Laser Bear - Age of Mythology
Canadians are famously friendly people. But the bears are capable of serious violence. In Age of Mythology, one cheat code unleashes the Lazer Bear, a rapid and meticulous destroyer of all units. The name comes from the fact that it’s a bear that has laser eyes that can shoot to kill. It doesn’t matter how far away the target is, what number of targets - the Lazer Bear will find you and it will kill you.
Exploding Lara Croft - Tomb Raider
Now why would you want to explode Lara Croft? She’s out here as an honest archaeologist turned adventurer trying to find an anciest artefact and you want to blow her up for the Hell of it? For a laugh? Of course you do. Why wouldn’t you? Originally designed as a punishment for players who sought a cheat code to expose Croft’s polygonal assets, this little feature became something gamers would purposely seek for the sheer madness of it.
Teaming up with a turkey - Assassin’s Creed III
The third installment of the Assassin’s Creed series heavily features the American Revolutionary War in the 18th century. As such, all of the locations are split between Boston, New York and the American Frontier. But there are smaller details that fit with the country’s image too. Namely: a turkey. Travel to your homestead, hide near the edge of the manor and whistle, and a wild turkey will appear to shadow your every move in the area. Enter the Konami Code and this bird will become an assassin, complete with ominous hood.
Bikini Samus - Metroid
You could maybe forgive the children of the 80s and early 90s for thinking that Samus Aran, the protagonist of the Nintendo Metroid series, was a dude. The graphics of the time weren’t exactly in 4K and video game heroines weren’t yet quite what they are know. So imagine the shock of everyone playing it when rumour spread of a code that would undress Samus into a bikini.
DK mode – GoldenEye 007
1997 was a seismic year for Britain. JK Rowling released the first Harry Potter book. Labour retook Downing Street after a two-decade absence. Chumbawamba unleashed ‘Tubthumping’. We drank a whiskey drink, we drank a vodka drink, we drank a lager drink, and then Princess Diana died. In the cold comedown of November, however, we were rescued by GoldenEye 007, often regarded as one the best video games of all time. Remembered for many of its ground-breaking features, GoldenEye was developed by Rare, best-known for their Donkey Kong Country series. They therefore included ‘DK Mode’ as a secret, making everyone less guerilla and more gorilla.
Severed head - Super Monaco GP
Super Monaco may have been a one trick pony (in that it only featured one race: the Monaco Grand Prix) but it was a massive hit worldwide. In 1990, one year after its release, it was the highest-grossing arcade game. Now did that have anything to do with this little cheat code? If you ever placed in the top three of a race you might have noticed that by pressing A, B and C while crossing the line, your driver will hold up his head instead of his trophy.
Flying - GTA V
The main draw of a game like Grand Theft Auto is that you can get away with doing things that you wouldn’t be able to in real life. Usually, that means car theft, common assault, GBH and outright murder, but better to live vicariously than unvicariously, no? You can, however, also do things that you really wouldn’t be able to do, like fly. On a PS4, go ahead and tap Left, Left, L1, R1, L1, Right, Left, L1, Left. What do you know? You’re flying. Do bear in mind this code doesn’t help you land…
Dismembering the enemy - Star Wars Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
Lightsabers, realistically, would result in stomach-churning dismemberment. Sometimes they did: Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Anakin and Luke Skywalker all experienced the devastation of Star Wars’ most iconic weapon. But most Jedi and Sith in the franchise escaped without so much as a scratch. This makes the cheat code in Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast so rewarding. Opening the PC game’s debug menu and using the “helpusobi1” code allowed users to chop off the limbs or even heads of enemies.
Moon physics - Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
To anyone for whom skateboards have only ever been longer, sturdier versions of comedy banana peels, seeing Tony Hawk do his thing is nothing short of incredible. But in his world, it’s just another day at the office. What he’d really like is an even lengthier time in the air so he could pull off double the moves. In the second instalment of his Pro Skater games, he managed to vicariously experience this thanks to the Moon Physics code.
Infinite Bullet Time - Max Payne
‘Bullet Time’ didn’t begin and end with The Matrix. In fact, it was implemented in pretty much every creative project from around 1999 to 2004. One of those was 2001’s Max Payne, whose bullet time feature made it popular with gamers looking to take out enemies moving in ultra slow-mo. Imagine their joy when they discovered players could access infinite bullet time by entering L1, L2, R1, R2, TRIANGLE, X, X, TRIANGLE on the pause screen.
