Game developers have been hiding secrets in their games since 1979’s Adventure. But the inclusion of secret levels in games is a bit more rare, as it means hiding away tons of content (which takes time and money to produce) where many players will never find it. These levels are often snapshots of abandoned or forgotten content, tantalizing players with mystery and sometimes downright creepy additions to a familiar world, or just Easter eggs meant to satisfy the secret-hungry player.
Hidden levels in video games exist outside the main content of a game, meaning you’ll have to dig a little deeper to find them. Whether that means glitching through a wall, entering a particular button combo at the right time, or venturing far off the beaten path, you’ll have to look hard to find what developers are hiding in your favorite games.
Whatever the reason behind their inclusion, players delight in finding entire new secret video game levels. From the hidden depths of Karazhan to psychedelic space adventures, these secret levels are some of the weirdest, creepiest, and most mysterious in gaming.
A Secret Cult Is Potentially Recruiting Players Through Kanye Quest’s Hidden Level
Kanye Quest 3030 is a weird little JRPG in which you play as the infamous Kanye West on a journey through time – but that’s only the beginning of the weirdness. Keen-eyed players discovered that entering the word ASCEND into a random dialog prompt in the game opens up an entirely new level.
This level requires you to input password after password, only to end in front of a terminal that instructs you to input your address and await further contact, with a note that the developers will “interact with you and your possessions.” Players have speculated the mysterious level is part of a recruitment effort for a new-age cult, but the developer hasn’t responded to repeated efforts to contact them.
World Of Warcraft’s Grotesque Karazhan Crypts Captivate Players
World of Warcraft‘s Karazhan is spooky enough on its own, a leftover raid from the Burning Crusade era packed full of ghosts, banshees, wraiths, and all manner of other creepy monsters to slay. But it also holds a secret – a hidden crypt containing disturbing images, including a large water-filled room where the upside-down sinners, bloody bodies held in place by heavy chains, float.
To get there requires glitching, a potentially bannable offense. If you manage to do it anyway, you’re greeted by a horrorshow of fiendish delights, including the aforementioned sinners, a giant pile of bones to break your fall, and numerous graves. It’s an unnerving sight, especially because the game makes no use of it – it’s just there, an eerie bit of trivia hidden just beyond reach.
Portal 2’s Secret Chamber Predicts The Future
Part of Portal‘s lasting legacy (the cake is a lie!) is hidden in its secret Rat Man chambers, but Portal 2 takes that a step further. At one point, GLaDOS throws a bunch of garbage at the player, including a radio. Taking that radio into the secret office in the Rat Man den nearby causes the radio to play an awful screeching sound, likely driving most players to drop it.
But that’s not all – the screeching sound, when decoded properly, reveals an image of a Companion Cube on the moon, hinting at the game’s ending before it occurs. Is there a time-travel twist involved in the Portal storyline?
Visit A Pop Culture Icon In Post-Apocalyptic Fallout 4
Fallout is a series rife with nostalgia, and Fallout 4‘s post-apocalyptic vision of Boston is no exception. Hidden in the wasteland is a faithful recreation of the bar from Cheers, the ’80s sitcom about a place where everybody knows your name.
Except Fallout 4‘s vision of Cheers is a little less cheery. The bar’s denizens are long dead, slumped over in their familiar spots, likely lost to the nuclear fallout. It’s a pretty grim reference, one that probably inspires a fair bit of head-scratching among players who missed the show in its prime.
The Heart Of Happiness Hides Inside Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto IV‘s huge open world is packed with content, but its looming Statue of Happiness holds a weird and somewhat creepy secret. Getting to the statue is a trial in itself, as the only way to get inside is to fly a helicopter nearby, bail, and land in the right spot.
Inside, beyond a sign that reads, “No Hidden Content This Way,” you’ll find a giant beating heart, the heart of Liberty City. While you can’t do anything in this room other than appreciate the living epicenter of the city, it’s an intriguing Easter egg.
