You can jump up 1.5 squares or so. This will allow you to jump over and traverse across levels with a height difference of 1 with no problem. You can do a walking jump about the same distance, jumping over 1 square and landing on the 2nd square directly behind it. With a running jump, you can clear a distance of 6 squares, landing on the 7th square. It's possible but may not be that easy. You can be standing on a lone brick, with a lone brick above you, and run to one side and jump, grab the ledge, and get onto the space above you. It's hard but it's doable. It's something you should learn how to do.
Hands: They let you do things like hold bombs, throw rocks, and carry damsels in distress. You can throw objects in the direction you want by facing left or right, but also diagonally at an upward or downward angle. Throwing upward will be almost at a 45 degree angle, (not as steep), and get about 4 spaces high before it starts arcing down. And you can only hold one thing at a time so if you have a shotgun, an idol, a damsel, and a mattock, then you're going to have to leave stuff behind or start juggling to the exit. Careful, because arrows and rocks can still hurt if you throw them and they hit you fast enough. Many-a-times I found myself victim to my own rock, throwing it at the wall to discard it, only for it to come back and kill me.
Bombs: They blow. And do it well. They go of in a few seconds, and will flash (then rapidly flash) to show you they're about to explode. They have a range of 1.5 in all directions, effectively killing anything about 2 spaces away. It's important to note that 1.5 is not the same as 2, so if you set it on a square it's more than half a square away from the wall, it will only break off one piece of that wall (horizontally). I guess if we were using distance, it has enough to hit all the adjacent (even diagonal) squares, and a tiny bit extra to hit vertical/horizontal squares. If it's on the floor, it will hit the two spaces below it no problem. If you set it next to a wall, it can break two spaces off that wall horizontally. Thrown bombs will bounce and can damage enemies like any other thrown items. Bombs do 10 damage per frame, and it has 10 frames. So bombs will do 100 damage. It will kill anything that can be killed by damage (your max hearts is 99 by the way).
Rope: Not just a tool, but can be a (not so effective) weapon. If you hit the rope button (instead of selecting it with the cycle equipment key), you will automatically throw it straight up and it will get enough height to have the rope's end right where you threw it from. Before it 'deploys', it will damage enemies like any other thrown item as it flies up. If you select it and decide to hold it, wherever it stops when you throw it (usually at a wall), is where the rope will deploy. Practice with it because it's more difficult than it sounds. You can also drop a wall by moving to the edge and pressing down + rope.
Whip: Your whip is a very useful tool, but also very dangerous. It hits the space directly in front of you but before that, it will hit the space directly behind you first for half a second. That back whip is very important as it also hits slightly above you too, the hit box on it is much bigger than the forward whip. It's excellent for taking out spiders and bats. Because of that short delay, if there is an enemy exactly 1 space above you (like a spider), the way to hit him is to whip first, then jump. Whip then jump, practice it. It feels weird but you will use it a lot. And backwards whipping is faster and has better coverage. Practice both.
Know Your Enemy
I don't mean just monsters, I mean the environment because it's out to get you as much as the monsters are, probably more. Depending on which area you are in, there are different hazards you need to beware of. Study the movement patterns of your enemies. Some have triggers, some don't. Spiders drop if you are directly below them and within 1 screen or so, bats trigger if you are within a certain number of spaces and below them. Cavemen pace back and forth but will bum-rush you if they see you (horizontal line of sight, a couple spaces away, about a screen?)
Spikes instantly kill you, but you can walk by them (between the spikes) without any damage, and slowly drop down into them (from a height of 1 or 2) by crawling to the edge and dropping down. It's extremely useful on world 2. Movable blocks push and can't pull, make excellent platforms and can help save you from wasting a bomb or rope in many situations. Arrow traps hit for 2 (ow) damage each time and trigger when you are directly in it's line of fire, within a certain number of spaces (7 or 8 I think). They are affected by gravity and the arrow will bounce. This is important because if you drop below it from a distance, it can arc down and still hit you. Or if it's got a wall close by, it will hit it and bonce back and forth. Remember, enemies can set off traps too so don't be afraid to lure bats or trick spiders into setting off your arrow traps.
Also, don't forget the scripted scenes. The snake pit, the idol boulder, the sound of rushing water, all of these have things that are always true. The snake trap has a mattock buried at the bottom. The boulder trap only triggers if you pick up the idol from where it is (if you bomb the spaces it's on, it doesn't trigger when you pick it up).
Every are has new enemies. Some (like the 'bosses') may show up in each area, but may not. The giant spider will always have two webs below it. Throw a bomb in and see it die, as nothing can survive a bomb's explosion. It's guaranteed to drop sticky bombs.
