10 Best Video Game Bonus Stages

    March 5, 2012 at 5:45 am

    super mario 3 bonus stage mini game
    Sure, video game bonus stages only give you points that don’t matter in the end, but bonus stages are a fun part to many of our favorite classic video games. While most current-gen video games avoid them, those video games that do give us a retro throwback of a bonus stage earn a fond place in our hearts. Whether they give us points, power-ups, just plain satisfaction or absolutely nothing… Here are the Top 10 Video Game Bonus Stages:


    Abu’s Bonus Level

    Everyone’s favorite Disney monkey (Sorry King Louie and Rafiki fans) had his own bonus stage in the Aladdin video game. In this bonus level, you have to navigate Abu around pots and barrels, avoiding them while collecting valuables. A fun bonus stage with a fun character in a fun game will always gets a place on this list.

    The Simpsons Arcade Game

    Balloon Pop

    The Simpsons Arcade Game is one of the most fun four-player experiences in the history of video games and the bonus stage fit right in with the rest of the game. Most bonus stages are you against the CPU, but in The Simpsons you get to race your fellow co-op teammates in a race to pop a balloon of your character’s likeness first. It even ranks them 1st to 4th and assigns points accordingly.


    Penguin Dive

    This may be more of a sentimental favorite, but it also has a very important ingredient for a great bonus stage: the element of surprise. Who expected that after landing on the 100-point zone in a skydiving challenge that you would take control of a penguin on a diving board, plummeting into a swimming pool full of points. Plus, the goofy look on the flailing penguin’s face is reason enough for me to put the very underrated Pilotwings’ bonus stage on this list.

    Space Harrier

    Bonus Stage 1

    Space Harrier may not have been the best game in the world, but the bonus stage is a pretty fun acid trip of level. The object of this bonus stage is to destroy as many things as possible on the back of a multi-segmented dog dragon ala Never Ending Story. Flying through trees and pillars on the back of a mythical beast… Now that’s a bonus stage.


    First Person Star Throwing

    Shinobi is a very difficult video game, and anyone skilled enough to complete a stage is handsomely rewarded with a very fun bonus stage. The object of this first-person shuriken-throwing mini-game was to vanquish as many side-scrolling enemy ninjas as possible.

    Street Fighter II

    Car/Brick/Barrel Smashing

    Even in the thickest of 1 on 1 battles, every player needs a fresh of breathe air. That’s what Street Fighter II’s bonus stages provided gamers. Whether it’s Zangief’s spinning lariat vs. a pile of bricks or Chun-Li’s lightening kick vs. a P.O.S car, these games offered a very enjoyable respite in the journey to become the greatest fighter in the world.

    Mortal Kombat

    Test Your Might

    Mortal Kombat’s bonus stage might be the best button mashing bonus level of all time. It even has a progression scale through smashing wood, stone, steel, ruby and diamond. The gameplay is great and the fatalities are memorable, but the bonus stage of Mortal Kombat is the only true way to “Test Your Might” when it comes to button-tapping.

    Super Mario 3

    N-Spade Card Game

    No one was really sure how or when they would pop up on the Super Mario Bros. 3 map, but when they did it was a mad rush to get to that N-Spade card. Unlike most of the bonus stages on this list, the N-Spade card can actually give to power-ups like a P-wing or even an extra life through a 1-Up. Sure, the Star/Flower/Mushroom slot machine match-up game was always around, but the N-Spade card will always be more special to Mario fans.


    Bonus Stages

    You better sacrifice that life to the Galaga beam and get it back for that extra ship, it’s time for the bonus stage! Everyone tried to get perfect Galaga bonus stages and they still do to this day. They give you valuable points, which (if you collect enough of them) will reward you with an extra life. Special shout-out to Galaga ’88, which has a bonus stage that gives you a secret bonus if you don’t do anything.


    Training Course

    Paperboy is a difficult game to say the least, but the bonus stage is awesome. Paperboy’s training course is on the list for two reasons. 1) The training course is more fun than the actual game play of Paperboy. 2) It comes after every level. Can you name a game that has a bonus stage after EVERY level? I can’t.

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