Explore The Intriguing, Creepy Painted World Of Dark Souls
Dark Souls is no stranger to esoteric levels – the game is often inscrutable, its story buried deep for only the most investigative players to find. The same is true of one of its most interesting stages, The Painted World of Ariamis.
To enter this stage, players must backtrack to the game’s beginning to retrieve a doll that belongs to Priscilla, a dragon-human crossbreed. Clutching the doll in front of the large, snowy painting in Anor Londo teleports you to a world full of tricky enemies that’s difficult to escape, much like the rest of Lordran, only harder to access by accident.
Diablo II Gets Gristly In The Hidden Cow Level
In the days of the first Diablo, rumors circulated that clicking a cow in Tristram a certain number of times would bring you to a secret cow level. Blizzard fueled the flames with the inclusion of a “there is no cow level” cheat in StarCraft, and finally made the level a reality in Diablo II for no other reason than that they could.
After completing Act V of the game, the player must combine Wirt’s Leg and a Tome of Town Portal in the Horadric Cube as they stand in the Rogue Encampment. A red portal then appears, and the player must vanquish the boss before entering the secret level, which is full of Hell Bovines, including the Cow King who drops numerous magical items and stamina potions. The whole level is bizarre, in part because you’re being attacked by cows and, in part, because it only exists thanks to passionate fans insisting it already did.
Star Fox Ventures Out Of This Dimension
The Super Nintendo version Star Fox is often overshadowed by the Nintendo 64 version, but anybody who accidentally ventured into Out of This Dimension, a secret level accessed by destroying an asteroid in the Level 3 Asteroid Belt and flying into a giant bird that appears later in the stage, likely remembers it well.
The level contains various paper plane enemies and a final boss fight with a giant slot machine. In the end, the words “THE END” appear on the screen and infinite enemies begin to appear as the player shoots them down. There’s nothing else to do but die, making the entire level a pointless and somewhat psychedelic “Game Over” unlike any other.
A Mysterious Ghost Haunts Hitman 2
Hitman is well-loved for its open-level design, which allows players to craft their own approaches to each challenge. But Hitman: Contracts features a little something extra in one of its levels.
Discovering this hidden secret requires you to venture off the mission path a bit, but it’s an interesting bit of environmental storytelling. Behind a locked door is a murder investigation, complete with a ghost haunting the premises who appears in front of the player and sometimes in mirrors scattered throughout the level. Spooky.
ToeJam And Earl Hides A Secret Luau
ToeJam and Earl‘s secret luau level is one of those Easter eggs that’s nearly impossible to discover without the internet. By acquiring rocket boots, Icarus Wings, an inner tube, or a lot of luck on Level 2, players can access a hidden Level 0 by falling off the bottom left corner of Level 1.
The level itself is mostly pointless – while you can get an extra life from the lemonade stand, it’s otherwise just an excuse to hang out with some hula dancers and sit around in a hot tub. While it doesn’t add much, its absurdity is precisely ToeJam and Earl‘s style.
Duke Nukem 3D Has A Hidden Launch Facility Level
Duke Nukem is known for being many things, but being subtle is not one of them. In the fourth level of Duke Nukem 3D, L.A. Meltdown, there is a room to the left of a pipe labeled “TOXIC DUMP.” If you pass this sign, you finish the level. If you opt to go into the room next to the pipe (which is guarded by aliens), you find a secret level.
After killing the alien guards, a super computer announces that you have reached a “Secret Level.” End the level and then Duke is in the Launch Facility, where you can waste more aliens and disrupt their plan of taking an Earth rocket ship for nefarious purposes.
You Can Go Back To The Site From ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ In Infernal Machine
Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine has a secret level for those who want to go back to Indy’s roots. In the already secret level “Return to Peru,” there is a secret room with three large medical kits.
“Return to Peru” is Level 17 in the classic game. Here, you can play like Dr. Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark as you try to recover the Peru Idol. Like the original film, there are booby-traps abound, including the famous rolling boulder that almost got him.