At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Nintendo games are awesome. Very few video game companies have existed for as long as they have while still being a major contender in the gaming industry. Namco may have been big in the 80s, but the last best-selling game, Pac-Man, was in is still Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U.
A major reason why Nintendo has been able to outlast most of their competition is not only their innovative and groundbreaking hardware but their consistently amazing lineup of games. The Super Mario, Legend of Zelda and Pokémon series have ensured that gamers of all generations will continue to play Nintendo games for a long time, and even become curious enough to look into Nintendo's classic history of games.
There are different things that make these different games so popular, but one common aspect shared by many of their classic titles is their fondness for including hidden levels. Many games from the Super Nintendo to even the Wii U include hidden or secret levels, rooms, or modes within them, some of which many gamers didn't find for a very long time.
The practice of including secret stages became so popular, that other developers began including them as well, such as Rare and Capcom. Today we're going to be looking at 25 Hidden Levels, Rooms, and Modes in Nintendo Games Most Players Still Haven't Found. Remember, if you do recognize any of these secret stages, then that just means you're a cut above the rest.
25 Another Dimension, New Galaxy
Star Fox was revolutionary for bringing 3D graphics to the SNES, but it also contained a couple of hidden locations in the game, including one level known as "Out of This Dimension." This secret level can be accessed by destroying the second large asteroid in the Level 3 Asteroid Belt.
Doing so will summon a giant bird, which, when flown into, will take you to a very surreal area with face-covered moons and carnival music. Finally, there's a boss fight against a giant slot machine. The level never actually ends, however, so this is often considered an alternate ending.
24 The Man From S.E.C.R.E.T.
GoldenEye 007 was the first great console shooter and became a multiplayer standard for any N64 owner. While most people played for the multiplayer, single-player mode was also really good, and even included a few secrets. If you beat the game in 00 agent difficulty, you unlock the Aztec level (based on the multiplayer map).
The level is based off the film Moonraker, with guards carrying guns, Moonraker lasers, and even grenades. The guards are also more accurate and faster shots than most other guards in the game, making this possibly the most difficult level in the entire game.
23 The Road To Star Road
Of course, if you're talking about secret stages, sooner or later you gotta talk about Mario. The series has become synonymous with hidden levels. One particular example are the Star Roads in Super Mario World.
In Donut Secret House, you'll come across a door floating underneath some blocks. When you press the blue switch, blocks will appear under the door. Instead of entering the door, hit the block directly above it. This will cause a vine to grow, which will take you to a secret miniboss fight. Once you defeat the miniboss, Star Road 1 will be unlocked.
22 Leap Of Faith
Not all hidden levels can be unlocked by playing, though. Some are hidden within the game's code. Super Mario World has several hidden "test" levels left behind by the developers. These levels can only be accessed using a Game Genie Code or similar program.
One such level is known as "Big Leap." This level is noticeably incomplete, as there are areas where platforms should be, resulting in the player having to leap off the edge. Even if you use cheat codes to reach the end of the level, there's no exit to be found.
21 Super Mario World: Boss Rush Mode
While most of the test levels in Super Mario World are short and uninteresting, there is one notable secret. Accessible only with a Game Genie Code is a level that sort of acts as a "Boss Rush" mode. You enter a castle filled with doors, each one taking you to a different boss, starting with Bowser himself.
While this is a very neat secret level, it's a shame it wasn't included in the completed game as an unlockable mode or level.
20 The Lady Fighters' Room
While Capcom is mostly known for action games like Mega Man and Street Fighter, they've also developed an RPG series called Breath of Fire, which debuted on the SNES. However, Capcom has hidden one of their more famous characters in this game.
In the town of Bleak, there is a magician who says he can make 100g disappear. In order to pull this "trick" off, he asks you to turn around. If you say no to this obvious scam twice and then yes on the third time, you'll uncover a hidden room with Chun-Li practicing her kicks.
19 The Legend Of Chris Houlihan
In September of 1990, Nintendo Power held a contest in which the winner would get their name programmed into a future NES game. That winner was Chris Houlihan. A year later The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released and, unbeknownst to many players, included Houlihan's secret room.
There are a few different ways to access this room. One of the best ways is to use the Pegasus Boots to dash all the way from Sanctuary to the Sewer Passageway's entrance. Link will then fall into a room filled with 45 Blue Rupees and a message from Houlihan.
