The Super Nintendo was home to some of the greatest and most beloved games ever made. Many people look back and remember timeless classics like Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It seemed that Nintendo had dominated the video game industry and was only going up from that point on.
Much of that console’s success can be attributed to the games that were released for it. Nintendo and various third-parties were firing on all cylinders to create some of the most well-designed games that generation had ever seen. So many classics were released on that system that people still enjoy today. Many of those games were the reason that people fell in love with Nintendo.
One of the reasons those games were so successful was because of their replay value. Many of those games had secret levels and bonus rooms hidden to challenge players. People would spend hours if not days looking for those secrets to finally get a 100% completion score or to just have bragging rights at playground conversations. Whatever the reason, those secrets were some of the best parts of those games. With modern games not incorporating secrets of that caliber, it’s hard to not look back wistfully at the SNES’s fantastic library.
However, a lot of the hidden levels were so difficult to find that many people still haven’t seen them. Get ready to embrace your childhood once more as we go through 20 hidden Super Nintendo levels that many players still haven’t found.
20 Ability Rooms: Kirby Super Star
Kirby Super Star is often regarded as the best Kirby game to date. Taking the formula and creating multiple sub-games was a strategy that would go to define the series after the game’s release. However, those looking for 100% completion are going to need to play through Dyna Blade once again. There are secret, unlockable levels in this mode that give Kirby access to half of all the copy abilities in the game. It gives those who want to switch up their tactics more options right from the getgo. They can be a bit difficult to find for those scanning the levels.
19 Star Road: Super Mario World
Super Mario World is still thought of as the best 2D Mario game to date. One of the reasons it is so beloved is its world map. It’s not a matter of how the levels are sectioned off; instead, it’s how there are multiple pathways to Bowser. One of the most secretive ways to get to the King of Koopas is through the secret world known as Star Road. Access to this world is a secret exit within a secret exit. It’s crazy just how much thinking and observation it takes to even get to this world. Once there, you’re in for some hard levels.
18 Mine Cart Carnage Shortcut: Donkey Kong Country
While not a secret level, there exists a serious shortcut in Donkey Kong Country that allows you to practically skip one of the game’s hardest levels: Mine Cart Carnage. Players can hop into a pit right after the barrel that takes them to the mine cart. The barrel will shoot them into the air and drop them right where the exit arrow for the end of the level is. Just watch out for that last Kremling in the mine cart. It trips up a lot of people. Those who had a bit of trouble with this stage might want to look into this shortcut.
17 Out Of This Dimension: Star Fox
One of the strangest secret levels of all time comes to us from the original Star Fox. If players shoot the second dark gray asteroid in the Asteroid Field level, then an egg will appear that shapeshifts into a bird. If they fly into the bird, they’ll be warped to a level titled “Out of This Dimension.” The level looks very odd, having strange faces on the cosmic objects. However, the strangest part is the stage’s boss, which is a giant slot machine that was ripped straight from a casino on Earth. Those wanting to get the most out of Star Fox may want to check this unique level out.
16 Chun Li: Breath Of Fire
Capcom was well-known (and in some ways still is) for series like Mega Man and Street Fighter back in the day, but they also had a series called Breath of Fire. Despite being a more obscure title, the game had some references to more notable Capcom characters. If players talk to a magician in Bleak, he’ll offer to make 100g disappear into thin air. If players answer “yes, yes, no, no, yes,” they will be rewarded with a guest appearance from Street Fighter’s own Chun Li. She is practicing her famous attacks, but she looks much different in this top-down perspective.
15 Houlihan Room: The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past
Some SNES games had countermeasures in case the games were about to glitch. Such was the case with A Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. If the game wasn’t sure where to send players while traversing rooms, it would dump them in a secret room filled with Rupees. A sign exists at the back that includes the name Chris Houlihan. This was a reward for a Nintendo fan of the same name when he won a contest for Nintendo power that included sending in a picture of encountering a specific enemy in Final Fantasy. Houlihan has now been immortalized.
14 Lost World: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest
In Diddy Kong’s Quest, there are special collectibles called Kremcoins that are scattered in each level. Those coins can be used to access a special place known as the Lost World. However, it’s unlikely that players saw all of that world’s levels because the only way to do so was to collect all seventy-five Kremcoins in the game. Each of the five entrances were placed in different spots on the map, meaning that there was no way those levels connected to one another. What’s worse is that those levels were notorious for being difficult. Good luck to anyone who attempts these levels.
13 Hadouken: Mega Man X
Mega Man is known for taking powers from other robot masters, but there was a time when he nabbed a power from Street Fighter’s Ryu himself! In Mega Man X, players could unlock the famous Hadouken in a secret part of Armored Armadillo’s stage. However, it was extremely difficult to find this section. Players had to have all weapons and upgrades unlocked as well as have at least four lives. Then, they have to perish three times in the right spot to spawn the capsule that gives them this iconic attack. We doubt that anyone came across this on their own.
12 Top Secret Area: Super Mario World
As if it wasn’t crazy enough that there are plenty of secret levels and an entire secret world to explore in Super Mario World. There is even a special level known as the Top Secret Area. It can be unlocked through a secret path in the Donut Ghost House. If done properly, the game will forge a path directly to the north. The Top Secret Area isn’t a hard level or anything. Instead, it’s a one-frame room that gives players access to all of Mario’s power-ups as well as a free Yoshi. It’s a worthy unlock for anyone finding later levels a bit more challenging.
