A secret character
(not to be confused with an unseen character
) is usually a playable character
, although sometimes a non-player character
, in a video game
that can only be played, or in some cases fought against, by completing some task in the game.
Secret characters are more common in fighting games, which are fundamentally based around a set of different characters. However, they can occur in many game genres.
In some cases, secret characters are given as a reward for completing a game (a process usually described as unlocking a secret character). The Tekken games are one example of this, as they actually provide empty spaces on the Character Select screen for characters that have not yet been unlocked.
Other secret characters, however, are far more secretive, and can be classified as a kind of Easter egg. Some may require the player to accomplish impressive or unusual gameplay feats, and some can only be obtained by using cheats or hacks.
Popular secret characters sometimes return as main characters in sequels of the original game. Ayane was a secret character in the original Dead or Alive but is a main character in every subsequent installment of the series.
Sometimes certain characters are not completely secret, but appear only as non-player characters at first, such as bosses or enemies, but then become available to choose as playable characters when the specific tasks or cheats are performed. They are not secret as enemy characters, but secret as player characters.
Notable secret characters
- Abyss (Soulcalibur III)
- Devil Jin (Tekken 5)
- Travis Barker (Tony Hawk's Project 8)
- Akuma (Super Street Fighter II Turbo, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Street Fighter Alpha)
- Gon (Tekken 3)
- Marionnette (Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower)
- Ein (Dead or Alive 3)
- Umaro and Gogo (Final Fantasy VI)
- Yuffie Kisaragi and Vincent Valentine (Final Fantasy VII)
- Metal Sonic, Tails Doll, Metal Knuckles and EggRobo (Sonic R)
- Most of the Legendary Pokémon (Pokémon series)
- Dan Hibiki (Street Fighter Alpha)
- Luigi, Ness, Captain Falcon, and Jigglypuff (Super Smash Bros.)
- Mewtwo, Luigi, Mr. Game & Watch, Marth, Jigglypuff, Ganondorf, Falco Lombardi, Dr. Mario, Pichu, Young Link and Roy (Super Smash Bros. Melee)
- Sonic the Hedgehog, Solid Snake, Toon Link, Wolf O'Donnell, Falco Lombardi, Ganondorf, R.O.B., Lucario, Marth, Mr. Game & Watch, Captain Falcon, Ness, Jigglypuff, and Luigi in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Minion (Twisted Metal series)
- Reptile (Mortal Kombat) This was the first secret character in any fighting game.
- Smoke, Noob Saibot and Jade (Mortal Kombat 2)
- Blaze and Mokap (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance)
- HUNK (Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4)
- Tofu (Resident Evil 2)
- Zero, Dan Hibiki, Orochi Iori, Demitri Maximoff, Geese Howard, Goenitz, Psycho Ken (SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom)
- Castile, Laharl, Etna, Flonne, Salome, Valvoga, King Drake, Pram the Oracle, Lord Zetta, Seedle, Yoshitsuna, Super Robo Suit, and Asagi, (Makai Kingdom)
- Richter Belmont (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)
- Kliff Undersn, Robo-Ky and Justice (Guilty Gear XX)
- Alucard (Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow)
- Simon Belmont (Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance)
- Solid Snake (DreamMix TV World Fighters, Super Smash Bros. Brawl)
- Nordom (Planescape: Torment)
- Ms. Mowz (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door)
- Roll, Shadow Lady, Gold War Machine, Orange Hulk, Lilith, Carnage (Marvel VS. Capcom)
- Fred Durst (WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It)
- Seung Han Myong - (Soul Edge)
- Eyedol - (Killer Instinct)
- Ash, Shiva and Roo - (Streets of Rage 3)
- Dural (Virtua Fighter series)
Notable fake secret characters
The following characters are not actually playable in their corresponding games, but rumours and/or hoaxes purporting the contrary were at one point widespread:
- Metal Mario (Super Smash Bros.) (one of the non-playable characters in the game, playable via cheat only)
- Goku (Super Smash Bros.) A rumor spread out on the internet that if the player completes the game in Very Hard mode with 1 stock with Link, the player fights Goku and cuts his tail off.
- Sonic and Tails (Super Smash Bros. Melee) An April Fool's Day hoax placed in the magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly said that Sonic and Tails could be unlocked by beating 20 opponents in the difficult Cruel Melee setting. The magazine came under heavy fire after they told everyone it was a joke. However, Sonic is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Sheng Long (Street Fighter II)
- "All Bonds" (GoldenEye 007): A multiplayer mode feature supposedly allowed the player to use any of the actors who had portrayed James Bond in the movie series. It was originally going to be in the final game, evidenced by images for the heads, suits, and portraits found in the data, but was scrapped due to licensing issues.
- Luigi (Super Mario 64) (later became a playable character when the game was re-released on the DS)
- Waluigi (Super Mario 64 DS) (rumors about a black box seen when selecting a file)
- Goro (Mortal Kombat II) (became a playable character in later Mortal Kombat games.)
- Ermac (Mortal Kombat) (became a real playable character in later Mortal Kombat games.)
- Akuma (Resident Evil 2)
- Inferno - While playable in Soulcalibur, he was not playable in II or III, although he could be used in SCII by means of cheat devices, but would result in the game crashing at the end of the match, or after Inferno had taken an amount of damage.
- Night Terror (Soulcalibur III)
- Seymour Guado (Final Fantasy X) - Is playable for one fight. Can then be made playable using GameShark codes. Seems like the developers had a change of mind about his role.
- Aerith Gainsborough (Final Fantasy VII) - While initially playable in the first portion of the game, Aerith is killed during a key scene. Rumors abounded that, through some sequence of events, it was possible to resurrect her and return her to your party.
- General Leo (Final Fantasy VI) - The character is playable for a short time; it was said that when he died there was a way to revive him.
- Razz Jackrabbit (Jazz Jackrabbit 2) - Rumored to be in the game, but was later confirmed to be in Jazz Jackrabbit 3, but did not due to the cancellation of the game.
- Toad (Super Smash Bros. Melee) - It was said that if you shot all the screen credits, you fought Toad.
- Sandaime Hokage ( 2 ) - It was said if you got the "Hokage" rank in One player mode,Oboro mode,and Survival mode, Sandaime Hokage would be at the shop and cost 250,000.