Of all the secrets and Easter eggs in video games, hidden characters are often the most exciting. A new character can change the entire experience, as stories can take different turns and gameplay can change drastically.
Fighting games are famous for housing dozens of locked characters, but any video game can easily switch things up by throwing players into the shoes of somebody new. Some secret characters are hidden just for fun, but others can add a totally new dimension to a tired experience. Simply put: unlocking secret characters is the best, and we're here to prove it to you.
We've put together a list of the coolest and most bizarre secret characters in video game history to show you just how weird your favorite games can get. The games listed go back a few years, but even some of the industry's most recent titles can have crazy unlockable characters in them. We'll also tell you how to unlock them, in case the completionists among you want to go back and take a crack at getting them all. Seriously, some of these characters don't even belong in the games that they appear in, and that's what makes them so great.
The list is a nice mix of obvious inclusions, challenging unlockables, and some of the silliest secret characters ever known. Think you've found them all? You might want to write these down and grab a controller, just in case you missed a few.
Here are 25 Crazy Secret Characters in Video Games (And How To Unlock Them).
25 Morinth (Mass Effect 2)
Mass Effect 2 is all about Commander Shepard recruiting a team of heroes for an extremely dangerous mission. Along the way, Shepard will recruit Samara — a powerful biotic fighter and an asset to the team. However, depending on the player's moral compass, her daughter Morinth might be the more appealing choice.
Cold-blooded killer Morinth is only accessible when completing Samara's loyalty mission. Shepard can side with either party after the mother and daughter get into a fight, but siding with Morinth has her defeat her mother and replace her on the team.
Morinth will even wear Samara's clothes and mimic her voice so that nobody knows what happened to her.
24 Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walkers)
Metal Gear Solid series creator Hideo Kojima loves to fill his games with Easter eggs, and Peace Walker is no exception. When Big Boss is tasked with finding a truck full of nukes, the player will end up in a garage full of identical trucks. This room is loaded with secrets, with one truck housing an extra special cameo.
Looking in the truck marked "Centro America 63824 Peace Sentinel" will put Big Boss face to face with Kojima himself. He exclaims "Mr. Kojima!" as Kojima waves back.
Finding him lets Big Boss recruit him as a soldier.
Oh, and the truck's license plate number is Kojima's birthday, of course.
23 John Wick (Payday 2)
The Boogeyman himself wasn't a locked secret character, but one that showed up in a game by surprise. 2011's Payday 2 had (and still has) a very active online community. The game was constantly updated with free downloadable content, which helped bring John Wick to the heisting first-person shooter.
As a form of cross-promotion, development studio Overkill and Hollywood studio Lionsgate made a deal to promote the 2014 film, John Wick. As a result, Wick was added to the game as a playable character three years after its release.
He's one of many guest characters in Payday 2, but he's easily the coolest. Now, if somebody could just get him his own video game...
22 Vergil (Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition)
Fans of Devil May Cry love protagonist Dante almost as much as they love his evil brother Vergil. Fortunately, both brothers are playable characters in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening — but you wouldn't know it unless you owned a copy of the Special Edition.
Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition makes Vergil playable in his own mode and he even gets his own unique movesets, weapons, and alternate costumes. Beat the game once as Dante and he'll be unlocked! Playing as Vergil comes with a learning curve though, as his moves are drastically different from Dante's. He'll take some time to master.
21 Mewtwo (Super Smash Bros. Melee)
Mewtwo is hardly the only secret character in Super Smash Bros. Melee, but he specifically makes this list for being difficult to unlock and yet somehow one of the worst characters in the game.
His moveset is weak, he's extremely vulnerable, and for whatever reason he's locked behind a staggering prerequisite of 700 versus matches. Seriously? 700?
Complete those matches (win or lose) and you'll unlock Mewtwo.
Alternatively, you can play the game for 20 hours in total. You'll be rewarded with a surprisingly lame character and a desire to play another game — probably.
