Growing up, in the days before the internet answered all our questions, video game urban legends flew around from kid to kid like a virus. Before there was any real way to verify whether these things were actually true, we had to take the word of our friend who “swears his cousin could do it.”
Many of these urban legends I tried for myself to uncover when I was younger, and sadly all of them turned out to be hoaxes. But some were so prevalent in the mythology of the games, that it was decided they should be included in future installments. As for the rest? The fabled Gameshark was able to recreate most of them if you did enough hacking, though that doesn’t really count.
Some of these games are old school, some less so and we should have known better, but all the stories are legends in their own right.
1. Finding the Triforce in Ocarina of Time
Ever since an early trailer for the Ocarina of Time showed Link finding the Triforce, players were convinced it was hidden in the game somewhere. Nevermind that Nintendo said they scrubbed that part of the game out completely, we were determined it was there somewhere.
There were a number of crazy ways detailed on how to find the triforce, and many of them are listed and tested here, at this really old site that’s clearly been around for over a decade. Here’s an example of one of the methods of finding it.
1. okay go to the middle of Hyrule field ( right in the middle ) and set two bombs.
2. after they explode go up to death mountain into the hot place near the fairy
3. go to the right as far as you can go and play the zelda song
4. leave the cave and then get the owl to take you to the village
5. jump off the house and go to the grave yard and into Dampe’s house
6. read his dairy, if you have done it right it should read : gone fishin
7. go to lake Hyrule and catch two big fish, consecutivly.
8. run to town and get into the court yard. If you did this right it should be there. the real blue fairy gives it to you.
All the methods involved a series of events equally as ridiculous, and surprise, none of them actually worked. But that didn’t stop most of us from trying them over and over anyway. “Oh maybe we just did a step wrong!” Or maybe the phrase “internet troll” just wasn’t invented yet.
2. Unlock Sonic and Tales in Smash Bros Melee
This all started as an April Fools joke from Electronic Gaming Monthly, but over time it snowballed into what people thought was a legitimate way to unlock Sonic and Tails in Super Smash Bros. Melee for Gamecube.
The trick was to defeat 20 or more wireframe opponents in Cruel Melee and the duo would be yours. Well die hard players tried it and one Japanese player KO’d 565 wireframes with Pikachu, and one Danish guy allegedly killed 10,000 wireframes with Samus disproving the rumor in the most thorough way possible. That’s like someone saying if you jump on a certain rock in Halo 100 times you can play as Cortana, and so someone jumps on it 50,000 times and says “guys it’s not true!” Thanks man, we got it.
Sonic was available in the next Smash Bros. installment, but unfortunately Tails is nowhere to be found. Not yet at least.
3. Find Mew Under a Truck in Pokemon Red/Blue
When I was a young preteen, this is one urban legend I slaved over for ages, and try as I might, I could not pull poor Mew out from under that damn truck. Here’s the official steps as to how you should go about trying:
Once you defeat Misty, trade with someone a Pokémon that already knows cut from another game. Then continue the game without going on the SS Anne and get HM02 (fly) and HM03 (surf) as you go. Once gotten both fly and surf, go back to where the SS Anne is. Go right to where the screen switches and you see the ship itself. You will be on the boardwalk that leads to the ship. Surf off to the right until you see a strip of land with a truck on it. People have said that if you move the truck with strength, you will find Mew.
Of course, none of this worked, but this was definitely the exactly legend that was passed around when I was younger. There were many secrets like this in the game that WERE true (Missingno anyone?) but Mew was alas not (legitimately) in the game. Only through Gameshark could you actually unlock the little psychic feline.
4. The Secret Base in Goldeneye’s Dam Level
It was rumored that there was a secret in the initial level of N64’s Goldeneye. Head to the final dam area, grab a sniper rifle, peer across the lake and there would be a secret base that somehow you could access. The rumors ranged that on that base were secret enemies and hidden weapons, the likes of which you couldn’t find anywhere in the game.
The base was there alright, it was visible as plain as day. But the getting there part? Not going to happen. Turns out the base was a different section of the level at one point, but it was cut from the game and programmers just left the code in a spot that was inaccessible to players. No secret tunnel would ever lead you there.
But enter Gameshark, and it allowed players to travel to the mysterious location where they would find…nothing. No glorious weapons, nor fearsome enemies, just an abandoned base that was much more mysterious from far away.
5. Finding Leatherface/Bigfoot in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
This was another rumor that I tried for hours to uncover. I went with the Leatherface variant of the legend, but some said that Bigfoot was also able to be spotted in the forests of San Andreas.
The Leatherface tale said that if you were in a lumber mill in the middle of the map at exactly midnight, you would hear the revving engine of Leatherface’s chainsaw, and if you waited long enough, he would come out of the woods and kill you. It seemed plausible as the chainsaw was in the game, and why wouldn’t Rockstar put that easter egg in?
