To the victor belong the spoils
You could argue that its foolish for developers to put so much effort into creating things so few players will find, but trust us: in the following cases, its worth it. Even if you have to fight tooth and nail for a trinket that's - in the grand scheme of things - completely insignificant, something about seeing what others won't makes it all worthwhile. Here's the best of the best you overachievers will get, which will certainly leave you better off than those poor saps saddled with the lamest unlockables bonuses.
After sampling these slides, you may be asking yourself: where are all the guns? Gaming has its fair share of unlockable, world-melting super weapons too, and we've collected all those in a separate feature, found here. Between these two features, you're sure to unlock the most potent weapons and abilities gaming has to offer - or blister your thumbs up real good trying.
Big Boss face camo in Metal Gear Solid 4
Suggested by: Sliet
How to unlock it: The title 'Big Boss' isn't something that's handed out lightly in the Metal Gear universe - and this game is no exception. First, you need to finish MGS4 on any difficulty. This will unlock the 'Boss Extreme' difficulty mode, the toughest difficulty mode in the game. You then have to finish MGS4 again on this new difficulty mode, all while fulfilling several additional challenges. These include: finishing the game in less than 5 hours, no kills, no detection, and no using of health items. You basically have to know MGS4 better than your extended family, and have your entire route through it mapped out in advance.
The amazing things you get: Beating MGS4 under these grueling conditions earns you the 'Big Boss' emblem (along with several other lesser emblems). Between them, these accolades unlock several new weapons (The Patriot) and items (Stealth Camo), but by far the most interesting is the Big Boss face camo. This unusual facemask strikes fear into the hearts of all who gaze upon it. Most enemies will instantly cower and drop all their weapons when they see you approach; others simply faint. Snake laments looking like a demon in the MGS5 trailer, but this is a true demonic visage.
Knights of the Round in Final Fantasy 7
Suggested by: Horusalis
How to unlock it: Obtaining Final Fantasy 7's most powerful summon can be handled in a couple different ways, but each is a hair-ripping challenge. The summon itself is found on Round Island, a donut-shaped spit of land that's impossible to explore without a gold chocobo. Obtaining the gold chocobo is the tricky part, as you must either go through a long and exhaustive chocobo breeding process that's about as much fun as helping a horse give birth, or defeat Ruby Weapon (one of the game's optional super bosses) and exchange the item you receive for a feathered friend. Alternatively, Knights of the Round is also part of the Master Materia set, but you have to defeat a different (and more challenging) super boss to get that.
The amazing thing you get: To be fair, Knights of the Round is a two-minute tidal wave of swords and sorcery. Thirteen ornately armored knights roll up on whatever you're fighting and deliver a barrage of sword slashes, fireballs, and comet strikes. Of course, the coup d'etat is when King Arthur himself takes the field and delivers a screen-shattering final blow. And since damage for each of the 13 hits is calculated individually, this attack easily exceeds the 9999 damage limit of other summons. Safer-Sephiroth's universe-ending Super Nova has got nothing on these overpowered knights of the roundtable.
Hyper Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
How to unlock it: Emeralds. You have to collect so many emeralds. First up are the eight classic Chaos Emeralds, which let you transform into Super Sonic. Once you have all those, you then need to collect eight more Super Emeralds to unlock Hyper Sonic. What all this means is that you'll be spending a lot of time in the Blue Spheres minigame. These sadistic dexterity challenges find Sonic running along a spherical arena collecting blue orbs while avoiding red ones. Oh sure, those stages start out nice and easy, but the longer you take, the faster it gets, until you're making split-second turns one after the other afraid to blinkbecause the screen ismoving sofastyoucan'tlookawaythesoundof collectingblueorbswill haunt yournightmares.
The amazing thing you get: In the right hands, Hyper Sonic can absolutely destroy Sonic the Hedgehog 3. He moves faster than Sonic (and Super Soinc), flashes between different colors, and has a mid-air dash that can destroy all enemies on the screen. But where things get really interesting is when you collect all eight Super Emeralds as Tails or Knuckles. Tails becomes Super Tails, who's joined by a trio of super-powered birds that automatically attack enemies; while Knuckles becomes Hyper Knuckles, who can clear the screen of foes by slamming into walls.
