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The Top 7... secret rooms in video games

The term 'secret room' is more than the sum of its parts. Secrets are always cool, but they work best when they make an otherwise normal-sounding word more intriguing. Secret Santa. Secret squirrel. Victoria's Secret. Videogames understand the worth of this like no other medium and use it to turn regular rooms into something irresistible. Secret rooms. Some are better than others, of course. So here are our Top 7 secret rooms in video games.

 

7. SkullMonkeys

Despite being the inspiration for this very feature, PSone platformer SkullMonkeys' secret room has to be way down this list, primarily because it's only a room in the loosest, videogamey sense of the word. It has an entrance and an exit and clearly-defined parameters for movement, but it's also one of the most 'outside'-looking scenes in all of gaming. Oh, and it's not incredibly secret, as it's accessed through a regular bonus bubble with a little swirl on it, unlocked by collecting three swirls in the regular level. BUT.

What it does have in its favour which makes it absolutely impossible to omit is a mind-meltingly awesome and downright creepy song all about how great it is. And if said song calls it a room, so who are we to argue? Have a listen:



It's a mix between They Might Be Giants and Tenacious D. Favourite line? Right at the end, whispered in a normal-sounding yet clearly psychotic voice. "I'll never leave you". The room itself is full of juicy goodies and there are no enemies to spoil your fun, so it's at least got most of the bases covered.

How secret is it?


Not very secret at all. I should point out that no squirrels were harmed in the making of this feature. He's just a grey squirrel (groan).

How roomy is it?


Above: Not very room-like, admittedly, although it does have invisible boundaries to the sides, bottom and top

 

6. Dragon Quest VIII

Aah, le Puff-Puff room. Nothing to do with Amsterdam, this is actually a series regular. It's not part of the quest, and while it's freely accessible from the world map, it's still just a door set into a hillside. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. What is the Puff-Puff room? Here's a clue:

(゚-゚)^o^(゚-゚)

Still no idea? Watch the following video and you'll understand:



Yes, what at first appears to be a seedy massage parlour with rather explicit connotations of... 'rudeness' actually turns out to be a simple head rub with two slimes. Awesome. Better still, it finally illuminates the blackouts of previous Dragon Quest games' Puff-Puff rooms. Yup, it was slimes all along. Why, what did you think was happening?


Above: To be honest, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. Mmmm... lovely warm puff-puff

How secret is it?

Not awfully secret. It's through an understandably discreet door in a hillside. There are some references to it being near the waterfall, but you still need to find it for yourself.

How roomy is it?


Above: An intriguing boudoir with a nice warm feeling. Oh, wait, that's just the slimes

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Top 7

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54 comments

  • seventhangel - February 9, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    for Skullmonkeys, you should've used the bonus level hidden inside a bonus level, "The Incredible Drivy Finn". Only found by running past the first level exit. Still impressed to see that game in any kind of list.
  • Grivien - January 28, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    The puff-puff thing, lol. I saw the blueprint in Batman Arkham Asylum. But I did'nt look further. I did'nt know it was a whole room! By that point, I'd got bored by the overated drivel, I said frakk this and shortly after I deleted it.
  • murphy341 - November 1, 2010 10:53 p.m.

    That was an awesome article but I really wanted to see "Level 0" from Toejam and Earl included - that was a great secret room!
  • CountZero - October 20, 2010 4:18 p.m.

    The secret rooms in Portal were also extremely cool.
  • SoulFinger74 - October 7, 2010 4:19 a.m.

    I always thought the Level -1 trick in Super Mario Bros. was the better secret. That was a fun one to do on the NES store display ... nothing like a perpetual water world to confuse the staff at Lechmere (RIP).
  • Memph - October 7, 2010 12:49 a.m.

    no romero head even in Doom 2? Blimey
  • ShokuaHyuga - October 6, 2010 7:58 a.m.

    Wow, I stumbled across the warp zone so randomly I never realized it was supposed to be a secret.
  • ScrEAMaPiLLar - October 6, 2010 7:02 a.m.

    Loved the feature. This probably the Crash 3 fan boy in me, but those secret rooms you get after beating the game was just fun to play. I wonder what the discussion for each pick was like.
  • SenatorPepper - October 6, 2010 5:17 a.m.

    I love secret rooms, especially in platformers. I love that feeling that something is subtly wrong with the world, that there are hidden parts that make no sense.
  • Silentboy - October 5, 2010 11 p.m.

    What about the Insomniac Musuem in Rachet and Clank 3 : Up Your Arsenal? It was giant, had vehicles and mini games, but you could only access it on a certain day at a certain time.
  • philipshaw - October 5, 2010 11:39 a.m.

    Great article, the arkham ayslum one is great
  • sleepy92ismypsn - October 5, 2010 8:25 a.m.

    Meh, I haven't played any of these games except Batman Arkham Asylum and I didn't even like that game. Sorry for not reading but at least I left a comment.
  • jmcgrotty - October 5, 2010 7:53 a.m.

    For me, the top is a no-brainer and related to SMB's warp zone. The warp to level -1. The epitome of useless, but who the hell figured that one out?
  • revrock - October 5, 2010 2:57 a.m.

    Donkey Kong 64... the room with an original (and playeble) Donkey Kong arcade machine. I think it is the only way to play the "pie level" at home.
  • Thequestion 121 - October 5, 2010 1:43 a.m.

    Awesome Top 7. I love secret rooms :)
  • batmanboy11 - October 5, 2010 12:46 a.m.

    Good list.
  • deformedorange - October 4, 2010 11:39 p.m.

    I agree with #1 and the zelda one, but Halo Reach????? The tribute room is amazing
  • PushesPaperInACircle - October 4, 2010 11:10 p.m.

    @Ultima, here is a link, you do have to have Serpent's Isle. It was my favorite easter egg from that era.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xevee872p4w
  • MrSuitMan - October 4, 2010 10:28 p.m.

    Secret Squirrel? That show was awesome.
  • gamefreakl1996 - October 4, 2010 9:50 p.m.

    lol I always use the secret room in mario :P

Showing 1-20 of 54 comments

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