Cheats and Walkthroughs
Cheats and Walkthroughs
Cheats and Walkthroughs
Who doesn’t like a good videogame Easter egg? There’s nothing like playing a game and discovering some incredible secret you had no idea about, like the sinister messages scrawled on the walls of Portal’s Aperture Laboratories, or John Romero’s bloodied head on a stick in good old Doom II.
Then there are the secrets that most of us don’t discover, the ones so insanely tricky to find that only a handful of people ever find them on their own. Some secrets were buried so deep into their games they became the stuff of legend, the magical old wives’ tales of gaming – before the Internet came along and made nothing a secret, right? Which I guess makes this article detailing the labors behind seven particularly insane videogame secrets no more than a big fat part of the problem.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Nintendo Power once ran a contest offering the kind of immortality a Zelda fan could only dream about: his or her very own room in A Link to the Past. Unfortunately for winner Chris Houlihan, his special room was so obscurely hidden that for years most players had no idea of its existence.
The Method: This is only possible with the haste-bestowing Pegasus boots equipped. You have to sprint through a specific sequence of around ten screens until you reach the well hidden under the bush just inside the castle walls. Not only is the route so specific, but also you can’t take any damage along the way, you have to cut through the bush from the south side, and you need to do it all in a matter of seconds. There are other confirmed methods, but they’re all just as oddball and obscure.
The Reward: You fall into a room with 45 blue rupees scattered around it and a plaque which reads “My name is Chris Houlihan. This is my top secret room. Keep it between us, OK?” And that’s just about it, I’m afraid. Still, fanfare or no, it’s a cool secret - especially if your name is Chris Houlihan.
As if the main game’s mix of precise platforming and time-bending puzzles wasn’t mental enough, Braid’s most secret of secrets takes things to a whole new level of madness. Chances are you’ll have noticed the dim constellation in the sky by Tim’s house. Did you know you can make it light up?
The Method: You find each of the constellation’s stars a different way. Some of the methods are perplexing just to read, so imagine how insane they were to actually discover. Just think about it; in the spirit of investigation someone decided to try waiting on a cloud that shifted slower than copies of Bomberman: Act Zero. You have to sit for nearly two hours on that cloud before you find the star. Here’s the real kicker: if you don’t collect a particular star first then you have to start the whole thing from scratch. It must’ve been absolutely maddening to work out.
The Reward: Spoilers abound! With seven of the constellation’s eight stars found, you unlock an end sequence that now plays differently. Instead of letting the princess escape, now you’re able to jump up and reach her. But instead of rescuing her, the princess blows up in a screen-consuming white light. When you return to the house, you can now see her in the lit-up constlellation.
The 1979 Atari game is as famous for its Easter egg as it is for being a seminal adventure title. Even so, the notoriety of the secret doesn’t diminish how Herculean it was in a pre-Internet age to find it.
Method: First, bring a bridge with you to the black castle. Inside, you use the bridge to find a secret room. In this room there’s a one-pixel dot, the same color as the background, hidden towards the bottom right corner. It’s essentially invisible, so it’s a feat to manually grab it when you don’t even know it’s there. You then have to take the dot back to the main hallway below the gold castle. Do all this and one of the hallway’s walls will disappear, granting you access to a secret room.
The Reward: The room is blank but for a message scrawled in vertical pixilated text: “Created by Walter Robinett”. Even though each Atari 2600 game had a single creator, credit would always just go to Atari. So Robinett left what he described as a “signature, like at the bottom of a painting.” The only way to do this was to keep it hidden, both from players and from Atari. You would have to say that his plan to ensure he’d get the credit for Adventure worked – and then some.
Final Fantasy IV
There are countless obscure secrets strewn across the venerable J-RPG series, particularly across the SNES era, but how on Earth did anyone ever find the Adamant Armor in Final Fantasy IV?