Abyssal Armor in Darksiders 2
How to unlock it: Accessing Darksiders 2's most powerful armor set requires you to collect lots and lots of stuff. We're talking Banjo-Kazooie-levels of collectibles here, including (but not limited to) 40 tome pages, 30 relics, and 69 stonebites. Each one of these things is a tiny little item tucked away behind inconspicuous rocks or dark corners in the game's world. Basically, everywhere you'd never look. And a lot of them are in dungeons - dungeons you'll have to replay multiple times if you want to find everything. Darksiders 2 is a fun game, but having to redo the same dungeon multiple times while looking for the apocalyptic equivalent of a needle in a haystack is about as much fun as having to redo your taxes.
The amazing thing you get: Darksiders II does reward you handsomely for your troubles, transforming Death into something that should be on an '80s death metal album cover. Each piece of this set provides a massive boost to Death's core stats, save for one: resistance, your Achilles' heel. Perhaps the most controversial aspect are the two purple horns that are included free with the Abyssal Spaulders. I guess all the metal spikes and engraved demon faces didn't make the Pale Rider demonic enough, so what the hell, throw a pair of horns on top of him. Why not?
Dead Space 2s Foam Finger
How to unlock it: No matter what difficulty you choose, Dead Space 2 is a harrowing, frightening journey. Necromorphs pop out of vents, demon babies swarm at you, and seemingly sane folk turn into alien zombies at the drop of a hat. However, at its most difficult setting--Hardcore--youll have to fight tougher, more resilient foes with fewer resources than ever. If you manage to survive that ordeal, however, youll be rewarded.
The amazing thing you get: A foam finger with powers akin to Unitologys most powerful god (Did they have a god? We never could quite get a handle on that religion). Similar to the Were number one props you can buy for three bucks at homecoming, but with the power to completely de-limb an enemy in a matter of milliseconds, the Hand Cannon is by far games best weapon. Plus, in lieu of projectiles and accompanying noises, the Hand Cannons psychic super-powers are accentuated by Isaac gruffly exclaiming Pew! Pew!
Toriyama Robo in Tobal No. 1
How to unlock it: For many, the toughest part of Squares debut on the PlayStation platform was managing to remove the accompanying Final Fantasy VII demo disc from the tray. Once that was done, the fortunate fighting game fans looking for something new were treated to Tobal No. 1s Quest Mode, where you progress through dungeons filled with enemies and randomized potions that can be used to power or poison yourself or your enemies. The first three dungeons (which unlock the final three enemies in arcade mode) run under 10 floors each and can be completed in under 15 minutes each. But the final dungeon is a beast, spanning 30 floors and taking over an hour to complete.
The amazing thing you get: If you manage to make it all down to the final level, youll unlock a cute little robot named Toriyama Robo, the android alter-ego of famed character artist Akira Toriyama (creator of Dragon Ball, and designer of Chrono Trigger and Tobals cast). Lose at any point during the preceding 29 levels, however, and youll have to start all over again. BRUTAL.
Autumn in Super Mario World
How to unlock it: If youre the exploring type in Super Mario World, youll find a Star Exit in five of the games worlds in Dinosaur Land. Each of those leads to Star World levels that are slightly tougher than the standard stages, but they also introduce different-colored baby Yoshis. These adorable Yoshis have slightly different abilities compared to the garden-variety green dino: the blue one flies, the red one shoots fireballs regardless of what he eats. However, theres even more after Star World. Beating those levels unlocks Special World, with hard-as-nails levels belied by surfer slang stage names like Tubular and Mondo.
