Smurf's Rescue - Colecovision

Wha? Smurf's Rescue in Gargamel's Castle? The 7th best cheat code ever? Yeah, just wait; the news actually gets worse. It's technically not even a cheat code. It's a secret. But it's one of the ballsiest secrets ever programmed into a videogame; especially when you consider we're talking about a Smurf's game.

Before I get to the actual secret, did you know that Smurf's Rescue in Gargamel's Castle (Colecovision) was the very first side-scrolling action game. If you don't believe me, feel free to investigate it yourself. We're on the interweb; anything is possible. Except getting rid of SPAM, popups, Active X and so on and so forth.

Back to the secret. At the very end of the game, when Smurf reached the final chamber where Smurfette was being held by the evil Gargamel, if the player moved Smurf toward Smurfette and then turned and headed in the opposite direction, some game programmer with a perverted sense of humor coded innocent little Smurfette dropping her dress in an effort to entice you to rescue her. We sure hope his boss had a wicked sense of humor.....

Our reason for giving this dinosaur game some free exposure? You've got to admire a secret that threatens to destroy the innocence of childhood in one fell swoop. I'm not saying I personally admire it; but I'm sure some of you do. Oddly enough I found a few posts out there in cyberspace from people who were desperate to find a ROM of the game so they could see this for themselves because "Smurfette was hot!". And I thought people who desired the Lara Croft Nude Code were disturbed.

Off-Topic: By the way, quite a few years ago yours truly created an April Fool's joke that took on a life of its own. It was created to coincide with the frenzy surrounding the Lara Croft Nude code. We received hundreds of emails over the years from CCC visitors pretending to be adults, begging us to send them the game. You can read all about Lara Croft's Naked Trampoline Party for the PC right here.


Sonic 2 - Sega Genesis

While today's Sega games are primarily cheat code free, it was quite a different story back in the Genesis days. While Sonic's first appearance was released without anything much in the way of secrets or codes, Sonic 2 made up for it in spades.

Sonic Team crammed in a ton of wild and crazy cheat codes, hints and secrets into the sequel and managed to do it in a very inventive way - through the games Music and Sound Test. Even more surprisingly, the codes themselves were Easter Eggs! If you played the following selections: 19,65,09,17 you would activate the level select. Yuji Naka, the lead designer behind Sonic, Shenmue etc just happens to have been born on Sept 17, 1965. Can you spot the injoke?

Sonic 2 also featured a debug mode that was a blast to experiment with. If you used the sound test located within the Level Select and played 1, 9, 9, 2, 1, 1, 2, 4 - you would activate the debug mode. Once again, that code was also an easter egg as the game was released on November 24, 1992 - Sonic 2uesday.

The debug mode was wild! It allowed gamers to turn Sonic into various objects found in the environments such as rings, TV's, platforms, bumpers etc. Once you had the object you liked, you could "clone" it and place it anywhere on the screen. Then you would change back to Sonic and take advantage of all of the cool goodies you planted.

But the goodies didn't stop there. Gamers who managed to collect all of the 7 chaos emeralds were rewarded with the special appearance of Super Sonic who was invincible and could run at full speed without stopping and could run up walls. Super Sonic needed rings to survive (they would deplete over time) and if the rings went below 50, he would change back into regular Sonic. Of course the developers also programmed in a cheat code so that gamers who weren't as dedicated could play the game as Super Sonic.

Sonic 2 gets a coveted spot on our list because it did manage to influence further Sega games (Sonic 3 continued the debug tradition as well as Super characters) and because it not only excited a generation of 16 bit gamers, but we bet also made an impression on future game programmers who were blown away by the cool extras found within.

Sonic 2 quite possibly contained the best cheat codes/secrets of the 16 bit era due to the innovative activation method, the easter egg(s) within the meaning of the code entries (Naka's birthday and US launch date), extra characters (Super Sonic) available by completing the game properly (for purists) and via cheats (for non-purists), level select, and the very cool debug mode which allowed gamers to experiment with various objects in the game, ramping up replay value a thousandfold.


Metroid - NES

If Gunpei Yokoi's Metroid (also the creator of Game Boy and Virtual Boy) side-scrolling + vertical scrolling action shooter wasn't innovative enough, the secrets hidden within the games password system would captivate gamers imaginations for years and effect many games that came after it.

Metroid was a sci fi action shooter starring Samus Aran who could only be desribed as a spiritual ancestor of Halo's Master Chief. Gamers couldn't get enough of Metroid's maze like settings, cool weapons, boss battles and the hours of exploration in a non-linear game environment.

Creator Yokoi had a little surprise up his sleeve though. Once gamers had beaten the game, he was certain they would return for more to see how fast they could beat it again. Those who beat the game in less than an hour were shocked to discover that Samus Aran was.....a girl! Today that's common knowledge - but back in the 80's, NES fanatics were totally blown away by the revelation that this kick ass warrior was a female. What a great day for women's equality. We salute Yokoi and Nintendo for their progressive thinking.

Metroid was released before batteries were used in cartridges to save games, so a password system was used. Early on, the name "Justin Bailey" became synonymous with Metroid and cheat codes in general. It was thought for years that Justin Bailey was the ONLY code for Metroid - it allowed gamers to start the game with some weapon upgrades. However, findings from The Metroid Database prove otherwise. They have said that if one experiments with the password system, there are numerous names that will work just as well. In fact, one password 000000 000020 000000 000020, allows you to play the game as Samus without her armor, no powerups and starting at Brinstar.

The Metroid Database also discovered one password that was actually coded into the game - NARPAS SWORD0 000000 000000 - this provides Samus with infinite health and missiles, making the game a cakewalk. The deciphering of the password probably translates to NAR (North American Release) Password 00000 etc, which in itself is an easter egg as it pertains to the game.

In the mid 80's when Metroid was released, the only places to get cheat codes were word of mouth or via some of the videogame magazines available at the time. Back then these secrets and extras took on a life of their own as they were passed around from schoolyard to schoolyard, from son to father or mother, from business colleague to business colleague.... Gaming magazines such as Electronic Gaming Monthly can directly attribute their early success to the pages they dedicated to the latest cheat codes. Of course, the internet eventually made cheats in magazines and magazines dedicated completely to codes completely obsolete (some of them are still hanging on though) but in the early days, they were the only game in town.

Metroid earns our 5th place spot, because it further advanced the culture of cheating. For the code to survive it had to be passed on (correctly!) from person to person, therefore building excitement for the game (and games in general) and cheats simultaneously.

Click Here For The Top 10 Best Cheats Ever: Part III

By Vaughn