So secret it would take Batman himself A YEAR to uncover
Everyone knows that game developers are a little obsessed with sticking hidden objects, messages and other Easter Eggs into their games for players to find. Whether it's a deliberately hidden extra mode, references to other games by the same names, or just a little fun, video game secrets almost always turn up in the end - or not in some cases. Batman: Arkham Asylum was out a full year before anyone found the hidden room that contains the Arkham City blueprint pasted all over the wall.
But the B-man isn't alone in having an incredibly obscure and hidden away secret. Check out these mind-bogglingly complex examples... now with EVEN MORE mid-boggling examples, thanks in no small part to your own suggestions. Thanks!
Super Mario Bros 3 - Warp whistle 1
In no other Mario game do you crouch on a white piece of the background scenery for six seconds with the aim of dropping down behind it. It's not in the instructions, it's not hinted at anywhere in the game. It's just a fact: you can do it. You then walk behind the end of the level and into the location of the first secret warp whistle. So now we're supposed to question everything?
Mortal Kombat - Reptile
You must find me to beat me! So says Reptile in a masterful demonstration of how to state the bleeding obvious. And his random appearances with obscure clues only get more and more cryptic. Look to la Luna! OK, so thats the moon, no problem. And yes, something does fly in front of the moon sometimes. Blocking will get you nowhere! OK, so no blocking. Ten clues later, it turns out you need to do a double flawless fatality on The Pit during a one-in-six chance that things are passing in front of the moon. Why didn't you just say so? What a cold-blooded man (*groan*).
Sonic The Hedgehog - Labyrinth shortcut
There's a secret, high path through Act 1 of Labyrinth Zone, which many players found easily by using the debug mode's turn into a ring cheat. The path cuts out most of the level and features a couple of odd features, such running water that's... already underwater (*cough*) and an invisible wall at the top of the screen. But did you know you can reach it legitimately too? Drop down into the water past the fish, push the left switch but don't use the one on the right to open the pipe with the current. Instead, use the rising platforms to return to the surface where you'll find this unique moving platform to take you across the spikes.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - The other half of the game
So you finished the game! Well done. What did you think of the second castle. Mmmm? What's that? You didn't even KNOW about the second castle? Then you missed half the game! All you had to do was put on the Holy Glasses before you enter the final boss fight, allowing you to see the real enemy hovering above Richter's head. Sheesh, wasn't that incredibly obvious? A baby would have figured that one out. A BABY. Just one that suspected there was something hovering above the last boss and you'd need holy glasses to see it.
Mega Man X - Hadouken!
Megaman can throw Hadouken fireballs? Well, it makes sense. He is made by Capcom, after all. But who on Earth realised that you had to get all of the upgrades, hearts and sub-tanks in the game, then go to Armored Armadillos level and jump off the last cart ride to find a hidden pellet? And that you had to exit the level and do that last part again another 4-6 times? Nobody would think to do that, surely. And even if they did, it cant be saved with a password, so you cant prove it to anyone without going through the whole process again. Incredible.
Braid - Secret stars
This one's a cracker. Eight secret stars, only hinted at by an empty constellation in the first area. No other reference to them anywhere in the game. They're hidden off-screen and require ludicrously complex strategies to obtain. We won't spoil anything, but let's just say most moving platforms take less than two hours to travel across the screen... Oh, and there's some extra plot details if you get them all, but nothing else. No achievements, no new levels. But it's still an incredible addition to an already incredible game.
Final Fantasy VI - You can save Shadow
And even get him back in your party. Here's a hint for all games: Any dialogue box in a game with 'leave now' or 'wait' options means there's a reason to stay. But the fact is, with the countdown clock on the disintegrating Floating Continent depleting quickly, everyone chickens out with 10 seconds left and leaves without Shadow. Five more seconds would have eventually opened up some of gaming's most brilliant yet subtle plot intricacies, here involving a girl called Relm. Yup, the game's been punishing you for years for leaving him to die and you didn't even know it.
Chrono Trigger - Play as Magus
Magus is the main villain for the first half of Chrono Trigger. But you can convince him that you both share a common enemy and hell actually join your party. 'Simply' play until the Blackbird ship is destroyed, the Epoch has been fitted with wings and Chrono has met his death at the hands of Lavos. Then travel to 12,000 BC and locate The Commons. Click on the blue dot by the NPC, refuse to fight Magus when he challenges you and go to leave. Hell be like: Hai, wait! and catch up to you, joining your party for the rest of the game.
Shadow of the Colossus - Cloth of Desperation
Everyone knows about the secret garden. But did you know about the secret parachute? You get it by completing the game on normal, then play through again on Hard mode. Having done that, return to the temple and press circle on each statue to begin Hard Time Attack mode. Defeat 14 colossi and there it is. Though we should point out Ueda-san has reportedly hinted there's still one last big secret that nobody's discovered yet...
Wave Race: Blue Storm - Sarcastic announcer
This Easter egg remained hidden for almost a decade. What does it do? It gives you the most sarcastic race announcer ever heard in a Nintendo game. Your wins are like diamonds, kid: Very rare and Greeeeaaat... are among the gems waiting for you if you input this code: Load the game then go to the Options screen and then Audio Settings. Press the Z Button repeatedly until the waveform at the bottom of the screen looks like vertically rising waves. Now press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, A, X, Z then pick the first rider and start a race. Bet you feel sooooo clever now.