The amazing thing you get: Special Worlds insanity includes hellish situations like a level without platforms (that Mario must traverse by remaining in his balloon power-up form the entire time) and a stage that deviously mixes trampolines and Bullet Bill. But completing the run will literally transform Super Mario World. Besides giving the environments a brownish autumn hue, plenty of enemy sprites are drastically (and oddly) altered. How so? Pirahna plants turn into pumpkin heads, Bullet Bills turn into birds, and Koopa Troopas perform the ultimate mindfreak by wearing Mario and Luigi masks. We imagine that this mode is like seeing the world through Mario's eyes while he's tripping balls on peyote.
Fierce Deity in The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask
How to unlock it: There are dozens of masks to unlock in Links second Nintendo 64 adventure, and while some (like the one that turns you into a powerful Goron) are easily unlocked, theres plenty of useless ones that are fairly difficult to acquire. If you can snag every mask in the core campaign--including the one you get for basically stalking a couple for three days straight instead of saving the world, and the one you have to wait to buy mere minutes before the moon crashes into Termina--youll earn a final mask that turns the games childlike Link into a god.
The amazing thing you get: Remember how fun it was to have the projectile sword attack in the original Legend of Zelda? Remember how disappointed you were when that effect wasnt translated to 3D in Ocarina of Time? Well, besides turning Young Link into a character straight out of Dragon Ball Z, slipping on the Fierce Deity Mask allows our hero to shoot spectacularly devastating Sword Beams at enemies, overpowering any foe in the game with just a few strikes--even the final boss!
Tofu in Resident Evil 2
How to unlock it: Snagging an A rank at the end of a Resident Evil 2 campaign is no easy feat. In addition to finishing the story in under three hours with three saves or less, you cant succumb to temptation and use first aid sprays or unlocked weapons that use infinite ammo. Granted, youll probably get good enough at the game to do this in the process of playing through the game six times, because youll need to do that to unlock the series weirdest character.
The amazing thing you get: After all that repetition, youll gladly welcome a change of pace, which is exactly what The Tofu Survivor provides. You see, in addition to Leon, Claire, and Hunk, a sentient block of bean curd was also witness to the horrors of Raccoon Citys zombie outbreak. Unlike all of the aforementioned human heroes, Tofu has no access to firearms, and must fend off the undead with nothing more than a knife. So your reward for surviving a difficult run through RE2 is an even more difficult run. But this time, youre food!
Vanadlier Class in Vandal Hearts
How to unlock it: Throughout the course of Vandal Hearts, there are six keys hidden on select battlefields throughout the strategy RPG. Snagging each key is usually no easy feat; in a game where proper troop placement is vital, youll usually have to send a soldier out to a remote part of the map to investigate a slight crack in the ground (or in one case, send a flying-type troop to pluck a key out of a lava pool). Your reward for finding each of these? The Trials of Toroah, a series of stages meant to punish your troops with unfair conditions, like traversing a spiral-staircase pyramid as archers rain hell down on you, or a straight path through a gauntlet of the games toughest bosses. Your reward for THAT, however, is truly awesome.
The amazing thing you get: Completing the trials gives you the ability to promote the games protagonist, Ash, into a Vandalier, which is basically the debug mode of character classes. In addition to some sweet gold armor, Vanadlier-class Ash also has access to every single spell in the game, which includes a high-damage spell that can hit every opponent on the map. So basically, instant victory all the time. Cheap? Yes. But dammit, you earned it.
Donkey Kong in Punch-Out
How to unlock it: After completing the initial run-through in the Wiis sublime remake of Punch-Out, youll enter Title Defense mode, where every character--even gamings biggest loser, Glass Joe--is exponentially tougher to beat. If you can run through the entire roster a second time, youll unlock another new mode called Last Stand that mimics the retirement system of the NES original: lose three times, and your career's finished.
The amazing thing you get: If you can stay upright during Last Stand (or more realistically, reset the game before notching a defeat), at some point youll randomly encounter the games coolest new fighter, Donkey Kong (sorry, Disco Kid). Once youve traded blows with Nintendos famous gorilla, youll be able to pick him for an exhibition match at any time. All you had to do was put your entire game progress on the line!