Chests are a frequent sight, but require specific handling for the best results.
To open a chest, stand below it and press attack, then press attack to grab the loot it drops. If you see a message onscreen when opening it that means it's trapped--get out of the way! The traps are as follows:
- Fire: fire spreads all around like Burning Oils, hurting anything it touches.
- Dead Fall: rocks fall from the ceiling.
- Gas: puts you to sleep and slowly saps your health. Hit left and right as quickly as possible to wake up. Usually some Skeletons will rise from the ground at this point to kill you while you sleep.
- Arrows: arrows shoot out at all four diagonal directions.
- Petrify: shoots a ray to the left or right, always in the closest direction to the one it was opened from. Players in its path start to turn to stone (hit left and right quickly to break free). It constantly drains your health, and if you don't break free before it reaches your head you die. Enemies cannot be hit by it.
You can also break chests open by attacking them from the left or right. This will trigger the trap (if any) with you often out of harm's way, but a small number of chests will drop inferior loot if broken into. This is best kept for locked chests when you don't have a key. Metal chests can't be broken.
You can also pick up chests by standing just above it and holding attack. You can then move around with it, and throw it by releasing attack. Thrown chests deal a good deal of damage and can hurt enemies and players alike, and they smash open when they hit. Metal chests can't be broken by throwing them. Picking up trapped chests triggers the trap (even if it's locked), causing you to drop it and usually be hit by the effects immediately. Trapped metal chests can also be opened in this way whether or not they are locked.
When casting a spell, reality does not entirely pause. New actions cannot be begun, but actions already in progress can continue. Magic Missiles can strike, Burning Oils can run out, downed players can get up, and so forth. Players are completely immune to damage while spells are being cast, but enemies are not.
At the end of each stage each character gains a level (increasing their health bar), heals some damage, and gains spells and expendable items up to a cerain minimum. This means if you have fewer than the default you'll get some free upgrades, but if you already have more than the default you don't get anything. This means hoarding spells is almost never necessary. If you have a choice, use the spells first and keep your rings, as the rings aren't taken into account when your spells are tallied.
At many points during the journey you get a choice of exits to take during a stage. Unlike beat-'em-ups like River City Ransom once a player has gone through an exit they can't come back, so all players must use the door they took. The screen won't scroll (where applicable) until they go through the door. Paths within the same visible area don't force players to follow the same route (only the screen limits do).
The game has a time limit for each area within the stage (the limited area reachable until the "Go!" fairy appears). It's set very high and only shows up when there is only 30 seconds remaining, and it's reset when you insert a coin or move on to another area. If you do run out of time all players go into their defeat stance and must insert quarters.
Shops sell unlimited quantities of expendable weapons, but a strictly limited number of healing potions (between two and seven).
You can give money to another player by putting your hand over theirs and pressing the Use button.
You can talk to the shopkeeper by touching their face. When their face won't say any more (indicated by a red X cursor) you can talk to their chest once for some more dialogue.