Human sounds - TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
Now this was a cheat code. The folks over at TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, presumably bored, created a challenge called Cats Out of the Bag that would unlock a cheat code upon completion. The prize of this code was the ability to change weapon sounds to human imitation sounds. Instead of a realistic gunshot, players would hear mimic sounds made by some guy in a sound booth, who, let’s be real, had the greatest job of all time.
Pants down - Silent Hill 3
This survival horror game follows the character of Heather, a teenager who wakes up from a nightmare in a shopping mall and has to navigate the real world and the Otherworld, in order to find her father. Pretty creepy, isn’t it? Well, what if I told you there was a Konami Code that could transform one character, a P.I named Douglas Cartland, into just his underwear. It was just one big jolly over at Team Silent wasn’t it? Horror this, horror that. Boom: humiliated P.I.
Evil cars - Saints Row
Saints Row, a slightly paler rival to Grand Theft Auto, had its fair share of fun when it came to funny and ludicrous cheat codes. One of its best, was the Evil Cars mode that made every driver on the road hellbent on running you over at all costs. While hardly sustainable for long periods of time, Evil Cars was a great way to blow off some steam back in the day.
Exploding cars - The Simpsons: Hit and Run
While we’re on cars, how can we forget this one? Referred to as “GTA for kids who weren’t yet old enough to play GTA”, The Simpsons: Hit and Run was one of those novelty games that actually paid off, probably because it was created by actual writers from the popular show. As such, it featured some hilarious cheats to help you on your way around the surreal streets of Springfield. The ability to explode cars with one touch is probably the GOAT.
Brushes mode - Lego Star Wars
Again, here’s another noughties era staple that cannot be forgotten. Lego Star Wars was the toy empire’s first foray into video games, later releasing versions of Batman and Indiana Jones. It was a more vibrant, easier, substitute to the more solemn official Star Wars video games, which is what made it rife for cheats for you to utilise on your Lego Sith and what not. Brushes Mode replaced lightsabers with push brooms, making an already-weird experience weirder yet.
Dog mode – Rise of the Triad
A sequel to id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D, Rise of the Triad is a FPS released in 1995 that follows five characters investigation of a deadly cult looking to do deadly things. Instead of allowing players to turn into Gods and shoot up the place with no fear of death, Rise of the Triad let players turn into dogs. As part of this feature, you can jump and maul your opponents for thirty seconds, because any more would be silly, wouldn’t it?
Pirate code - Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
The unfortunate timing of the Indiana Jones films meant that it missed the first wave of real film adaptation video games. They made it up for a bit in the 2000s with Lego Indiana Jones, but until then, we had to make do with the humble PC likes of Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine. This fairly decent entry into the computer game offered a few cheat codes, one of which turned Indy into GuyBrush from the Monkey Island Series by pressing F10 and entering ‘MAKEMEAPIRATE’.
Mailbox code - Midtown Madness
Prior to Midtown Madness, most racing games took place on traditional race tracks. This 90s game however, provided “an unprecedented degree of freedom to drive around in a virtual city”. It was also highly skilled in the area of cheat codes. The ‘postal’ code, for instance, allowed players to shoot mailboxes from their cars whenever they honked the horn.
Disco mode - Turok
Remember the Nintendo 64? Of course you do. One of its most popular games was Turok. Released in 1997, this adaptation of the Valiant Comics comic book series of the same name follows the trials and tribulations of a Native American warrior determined to stop the treacherous Campaigner from taking over the universe with an ancient weapon. Heavy. Thankfully, a cheat code would trigger Disco Mode and make every enemy in the game start dancing furiously.
Brainless mode - Rainbow Six Rogue Spear
What if you had a gun that once you pulled the trigger, didn’t stop shooting? It would probably be hugely counter-productive, not to mention unspeakably dangerous. It’s a question that the folks over at Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear pondered and then answered back in 1999. This cheat code will make every character unable to stop firing their gun until they’re empty.
Japanese code - Command and Conquer
Released in 1995, Command and Conquer is a real-time game set in the near future where the Earth has become contaminated by a strange substance known as Tiberium. A world war follows between the Global Defense Initiative and the cult Brother of Nod. Hugely successful, it spawned countless sequels. A ‘Gorilla’ password changes all the voices to Japanese in and among all this chaos.
God mode – Doom
Doom is one the most famous games in history. Somewhere between 10 and 20 million people are estimated to have played it within two years of its 1993 debut. Abrasive in its content and difficulty, Doom was a serious progression for a gaming industry that was quite child-friendly, if not outright silly. This first-person-shooter even had a cheat code (IDDQD) which makes you invincible. This may have lessened the thrill of completing a game like Doom, but it made you appreciate the things you might not have seen otherwise.