Oh yeah, skeletons are your enemies. They are more often than not, just a pile of bones. But sometimes they'll get up and walk around. To be safe, just whip all the skulls you see unless you really need it. The same is said for pots. They usually have nothing but treasure, but sometimes there's a spider or snake inside. Don't whip them while you're standing on them, the whip will break the pot, and a few moments later, kill the enemy inside on the same strike. During that window, you can get hurt. So you want to be as far from the pot as possible before you break it.
Treasures and Events
How I felt when I first started playing: MONEY! SO MUCH MONEY! *hoards* BUAHAHAHAHA
How I felt a few hudred lives in: You're greedy, I know you are. Money gets you kisses from the booth, lets you buy that shotgun, maybe that jetpack you've been eying. But money doesn't stop bullets, does't stop spikes, doesn't stop those monkeys from jumping on you and sticking a bomb on you. Money isn't something you should kill yourself trying to get. If it's on the way, sure. If it's gonna cost you time or bombs? Probably not. I know, those gems are shiny, those bricks of gold are bricky and goldy. But mark my words, you will regret going it. Grab just enough to hold you over as you may need some at the stores, but it's not worth taking damage over 99% of the time.
How I felt a thousand lives in: Money? Why do you need money? Rob the shopkeepers! They drop shotguns, you can kill anyone and anything you meet! Boom! Boom!
These are natural ways to feel, in any order (except that last one because it's -hard- to rob those guys and get away with it), but eventually, I got to a steady middle ground. I get gold when convenient, sure. I only buy kisses because you can't steal those. You can however, buy a kiss (cost changes depending on what level you're on; more expensive late game), then steal the girl and then get another kiss by saving her from her pimp-shopkeeper.
Shopkeepers by the way, are not unstoppable. They are hard to kill, they will throw and shoot and jump around but they can be killed. They are armed with a shotgun, a few gold chunks, and whatever their store carries. As soon as his corpse stops bouncing and you see there's no stun star above his head, you're in the clear. Until then, it doesn't hurt to get a few more machete slices or shotgun blasts in.
Crates are your best friend. Inside, you will find items that you can find in the shop. Bombs (in stacks of 3 or 12), ropes (in stacks of 3), climbing gloves, pitcher's mitt, spring boots, spike boots, jetpacks, capes, machetes, pistols, shotguns, parachutes, teleporters, mattock, and... I can't think of anything else but as you can see, lots of good things. Crates are not the same as treasure chests. I would go out of my way for a crate (wasting a bomb or rope) because there's a good chance I'll get more bombs or rope in return, or one of the listed items, and it's well worth the trade.
Idols are worth 5,000*world, so in world 1, it's worth 5000, in world 2, it's worth 10,000, and so on. If you see a crystal skull in world 2, it's worth a substantial amount. Also, idol traps are different per world. In world 1, it's a rolling boulder. In world 2, the path collapses and you fall into a pit of water with piranhas. In world 3, the platform falls and you drop onto spikes. In world 4, you have a choice between a lovely lady, or a terrible trap. The idol is worth a hefty 20,000 at this point, but you will fall to your doom doom doom!
* WALK! Don't run! Running will get you killed. Walking is safe, take your time because you move FAST when you run.
* RUN! Don't walk! You've got a time limit, and some enemies move faster than you! It's not good to only-run or only-walk, be sure to do both when necessary. Long jumps and traversing long hallways are good, running near spikes can be bad. Careful for a sudden arrow-trap at the end of the corridor though, lost many-a hearts to that trick before.
* There are things buried underground that are not always displayed like the gold nuggets. Gems and sometimes equipment can be found. This is a difficult thing to do find on purpose without the spectacles or the Udjat Eye (You find it in the locked chest in world 1).
* Look before you leap! High falls where you can't see the bottom will probably hurt, and maybe kill you. Hang on an edge or lay against the ground and hold down, let the screen move down to give you a better view. Still nothing? Then you might have to just risk it.
* Sometimes I start levels having cycled through my inventory and will have a bomb selected when I start levels, I don't know why. Just be careful to take notice in case you start next to a show and try to pick up something to buy, only to notice you drop a bomb you were holding instead, and get a face full of buckshot.
* You can buy kisses (as many as you can afford) from the kissing booth (prices get higher based on how far you are), and then steal the girl to get another smooch.
* You can crawl onto the edge of a tile and hang off of it, dropping whatever you are holding. This is easier and less risky than jumping off and turning around and trying to catch the ledge, but you can't hold anything when you do it. Also, when you crawl off the edge to hang onto the ledge, it doesn't count as falling. So it doesn't trigger spikes.
* Use your environment to your advantage. Get enemies to hit those arrow traps, use the boulder to clear a path, throw the caveman at the man eating plant.
