With the semi-recent releases of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Sonic Mania, nostalgia is in full force. Sonic Mania is bringing back the good times back to old people like me thanks to a bunch of nostalgic easter eggs. Even debug mode is making a comeback and it got us thinking about the availability of cheats in modern games compared to older games. These days, cheating is frowned upon but, in those simpler times, cheating not only saved our controllers but actually opened up tons of extra hours of fun, bringing to light a different way to play the games that we loved. As such, here are some of my favourite cheats.
7. Theme Park - Bovine
There were likely many more before it but 'BOVINE' is the first cheat that I remember using. I sank countless hours into making crappy theme parks and truly adored the game so when I found out about an unlimited money cheat, I was sold. The ability to turn my crappy themes parks into slightly-less-crappy theme parks was one that I couldn't resist. Sim games even to this day, often include similar cheats and make the perfect use case for them. There's cheating to get through something (spoiling your fun in the process) and there are cheats that open up the game, free your creativity and let you build whatever you want to build. There's no challenge but there is fun and sometimes, that's all I can care about.
6. The Sims 2 & 4 - Motherlode
One of the most famous cheat codes in history thanks to The Sims' cross-over mainstream appeal, 'motherlode' is a simple cheat which deposits a lovely 50,000 simoleons into your bank account. Hit that bad boy a good few times and you've effectively got unlimited money. Much like with Theme Park, this one trick extends the amount of fun that the game offers. Motherlode even made a comeback in The Sims 4, allowing you to buy all of the things. In The Sims, cheating is encouraged, if you don't at least have a cheat save, you're doing it wrong.
5. Mortal Kombat - Blood Code
Even in 1992, Nintendo were seemingly worried about families - their "Family Friendly" policy would see Mortal Kombat stripped of the more gore-filled fatalities along with the blood that, let's be honest, we all wanted to see. This even seeped over to the Genesis version of the game. Thankfully, Midway snuck in a cheat code which re-enabled the blood. Hurray for violence!
4. Resident Evil 2 Beta - Debug Menu
I'm perhaps blurring the lines of what is and isn't a cheat here but one of the greatest games ever created, Resident Evil 2, had a little-known beta that was an absolute must-have for children with dads who 'know people'. Not only did this allow you to cheat by giving yourself more ammo or weapons via a debug menu, you could also mess with the game. This goes down as a favourite but not just because of the cheating aspect but also because it was fascinating to 'play' a game that was essentially in progress. You could jump from one scene to the next, even ending up with having two Leons on screen.
3. Our Own
One of my biggest regrets of gaming moving on(line) is the extinction of the humble cheat cartridge (the modern equivalents are an insult to the name!). The Xplorer cheat cartridge was a glorious grey slab of cheat-heaven. It came pre-loaded with 1000s of cheats and you could add to it as you saw fit, as long as you knew the code. Looking back, it was one of my greatest companions. And then the Professional version came. And it allowed us to create our own cheat codes. Our very own Dave remembers creating an unlimited load cheat in Armored Core before it was a thing anywhere else. In Monster Rancher, he performed experiments on his poor monsters in a vain attempt to see them live forever. You can imagine his joy as he froze the age timer but you can't cheat time, Dave. His monsters still died of old age. The Xploder Pro allowed us to get over the initial disappointment of not being able to cheat in the way that we wanted to, by doing it anyway.
2. Tomb Raider II - See Lara Naked
It was with glee that many horny teenage boys heard of this cheat. "Perform these steps, and you get to see Lara naked" so the rumour went. Only that wasn't quite true for this was a troll before trolling was a thing. The reason we love this cheat is because of the deception leading up to it. That, and the surprise when, instead of seeing Lara show some skin, she exploded into a dozen pieces. Glorious. We don't know who came up with this but we salute you, whoever you are!
1. Grand Theft Auto Series
I couldn't pick just one cheat for the Grand Theft Auto series has always done cheats right. Right from the start, you could name your character 'THESHIT' to give yourselves all weapons, god mode, turn off police. You can enter 'BSTARD' to get all weapons, 99 lives, and unlock all cities. This trend has carried on through the series, but more notably, the fun factor they introduced ramped up. In GTA2 you could cheat to give yourself a maximum wanted level, or turn on turbo mode. In GTA III, you could drive all pedestrians crazy, spawn tanks or cause a riot. In Vice City, you could turn all traffic lights green, turn Tommy into a 'fanny magnet'. In San Andreas, punch vehicles and they explode. In GTAIV, well, let's just say there were cheats but like everything else fun, they were stripped back. GTAV allowed us to turn gravity down and set our bullets on fire. Grand Theft Auto, unlimited fun. Grand Theft Auto + cheats = even more unlimited fun.