It's Easter Weekend, and everyone's clamoring to stock up on chocolate eggs and tie-dye colors! But Easter eggs aren't just rainbow colored boiled eggs that will go rotten if they're hidden too well, it's also the term used for awesome hidden content in videogames! And what better a weekend than Easter Weekend to search for these secrets?
I bring to you, the 5 coolest 'easter eggs' in videogames!
5. Batman: Arkham City—Anti-Batman
Let's start with the game that compelled me to look for easter eggs in the first place. After playing it once, I played again just to look for all the really cool easter eggs that developers Rocksteady littered around this game! I managed to find a lot more than I thought I would, but I never managed to find this interesting one. Scattered all over Arkham City are various newspaper clippings. Now, even the most diehard of Batman fans wouldn't think to actually inspect these seemingly meaningless space fillers, there was just too much going on in the game to care about newspapers!
But upon closer inspection of these clippings, you'll see that they actual contain some pretty cool nods to an epic Batman villain! The newspaper clippings are headlines that read "Criminal Couple Gunned Down" and "Boy Watches As Parents Die". These are actually references to one of my favorite Batman villains, Prometheus.
As a young child, Prometheus was poor, raised by two criminal parents who stole money and murdered. He believed that "justice" was an actual place, and that his parents were bringing all of the police to justice. One day, his parents were shot down by cops in a Bonnie and Clyde-style shoot-out, right in front of the young boy's eyes! That day, he vowed to avenge them by annihilating the forces of justice, and destroying the system of the law!
Why I Like This EE—Bruce Wayne Could Have Been Evil!
If his origin story sounds like a sort of mirrored version of Batman's, that's because it is. Prometheus is what Bruce Wayne would have been if he was born and raised in opposite circumstances. Arkham City is a wonderfully written game, full of themes and undertones that all reference in one way or another Batman's psyche. That's why I LOVE this easter egg! It references a character that is basically the shadow of the Caped Crusader, showing us that Batman's hero status is heavily dependent on how he was raised, and that one little change in his origin story might have given birth to one of the most dangerous criminals in history! Luckily, Batman became a hero. Unluckily, Prometheus did not, and he's just as clever and cunning as the Dark Knight!
Prometheus Origin Reference:
4. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze—Grounded Space Bounty Hunter
Donkey Kong's latest adventure, Tropical Freeze is a game that certainly aims to please! Both new and old fans of the King of Kongs (not to be mistaken for..you know..) will absolutely love this game for it's great gameplay mechanics, memorable characters and stunning animation. Leave it to Nintendo to make us actually care when about whether or not DK's fur moves when wind breezes on it!
Speaking of Nintendo, big N knows how to easter egg! Nintendo has slipped in easter eggs in tons of their games, but I think the coolest are the ones that are staring you right in the face, and yet you still can't see them right away! Like this one in DK: Tropical Freeze, that reveals that a certain bounty hunter from space made a crash landing on Donkey Kong's island.
See that oddly shaped object nestled in some trees in the background? Well that's actually the crashed chip of Samus Aran, another Nintendo character! It seems that Samus might have made an unexpected stop at DK's hometown.
Why I Like This EE—Nintendoverse Confirmed! Or Maybe Metroid Prime 4?
This easter egg can be taken three different ways. There's the boring way, taking this as just a fun little nod to Metroid Prime, a game series that DK: TF developer Retro Studios worked on prior to their ape-ventures. There's the moderately cool way, taking this as a confirmation that Metroid Prime 4, the long-awaited fourth entry to the Metroid Prime series, is finally on its way. And then there's the monumentally mind-blowing, extremely convincing way, taking this humble little easter egg as a confirmation that Samus, DK and the rest of the Nintendo characters all inhabit the same universe!
Stemming from an even larger theory by my favorite YouTuber, Game Theorists, the Nintendo Universe theory suggests that Samus is from the same universe as the likes of Mario and Link. Sure we've seen the Nintendo folks clash against each other in the Super Smash Bros. series, but it's different to think that DK's island and Norfair actually exist in the same universe! This easter egg is amazing because it shows that Nintendo is most likely listening to this insane theory! Whether or not they're telling us it's true or not has yet to be determined. Only time will tell. Maybe we'll even get a Metroid game set on DK's tropical land. Doubtful yes, but I can't be the only one who would wear that disc out by excessively playing it!
3. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2—Naruto Ball ShippuZ!
Anyone who knows me personally is constantly annoyed by my raving of my favorite anime, Naruto! I have the show, the movies, the manga and yes, the games! My favorite right now being Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 (I know, a mouthful). It's really one of the best of the series, perfectly capturing what the shows about and just being generally fun to play.
