Finding a well-placed secret in a video game can be a thrilling experience. One famous example revolves around a game designer placing an item behind a waterfall. The recently released Super Mario Bros. Wonder provides another example, with some stages having more than one exit. Other games might unlock a secret room or item after the player meets a set of requirements. Some instances showcase a developer having a sense of humor and placing a sign somewhere talking about how the player shouldn't be in that area. Whatever the case, finding a secret can be a lot of fun, especially when a game does it well.
1. World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft has some testing areas that developers use during development. Areas like breaking into An'Qiraj before Blizzard made it publicly available. Another example showcases a player finding unused emerald dream assets behind a portal.
2. Ratchet: Deadlocked
More of an easter egg than a big secret, if Ratchet goes somewhere he isn't supposed to, the player will hear some interesting dialogue. If Ratchet goes behind a building during a DeadZone challenge, the player will see the hosts panic about Ratchet escaping until they realize that Ratchet needs to reload.
3. Super Mario World
If the player finds the secret zone in Super Mario World, some interesting secrets will be your reward. If the player beats all of the levels in the secret zone, then the color palette for the game will change. Additionally, an alternate music track will play if Mario hangs around the secret zone for a little while.
4. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
One of the most famous examples features a waterfall in Hyrule, which holds a big secret. This area has a location called the “Mysterious Pond.” If Link throws certain items in this pond, a fairy will return an upgraded item. For example, if Link throws his boomerang into the pond, he will receive a magical boomerang in return.
5. Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto IV takes place in Liberty City. Liberty City has a lot of different areas to explore, as well as some easter eggs for fans. One such secret resides inside the Statue of Liberty. For players that make the journey to the statue, going inside allows everyone to see the statue's beating heart.
6. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Going through some of the newer Wolfenstein games allows players to experience the past. Hidden within each chapter of the game, players can find hidden Wolfenstein 3D levels to go through. Wolfenstein 3D arrived in 1992, meaning playing these levels within a modern Wolfenstein game invokes a nice sense of nostalgia.
7. Elden Ring
Elden Ring features optional content that keeps on going. Within the city of Leyndell resides a lot of content that some gamers will miss entirely. It starts with the player going into the sewers to find a location. Important game lore will be the reward if the player keeps descending and going behind some hidden walls.
8. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
The Lego games have developed a reputation for being cute versions of popular movies. In Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, a moment exists where the player sees Stormtroopers relaxing in a hot tub. Another funny section features a Stormtrooper showering in their underwear, still wearing the iconic helmet.
9. Doom (2016)
Like Wolfenstein, the 2016 version of Doom includes hidden levels from older franchise iterations. The 2016 version of Doom features 13 secret levels and other hidden areas. Whenever a development team pays homage to their past in this way, gamers always enjoy taking that trip down memory lane.
10. Super Mario Bros.
One of the first examples of hidden levels, Super Mario Bros. has a way the player can skip entire worlds. For example, if the player jumps to the top of level 1-2 and runs all the way across the screen, Mario would come across three pipes. Each pipe represents another world. So even though Mario finds himself in level 1-2, he could warp to world four at that moment.
11. Dark Souls
One secret area in Dark Souls features a snowy area. This area becomes accessible via a secret path back to the start of the game. If the player picks up a specific item here, it will trigger a cinematic in an entirely different area of the world.
12. Halo 2
Halo 2 features a hidden gun that can be fun to use. However, Bungie makes the player work for it, and only some can do it. To accomplish this, the player must get a Banshee to follow the convoy. Keep the appropriate distance from the Banshee, or it will head out of the tunnel. Once the Banshee arrives at the correct spot, hijack it and fly to the weapon to retrieve it.
13. ToeJam & Earl
On the Sega Genesis, ToeJam & Earl have a “Level 0.” Otherwise known as “Hot Tub Island,” the location features palm trees and cliffs on all sides. Running around the area, the player will find Hula Girls dancing and two in a hot tub. Jumping into the hot tub with both girls will replenish your health.
14. Dying Light
Dying Light features parkour action in the city of Harran. Something players don't expect to see: an homage to Super Mario Bros., but the development team did just that. The Super Mario level's location resides in Old Town and the player needs to be about halfway through the game to access it. Players will know the correct location by looking for a chimney with the iconic green pipe sticking out.
15. Borderlands 2
Borderlands 2 features a near-unlimited assortment of weapons combined with open-world action. The development team apparently enjoys playing Minecraft as well. A hidden Minecraft area resides in the Caustic Caverns after completing Chapter 9. Once found, mine the back walls of the cave. The reward for doing so involves a Minecraft skin for your character.
16. Batman: Arkham Asylum
The warden's office in the game features some lore that hints at Batman: Arkham City before the game's official announcement. Gamers will find a completely unmarked wall in an unremarkable office. Spray the wall with all three explosive gels, and then Batman gains access to this secret area.
17. Fallout: New Vegas
Exploring off the beaten path in Bethesda games often results in some cool surprises. A pleasant surprise awaits in Fallout: New Vegas if the player walks from the Legion camp to the dam. If done correctly, your character walks away with a nice piece of Tesla armor.
18. Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus can be a serene experience at times. With that being the case, it makes sense that a secret garden exists. To get there the player can climb the Dormin Prison to the top. Upon arrival, players will see a beautiful garden. Players need a decent amount of stamina to make the climb, so keep that in mind as well.
19. San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing
San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing on the Nintendo 64 features a secret stunt area. Players can have a lot of fun here, goofing around and trying new maneuvers. However, no spawn points exist in the area, which means everyone needs to drive back to the entrance when done.
20. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back features secret warp areas. To access this remote location, the player must reach a specific area. Crash will warp out of the stage and into a warp room if done successfully. These rooms can benefit players, including having many extra lives to give the player a nice cushion later in the game.
21. Final Fantasy VII
The most powerful summon in Final Fantasy VII takes quite a bit to find. The player has to figure out how to get a Gold Chocobo that runs across the water. Once successful, a small island awaits in the ocean that will give the player this summon. The only way to get to this summon revolves around the gold chocobo since it does not have a place for your airship to land when flying over it.
22. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
A hidden test village exists in the game, but the player must jump through several hoops to get there. For starters, the player must be in the garden area of Frostcrag Spire. Look up and at a window and then save the game. Once saved, delete the game's downloadable content and then load the save. If done correctly, the player arrives in this black void. The character will drop into a house if the player moves forward enough. The player can now step outside and check out this secret area.
23. Portal 2
Portal 2 features secret areas similar to the first game. One such instance involves the Advanced Aerial Faith Plate chamber in Chapter 2. The player must place two portals in just the right spot and then launch themselves into the secret room. An added bonus of unlocking an achievement also exists if your character brings a radio to that secret space.
24. Horizon Zero Dawn
Players found an out-of-bounds area in Horizon Zero Dawn utilizing a glitch. This area features a testing ground for the development team, not meant for the general public. This area also featured some items cut from the final game, such as concepts that might not have worked out.
25. Lego Indiana Jones
Lego Indiana Jones can be a fun game to play as it highlights the adventures from the movies. Some excellent hidden content also includes Star Wars figures and locations. One such reference revolves around a mountain level. This level features a small ice cave that has Luke Skywalker in it, wearing full Hoth gear.