18 A Puzzling Fantasy
The Final Fantasy series has been running for so long, they should've changed their name years ago. Like many RPGs, it holds its fair share of secrets, but one of the best is the 15 Puzzle from the very first game. While in the ship, you must hold the A button and then press B several times (22 to 55 times, depending on the version).
You then unlock a puzzle in which you must organize 15 squares in numerical order. Upon solving the puzzle, you will be rewarded with either gil or items, depending on the version and how fast you solve it.
17 Yoshi And The Bandit
Though Mario is often considered the king of platformers, Yoshi got a pretty amazing first solo game in Yoshi's Island. And like Mario's games, it's got plenty of hidden levels as well. Some of those are the mini battles that are found throughout several stages in the game. However, there is a way to access them in the level select screen.
In the World 5 fort, there's a hidden hint block that will tell you the code. Just hold select and press X, X, Y, B, and A, and you'll unlock all the minigames. Best of all, two of these games have a two-player mode if a second controller is plugged in.
16 Level 8-Crown
We've been mainly focusing on older Nintendo titles here, but that's not to say secret levels fell off with 2D graphics. Super Mario 3D Land continues the grand tradition of hidden secrets with the Level 8-Crown, the game's true final stage and the most difficult in what is otherwise a fairly easy game.
Just unlocking the stage is a feat on its own. You have to collect 290 Star Medals, beat each stage as both Mario and Luigi and get a Gold Flag Pole every time. Just consider it practice for trying to actually beat this stage.
15 A Classic Luigi Game
Mario games are great, but poor Luigi only gets a handful that carry his name. That changed in 2013. In what would become known as the Year of Luigi, the green brother got New Super Luigi U, a Luigi's Mansion sequel, and a hidden game in Super Mario 3D World.
Luigi Bros. is a remake of the 1983 arcade game Mario Bros., except this time both players play as Luigi. The hidden game is unlocked once you beat the game, but true Luigi fans who have a Luigi U save on their console get the game right from the start.
14 That's A Lotta Secrets!
Some secret levels only exist due to glitches, like the famous Minus World in Super Mario Bros. But not many people know that the Minus World is only one of hundreds of worlds hidden within that game's code. In total, there are actually 256 secret levels in Super Mario Bros.!
One way to access these levels involves removing the cartridge from a top-loading NES during the first level, inserting a Tennis cartridge, and then reinserting Super Mario Bros. Or, if you don't want to damage your NES and games, just use a Game Genie instead.
13 The Green Hill Zone, In 3D!
When it comes to the 3D Sonic games, a lot of fans are divided. While many of the more recent titles are considered terrible, early attempts, like Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, are still thought of fondly. This is probably due to all the extra features added to the game, including more multiplayer options, exclusive characters, and a secret stage.
In order to unlock this stage, you need to collect all 180 emblems and earn A ranks in every stage. Doing so will unlock a detailed 3D recreation of the Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
12 Night Of The Living Tofu
Capcom's Resident Evil 2 might have one of the strangest secret levels of all. There is a secret character known as HUNK, the Fourth Survivor, who must escape the deadly zombies in a set amount of time.
If you clear the Leon A/Claire B storyline 3 times with an A ranking, though, you unlock the Tofu Survivor, which is exactly what it sounds like; playing as a chunk of tofu. Don't be fooled, though. Tofu takes a lot more damage than the other characters and is armed with only a knife, making this mode a lot harder than expected.
11 From An Alien Point Of View
Rare's spiritual successor to GoldenEye was Perfect Dark, and it also had a few secret stages. These special missions were a bit different than GoldenEye, in that they took place in the same levels as previous missions, but were shown through a different character's point of view.
If you complete every mission on the Secret Agent difficulty, you'll unlock "Maian SOS," in which you play as Elvis the alien as he escapes Area 51 alone. Since you start in the autopsy room with only a third of your health, this mission is much more difficult than the others.
10 Wario's Secret World
While they may not be quite as popular as the Super Mario series, the Wario Land games may hold even more hidden levels. Sherbet Land from the first game is not just one level, but an entire hidden world, complete with boss stage.
Sherbet Land can only be reached through the secret exit in Mt. Teapot's Course No. 8. At some point in the level, you'll find some coins shaped like an arrow pointing up. You can use your enemies knives to form a ladder on the wall or the Jet Hat to fly upwards, where you'll find the secret exit.