* Don't get thrown by a super-caveman or a yeti against a wall that's 3 or 4 spaces away from him or you might get caught in an infinite combo of death. And after death, your body is demolished. Like this.
* There's a frozen region where things don't work. By that I mean, bullets don't move, enemies don't move, boulders don't roll, stuff is just on pause. It's off the screen which can make it difficult to figure out, but it's easy once you get use to it. Beyond what you can see, there is half a screen's worth of space that is still active (checking half the height, not width, in all directions). That area and the area you can see are 'active'. Beyond that, everything is frozen. So if the boulder travels too far, it won't move. If you take one step towards it, it's out of the frozen region, moves 1 square, and stops again. This is why sometimes a boulder that should be far away or slowed down comes back really fast, because it was on pause. My favorite thing to do is with a gun, get far from the shop but on the same level, and fire off a few rounds. Walk towards the shop, and the bullets will move as you get there (due to the frozen region) and hit the shopkeeper.
* There's a secret chain of quests to do in this game that will ultimately take you to a level where everything besides the enemies are made of gold. This legendary City of Gold is hard to find, as you have to make great sacrifices along the way, while going out of your way to find the path. You have to find the eye, find the secret shop, aqcuire the ankh, find the alien's head, die, acquire the secret item, find the scepter, and find the wall switch. That's a lot of work, and not explained. If you really want to know, there's a wiki for it here.
World Specific Tips
World 1, Caves
Don't waste bombs on things you can do without, like money.Crates and damsels are usually things you always go for, sometimes even the key and locked chest are must haves. But don't go into areas that will force you to waste ropes or bombs to get out of if you don't need to. I'ts not worth the risk. Buy kisses if the kissing parlor shows up, buy a kiss, it's cheap now. Also, crates are usually easier to find and access here so don't be afraid to go out on a limb for them, they're usually worth it. The snake pit is usually worth it in gold, and having a mattock. Be sure not to waste the mattock as it has a 10% chance to break per hit or something like that.
World 2, Jungles
Watch out, lots of things kill you in one hit here. Spike-totems, spikes, red frogs (bomb), monkeys (can steal your bombs and throw them), man eating plants. This place is dangerous but remember, you can use some of it to your advantage. Man eating plants don't discriminate on who they eat, you, damsels, cavemen, it's all fair game! (Except for the shopkeeper while he's busy at work for some reason). Spikes to lure the frogs and monkeys, bomb the side of the lake to drown the fish in oxygen. Be sure to look before you leap. Monkeys are assholes. When you get a chance to climb into the spikes in world 2 and walk across and get those monkeys to jump in after you and die, it feels good. There's an undead encounter here, look for a tombstone with the name ASH on it, you could find a shotgun buried underneath. If an idol spawns with the zombie scenario running, you can find a crystal skull instead. It's worth a lot, but will summon the the ghost of "I'mma rape you cuz you too slow". Also, vampires drop capes. The other encounter has the level flooded, and a giant ass fish which drops several crates.
World 3 - Ice
I hope you saved rope because you will need it here if you mess up. I also hope you practiced your long distance jumping and vertical jumping here. Also, watch out for the UFOs, they shoot down and explode when they crash. Sometimes they'll hit the escape pod. The Yetis will throw you, and that might as well kill you in one hit because of all the small platforms. If you have a cape and climbing gloves, you can simulate having a jetpack. And if you have a jetpack, don't hold onto it for too long, it can run out of juice before you land again. Be sure to save some for crater prevention. The event here is either yetis or aliens. The yeti is a level closer to world 1 than world 3, but the giant yeti yells and turns normal blocks into loose moavle blocks. The alien has a spaceship and shoots homing rings of pain at you. Behind him in the wall, there is a jetpack, one of the best items in the game. You can't get darkness in world 3, because that would be just fucking cruel.
World 4 -Temple
This place is hard. If you get darkness here, you're pretty fucked, because they're fucking cruel. At least the arrow traps light your way as does the lava. Did I mention the lava? The lava pits are filled with lava. The mummy has tons of life but drop the best weapon of the game, the same thing the alien shoots you with. Oh yeah, the mummy is not limit one per game, there could be one per level. The super-cavemen jump around and throw you like shopkeepers. The spike brick will move towards you and kill you. And don't get greedy if you see a damsel and an idol above the pit. Take the damsel and get out, if you get the idol you will most likely die. In lava. Fall into the lava, and die in it. I believe the trigger is if you take the idol.
Well, I hope this helped a little, it was hard thinking of what to say and harder to think of what not to say. I'm sure a lot of this can be edited and formatted better so if you have any tips, suggestions, questions, comments, monkeys, feel free to throw that monkey into that pit of spikes. And post below.