But what's really awesome about this game is the easter egg/homage it has to another popular anime series, Dragon Ball Z.
In the game's story mode, Naruto is fighting Pain, the evil leader of the Akatsuki (I apologize to those who don't watch Naruto if it sounds like I'm uttering gibberish). After a lengthy battle, Naruto manages to hit Pain with his go-to move, the Rasengan. But this time, he is accompanied by the image of his recently deceased master, Jiraiya. This move looks almost exactly like the 'Father-Son Kamehameha' technique from the Cell Saga of the DBZ series! It's even set up like it too. Both Naruto and Gohan lose a father figure (in Gohan's case, his actual father) to a powerful warrior with many forms who wants to destroy the earth.
They end up fighting the powerful warrior to save the world and avenge their fallen master's death. And their fallen master coincidentally shows up in the middle of their blue colored energy technique to support them. Now normally, I'd see this whole easter egg as just one big coincidence, despite the similarities. But one game later, Naruto receives a special Goku costume! And as if that weren't enough, he regains the ability to do the Father-Son Kamehameha mimic move! It's possible that this was all done on purpose, especially since Naruto and other anime owe their popularity in the west to anime like Dragon Ball Z.
Why I Like This EE—Childhood Overload!
I grew up watching DBZ and Naruto during the Toonami block on Cartoonnetwork! Seeing one of my favorite anime reference another one of my favorite anime was just epic! It totally made the game that much more enjoyable than it already was! Now all we need is either of them to reference One Piece and I'm 100% satisfied!
Naruto's DBZ Rasengan:
(skip to 3:40 to see the rasengan)
2. Alice: Madness Returns—I Guess That Means The Sequel's Canned?
It pains me to write about this game. SO. MUCH. Alice: Madness Returns is a frustrating game, almost as much as its predecessor. But just like the first game, Madness Returns is so darn fun! I would quit it if I could, but the lovely graphics, the awesome gameplay mechanics, and the feeling of being in the dark setting of Wonderland is just too great! But the coolest thing about this game, is the awesome reference it makes to another frustrating game that I used to play/ have still not beaten!
In the game, there's a secret hole you can climb through. Upon climbing through the hole, you'll be greeted by the grim sight of a large skeleton sitting on a chair. The skeleton has goggles and has its hand in a very familiar position. This is actually the skeleton of Razputin "Raz" Aquato, the main protagonist of the videogame Psychonauts! Guess his supernatural powers and his large brain weren't enough to save him from going mad in Wonderland.
Why I Like This EE—Hail To The King!
Both Psychonauts and Alice are low-budget indie games that managed to get lucky and make it big! Their themes, unique gameplay and odd source material could have very well been their downfall; but instead, it secured their spots as videogame classics and both gained a dedicated fan base.
While Alice is a great game, Psychonauts came first. And yet, Alice's adventures in Wonderland are a touch bit more successful than Razputin's endeavors in Psycho Camp. This easter egg is both an homage to Psychonauts and a joke about how Alice had knocked it off its top spot!
1. Just Cause 2—Hope You Packed A Parachute!
You can keep your Grand Theft Auto's and your Saint Rows, I'll stick to Just Cause! I mean, I still have both of those game franchises, but what I'm saying is that Just Cause is, in my opinion, so much better than either of them! Especially Just Cause 2! This epic game lets you hijack cars and run from the law, all the while having a useful grappling hook and an unlimited supply of parachutes! The latter of which will come in handy when you discover this awesome easter egg!
See that island that sort of looks like a dollar sign? That's Hantu Island, a mysterious island that's off the coast of the main one. If you fly too close to this island, you'll get quite a surprise: your plane catching fire and falling from the sky! Hantu Island is actually based off of the famous island from the famous TV series, Lost! And it's filled with awesome references to the show!
Why I Like This EE—Developer Dedication
I love it when developers work hard on a game feature that might not even get noticed! There's so much to do on the main island, that you wouldn't even think to travel to this dollar shaped island. Especially since it's pretty off-coast from your fun missions, and it has no missions or event icons on it at all. Sure someone would have eventually flew there and crashed; but they made this island look like it was part of some upcoming Lost DLC, rather than just a little nod to the show.
Let's hope that Just Cause 3 has a reference to another fabled island that we all love. Perhaps one that spawned the "birth" of Starling City's hooded vigilante? Take note Square Enix!
There you have it! The coolest videogame easter eggs I've ever seen!