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You will have to fill your pockets with cash if you want some exclusive items at Crazy Dave's shop. At his store you can purchase all kinds of goodies, like additional slots so that you can choose more plants for levels, powerful plants that will bolster your offense and defense, and other unique items that can help you. His items are expensive but the good news is there are several ways to earn money, so it's possible to afford them. The key is to work hard at several money grabbing activities available for you.
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Every stage gives you an opportunity to make money, one activity being when certain zombies die, they leave a coin for you to collect. Silver coins are worth $10, and gold coins are worth $25. If you're able to collect most of them, you can get a hundred dollars or more. What could distract you from the coins is collecting sunlight, planting your garden, and fighting zombies; if you need money, don't ignore the coins zombies drop for you. Keep your eyes not only to the left side of the screen, but also the right, where silver and gold coins will be popping up on screen as zombies get brought down.
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Mini-Games and Puzzles=$$$
You can also earn some gold in the mini-games and puzzles, which will have to be unlocked; coins can be collected here as well. Every win there should be rewarding since you will receive plenty of gold. These games are the best way to fill up your wallet, so play them quite often if you want to make money in the thousands. Once you unlock Survival mode, skillful use of the Money Flower will get you tons of cash. Tending to your Zen garden will also cough up increasing amounts of cash.
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Lawnmowers Give You Cash Too
If you don't use your lawnmowers during a battle, you will be rewarded $50 for each one that is left. If you saved all five lawnmowers, you will be rewarded $250. Even though the lawnmowers can be used as a safety net, to run over zombies that manage to get to the end of that lane, you are also forfeiting $50 for every lawnmower used to kill enemies. So think ahead and see if you need more money to make purchases. If you do, then try to build a better army against the zombies, and don't rely on your lawnmowers to take care of them.
When you are willing to make money by working through all these activities, you should be a rich man and a busy customer at Crazy Dave's shop. Remember, most of what Crazy Dave sells runs into many thousands of dollars, so it won't be easy to buy his items if you don't make an effort to earn money.
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Look At What's On Your Screen
You can be busy planting flowers when all of a sudden, a zombie wave is quickly approaching, and you haven't even set up your offense. Worse, it's not just regular zombies, but bucket heads and football zombies, two enemies with high defense. To help you solve these dilemmas the game's interface offers important tools to help you succeed against your opponents. Being familiar with how the interface works should help you better prepare against zombies.
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Know Your Enemies
Every stage begins by showing your house, garden, and then the zombies you will face. The key is to remember which of the tougher zombies will be in this stage. Look at the zombie almanac and study their weaknesses, attack power, defense, and unique abilities, so when battle preparations begin, you know what plants will work best against them. Then when it's gardening time, you will have a better game plan, planting in the right spots to take them down easily. (And the almanac is hilarious! -Ed.)
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At the bottom right corner is a zombie meter that shows a couple of important moments in the game: how many zombie waves there are, when the waves are coming, and how much time is left before the stage ends. Always check when the first zombie wave is approaching, so you can prepare beforehand to fill all your lanes with some firepower and defense before they come. When you begin the game, your mindset should be on how to stop zombie waves, not one or two zombies that pop up here and there.
You have a few seconds to work on planting Sunflowers or Sunshrooms before Zombies trickle in. Plant only enough attacking plants (the first and cheapest part of your overall defense) in specific lanes to down the zombies that do show up until you have enough sun generating plants (8 to 12) planted, then focus on covering all your lanes.
If the stage has only one zombie wave, then don't expect too much of a challenge. But if it's two or three zombie waves, then you will be quite busy collecting sunlight and planting your garden. When the zombie meter is about to reach its end, and no more zombie waves are coming, you can go all out. Use whatever you have to get you through to the next level and forget about any long term planting.
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Every time you notice a sunflower shimmering, that's the signal it's about to release sunlight for you. This way, you won't be distracted wondering when your sunflowers will release sunlight, when you can be more efficient by concentrating on other activities. To be a good player in this game, you have to be quick with the mouse and plant fast, but with strategy. When you notice sunflowers shimmer, go right ahead and collect the sunlight, and move on to other things. Sunshine does hang around for several seconds, so it's not critical to pick it up immediately, especially late in the board if you already have lots of sun and need to respond to big attacks.
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Watch Your Plants' Recharge Time
At the top of the screen are slots that display your plants; besides just showing the cost of each plant, it also shows you each of the plants' recharge time orhow long it's going to take before they can be planted again. This will be especially helpful for those plants that require a long time to recharge; you're well informed the next time they can be used. Some plants you need right away can still be recharging for a considerable time, so find an alternative to assist your current predicament, because zombies aren't going to sit and wait around for that plant to finish recharging.
The recharge times can also help you spend sunlight more effectively, telling you ahead of time what plants will soon be available; if a particular plant you want is ready to be used again in a few seconds, then might as well save up some sunlight for that.
Some powerful plants that deal instant kills to multiple zombies, like Squash and Jalapeno, take a while to recharge itself; it's best not to use them right before a zombie wave, because you might need them when the zombie horde comes.