Note: This article was updated in January of 2019.
We spend countless hours playing through video games and for some of us, the game is never finished until we gathered every collectible, achievement, trophy, and quest. However, there are some games that keep areas so secret from the gamers that it becomes a real challenge to discover them.
In this list, we go over some of our favorite hidden levels found within video games. Check out our current picks down below and also let us know some of your favorite secrets areas be dropping us a comment.
#15 Mushroom kingdom – Super Smash Bros.
We shouldn’t have to tell you just how massive Super Smash Bros got when it launched. The series is still going strong today with the upcoming title, Super Smash Bros Ultimate releasing in the holiday season of this year. Since its initial launch, the game had character unlocks available for players to try and solve. However, the game only had one stage unlock which kept secret known as the Mushroom Kingdom.
To unlock this secret stage players had to complete the single-player campaign with the eight original characters followed by playing each stage within the Vs. Mode. While the map could be unlocked by all players it’s often banned for tournament plays because the level has a number of hazards that can make the gameplay a bit challenging.
#14 King Cow – Diablo 2
The secret cow level within the Diablo 2 installment is actually rather infamous as almost everyone is aware of this secret location. This secret level first started out with rumors of it being real within the first Diablo title but it wouldn’t be until the launch of Diablo 2 that the developers decided to give fans of the series a nod to the bizarre tale.
Within the level, players would be facing against a swarm of angry cows that were armed and ready for battle. There’s even a Cow King boss to go against.
#13 Aztec & Egyptian – 007 GoldenEye
Wouldn’t you know it, another Nintendo 64 video game title makes our list. There is a nice selection of video games that everyone owned when the console came out all those years ago. One of those video games was 007 GoldenEye. This was a video game that retold the cinematic storyline of 007 GoldenEye the movie and while the game was highly regarded for the single player experience it was the multiplayer that really sold the game.
There are two levels in particular that gave players a challenge before they were able to unlock them. Players had to go through the game in the Secret Agent difficulty and complete the campaign levels which were by no means an easy feat. Chances are most players decided the extra levels were not worth the painful gameplay journey.
#12 Archdragon Peak – Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 had a secret area known as the Archdragon Peak which featured an optional boss by the name of the Nameless King. Players could find a variety of drops one of which is the Soul of the Nameless King that could later be used to make the Storm Curved Sword, Dragonslayer Swordspear or the Lightning Storm.
However, before players could fight the Nameless King they would first have to reach the secret area. In the game, players would have to obtain The Old Dragon Gesture and then use the gesture near the prison of Boreal Valley.
#11 Doom Levels – Doom 2016
Everyone knows about Doom, the video game franchise has been running for decades and we still can’t get enough of the series. The latest title simply is known as Doom is a reboot of the franchise and while it pays homage to the origins of this iconic FPS it also includes a number of Easter eggs. Scattered through the Doom 2016 release video game are small secret levels that take players back into the original Doom world.
Since the levels were scattered throughout the game it was almost certain that everyone managed to stumble upon to one or two hidden levels during their campaign. Now that we’re all waiting for the upcoming sequel to release, Doom Eternal, it will be interesting to see if developers over at id Software will also include additional hidden levels from the past Doom 2 installment.
#10 Nightmare – Wolfenstein: The New Order
Similar to Doom in our previous point, the Wolfenstein series is another iconic FPS video game that’s been around for years. Back in 2014, the video game received a reboot where developers brought players into a world controlled by a Nazie regime. However, there are some homages made to early days of the franchise.
For instance, players could come across a bed in which they could rest their character up before progressing forward. If players select to have a nightmare then the game will toss players back into the old 1992 id Software release of Wolfenstein 3D.
#9 Painted World of Ariamis – Dark Souls
The Painted World of Ariamis is a small secret area that also included an optional boss named Crossbreed Priscilla. However, before you are able to go into the level players had to return to their prison cell and pick up the Peculiar Doll followed by touching a particular painting.
As mentioned this area is not very big but it does have some useful items and enemy encounters. Because the boss fight is optional, players can only activate the battle by attacking first. Defeating Crossbreed Priscilla will grant players the Priscilla Dagger.
#8 Developer Room – Fallout 4
The Fallout franchise usually tosses players into a massive open world where they are encouraged to explore in order to find quests and interesting locations or characters. However, there is one particular area within Fallout 4 that’s well worth mentioning and that’s the Developer’s room.