Blood mode – Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat sparked a revolution in gaming thanks to its casual attitude towards blood and guts. Unlike the cartoonish Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat was realistic. Its backdrops were murky and its violence was extreme. Here you could tear an opponent’s head off with the spinal cord attached, punch someone’s head clean off and rip the still-beating heart from a victim’s chest. Hardly surprising then, that there was a Blood Mode cheat that you could get from the Code of Honor screen by pressing A, B, A, C, A, B, B.
Weaponised car – Age of Empires
Age of Empires was always going be a hit with the history buffs out there. Released in 1997, and the first of what would become a franchise, this game allowed users to spearhead ancient civilisations through four eras: the Stone, Tool, Bronze and Iron. But what you may not have realised was that this escapism can be tarnished with just one code: Bigdaddy. Out of nowhere a weaponised black car will appear which you can steamroll your enemies with. This cheat code is not only funny but is actually helpful in terms of gameplay.
Raining pedestrians – Saints Row
This franchise was responsible for so many cheat codes, we could probably build an entire list around them. But let’s just stick to two for the time being. This cheat code does exactly what it says on the tin. It will literally shower down with non playable characters, proving that The Weather Girls vision of raining men is nothing short of disastrous. Certainly not sexy.
Memory card code - Metal Gear Solid
At a certain point in the legendary Metal Gear Solid, you will come up against Psycho Mantis, who will proceed to read your actual memory card. After that, he’ll ask you to place the controller on the floor. The controller will rattle. You’ll freak out. Psycho Mantis out-nerves another player. Unless… unless you move your memory card from slot 1 to slot 2. Psycho Mantis will then lose his telekinetic powers and be ripe for a good old shooting.
Natural disaster - Sim City 2000
Following in the trendy footsteps of other building simulation games, SimCity2000 allows players to create a city from scratch, mainly from a business stand point than a cultural one. Your job is to make sure the standard of living never falls to pieces, unless you have a taste for destruction, then by all means go back to SimCity200 and use the ‘Priscilla’ cheat code and see your pride and joy be torn to shreds by a tornado or UFO.
Hat code - Medal of Honor: Frontline
Your name is Lt. Jimmy Patterson. You’ve been sent to disrupt German U-boat operations. The Nazis are planning to build a secret weapon that could cause untold damage to the world. And you won’t stand for that. So what do you do in the face of such an evil? You enter HABRDASHR on the Bonus Screen and give everyone a funny hat.
Everybody hates you - Grand Theft Auto III
The antagonists of the GTA series aren’t exactly role models to the public surrounding them, what with all the casual hit and runs and violence brought onto their door step. But did you know there was a code you use to actually turn every single character against you? This one causes everyone in Liberty City to attack you without so much as a how do you do. Talk about a liberty.
Level skip – The Lion King
Don’t be fooled by the hammy graphics and kid-friendly content, a lot of the old school Disney games were near enough impossible to conquer, which is why some saint at Disney HQ decided to include a cheat code for players to use which would bump them up a level. Though when you completed this next level, you would be dropped down to level 2 again, so… kind of a d*ck move, really.
Drunk mode - GTA V
It’s a bit strange that it took five entries into the Grand Theft Auto franchise for developers to think up a Drunk Mode cheat, but then you play it and think: why would anyone want to do this? The purpose of a cheat is to assist your gameplay. Drunk Mode offers no such benefit. It might just be that it was implemented to teach younger players about the perils of getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.
Swearing - Spider-Man
Not so much a cheat as it is a funny little quirk. Spider-Man is a hero. Not a gritty, angry, cheesed-off hero. He’s a hero hero. As such, he has no truck with the likes of naughty words. This is proven in the PS1 Spider-Man game. Go to the cheat keyboard and enter any swear word and Spidey will spring up and punch away the word and replace it with something pleasant like “Balloon”.
Playable tank - TOCA: Touring Car Championship
TOCA: Touring Car Championship wasn’t really anything special. Another perfectly fine cog in the wider 3D racing game machine. But it did boast one cheat that cemented its place in cheat code history, and that was the choice to play as a tank. Simply typing ‘tank’ on the cheat keyboard would unleash this vehicle of mass destruction that could shoot and destroy rival cars, making the whole finish line thing quite easy.
