Secret characters are more common in fighting games, which are fundamentally based around a set of different characters. However, they can occur in any kind of game.
In some cases, secret characters are given as a reward for completing a game - a process usually described as unlocking a secret character. The Tekken games are a fine 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 code or hack.
Notable secret characters
- Riku (Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories)
- Vincent Valentine, Yuffie Kisaragi (Final Fantasy VII)
- Edea (Final Fantasy VIII)
- Beatrix (Final Fantasy IX)
- Marionnette (Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower)
- Ein (Dead or Alive 3)
- The Legendary Pokémon (Pokémon series)
- Dan Hibiki (Street Fighter Alpha)
- Luigi, Ness, Captain Falcon, and Jigglypuff (Super Smash Bros.)
- Jigglypuff, Dr. Mario, Mr. Game & Watch (Super Smash Bros. Melee)
- Gon (Tekken 3)
- Smoke (Mortal Kombat 3)