- Secret character
A secret character (not to be confused with an unseen character) can be a player character or a non-player character in a video game that must be unlocked by completing a goal within the game. A secret character can only be played or interacted with after it has been unlocked, and may not even appear until then.
Secret characters are common in fighting games, in which the secret characters expand upon the core of playable characters. However, they can occur in many other genres.
Secret characters are often given as a reward for successfully completing a trial or for completing a chapter or segment of the game. The Tekken games are one example of this, as they actually provide empty spaces on the Character Select screen for characters that have not yet been unlocked.
Other secret characters, however, are far more secretive, and can be classified as a kind of Easter egg. Some may require the player to accomplish impressive or unusual gameplay feats, and some can only be obtained by using cheat codes or hacks.
Popular secret characters sometimes return as main characters in sequels of the original game. Reptile, a secret character in the original Mortal Kombat, returned as a main character in later games in the series.
Sometimes certain characters are not completely secret, but appear only as non-player characters at first, such as bosses or enemies, but then become available to choose as playable characters when the specific tasks or cheats are performed. They are not secret as enemy characters, but secret as player characters.
In the Dating sim genre, the protagonist is often limited to pursuing only a single girl until reaching the end. The other girls in the game are unlocked only after completing the game.
Notable secret characters
- Reptile (Mortal Kombat), the first widely publicized secret character, his emergence led to rumors and wild speculation about the Mortal Kombat franchise in its day.
- Abyss (Soulcalibur III)
- Devil Jin (Tekken 5)
- Travis Barker (Tony Hawk's Project 8)
- Akuma (Super Street Fighter II Turbo, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Street Fighter Alpha, Marvel vs. Capcom, Street Fighter IV)
- Gon (Tekken 3)
- Marionnette (Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower)
- Ein (Dead or Alive 3)
- Umaro and Gogo (Final Fantasy VI)
- Yuffie Kisaragi and Vincent Valentine (Final Fantasy VII)
- Metal Sonic, Tails Doll, Metal Knuckles and EggRobo (Sonic R)
- Most of the Legendary Pokémon (Pokémon series)
- Dan Hibiki (Street Fighter Alpha)
- Slash, Tom Morello, Bret Michaels, and Lou (Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock)
- Sting, Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, Hayley Williams, Billy Corgan, Travis Barker and Ted Nugent (Guitar Hero: World Tour)
- Johnny Cash, Shirley Manson, Kurt Cobain, Matthew Bellamy and Carlos Santana (Guitar Hero 5)
- Luigi, Ness, Captain Falcon, and Jigglypuff (Super Smash Bros.)
- Mewtwo, Luigi, Mr. Game & Watch, Marth, Jigglypuff, Ganondorf, Falco Lombardi, Dr. Mario, Pichu, Young Link and Roy (Super Smash Bros. Melee)
- Sonic the Hedgehog, Solid Snake, Toon Link, Wolf O'Donnell, Falco Lombardi, Ganondorf, R.O.B., Lucario, Marth, Mr. Game & Watch, Captain Falcon, Ness, Jigglypuff, and Luigi (Super Smash Bros. Brawl).
- Minion (Twisted Metal series)
- Smoke, Noob Saibot and Jade (Mortal Kombat 2)
- Chameleon, Khameleon (Mortal Kombat Trilogy)
- Blaze and Mokap (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance)
- Nova (One Must Fall: 2097)
- Hunk (Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 4)
- Tofu (Resident Evil 2)
- Zero, Dan Hibiki, Orochi Iori, Demitri Maximoff, Geese Howard, Goenitz, Psycho Ken (SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom)
- Castile, Laharl, Etna, Flonne, Salome, Valvoga, King Drake, Pram the Oracle, Lord Zetta, Seedle, Yoshitsuna, Super Robo Suit, and Asagi, (Makai Kingdom)
- Richter Belmont (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)
- Kliff Undersn, Robo-Ky and Justice (Guilty Gear XX)
- Luigi ("New Super Mario Bros.")
- Mario, Luigi, and Wario ("Super Mario 64 DS")
- Alucard (Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow)
- Jose Rizal (Medal of Honor)
- Simon Belmont (Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance)
- Solid Snake (DreamMix TV World Fighters, Super Smash Bros. Brawl)
- Nordom (Planescape: Torment)
- Ms. Mowz (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door)
- Roll, Shadow Lady, Gold War Machine, Orange Hulk, Lilith, Orange Venom (Marvel VS. Capcom)
- Teryn Loghain (Dragon Age: Origins)
- Fred Durst (WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It)
- Ayane (Dead or Alive)
- Seung Han Myong - (Soul Edge)
- Eyedol - (Killer Instinct)
- Ash, Shiva and Roo - (Streets of Rage 3)
- Dural (Virtua Fighter series)
- Magus (Chrono Trigger)
- Cloud Strife, Worker 8, Beowulf, Reis (Final Fantasy Tactics)
- Vergil (Devil May Cry 3 Special Edition)
- Zero, Frank West, Joe the Condor, Tekkaman Blade, & Yatterman-2 (Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars)
- Athena, Hercules ( God of War II)
- V.E.R.N., Tyrannosaurus Rex, Ed (Rampage World Tour)
- Big Al, Noob Myukus (Rampage 2: Universal Tour)
- Jeanne, Zero (Bayonetta)
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