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The Top 7... secret rooms in video games

 

1. Super Mario Bros: Warp Zone

This is the quintessential secret room. I cannot imagine the amazement felt by the first person outside of Nintendo to discover it. It breaks the fourth wall as Mario runs along in the score area of the screen. It shows you a side to the game that gamers back then didn't even know games could have. It helps you get to Zone 4 from Zone 1. Dang!



"WELCOME TO WARP ZONE!" says the text, in caps and exclamation mark as if to say 'THIS IS FRIGGIN' AMAZING'. And it is. Although there is something sinister about it. Once you fall down into it, there's no way out again unless you crawl through a pipe. I know Mario's a plumber, but surely that's the stuff of nightmares? Who knows what's lurking in those pipes?


Above: "No... Weegee... I don't-a want to go with you to see mama... no... Weegee... AAAAAARGH!!!

The beauty part is, there are no visual clues when you play the game properly. It's just a brick wall with apparently no way through it. Of course, not even brick walls are all they appear to be, as the entrance to the fabled minus world will attest.

How secret is it?

 
Sure, it's well hidden, but everyone knows it's there now and the challenge involved in getting to it is somewhere between breathing and putting on your socks.

How roomy is it?

Well, it's a clearly-defined space with walls and at least a partial ceiling. Most rooms are entered via a door situated somewhere near the floor, but that gives this a Terminator 2 bunker feel. If you know what I mean.


Above: It's a proper secret room. It's secret and it's a room. It's also full of win!

It had to be, didn't it? Warp Zone is our greatest secret room of all time.

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Topics

Top 7

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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