The discovery of secret areas can rekindle our love of certain video games. Here are five secret areas you may have missed in video games.
The Secret Cow Level – Diablo II
The “Secret Cow Level” is a secret area in the highly acclaimed 2000 role-playing game Diablo II. Since its discovery, it has become a staple of the game’s mythology.
The level was first introduced in the game’s expansion pack Lord of Destruction, and it can only be accessed through the use of a special item called the Wirt’s Leg.
The level features hordes of demonic cows—called Hell Bovines—whose whimsical appearance intentionally contrasts with the game’s dark themes.
Also included is a unique boss, the Cow King, who drops valuable loot called “Cow King’s Leathers” when beaten.
The Secret Cow Level satirizes a popular myth amongst players of the original Diablo.
Supposedly, a certain interaction with the lone cow in the area of Tristram would transport players to a hidden stage.
While this rumor was just that—a rumor—developer Blizzard decided to play upon the hearsay in Diablo II.
Aztec and Egyptian – Goldeneye 007
Aside from revolutionizing the first-person shooter genre, Goldeneye 007 is known for its plethora of secrets, two of which are hidden missions based on lesser-known James Bond films.
Aztec is a mission that can only be unlocked after beating the game’s primary missions on secret agent difficulty (the game’s second highest difficulty level).
It is based on the 1979 film Moonraker and sees the player fighting their way through an Aztec temple, eventually facing off against the beloved Bond villain Jaws.
Unlocking Egyptian, Goldeneye’s second hidden mission, requires the player to beat all missions, including Aztec, on 00 Agent difficulty, aka the game’s highest difficulty level.
Based on the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, the mission puts players inside an ancient Egyptian temple, where difficult fights eventually culminate in a boss battle against Baron Samedi.
Egyptian is the only single-player level in Goldeneye that allows players to use the Golden Gun, a one-shot kill weapon.
Cerulean Cave – Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow
As is the case with every subsequent Pokémon game, Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow are considered “beaten” after the player defeats the Elite Four, a legion of the Kanto region’s most skilled Pokémon trainers, who act as the games’ “final bosses.”
What many players of the 1998 classics didn’t realize is that there is a secret area that is only unlocked once the Elite Four have been defeated.
If, after beating the game, players return to Cerulean City, they will find a now-accessible entrance to a cave containing the strongest Pokémon in the entire Kanto region, including legendary Pokémon Mewtwo.
Beta Dam – Shadow of the Colossus
Beta Dam is an unused location in Shadow of the Colossus. Originally discovered by YouTuber Pikol in 2009, the area is accessible only via glitches or hacks.
Beta Dam is a large, rocky area featuring a dam and a river. It is mostly empty, with no enemies or obstacles to overcome. However, there are some interesting details that suggest it was intended to be a Colossus arena.
However, Shadow of the Colossus blogger Nomad Colossus would later discover that the Beta Dam was in fact simply a remnant of a much earlier version of the game, which included a far more expansive landscape.
Despite its unfinished state, Beta Dam has become a popular location for Shadow of the Colossus fans to explore and speculate about. Its mysterious and eerie atmosphere fits well with the game’s theme of isolation.
The Minus World – Super Mario Bros.
The Minus World in 1985’s Super Mario Bros is a hidden and glitchy underwater level that can only be accessed by performing a specific sequence of actions in World 1-2.
The Minus World is essentially a looped version of World 7-2 but with glitches that allow players to swim through walls and ceilings.
The Minus World is famous for its mysterious and eerie atmosphere, as well as its status as a hidden secret that only a few players discovered through trial and error or word-of-mouth rumors.
It has become an iconic part of gaming history and has been referenced in various media and pop culture, with the phrase “minus world” being used as an umbrella term for out-of-bounds areas in video games.
Bonus: The Top of the Gant Bridge in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Clearly a nod to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’s Gant Bridge is a massive landmark, connecting the areas of San Fierro and Tierra Robed.
While the bridge itself is not a hidden location, there is a noteworthy “anti-easter egg” found at its peak.
If players use the jetpack to reach the top of the bridge’s south tower, they will encounter a sign reading, “There are no Easter eggs up here. Go away,” a humorous tease towards the massive GTA myth-hunting community.