With Christmas almost upon us, it might be nice to list some of our favorite gaming “gifts”, extra bonus content that the game developers didn’t have to include, but did anyway. From bonus worlds to cut content to a secret island, this post discusses the Duck’s personal favorite bonuses found in video games!
6: The Conductor and the Guardian of Worlds – Even after defeating both the Dark Djinn and the tacked-on final boss, the White Witch, Ni no Kuni is not yet over because there is still more fun to be had. With extra side quests and more difficult versions of earlier boss fights, this isn’t exactly the most interesting bonus content in the world. But I loved the game so much, I was happy to have more to do once it was over. The more interesting side quest involves the creepy Conductor character, a spindly man with a huge bunny head (probably related to Zipper T. Bunny, if you ask me…), who eventually opens the door to a brand new boss, the Guardian of Worlds. After that, you get the Philmobile, which allows you to drive around the world map in a car. Yeah, it’s completely useless now that the game is complete, but it’s pretty neato, nonetheless.
5: MediEvil’s PS1 Debut – Having never played the original MediEvil on the PS1, I was pretty excited when I managed to unlock it in the PS4 remake. That’s right, folks, if you have the new remake of MediEvil, you can actually unlock the entire original version of the game by completing the Lost Souls quest, where you must find a lost soul in every level and lay them to rest in another stage. I haven’t gotten around to actually playing the PS1 version of the game yet, but it will certainly be cool to check out in the future.
4: Animal Island – I had a few cool Game Boy Advance/GameCube peripherals back in the day. One of these connected the GBA to the GameCube via a controller port. While I didn’t have a whole lot of uses for this thing, the best was easily Animal Crossing’s Animal Island. This allowed you to visit an island (thanks to Kapp’n), complete with a unique visitor and a little house you could share and decorate with any other players you happened to be sharing the game with. I don’t remember the details too well, but it was a pretty cool, little bonus!
3: Gnasty’s Loot, Dragon Shores, and Super Bonus Round – What do these three levels have in common? Why, they’re the bonus content found at the end of each of the three original Spyro the Dragon games! The first and third games require you to get 100% up until that point in order to access the bonus level, while Spyro 2 requires 8000 gems and 55 orbs. Getting 100% in this game unlocks a permanent Superflame, however, which also happens to be located in Dragon Shores. Personally, Gnasty’s Loot is my favorite, as it is fun, but fairly easy. Dragon Shores is more a collection of mini games that allows you to unlock a theater once you’ve completed them all. And Super Bonus Round…is actually a bit tough, particularly the race.
2: Insomniac Museum – Definitely one of the coolest bonus locations in any video game, the Insomniac Museum is found in certain Ratchet & Clank games and allows you to check out cut content, sometimes paired with explanations from the game developers. Earlier versions of the museum were also cleverly hidden, often expecting you to stand in a specific location at an ungodly hour of the night (like, ahem, an insomniac) in order to access it. Or you could just change the clock…
1: Krocodile Kore and Krematoa – Considering I’m a huge fan of the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the SNES, it’s no wonder that my most fondly remembered bonus content comes in the form of the secret worlds found in the second and third games, Krocodile Kore and Krematoa respectively. While the former is easier to find, as you need only pay Klubba at various locations on the map, Krematoa was more cleverly hidden and required you to steer your boat around a certain part of the map while honking until the mountain rose from the sea. Not only could these stages be challenging, but you were also required to get 100% in the game because these levels required coins found in mini games in order to access. Back then, playing a game that granted you with a bonus world and secret ending for getting 100% was immensely rewarding to me.
What are your favorite examples of bonus content in video games, dear readers? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!