11 Secret Salesman: Secret Of Mana
Despite having “secret” in its title, there aren’t a whole lot of secrets in Secret of Mana. However, there is still one neat little area that players can access if they know where to go. In one of the castles, there exists a room with a bridge. It’s there that a salesperson is in sight. However, it doesn’t seem like you can get to him by normal means. The only way to talk to him is by going behind the bar, then walking through a wall. By traveling around, players can buy items from him. This is a useful secret because he has some decent items at his disposal.
10 Trapped Aliens: Super Metroid
Throughout Samus’ adventure in Super Metroid, she gets help from aliens called Dachoras and Etecoons to learn abilities that make traversal a snap. At the end of the game, though, the entire world is set to explode. Samus must make her way out before she gets caught in the explosion, but there is also a way to save those beloved aliens that helped her along the way. It’s an entirely optional addition, but players who save them will be rewarded with a cutscene that shows a small white ship flying alongside Samus’ Gunship. Speedrunners are often caught in the moral dilemma of whether to save them or let them perish.
9 Zeal Rooms: Chrono Trigger
The Kingdom of Zeal was a massive place in Chrono Trigger but it was also home to some secret rooms that took some extra thinking to figure out. Given only a single clue, players must find three books that correspond to a different element and open them all in the correct order. Once this is done, they will have access to the secret rooms. One will challenge them to a battle and another will give them a strange item. For a game as massive as Chrono Trigger, it’s nice to know that it had its own secrets for players to discover.
8 Culex Battle: Super Mario RPG
While Smithy might be the final boss in Super Mario RPG, there exists an even stronger optional character, in true Square Enix fashion. Players have to find a Shiny Stone and go to a sealed door. Once they open the door, they are greeted by an otherworldly, monstrous demon who is the strongest boss in the entire game. He is modeled after bosses in the familiar Final Fantasy series, having minimal animations as compared to the rest of Super Mario RPG, as well as using Crystals. Tracks from Final Fantasy also play in the background during this very difficult fight.
7 Dinosaur Forest: Final Fantasy VI
In true RPG fashion, there exists a special location in Final Fantasy VI that contains some powerful yet useful monsters for grinding. There are small hints to a forest that contains strong dinosaurs, and when searching, players will eventually find the fabled Dinosaur Forest. The only two enemies in this location are the Tyrannosaurus and the Brachiosaurus. Both are based on real dinosaurs and are difficult for different reasons. If a player is unprepared, they will quickly get crushed by these foes. However, they reward a lot of experience and can even drop some rare and useful items. The trip may be worth it.
6 Who Turned Out The Lights?: Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim was a quirky but delightful platformer, but even it had its own secret level for players to find. In Level 5, there exists a hidden teleporter only marked by a red light. If players use it, they’ll be taken to a secret level called “Who Turned the Lights Out?” As its title suggests, this level is pitch black, only illuminated by a few light sources. Players must navigate the somewhat familiar area mostly through memory, as it’s nearly impossible to make out any of the surroundings otherwise. Even if players are to find this level, there’s no guarantee they’ll see the end.
5 Krematoa: Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble
Much like Diddy Kong’s Quest, Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble also has an entire secret world for players to explore. Similar in concept to the Lost World, Krematoa is a world based on the inside of a volcano. It was supposedly dormant for years, but it’s possible to awaken it. Players must get the Hover Craft or Turbo Ski and drive circles around four strange rocks. The dormant volcano then appears. However, the only way to access all the levels is to collect all the bonus coins in the game, which can prove quite a challenge even for the most seasoned players.
4 Sound Room: Kirby’s Dream Course
Kirby’s Dream Course was a relatively obscure golf game starring the pink puffball himself. Players would have to hit Kirby across various courses, avoiding and defeating classic enemies to get him to a hole. While largely meant for casual play, there was a reward for players who went the extra mile. Players had to complete all courses in the game with a silver or gold medal to be rewarded with the Sound Room on the title screen. This sound room is mostly what one would expect. It contains all the music and sound effects from the game, allowing players to choose which ones to hear.
3 Jeweler’s Mansion: Illusion Of Gaia
An action RPG adventure, Illusion of Gaia is a great yet often forgotten game on the SNES. It rewarded those who went the extra mile and had all sorts of crazy monsters for players to fight. Those who really got into the game would end up finding a secret area that most would never see. The Jeweler’s Mansion was a special area that could only be unlocked if players had all 50 of the Red Jewels. In that world, the monsters were much harder than normal. They didn’t offer any tangible benefits, so they were easy to skip. However, the mansion would eventually lead players to a boss fight with a villain who appeared in Illusion of Gaia’s predecessor, Soul Blazer.
2 Zero: Kirby’s Dream Land 3
Kirby’s Dream Land 2, Kirby’s Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards make what fans call the “Dark Matter trilogy.” While there are notable final bosses in each game, each one has a secret final boss relating to Dark Matter that can only be fought if certain collectibles are obtained, and they are difficult. Perhaps the most difficult one of the bunch was Kirby’s Dream Land 3, as players were never sure how to get hearts in each level. The sections were made clear, but players often scrambled to figure out what to do. It’s only when a heart in every level was obtained that the love-love stick was completed that players could fight Zero.
1 Ultimate Castle Challenge: Yoshi’s Island
The last extra stage in Yoshi’s Island is perhaps the antithesis to the rest of the game. Designed to be an easier experience for most players to enjoy, Ultimate Castle Challenge throws all that out the door to put the player’s skill to the test. There are all sorts of platforming challenges to overcome, Shy Guys to avoid, and perfectly timed platforming segments to complete. This gauntlet throws everything it has at the player and only the most experienced will make it through. Good luck trying to bring Baby Mario through this titan of a stage. It may be the last time you play Yoshi’s Island.