9 The Hidden City In The Sand
Not many role-playing games were released for the Nintendo 64, and that may have to do with Quest 64's lukewarm success and mixed reviews. Though the game was criticized for lacking depth, the developers did at least include one secret level that would've made the game much easier for the few people who played it.
Though you can skip most of the huge desert, you may want to head to the farthest corner of the area where you'll find a semi-hidden city filled with rare powerups. That's if you don't mind fighting all the tough enemies in between.
8 Console-Exclusive Happy Ending
Bubble Bobble was one of the most popular arcade games of the 80s. In fact, it was so popular it was ported to several home consoles, including the NES. The arcade game is famous for being one of the first games to have multiple endings, but not many people know the NES version includes a secret path to the best ending.
Unlike the arcade, you need more than just a second player to get the Good Ending. First, you must carry the Crystal found in Room 99 to Room A0. Guess Nintendo wanted to throw arcade gamers a curveball.
7 Whomp's Warp
Now we go back to Mario, king of the hidden levels, and this time we're looking at Super Mario 64. Some of these courses have warp points that Several of the courses have secret warp points that will take you to hidden areas in a level, and they are hidden in the strangest places. One of these secret warp points is hidden in Whomp's Fortress.
At the first Thwomp, walk a little bit past the Metal Cap Block. You will then be teleported to an "observation area" near the top of the fortress. This also serves as a shortcut to Star 2.
6 Yoshi's Island Of Secrets
Yoshi's Island may be more of a spinoff game than an actual sequel to Super Mario World, but it still has plenty of secret levels. In fact, there is one secret level per world, each of which is unlocked by getting all the collectibles in each world's level. Don't let the game's kiddie aesthetic fool you. These secret levels were harder than anything else in the game.
If those levels weren't punishment enough, the Game Boy Advance version includes bonus secret levels for beating the game, and they are just as brutal as the originals.
5 Lost In Space
Though the newest Super Mario games on the Switch are good, Super Mario Galaxy really opened up a universe of possibilities for a 3D Mario game. Not only were there new worlds to explore but entire galaxies. And, of course, there were some secret galaxies.
Throughout the game, you will find Hungry Lumas. If you feed these Lumas enough Star Bits, they will grow larger and larger until they turn into a new planet, or even a hidden galaxy. Hungry Lumas also appear in the sequel and they sometimes demand coins instead of Star Bits.
4 Shortcut To A Better Ending
Donkey Kong Country was good, but the sequel, Diddy's Kong Quest, is even better. One of the ways it improves on the original is by including a secret world that actually leads to a better ending.
There are five entrances to the Lost World, and they are all guarded by a burly Kremling named Klubba. He will let the player pass for 15 Kremkoins per entrance, meaning you have collect all 75 to beat the world. And then you have to actually beat these brutally difficult levels! Only then do you unlock the true final boss fight and see the much more triumphant ending.
3 Devilish Secrets
Though it wasn't a very popular game, those who played Capcom's Demon's Crest remember it as one of the better platformers on the SNES. After the first stage, the player can visit the rest in any order they want and even skip some of them, but the final two stages need to be unlocked.
Near the end of the flying section of stage 4, you'll see a greenish whirlwind near the bottom of the screen. If you fall into it, you'll be taken to a boss holding the Air Crest, which is necessary to find the last two levels.
2 The Early Mega Man Gets The Boss
Though the classic Mega Man series is thought to be the best, Mega Man X has plenty of fans thanks to its ramped up action and animesque design and plot. Mega Man X3, the last to appear on the SNES, also has a hidden level for dedicated gamers to find.
Hidden throughout a few different levels (for example, a pit in Blizzard Buffalo) are teleportation capsules that will take you to a secret factory level. At the end of the level, you find Vile. Defeating him will result in another boss appearing later on where he's supposed to be.
1 What Happened To World 4?
Many first time players of New Super Mario Bros. may have noticed something odd when they went from World 3 to 5. What happened to World 4? As it turns out, it has to be unlocked in an unusual way.
First, you have to save a Mini Mushroom from one of the earlier levels. Then, go to the final boss in World 2. Use the Mini Mushroom you saved earlier and defeat the boss. A cutscene will play in which Mario will fall down a mini hole, passing a sign pointing to World 4.
Any other hidden levels no one knows about? Let us know down in the comments.