To be fair, Mewtwo has been improved in recent Smash installments, but his Melee iteration is simply the worst.
20 Akuma (Super Street Fighter II Turbo)
One of the coolest villains in the Street Fighter series has the luxury of being the franchise's very first secret character. He can be fought by beating every character without being defeated, but he only becomes playable with a cheat code.
The code must be entered on the character select screen by highlighting certain fighters for three seconds at a time, plus a button combination. The sequence is as follows: Ryu, T. Hawk, Guile, Cammy, Ryu, then press all three punch buttons and Start simultaneously. You can now wreck your friends with Akuma.
He's not as strong as the Akuma fought in single-player, but he's still one of the baddest fighters in the series' history.
19 Mokap (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance)
Mortal Kombat is famous for its hidden characters. The franchise is littered rumors, hoaxes, and secrets all involving elusive unlockable characters. Reptile, Ermac, Smoke, Rain, Noob Saibot — the list goes on and on.
One of the most outlandish is Mokap, a motion-capture actor who is inexplicably intertwined with the fantastical events of the series.
He's actually just a scan-in of actor Carlos Pessina, who works on the Mortal Kombat games.
Eat your heart out, Andy Serkis!
In Deadly Alliance, he can be unlocked by completing Konquest mode with every character and then selecting Cyrax while holding the start button. He only mimics other characters' fighting styles though, because of course he does.
18 Darth Maul (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3)
The Force really helps with those extra complicated tricks.
The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise is infamous for featuring silly unlockable characters — many of them might be elsewhere on this list — but what's cooler than skating around as one of the most iconic lords of the Sith? Absolutely nothing was cooler back in 2001.
While playing as Tony Hawk, acquire all of the gold medals and complete all 54 goals in Career Mode. Doing so will unlock Darth Maul as a skater; lightsaber included.
Alternatively, you can just enter the "YOHOMIES" cheat code if you want to speed things up a little and unlock every character.
17 Tofu (Resident Evil 2)
Resident Evil games are pretty intense experiences, but they lighten up when you play as a big block of Tofu.
"The Tofu Survivor" is a secret mini-game hidden away in Resident Evil 2 that puts players in the shoes Tofu, who begins the game armed only with some medicinal herbs and a knife.
Unlocking Tofu can be quite the punishing experience.
Players must clear the game six times with all A rankings, which is no easy task. Dedicated players and hardcore Resident Evil fans may enjoy the challenge, but others might want to cook up some actual tofu instead and save themselves the time.
16 Fred Durst (WWF Raw, Smackdown: Just Bring It, Fight Club)
Oh look, it's everybody's favorite wrestler: the lead singer of Limp Bizkit.
Completing Fight Club's Story Mode will reward you with Durst, but for the wrestling games his unlock process is a bit lengthier. For WWF Raw players need to win all of the championship belts, and for Smackdown, players need to win Slobberknocker mode 15 with the Undertaker (who had a Limp Bizkit intro song at the time).
That's right, he is a secret unlockable character in not one, but three different early 2000s video games.
Don't ask us why, because we have no explanation either. It was a different time.
15 A Toilet (Saints Row: The Third)
The Saints Row franchise only became weirder with each installment, and the third game was an especially drastic step in that direction. Between the zombies, aliens, and virtual worlds, Saints Row: The Third has plenty of zany action to go around. If you want an extra dose of hilarity, though, completing the game will unlock a costume that literally turns players into a floating toilet.
Even without limbs, your toilet can run, jump, fire weapons, commandeer vehicles, and even wrestle people to the ground.
The costume is briefly available in one of the game's story missions, but after completing the campaign in full, it's yours to keep.
14 Wolverine (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3)
You would think that the adamantium would weigh him down, but Wolverine is quite the secret skater in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.
Complete with popped claws and a brightly colored X-Men uniform, Wolverine can be unlocked through the same process as Darth Maul. Complete Career Mode with 54 Goals and 3 Gold medals (rewarding you with Maul), and then do it again to unlock Wolverine.
