10 Hidden Secrets Every Gamer Should Have Found
7th May 2012 | 16:00
Many of the best moments in gaming arrive by mistake. Experimentation, exploration, glitches, stumbling across areas of the game that you weren't supposed to - or the developers never expected you to find. Below are ten of our favourites from this generation of consoles. Agree? Disagree? Tell us about your favourite secrets in the comments below...
1. BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM
Is this the daddy of all gaming secrets? Developers Rocksteady hid it so well that it remained undetected for an entire year.
Destroying a wall panel to your left as you face the fireplace in Warden Quincy Sharp's office provides access to a hidden room. But there's a catch. Unlike every other destructible wall in Arkham Asylum, this one doesn't show up in Detective Mode. As a cheeky added extra, the wall panel is also super-strong, needing all three explosive gel applications to detonate at once in order to make the break through.
Post-Arkham City it's easy to forget what a massive reveal lay inside: a secret area containing reams of hints about Asylum's as-yet-unannounced sequel, including an 'approved' blueprint of Arkham City itself, and a slew of concept art. Think about it: there was a full reveal for Arkham Asylum's follow-up right there, the whole time, from minute one.
Is there an equivalent in City? As yet, no one's found it - but given Rocksteady's previous and the fact that Game Director Sefton Hill recently told us that gamers had found most but not all of City's secrets, we wouldn't bet against it.
2. THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM
The Throat of the World is the highest mountain in Skyrim, towering over the lands of Tamriel, and the top of it can only be reached legitimately by completing the quest of the same name.
Once up there, climbing further to the summit and searching around reveals the Notched Pickaxe, a unique pickaxe that gives you a boost to your Smithing skill and delivers shock damage when used as a weapon.
This is probably a reference to 'Notch', the creator of Minecraft, as pickaxes feature heavily in that game and Smithing is similar to the crafting which takes place in Minecraft.
3. PORTAL 2
Throughout the course of Portal 2 there are a number of 'Rat Man dens', hidden areas with walls covered in scrawled writing and drawings by a surviving Aperture scientist. One of these contains an extra secret.
When traversing Test Chamber 6, pressing the switch on the far side for the first time drops several items of rubbish including a radio. Collect this and return to the start of the Test Chamber. Reposition your second portal on the wall above the angled section you used to cross the area and you'll be launched into one of these dens.
Carry the radio deeper into the room and the cheery music will be replaced with the sound of a data transmission. Now here comes the really secret part. That transmission sound is actually a slow-scan television (SSTV) signal, which when decoded with the appropriate software creates an image of a companion cube on the Moon - a clear reference to the game's lunar conclusion.
4. METAL GEAR SOLID 4
The entire Metal Gear Solid series is littered with hidden secrets, and this one is THE DADDY. While battling a member of the Beauty and the Beast unit, shoot off their power armour - but then lead them around for several minutes without killing them.
You will be transported to a white area where the Beauty will continue to pursue you, but if you've collected the digital camera (found during mission briefings) pointing it at them will cause them to stop and pose for you.
Also, if you equip the iPod and play the track 'Oishii Two-han Seikatsu', they'll even perform a little dance for you. Awkward.
5. GEARS OF WAR 3
Beards often make an appearance on videogame battlefields, but this secret shows the hirsute fun doesn't need to be limited to a single character.
Start a new campaign on Insane difficulty, then once the Prologue mission kicks in follow Dom and keep looking at him before looking away. Repeat this a number of times and you'll hear him say "Yo!" when you're halfway there, followed later by "What was that all about?" which indicates the secret has been unlocked.
Move on to the next chapter and you'll notice that everyone now has Dom's beard - female and even helmeted characters included! These beards will remain until you next get killed, so plainly you should do everything you possibly can to avoid getting murderised.
6. GRAND THEFT AUTO IV
The inhabitants of Grand Theft Auto IV's faux New York may talk about the Statue of Happiness being the heart of Liberty City, but it turns out this couldn't be closer to the truth.
The only way to reach this secret area is to steal a helicopter and fly to Happiness Island, then bail out close enough to the statue to fall onto the upper area of the statue base. Locate the doorway signposted "No Hidden Content This Way" (nice try, Rockstar) and head through to find a ladder rising up inside the statue. Climb to the top and you'll find a massive chained up heart pumping away. Creepy.
Developers id have a long history of making first person shooters - and, within Rage, they hid homages to previous titles Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake.
The most impressive of these is the Doom area, which can be accessed from the Gearhead Vault. Towards the end of this section there are several offices full of computer equipment, and, although no prompts appear on screen, pressing the action button on some of the keyboards will produce a Doom sound effect. Activate seven of these bad boys and head back to the exit where a door behind some boxes to the left can now be opened.
Climb over the boxes and enter the portal to be transported to the Doom- themed area with retro music and surroundings.
8. CRYSIS 2
The life of a CELL soldier is a sorry one. Trying to police Manhattan as it breaks down under martial law is like taking one million punches to the groin. However, as this killer secret shows, they also know how to let their hair down.
During the 'Dead Man Walking' mission where you exit the lift into a red-carpeted area, head down the corridor - behind the queue ropes you'll find a control panel. Although no prompt appears on screen, press the action button and a red light will come on, then return to the lift you arrived in before jumping over the ropes to reach another lift further along.
Still with us? Press the button and the lift will arrive to reveal two CELL soldiers gyrating away at a mini disco inside - complete with glitter ball, dry ice and pounding music.
Many of the puzzles in Limbo end up being solved by trial and error, and this is truer than ever in the secret section exclusive to the PlayStation 3 version.
To unlock this area, you first need to find all 10 glowing orb collectibles dotted throughout the game, then return to chapter 26 using the chapter select. Go left and down the ladder, then head right into the dark area where you previously unlocked the 'Alone in the Dark' trophy.
With all the orbs collected there will now be an open door at the end, which slams closed behind you to reveal the twist - this hidden area plays out in almost total darkness! You must rely on interpreting sounds to navigate invisible jumps, spinning blades and machine guns - a tasty little challenge and one that will result in MANY DEATHS. Persevere, though, and a final glowing orb - along with a hidden gold trophy - will be your reward.
10. UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS
The Uncharted series of games are well know for the difficulty of their Crushing mode, but for players of Drake's first outing on the PlayStation Vita a special surprise awaits for reaching the end of the game on this setting.
Towards the conclusion of chapter 31 there's a cutscene where Drake and Chase are examining a body - which you will have already seen at least once before. The secret here is that, on Crushing mode, this dead character suddenly comes to life mid-scene and jumps out at the other characters! (From the reaction that follows it's clear this was a prank on the actress playing Chase during a motion capture session, though after the initial shock she takes it in good spirit.)