Well I parked my car at 12:00 AM, hopped out and listened. It was raining, and I ran around the camp trying to hear this mystical chainsaw, as I headed back to my car, I heard it. The humming engine of what had to be Leatherface coming to kill me. Chills rolled up my spine, as I spun around to locate him. A minute passed. Then five, then ten. He wasn’t coming, and I looked and realized that the engine sound I heard was that of my own truck, a sound I only heard when I had returned to stand next to it.
Leatherface (and Bigfoot) weren’t in the game, and only appeared through PC mods later on as seen above.
6. You Can Get the Ice Key in Banjo Kazooie
This one bugged the hell out of me when I was younger. After you beat the big bad witch what’s-her-face in Banjo Kazooie, something very strange happened. There was a video showing something mysterious happening in three levels. On the island level, a formerly tiny rock jutted up, revealing an entrance that wasn’t previously there. In the sand level, a remote door in a wall that served no purpose before was sudden opened. In the ice level, a frozen barrier melted and revealed an entrance to a secret room.
In the video, it showed Banjo and Kazooie entering these formerly inaccessible locations and finding mysterious treasures inside. None was more mysterious than the giant ice key however, as it was something you were able to observe previously in the game, but just simply could not get to it, no matter how hard you tried. When you went back and played the levels after you beat the game, all the locations were still inaccessible, including the ice key that was tantalizingly out of reach.
There was no way to get to it, it turned out, although through (yet again) Gameshark, you could warp through the wall and grab the key, which Kazooie advises you to “save for later.” These secret locations and keys did come into play again, but not years later in Banjo-Tooie, but I had long since lost interest in the series and its mysteries.
7. It’s Possible to Revive Aeris in Final Fantasy VII
This rumor was spawned out of a million gamers heartbroken at the scene in Final Fantasy VII where Aeris meets her tragic end. Almost immediately rumors started that there was a way to revive her, and use her again in future battles.
The legend said that an “Underwater Materia” could be found in the game and used to revive her, and that a new FMV (full motion video) in the American version of the game was surely a scene where Aeris was brought back to life. In reality, the materia was just used in a fight against Emerald Weapon and the FMV was just to showcase new weapons.
Aeris stays dead unless you bust out your Gameshark, and it’s really wise to just accept the loss for what it is, a virtual heartbreak of epic proportions.
8. Sheng Long in Street Fighter II
The origin of Shen(g) Long is a rather elaborate tale, and one that I even barely fully understand. It’s apparently the combined result of a mistranslation in one of the games lines and a series of April Fools jokes from Electronic Gaming Monthly. Man they were good at creating these kinds of rumors. Didn’t anyone ever look at the date of the issue?
The mistranslation went as follows. When Ryu defeats his opponent, he would often say “You have to defeat Shen Long to stand a chance,” through some faulty Japanese, this had been mistranslated from “If you cannot overcome my Rising Dragon Punch, you cannot win!”
Fuel was further added to the fire, when Sheng Long was listed as Ryu and Ken’s teacher in the English manual of Street Fighter 2, and then EGM made the entire thing explode when they published an elaborate story on how to unlock the secret character in game.
The character never existed at all, but eventually Capcom brought a version of him into the game which they named Gouken. Another example of legend creating reality.
9. The Cow Level in Diablo
Ah yes, the infamous Cow Level in Diablo. In the original game there appeared a cow that served no real purpose in the game. Naturally, like all mundane mysterious objects in games, a rumor was started that the cow was actually a portal to a secret cow level, when clicked on the right number of times.
Well Blizzard found this (untrue) legend so entertaining, they decided to actually include the cow level in Diablo 2, as you can see above. It serves as mostly a paradise for people who want to level up quickly, and many characters are built specifically to maximize their cow killing potential. If you think slaughtering cows would be easy, there’s a lightning enchanted King Cow that would have to disagree with you.
No word on a possible cow level being developed for Diablo 3, but I have to imagine they’ll include some form of the classic bonus level in there somewhere.
10. The Tomb Raider Nude Code
This is perhaps the Holy Grail of all internet urban legends, the idea that somehow, some way, the right button combo would make Miss Lara Croft take her clothes off. The game had other codes, so surely the programmers must have been nice enough to include that one as well?
Nevermind that such an action would have caused the game to get pulled from practically every store in America after a flurry of complaints from angry parents, we really wanted to believe it existed, but alas, it did not.
But once mods became all the rage, naturally this was one of the first things this to be developed, and now practically every Tomb Raider game that has been released since the original has had some sort of nude mod attached to it. I’m sure it would be considered hot if I were still eleven years old, but at point it’s just kind meh.