This secret area could only be accessed by typing in a few commands on the PC platform. Afterward, players would transport into a secret room where all of the items from the Fallout 4 video game would be present. Rumors have it that the area was used for developers to test certain items but with it left in after the game launched. Players could sneak inside and arm themselves with the very best weapons before venturing back out into the wasteland.
#7 Final Boss – Sonic Mania
Sonic Mania released with fans of the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game titles instantly ready to purchase the title. Not only did this game give players the look and feel of an original Sonic title that belonged to the Sega Genesis but it greatly expanded on those early game copies. Players were able to enjoy classic stages that were revamped along with a series of boss fights.
Overall players were fighting against the evil Dr. Robotnik and as it turns out, the game included a secret boss fight level that would grant players the true ending for the game. In order to get into this final fight players will have to collect all seven Chaos Emeralds and from there defeat Dr. Robotnik as Super Sonic.
This does come with a slight twist as the final boss fight with Dr. Robotnik will be able to hurt Super Sonic and take away his rings. As a result, the battle can be a bit more challenging than expected. However, if you manage to beat the boss fight then you’ll receive a new video showcasing the true ending.
#6 Muspelheim & Niflheim – God of War 2018
The latest God of War installment has become a huge hit on the PlayStation 4 where Kratos is left in an open world and facing against Norse mythology. Throughout the game, players could tweak the equipment and upgrades of Kratos’ weapons but if you wanted the best items within the game then you would need to hunt down the locations for two secret realms.
This requires a few specific Cipher locations which we covered in a previous guide. Afterwards you will gain access to both Muspelheim and Niflheim which contains the best gear to sport during your journey. Taking the time to find the Ciphers is well worth the investment especially since we have a detailed guide to help you along the way.
#5 Mile High Club – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
This particular level wasn’t all that hidden but we’re sure that there was plenty of gamers who flew through the game and didn’t even notice the level to begin with. All you needed to do in order to access the Mile High Club was to wait until the game credits ended. That’s all, once the credits competed gamers would be treated to a brand new level that focused on players taking out a terrorist threat on a hijacked plane. It was a quick level to play through but it was a nice little rewarding content treat for those who watched the credits rather than quickly skipping it to get into the main title again.
#4 Green Hill Zone – Sonic Adventure 2
Sonic fans may not have particularly enjoyed the new 3D titles, but if you were skilled enough then you could unlock a pretty interesting level in Sonic Adventure 2. Fans of the original series would get access to the Green Hill Zone, developed completely in 3D and while its hidden away in the game, players could unlock it after spending a ton of time playing through Sonic Adventure 2. In order for the game to unlock the Green Hill Zone then you would need to acquire all 180 emblems along with securing all A Ranks within the game. In fact, there was coding hidden away in the game that revealed players were supposed to get a few goodies for completing the Green Hill Zone with an A Rank. Unfortunately, because the development studio ran out of time, they got rid of the goodies for Green Hill Zone and left the level for players to stumble upon.
#3 Debug Room – Donkey Kong 64
This is less of a hidden level for gamers to find and something used for developers. It looks like when Rare was creating Donkey Kong 64 they left a room hidden away that has a Donkey Kong model, a balloon and a few different areas to maneuver around. In order to access the level players were suppose to acquire all the Blueprints, enter Snide’s HQ followed by accessing the Bonus Menu. From there all players needed to do was to hold the B and quickly press the A key.
#2 Playable Prototype – Rayman 2
Similar to the Donkey Kong 64 Debug Room, there was another level in Rayman 2 that wasn’t necessarily intended for players to uncover. Instead, the Rayman sequel was being developed originally as a 2D platformer and while the development team decided to cancel the game, it left a single 2D platform level within the PlayStation Rayman 2 release. This level could be accessed when players collect 720 Lums then completing the Crow’s Nest. Afterward, players would gain access to a prototype level to the cancelled Rayman 2 2D platformer title.
#1 The Island – 007 GoldenEye
If you owned a Nintendo 64 back in the day then chances have you owned 007 GoldenEye as it was one of the must-have video game titles during the console generation. In the first video game level players were exploring a dam though it’s possible that you stumbled upon an island off in the distance. Unfortunately, there was no way of accessing the area until the use of a GameShark. It was then that players discovered that the island only had a small guard tower and turret but both places were unarmed and didn’t allow access into the buildings.
The mystery behind the island wouldn’t be solved until years later when Rare developers stated that the island was put into the game with players having to investigate the tower which would reward them with armor. However, the boat needed to transport the player to the island never made it into the game so the entire idea was scrapped leaving only the island in place.