Nowadays, every hidden video game Easter egg gets posted online about four hours after the game is released, complete with a YouTube tutorial showing you how to find it. But back when the internet was mostly a collection of Star Trek erotica, developers could create elaborate secrets -- including entire levels and game modes -- and then bury them so deep that any players who discovered them would wonder if they were having a very specific stroke.
In fact, sometimes those Easter eggs were actually better (or at least, more interesting) than the game itself. So it's kind of weird to think of how many players never knew that ...
6Star Wars: Shadows Of The Empire Secretly Let You Play As The Bad Guys
In the N64 classic Shadows Of The Empire, you play as Hans So-- uh, Dash Rendar, and battle both the villainous Prince Xizor and the N64's terrible draw distance.
For non-gamers, that means anything more than ten feet in front of your character was a terrifying void.
After the legally required Hoth levels, the game becomes a straightforward romp through the B-list locales of the Star Wars universe. But if you resist the temptation to name your profile POOP_FARTWALKER and instead insert the name "_Wampa__Stompa," you can control various baddies during the Hoth and Echo Base missions, making the game approximately ten times more interesting. As the cheat code implies, you can take control of a wampa (the snow monster that kidnaps Luke at the start of Empire) and go on a rampage throughout the base.
"Excuse me, it's my first time here. Where's the bathro-- AIIIIIIII!"
You can also mindjack a snowtrooper, or get in the pilot seat of an AT-ST and stomp around while feeling all the power a mechanical chicken can offer you.
"Just saying, maybe we should add some guns to the side and back, sir."
Aside from the well-accepted fact that the Empire's forces are simply cooler, the cheat essentially lets you turn the game into Rampage: Star Wars Edition. Because while you probably never gave that movie wampa a second thought, now you can see their endless potential for violent chaos.
"And this is what we're like when we're sober."
5Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine Let You Reenact The First Movie As A Hidden Reward
Of all the terrible Indiana Jones games, Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine is considered both one of the better ones and the one that sounds the most like a rock opera. The game is mostly about beating the Soviets to the recovery of a powerful artifact, but you can unlock a bonus level which gives players the only thing they've ever wanted out of an Indy game: the ability to play through the opening temple expedition from Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
To unlock "Return to Peru," you have to collect all 1,500 of the game's I.Q. points. Those are Indy Quotient points, which we guess measure ... how Indy you are? The point is that it's hard to do that, but if do you collect 'em all, you're treated to a level in which you can go back and get a second golden idol, because it seems that temple was overflowing with swag.
"Also, I think I left my mailbox key there. I mean, I've looked all over and this is the only place left."
This isn't a lazily tacked-on quickie -- the faithful recreation takes a solid 40 minutes to complete, and it's an inexplicable Marion nude scene away from being crammed full of every bit of fanservice a player could ask for. You find the now thoroughly decomposed remains of the guide who was killed by the spear trap ...
... the tunnel of spiders ...
... the original idol room ...
... and, of course, there's another giant boulder, because the natives apparently stacked a bunch up like a gumball machine.
Well, not so much "boulder" as "massive 20-sided die," but you get the idea.
The level is so large that it even has its own Easter egg: a hidden room that references Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Only the fact that Indy's voice actor inexplicably sounds like a stern meter maid keeps it from being a picture-perfect remake, but it's still more than enough for anyone who watched Raiders and immediately pictured themselves running around the jungle with a whip.