The Method: In the game’s final dungeon, there’s a small side room with a treasure chest. The room outwardly appears to be perfectly innocuous, and there’s no obvious reason to hang around. If you do mill around in there, however, then as always you’ll continually spawn enemies. Keep doing this and eventually you’ll spawn a weird group of pink blobs called Flan Princesses. By eventually, we’re actually talking about a 1 in 64 chance – and it gets worse. The flans sometimes drop an item called a Pink Tail, but not every time. Actually, the drop also has a 1 in 64 chance. So, on average, you’ll need to go through 4096 battles in this room before you get the item you’re looking for. Luckily, battles in a Final Fantasy endgame dungeon are renowned for being really simp-oh wait…
The Reward: Once you get the pink tail you have to then track back a considerable distance to find the tail collector, and here you exchange the tail for your reward: Adamant Armor. It is fine armor, with stats and resistances that make it easily the best in the game. It’s so good that you might be tempted to get it for your whole party. Just so you know: 4096 times 4 comes to 16384.
You’ll need to show platforming and cryptography skills as well as a dollop of Kojima-style lateral thinking if you want to get all the cubes required to unlock this XBLA title’s good ending. Once you dig into the post-completion content, however, you realize that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Method: More spoilers! There are three parts of a V-shaped block to find – they won’t appear in your inventory. To get the first you have to use a telescope to find two blinking red dots, and then translate that sequence of 96 blinks into a code of trigger presses. The second requires translating and then answering a vaguely worded riddle – with just a few difficult-to-find clues to go on. As for the last piece, found by entering a code to open a black monolith… the code is now known. As yet nobody knows the reasoning behind it as it was found by exhaustive trial-and-error.
The Reward: At the time of writing, no-one is quite sure. The completed V block appears to do little more than raise the completion score by a few percent. So what to do next? Players are trying to reverse engineer a means behind the monolith code, and hope that clues coded into the recently released soundtrack will provide some clarity. For now, the final chapter of Fez remains a mystery.
People went nuts looking for Reptile in the first Mortal Kombat. The game constantly taunted you with his hidden presence by having the green-garbed ninja make a cameo every so often. He would appear before a fight and point above him to one of a variety of messages including “Look to la luna”, “Blocking will get you nowhere”, and “Fatality is key.” These messages were, in fact, clues.
The Method: First, you must be on the Pit stage – the one with the moon (luna) in the background. You have to win two consecutive rounds without taking any damage. This includes blocking because you still take some damage when you block. You also had to win the second round with a fatality. Finally, if a shadow doesn’t float across the moon during the fight then nothing will happen, even if you meet the conditions exactly. The shadow appears every 8th time you fight on the stage.
The Reward: Your reward is a fight with Reptile. Reptile was borne by creators John Tobias and Ed Boon fusing Sub-Zero and Scorpion into one character, so with both their moves he’s pretty tricky to defeat. Successfully take him down and you’ll earn yourself a cool 10 million points. Lose and you get the honor of seeing Reptile perform either Sub-Zero or Scorpion’s fatality on you.
After Adventure, Easter eggs had become a thing at Atari. So it’s unsurprising that Landon Dyer, the guy tasked with porting Donkey Kong to the Atari 400, decided to put in his own. More surprising is how it took 26 years to actually find it, making it one of the longest undiscovered secrets in gaming.
The Method: In 2008, Dyer wrote a blog post revealing the existence of a Donkey Kong Easter egg that no-one knew about. Unfortunately, he didn’t remember how to unlock it. This makes Don Hodges’ feat all the more remarkable – Hodges, by the way, is the guy who fixed Pac-Man’s kill screen. Thanks to his hacking skills, Hodges discovered the bizarre set of required actions. First, set a specific high score. Then kill off your remaining lives, the last one by falling. Then set the game’s difficulty to 4. Finally, wait a few minutes for the title screen to appear.
The Reward: If you’re scratching your head reading that then prepare yourself for a great deal of confused blinking. 26 years after the game’s release, Hodges discovered that the secret unearthed by all his work was – wait for it – Landon Dyer’s initials on the title screen. Hodges says it was the most rewarding bit of hacking he’s done, and hats off to him, but as for Dyer: why did you make it so impossible to find something so minimal? There is such a thing as going too far, you know.