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 ...
Star 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."