Our plucky video game protagonist sets off out on another day of adventure. Your inventory is well-stocked, health is full and extra lives are aplenty. These lands are dangerous, but you are confident enough to take on any possible encounter.
Except...what's this? That's no ordinary Goomba, Draugr or Badnik. It's an unholy mess of jumbled color and harsh angular, shapes. Quickly you scan this unknown beast for its name, only to find disorganized, nonsensical syllables of an arcane tongue.
Looking to your hands, you find that you no longer recognize your own body, which has changed to a neon green color. You reach into your inventory for an item to restore yourself, only to find that some items have multiplied, and your backpack is filled with 1, 128 potatoes. This isn't game over, you've stepped into...the glitch zone.
In this article, we look at bizarre encounters that result from glitches in the system. These can happen with enemies or even playable characters. Some can be game-breaking, others actually become embraced by players as exploits, or become mythologized as urban legends. Some are found by cheaters, others by obsessive players probing every part of the game. We'll start with the most famous of all.
Missingno And Glitch Pokémon
Missingno (short for 'Missing Number') is the most famous and easily encountered of the glitch #Pokémon, triggered when the game attempts to gather data for an invalid Pokémon. While we've previously gone into considerable detail as to the how and why of Missingno, there are other notable glitch Pokémon.
One more commonly encountered Pokémon Red/Blue is the M-Block, or 'M, Missingno's 'sister' with a similar appearance. Bizarrely, 'M can evolve into Kangaskhan, and will spawn at level 80 if the player character has an odd number of characters in their name.
If traded into Pokémon Yellow, 'M transforms into 3TrainerPoké $, an even more warped glitch Pokémon with randomly changing stats and super glitch moves that can devastate enemy Pokémon (and your save file).
After the first generation, the games were tightened up and glitch Pokémon could generally only be accessed by cheating. To stop cheaters hacking game data, later generations introduced 'Bad Eggs', weird useless egg-things that occupied a party slot, but were incredibly difficult to get rid of. YouTuber Jwittz does a good rundown of Bad Eggs and later generation glitches below:
Sonic The Hedgehog's Color Glitches Inspired New Fandom Characters
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 contained a glitch where using debug mode (outlined above by Nerdicai) to spam waterfalls would overload the data on the game's limited RAM, coincidentally causing Sonic's color palette to be overwritten. The resulting multicolored hedgehog was popular with fans, who appreciate the cool green, red and black color scheme, and christened 'Ashura'. Ashura has featured heavily in Sonic fanart, fan-fiction and so on, though has yet to make it into anything official.
Sonic and Knuckles also featured a cool hidden glitch character. Normally, you'd play as Sonic or Knuckles, with each of them having a distinct playstyle, but what if you didn't have to choose? If you know an obscure glitch exploit, you can play as 'Blue Knuckles', a Knuckles sprite with Sonic's color and a mix of Sonic and Knuckles' super abilities. Watch Orkal's video below to see Blue Knuckles in action:
Mortal Kombat Glitches Created A Urban Legend Made Reality
The #MortalKombat series is famous for hiding secret unlockable characters only obtained by fulfilling certain in-game conditions. This led to players searching for hidden content, but sometimes this just led to weird glitches that could corrupt character sprites.
MCMXLVIIIAlt's above video shows the various ways the original Mortal Kombat could screw up. Some of them combined with actual secret characters, like the glitched green sprite that appeared on the hidden Reptile battle (15:42), others were fan favorites due to their cool appearance, like 'Silver Goro' (9:05).
Interestingly, these color glitches led to an April Fools joke about Ermac (short for Error Macro), a glitch character that could be unlocked in a similar way to secret characters like Reptile, Jade and Smoke. Ermac, the red ninja, was a tease intended to frustrate secret hunters, but he was eventually introduced as a legit character in his own right, making his debut in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3.
Halo's Hidden Outfits
FPS franchise Halo has some graphical glitches that can lead to the appearance of unique models that were never meant to be seen in-game. In the video above, 1dogspartan5 shows us the 'Honor Guard Councillor', which has Honor Guard armor with Ultra palette and Councillor helmet. It was meant to be a Zealot Elite, but a programming error led to the creation of this unique enemy.
The above video by Specialist01 demonstrates a similar glitch which generates normally unavailable characters made by random combinations of armors and accessories.
Zelda 2's Glitch Bosses
Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, has a glitch that lets you travel to earlier dungeons, but it loads the graphics from later dungeons, enabling you to see unused sprites from the game data. However, this also results in the boss of the current dungeon being assembled from the sprite of the boss of the dungeon you were in previously, as can be seen in above video by Jaimas (from 5:45 onwards). Don't let the menacing appearance scare you, the glitch creatures are just as stupid as any other boss in the game.
Ready to take a glitch trip? We look at the weirdest and wildest in this video:
Have you encountered any glitch characters? Let us know!