Exploring your favourite video games can be great fun; you never know what hidden goodies you might find stashed away in the most unexpected of areas.
Lucky and skilled players (or filthy cheaters with codes and walkthroughs - for shame) may come across entrances to the secret levels. Some may be in the form of a simple teleporter hidden behind a secret door, while others may require the silliest or most demanding fulfilments.
Secret levels are usually something special, occasionally offering an odd twist to everything. Sure, taking the fight in a railway station is one thing, but what about a gunfight inside a fun slide made up of flesh, bone, and rivers of blood rushing at top speed?
While some gamers may fondly remember missions like Call of Duty 4’s high-octane romp on a plane, developers have taken it a step beyond with their secret missions, often making them so out there that you can't help but laugh.
Ever set foot in a retro throwback mission, or a battlefield full of giant, mutated ants?
After checking out our top 10 most surreal secret levels in video games, share any honourable mentions in the comments below. The weirder, the better.
10. Quake - Ziggurat Vertigo
Quake might not have had the personality of its predecessor DOOM, or its rival-at-the-time Duke Nukem 3D, though it still deservingly goes down as one of the finest, fast-paced shooters out there.
The game’s first chapter hosts a very unique secret level, especially when compared to the others.
When you spawn inside, you realize Ziggurat Vertigo is a tall level with a temple nearby. As you go for a jump you--whoa-whoa-WHOA, what’s happened to the gravity?
The hint’s in the name: the level has one-eighth less gravity, meaning a simple jump can send you quite literally flying. You’ll fall like a feather. Preferably not into a pool of lava.
It adds a tricky twist to the situation. You can make extravagant leaps of faith to reach higher parts of the level, and can leap over obstacles while pumping out a few dozen nails, or carpet bombing the Ogres.
On the flip-side, you’ll be a sitting duck to the flying monsters, as well as the big, bad, lightning-blasting Shamblers up top. You can’t fall any faster, so deciding where and when to jump is crucial.
Zero-gravity gunfights in Ziggurat Vertigo is a one-of-a-kind experience. Prepare to die a lot. Most deaths will likely be caused by delicately falling into the lava pools below.