Green farts – Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee appropriately has an odd storyline that set it apart from its cosy contemporaries at the time. It centers around hapless Mudokon Abe, whose attempts to escape a meat processing factory in which he’ll be slaughtered are compromised at every chance. To distract yourself from this heavy premise, players could hold R1 in-game and press up, left, right, square, circle and X and give Abe the ability to fart green gas.
Floating over walls - Casper
The PS1’s Casper wasn’t exactly the hardest game to complete, but this cheat made it significantly easier. After entering the fly-over-walls code – release up-left and L1, then press and hold right-down and triangle while still holding R1 and Start; wait for the game to unpause and Press R1 – go to the left staircase in the centre hall and fly over the doorway you just came in. Keep going down and you’ll find a secret room full of gold and silver keys and unlimited health!
Old age - Metal Gear Solid 3
Cheat codes are usually sought out in moments of extreme impatience. But in the case of this Metal Gear Sold 3 cheat, the code requires patience. At the climax of the game, Snake confronts The End, the legendary ‘Ancient Sniper’. Played honestly, this showdown is often brutal. Played with a cheat code, however, Snake won’t really have to move a muscle. If you save your game and quit mid-battle and don’t touch your console for a full week, when you return to the game, The End will have passed away from old age.
Sheep - Manx TT Super Bike
What’s better than motorcycle racing? Sheep racing! On Manx TT Super Bike you can race on one among dozens of other high-speed sheep by pressing the following on the transmission select screen: shift up, shift up, shift down, shift down, lean the bike full left, lean the bike full right, break and accelerate.
Beastie Boys - NBA Jam
NBA Jam was a less-serious, less-realistic sister of the official NBA games. This was a safe space for those who wanted to land comically surreal slam dunks with weirder players. By entering certain initials in the menu where you input your name, you could unlock many niche characters. One of these was the Beastie Boys. You could also play as Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Jetpack - GTA: San Andreas
The jetpack cheat is as pure as a cheat gets. It provides you, the player, with a jetpack. This is a nice novelty in GTA: San Andreas and allows you to see the game’s universe from a previously unseen perspective. But there are cons – the main one being that you can’t really do much in the sky, other than hover around and observe.
Playable tofu - Resident Evil
This is both a cheat code and a game unto itself. Resident Evil’s Tofu Survivor can be unlocked by completing The 4th Survivor once. Alternatively, it can be bought as DLC. This minigame is the exact same as The 4th Survivor, only the player controls a giant, lethal piece of tofu. If that isn’t a great endorsement of the creative team over at Resident Evil HQ, we don’t know what is.
Butt mode - Shovel Knight
Butt Mode isn’t as dirty as you might initially think, but it is quite funny. This cheat code simply replaces many of Shovel Knight’s common nouns with the word “butt.” So Shovel Knight becomes Butt Butt, Shield Knight becomes Shield Butt, Fate becomes Butt…you get the idea. To activate Butt Mode, enter WSWWAEAW when naming your save file.
Small mode - Super Mario Bros
In the first Super Mario Bros, if you played chicken with Bowser and jumped on both the axe and his head simultaneously, you’d “shrink” but remain big. This meant you could enjoy the best of both worlds. Being small in spirit could fit you through one-block gaps, while being physically big allowed you to break blocks and launch fireballs.
Explosive melee - GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Another GTA entry, you say? Yes. Another. They granted us a heap of funny cheat codes and we’ll be damned if we’re going to ignore them when they’re as funny and helpful as this. The explosive melee cheat code allows you to beat any single enemy that comes your way with hilarious ease. Call 1–999–4684–2637 and one lazy backhander will become a mortal blow.
DN stuff - Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem 3D went above and beyond when it came to its list of weaponry. Players over the course of this 1996 game are treated to the Chaingun Cannon, the Pipe Bomb, Laser Tripbomb, Freezethrower and Incinerator. But if players were to use the code “dnstuff” they could bag themselves all the weapons and key cards at once, making the experience bloodier (and way easier) than it is.
Bruce Campbell tells you off - Tachyon: The Fringe
Bruce Campbell? The Evil Dead guy? He just so happens to do a lot of voice acting here and there. In Tachyon: The Fringe, attempting any kind of cheat code makes Bruce condemn you for it. “So you’ve decided to cheat, eh?” “Hey why don’t you just play the game?” “I guess when you’re doing this badly it’s time to cheat.” Trying to cheat and getting reprimanded is never fun. In fact, it’s very annoying. But when Bruce Campbell is involved, it’s slightly less annoying.