You can also use that "YOHOMIES" cheat code to unlock all the skaters if you're short on time.
Funnily enough, Wolverine isn't the only Marvel character to cameo in a Tony Hawk game, but we'll get back to that later.
13 Devil Jin (Tekken 5)
Series protagonist Jin Kazama has always had a violent alter-ego, but that alter-ego wasn't even playable until Tekken 5. Devil Jin is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the game and Tekken 5 makes players work to experience him.
To unlock Devil Jin, players must complete Devil Within mode.
This mode is a third person action mini-game that can be quite difficult. If it's too much of a challenge, players can also unlock Devil Jin by playing 200 matches.
The process takes time either way, but the reward might be worth it — Devil Jin easily one of the best characters in the entire series.
12 Actual Rockstars (Guitar Hero Series)
Guitar Hero made rhythm games a household favorite, and it introduced plenty of gamers to the world of rock music. It's only fitting, then, that the series is littered with unlockable celebrity guest stars from the music industry.
Most of the secret characters can be unlocked by playing certain songs or buying them in the game's Shop, but some have to be beaten in boss battles.
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock included Slash of Guns N' Roses and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, but that was only the beginning.
Later titles included the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Kurt Cobain, Haley Williams, Billy Corgan, Johnny Cash, and dozens of other real-life rockstars.
11 Donkey Kong (Wii Punch-Out!!)
Wii Punch Out!! features a secret opponent with an extremely unfair advantage. Donkey Kong appears in the game's Last Stand mode opposite the player, and uses some very dangerous attacks because, well, he's a gorilla, after all.
Beating the bananas out of Donkey Kong in Last Stand mode will unlock him in the game's Exhibition mode.
He might do a lot of taunting, but nearly any hit from DK can result in an instant knockout. Eventually, he'll even string his attacks together to form surprisingly long combos, so players really need to be focused to take him down.
10 Doom Guy (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3)
Before his resurgence in 2016's Doom reboot, Doom Guy was a relic of the original 1990s shooter series. In Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 though, he joins the likes of Darth Maul and Wolverine for some radical lines and awesome tricks.
Unlike the other characters, Doom Guy cannot be unlocked via normal means.
He must be acquired through cheat codes. Inputting the code "IDKFA" into the cheat menu will unlock him in the character roster. This is exclusive to the PC version though, as he is unavailable on consoles.
Old school gamers may recognize that code, too — it's the same code for unlocking all weapons in the original Doom.
9 Shaquille O' Neal (UFC Undisputed 2010)
No, this isn't Shaq Fu. Shaquille O'Neal just happens to be a secret character in UFC Undisputed 2010. He's not as big of a guy as you might imagine standing next to all of those UFC pros, but he's a pretty cool addition to the roster.
Shaq is only accessible through some good old fashioned cheat codes. How retro!
Entering Right, Up, Left, Right, Down, Left, Up, Right, Down, Left, X, Y, Y, X, and Start on the main menu should make Shaq available on the character select screen. Oh, and change those X and Y buttons to Square and Triangle if you're playing on the PlayStation 3.
8 Meat Man (Skate 3)
What is it with skateboarding games and ridiculous secret characters? Skate 3 has a few (including Dead Space protagonist Isaac Clarke), but Meat Man is by far the silliest. This giant floating steak can skate with the best of them, even without limbs.
To unlock Meat Man as a skater, the player has to complete all of the Hall of Meat challenges.
Ironically, the challenges involve flinging yourself off of your board with the intention of injuring yourself has gruesomely as possible. If you're really good at falling off of your skateboard, you should unlock Meat Man.
7 Scarface (Payday 2)
You want to play games? Tony Montana does.
Like John Wick, Scarface himself was added to Payday 2 years after the game's release as a free downloadable character. His mask is based on the Scarface movie poster, but it can be removed or replaced if you'd prefer a vaguely Pacino-inspired look.
