Great Games Made Even Better With Cheats

Whoever said cheaters never prosper obviously wasn't much of a gamer. From old-school Game Shark codes to fan crafted PC mods, cheats have a long and storied history in the gaming community. Most gamers have fond memories about a crazy cheat code they found online or heard about through a friend. Just to be clear, this isn't referring to online multiplayer games where cheating ruins the fun for everyone but the cheater. We're talking about cheats designed to enhance the gaming experience for everyone involved. Sometimes that just means adding an infinite amount of money so players can live out their billionaire fantasies, and sometimes that means altering the mechanics in such a way that it fundamentally changes how the game is played.


There's a lot to be said for playing a game the way the developers originally intended — at least the first time — but repeated playthroughs are often enhanced by changing things up a bit. Sometimes gathering money or leveling up can be such a grind in a game that it's only fun to play if you cheat. But those aren't the only titles that benefit from fudging the rules a little. There are plenty of games out there that are great all on their own, but can be made even better with cheats.

Pokemon Red/Blue: Item duplication

"Pokémon Red and Blue" were the first games in the pocket-monster-catching sensation that went on to become one of the most recognizable franchises in the industry. Gamers who wanted to play either version of the game earnestly had plenty to love. The traditional JRPG adventure was defined by the unique mechanic of allowing characters to capture a variety of different Pokémon all with their own unique designs, stats, and elemental types. Leveling individual Pokémon could be a bit of a slog in the days before EXP Share, however, and some Pokémon had catch rates so low that a player could come equipped with dozens of Ultra Balls and still come away empty-handed.


That's why the item duplication cheat is so iconic. Players who speak to the old man in Viridian City and watch him teach them how to catch a Pokémon, then immediately fly to Cinnabar Island and surf along the beach will eventually encounter a strange glitch-type pokemon known as Missingno (or missing number.) After the battle, there will be 128 copies of whatever item occupies the sixth slot in the player's inventory. Rare Candies are a popular choice as they can be used to instantly level up any Pokémon. Nuggets can give players infinite money, and Master Balls ensure that smart players never have to reload a game after watching Articuno pop out of 50 Ultra Balls again.

GTA: San Andreas: money, health, and armor

"Grand Theft Auto 5" might be the newest and shiniest game in the series, (at least until we finally get "GTA 6") but "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" is one of the best. It received a rare score of 95 on Metacritic and represents one of the largest leaps forward in the franchise. Its West Coast setting offers great map designs and some of the more memorable characters in the series. The missions are exceptionally well written as well, but some of them are difficult to the point of feeling practically impossible. Worse than that; failing a mission sends the player all the way back to the starting point.


That's when players bust out the money, health, and armor cheat. There are different ways to activate the cheat depending on the platform, but PC, PlayStation, and Xbox players can all net $250,000 in cash, heal all of their health and get a full set of armor upon the cheat's activation. This can not only put them in the best possible position to survive an encounter, but they can also use the money to upgrade their arsenal. It's a handy tool for any gamer who might want an edge to ensure their next heist goes smoothly.

Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo: Akuma

"Street Fighter 2" was the undisputed champion of fighting games during the first few years after its release in the early 90s. Fans could go to any arcade and see a crowd of people watching two players duke it out on the cabinet. The vibrant color palette, stunning cast of characters, and improved mechanics put it miles ahead of anything else on the market. In fact, it was so popular that Capcom spent years updating and continuing to balance the game with new additions rather than using its resources to develop a new "Street Fighter" title. One of these variations of the game was called "Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo." It offered four "speed" settings, and move sets called super combos and air combos, which added new layers of versatility to the combat. It also allowed the players who knew the code to access a secret playable character: Akuma.


The "code" wasn't exactly a simple string of buttons either. Players who wanted to use Akuma had to highlight Ryu for three seconds, then T. Hawk for three seconds, then Guile for three seconds, then Cammy for three seconds, and then go back to Ryu for three seconds before hitting the start button and all three punch buttons at once. It was all worth it for the look on your friend's face when they suddenly had to face the Great Ogre, though.

Mortal Kombat: Blood Mode

While "Street Fighter 2" saw few challengers during the first two years after its release, that all changed in 1993 when "Mortal Kombat" entered the scene. The first game in this new fighting franchise was a vicious, bloody thing that made titles like "Street Fighter" look positively tame by comparison. There's nothing quite like watching Sub Zero rip out an enemy's spine or Kano clutching their still-beating heart to really put the violence front and center.


Unfortunately, Nintendo ultimately decided that leaving all that ultra-violence in the game wouldn't be good for their family-friendly image and decided to remove much of the more graphic details. Sega followed suit soon after. Booting up both versions of the game revealed a bloodless, vanilla fighter. That wasn't the end of the story though. Sega does what Nintendon't after all. Players who owned the game on the Sega Genesis could enter A, B, A, C, A, B, B on the "Code of Honor" screen in order to activate the blood code and restore all the red splattered combat and gory finishers that had been wiped from the original version of the game.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: Moon Physics

The first "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" was a truly unique gaming experience. Players got to choose from a roster of real-life pro skateboarders and perform tricks in a variety of 3D environments set to a punk and ska soundtrack. It was a game that was as much about attitude as it was about the mechanics. Then "Pro Skater 2" came along and did everything its predecessor did — only better. Players could now create their own characters and the addition of the manual meant they could keep combos going across flatland while they traversed the large skateparks.


Another thing "Pro Skater 2" added was a wider variety of cheat codes which allowed the player to manipulate the physics of the game. One of the simplest and most memorable of these is moon physics. Each console has its own version of the code to activate the cheat, but all of them have the same effect. As the name implies, gravity loosens its grip, allowing the skaters to reach insane heights and chain together combos that would otherwise be impossible. These new physics present their own challenges however, and some players might find it takes a while to get their moon-legs.