Super Mario World - Cheese Bridge secret
This isn't the only level in Super Mario World to have a hidden second exit. But it is home to one of the few 3-up moons in the game and it's exceptionally well-hidden. Indeed, the only clue you get to its existence is an arrow standing beyond the first exit goalposts, which you'd hardly see with the screen fade-out under normal completion. Especially as the section immediately before it is ridiculously tricky, even with a cape or Yoshi, just begging for you to break the ribbon and get the hell out of there. But if you fly under the first goal and up onto the platform beyond, you find this short extra section. It's game design like this that sets Mario apart from the rest of the platforming crowd.
Resident Evil 2 - Wesker's desk
You can search Wesker's desk in Resident Evil 2, but it's been ransacked. You can search a bit further along if you like, but you'll get the same message. Any normal person would move onto the next area at this point, but no. You should stand there and search the desk 48 more times. When you do, you'll pick up a roll of film. Carry it to the safe room at the bottom of the stairs and develop it, where you'll deduce from the picture that Wesker has a thing for Rebecca Chambers. In a small basketball outfit. Wait if its undeveloped when you find it, does that mean Wesker himself took it? o.O
God of War - Secret of the statues
At the end of the game, when you're about to take your place on Aries' now-vacant throne, you walk past two massive statues. Indestructible statues, it seems. Even if you try a few attacks, there's just the usual clink noise of something that can't be broken. So most people move on. Ah, but as with Wesker's desk, it's one of those situations where you've given up too soon! Keep attacking the statues some 400 times. Eventually they'll break, giving you a freephone telephone number. In the recorded message, you hear David Jaffe talking with Kratos. Not such a great reward, in honesty, but certainly a great secret.
Startropics - Uncle Steve's letter
What's that? You didn't heed the printed warning? You ate, tasted or otherwise consumed the 'letter from Uncle Steve' that came in the box with your copy of Startropics? Then you can never know its secret! You must submerge the letter in water in order to uncover the secret radio frequency. Bet you're sorry you ate it now, aren't you? Of course, Virtual Console games don't come with paper manuals, so you'll have to virtually dip the virtual letter in a virtual bucket of virtual water, as pictured above. Cute.
Baldur's Gate - Golden Pantaloons
My pantaloons are full of weasels! Inform the Queen! And so go the ramblings of what turns out to be the only actual clue you're going to get as to the importance of the pantaloons in Baldur's Gate. But they are important. Given them near the start of the first game when you're mistaken for a laundryman, you could give them back for a 100 Exp reward. But if you hold onto them through into the Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal expansion and combine them with Silver and Bronze pantaloons (far too lengthy a process to explain here), you can eventually forge The Big Metal Unit to get a new golem look for your characters, new armour and weapons. Sweet. But were disappointed the weasels never showed up.
Cave Story - Hell
Hell is one of the best areas in the game, but you're unlikely to find it (especially on your first playthrough) unless you took to the internet beforehand and read up on what you needed to do. Would you guess that you should: Skip the Booster v0.8, get the Tow Rope in the Core and take Curly with you? Well, then you must enter the Waterway Cabin and drain the water from Curly, then pick her up again and continue. Next time you see her, she'll have her memories missing. Go back to the Graveyard in Mimiga Village and acquire the Ma Pignon in a boss fight. Go back to Curly and feed her the mushroom. Get the Iron Bond from her. Now the door to the Prefab House will be open during your final escape, which will lead to Sacred Grounds. Phew! And it tells you this WHERE? Oh, and did you know about the secret of the Lunar Gun? Oh FFS...
NiGHTS into Dreams - Super Pian's castle
Ever wondered what the logical conclusion to the evolutionary A-Life system is in NiGHTS? Well, through careful management of your Nightopeans' happiness levels, selective breeding with the enemies in the levels and a bit of luck, you can create a Super Pian. He wears a crown and behaves oddly, picking up mud and throwing it. What's he doing? He's building a castle, of course! Over a few days, he'll continue to build it. After that, he himself may disappear, but a fully-built castle (pictured) will always stay in your game. Nothing in the game or its instructions ever even hint that this could happen at all.
Trials HD - The Riddle
This is the clear winner. A question and an answer both hidden in the game through a variety of obscure clues hidden in plain sight. This one suggests the answer, which suggests the question to which you should seek the answer. 42. Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy fans will know that 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Long story short, after no-one figured it out after two years, RedLynx took pity on everyone and gave us the solution: The answer to the question was 'to question'. You know... stuff.
Oh, and one of the supposed clues, the wooly mammoth, wasn't meant to be in the game, it was left in as a mistake. See the full explanation on YouTube if you're in need of a good 'WTF?!' moment in your day.
Can you out-obscure Trials HD?
There are countless videogame secrets. But which ones would you never, ever have found unless someone told you they were there? Some games thrive on 'em. In fact, we could probably have just had 'the most secret secrets in all of Fez'. What blew your mind?