Scarface and John Wick are only two of the guest characters in Payday 2, as updates also added Bodhi from 2015's Point Break, Jimmy from Hardcore Henry, and Jacket from the Hotline Miami games.
Imagine not playing the game for years, and suddenly getting an update with a totally fresh movie-inspired character roster!
6 Luigi (Super Mario Galaxy)
Super Mario Galaxy was a flagship title during Nintendo Wii's early years, and while it was a smash-hit, very few players actually had the patience to unlock Mario's brother Luigi. He gets captured early in the game and later becomes a non-player character for Mario to interact with. However, some dedication and hard work will help unlock him.
After collecting all 120 Power Stars in the game and defeating Bowser (a second time) Luigi will be unlocked as a playable character.
Now, the entire game is meant to be played again with Luigi.
Oh, and that NPC Luigi will still be Luigi. Don't think too hard about it.
5 Lu Bu (Dynasty Warriors Series)
Lu Bu is the strongest character in the one-man army hack-and-slash series Dynasty Warriors.
Methods of unlocking him differ from game to game, but he is always a pain to acquire. In the older Warriors games, the player usually has clear the Battle of Hu Lao Gate with a whopping 1000 KOs. In Dynasty Warriors 8, this would be simple. In Warriors 2 and 3, though, this would make for quite the chore.
He's not exactly a "secret" character — he's so dangerous that the game warns you not to go near him and sometimes he even appears on the games' covers — but he's extremely powerful and usually one of the toughest characters to unlock.
4 Spider-Man (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2)
Yes, another Tony Hawk entry. This is the last one, we promise.
Likely the most naturally talented skater from the Marvel universe (except for Night Thrasher, maybe), Spider-Man is an unlockable character in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.
While cheats can unlock the friendly neighborhood web-slinger, he can be acquired the old-fashioned way — completing the game 100% with custom skater.
Naturally, Spidey's stats are higher than most of the other skaters, making him one of the best characters in the game. He even has some unique tricks!
3 Tyrannosaurus (Need For Speed 2)
Now this one is a throwback. Did you know that you could drive a T-Rex in Need For Speed 2? Note that we didn't say "play as" a T-Rex.
You can literally drive it around like a vehicle.
Entering the code "TREXME" on the Playstation version of the game (methods differ on PC) will unlock a tyrannosaurus for your driving pleasure. You'll tower over your competitors and hog most of the road unintentionally, which makes it a little unwieldy for a racing game.
Do you even care, though? You're racing a T-Rex now. Might as well go nuts.
2 Colonel Sanders (Phantasy Star Portable)
This beloved Japanese RPG series is known for its colorful sci-fi fantasy visuals, addicting progression system, and... wait, is that Colonel Sanders? Kentucky Fried Chicken must be quite popular in Japan.
KFC's Colonel is a recurring secret character and Easter egg in the Phantasy Star Portable series. He has a hidden in-game KFC shop in each installment where he sells items and weapons (seriously), and offers you his partner card upon interaction. His partner card allows players to summon the Colonel into battle when necessary-- or if they decide they're hungry.
It's definitely jarring to see Colonel Sanders fighting in a video game, but if Fred Durst can do it, then why not him?
1 Mr. Game And Watch (Super Smash Bros. Melee)
One of the most obscure characters in Nintendo history is one of the hardest to unlock in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Mr. Game and Watch is a silhouette derived from the Game and Watch, one of Nintendo's first successful consumer devices and an ancestor to the beloved Game Boy. Coming from archaic technology, the character is 2D and moves in slow, choppy frames.
You probably had no idea who he was at the time — that is, if you ever unlocked him. To do so, you either need to beat all of the target challenges, beat Classic Mode and Adventure Mode with every other character, or play 1000 versus matches. Good luck with that!
Did you know about all of these secret video game characters? Leave a comment and tell us which ones we missed!