It's time to cue up some Europe, because we’re approaching "The Final Countdown." We already recapped some epic cheats in our top 100 over the past two weeks, but now we're diving into the top 20, and here's where things get interesting – including a few cheats you might have forgotten.
20.) Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Debug Screen and Stage Select (Sega Genesis)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a fine sequel, especially if you have a friend you can play along with in two-player split-screen co-op. In case you're stuck – or you just want to jump ahead or tweak weird level design options in the game – here are two great codes. For stage select, go to the music menu and play 19, 65, 09 and 17 (Yuji Naka's birthday), then hold A and press Start. You'll get the level select. For the debug menu, play tracks 1, 9, 9, 2, 1, 1, 2, 4, select your stage, press A and then hit Start. You'll be able to tinker with them however you please.
19.) Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: Moon Physics (PlayStation)
We love a good run in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, but does it ever seem like you never get enough gravity in the game? Well, thanks to this little code, you'll float around like you're on the moon. Pause the game and enter X, Square, Left, Up, Down, Up, Square and Triangle. You'll get plenty of air for all those tricks you need – and add to your score in the process.
18.) Battletoads: The Hidden Warp Gate in the Speeder Bike Stage (NES)
The speeder bike stage is one of the toughest segments you'll ever face in a video game, especially when you get to the rapid fire panels near the end. However, if you're quick enough, you can make it to the tenth one and find a nice surprise. Dodge the first nine panels by quickly going up and down in succession, but on the 10th, go ahead and try to speed into the rock. You'll see a glowing warp zone that will bump you ahead a couple of levels. This'll really come in handy. Good luck!
17.) NBA Jam: Big Head Mode (Arcade, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3)
We know that basketball players can have big egos, but with this code, you'll be able to give them big heads as well. In the arcade version, hold Up, Turbo and Steal during the tonight's match-up screen, and their craniums become inflated. In the home versions, it's a little simpler, as you need to complete Jam Camp to unlock the option.
16.) Disney's Aladdin: Debug Mode (Sega Genesis)
Back in the 90s, Disney's Aladdin had one of the best debug modes you could find in a game – mainly because it featured producer David Perry's head asking you to say your wish. To activate this mode, go to the options screen and press A, C, A, C, A, C, A, C, B, B, B, B. He'll appear and give you a number of options to play around with, including level select and map warping.
15.) Adventure: The Very First Easter Egg (Atari 2600)
Let's go old school with one of the first cheats ever put into a video game. Here's how it works. First, get the bridge and then take it inside the black castle. Be sure to locate the central room that will cause the screen to flicker. (This will occur when you have an object). Use that bridge to get into the secret chamber, which is located in the middle of the room. There will be a dot on the lower right of the chamber room. Pick it up by pressing into it. From there, head to the main hallway and one of the barriers will vanish. You will need another object to have the dot stay with you, such as a key or a sword. Go through the doorway and you'll find the hidden Easter Egg with a message from the developers!
14.) Sonic the Hedgehog: Level Select (Sega Genesis)
This level select code is timeless, and will let you finish the game in a hurry. Press Up, Down, Left, Right on the title screen, then hold A and Start. The level select will open up and you'll be free to go where you please in Sonic’s first adventure.
13.) Donkey Kong Country: 50 Lives (SNES)
Having trouble in Donkey Kong Country, or maybe you just want to go "ape" with a few extra lives? Not a problem. On the game select screen, highlight the words "Erase Game" and input B, A, R, R, A, L. (That's a variant on the word "BARREL".) Select your game and away you go!
12.) The Legend of Zelda: Activating the Second Quest (NES)
Want to reach the second quest in The Legend of Zelda (and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link) without going through all those hours of the first one? Enter "ZELDA" in the name entry screen and you'll be all set for the second adventure.
11.) Super Mario Bros.: Enter the First Warpzone (NES)
The original Super Mario Bros. has plenty of secrets – one we're saving specifically for the top 10 – but the warp zone is one of our favorites. To reach the first one in World 1-2, ride the moving platform up enough that you can get to the top over the exit pipe. Keep going past it and you'll come to a room with three warp pipes. Happy level jumping!