Have you ever run up against one of those games that for one reason or another seemed utterly impossible to beat? I think we all have, and can all relate in some small way to this dilemma.
A game may test your reflexes and hand-eye coordination, have an absurd enemy spawn rate or a smart and aggressively combative AI. Hell, even aesthetic design choices are fair game because there is no cut and dry formula for video game difficulty.
Some of these games may be blatantly obvious as soon as you boot it up, while others try to fool you with an innocuous facade, keeping quiet and out of sight until it's far too late.
The list that follows will share my experience with some of these troublesome little buggers, and why I think they deserve a spot on this list.
Have I lost you already? If you're thinking to yourself, "really... come on, it's only Terraria," then allow me the chance to get back in your good graces. This cunning little devil may act all cute and innocent, but beneath the surface, Terraria is secretly plotting new and excruciating ways to murder you.
Accidently fall off a platform while fishing in the ocean? No problem, a shark will spawn directly under your feet before you even touch the water, just so you don't have any delusions that you can actually escape.
Were you on a minecart while getting attacked? Don't worry, you can warp away using a magic mirror or a recall potion, then subsequently fall through a plank and become nothing but a fine red paste at the bottom of a tunnel.
Did you use a heart container thinking 20 extra health would at least give you a chance? That's ok too because now that you have, there's a chance for slime rain and the Slime King himself to spawn, so don't roll a one on your first night.
Now, being an open world sandbox with very few limits or inherent objectives, it's up to the player to set their own goals. The masochist in me decided to go with a large world, along with the expert difficulty setting and a hardcore character to top it all off. The restrictions I set on myself, were that I would absolutely not consider the game "finished" until I had defeated all 14 bosses and managed to survive.
A few hundred hours of play time and 32 different maps later and guess what I have yet to accomplish? That's right! Terraria is still beating me senseless and the farthest I've yet to sneak by with is killing the Wall of Flesh. If anyone out there has done this with even a hint of ease, then I tip my hat to you.
Originally a fan-made game, celebrating the 25th anniversaries of both Capcom's major franchises, Megaman and Street Fighter, Capcom later assisted in the games production. Unlike either franchise standing alone, however, Street Fighter X Megaman has a surprisingly well programmed AI that's better than both. So good in fact, I'm confused as to whether I should hate it or love it. I mean, it took me an hour just to get a leg up on Dhalsim down there.
If you were thinking this little gem was going to take it easy on you, expecting the usual difficulty curve associated with either franchise individually, then you would be sadly mistaken. You take a beating right from go, as Street Fighter X Megaman pummels you into submission and steals your lunch money, shoes, all your MTG cards and then rubs dirt in your eyes before sauntering off to revel in the spoils.
The lack of a save option - except an old-school password feature - makes this all the more apparent. Now, because there's no getting off light with this one, what makes things even worse (that's right, worse), is the fact that after you beat the usual 8 levels, there are two more optional bosses that stand in your way, if you've cleared the conditions necessary to face them.
Those conditions involve completing and getting a "perfect" on a total of 7 (3 before the teleporter gauntlet to unlock Akuma and 4 after to unlock Sagat) boss fights. If the game wasn't infuriating enough without inflicting this strange combination of ecstasy and rage upon yourself, then by all means, have at it. Just be prepared to lose at least one perfectly good controller to this maddening beast because I sure did and it wasn't even mine...
The only thing more detrimental to your sanity than painstakingly beating one of the hardest games out there is having to do it twice. Ghosts 'n Goblins, with its sadistic sense of humour, forces you to do just that.
Predetermined jump arches and random enemy generation makes Ghosts 'n Goblins one hell of a tough customer. Not to mention the completely erratic and unpredictable movements of said enemies, it should come as no surprise to frequently get hung up on certain areas. Some of which might be too embarrassing to admit but that's ok, we've all been there.
With only two hits to spare before becoming nothing more than a bleached pile of bones, it's best to watch your step. It's also important to note, that if you don't keep a sharp eye on your surroundings, it's all too possible to end up with an axe (not so good) or a fireball, arguably the worst weapon in the entire game. If all else fails and the Ghosts 'n Goblins isn't doing you any favours, stick with the javelin or if you're lucky enough, grab the daggers as soon as they appear and don't look back.
It's not all bad though because once you trudge through for the second time and finally defeat the last boss yet again, the game rewards you with a much needed, gut-wrenching laugh.
Ahem... yeah. What more can be said... ENJOY!
Three continues, two lives, one hit and no Konami code. That's right, NO Konami code; didn't think I'd catch you with your hand in the proverbial cookie jar, did you, hmm?
Contra, although not all that long when you take a step back and look at the big picture, is nothing to be said for how hard it is to get through those seven short stages. Most of the difficulty, for me at least, came in the form of harsh colours and the tiny, almost invisible particle effects that the enemies use for bullets.
The majority of the time I didn't even see the projectile that hit me, just the effect it had as I was left in a rage-induced stupor, puzzled and wondering how the hell I had died. Oh, what fond memories.
RIP my beloved spacebar. You will be missed.
Simple and minimalistic but it will surely have you on your knees in a tearful fit of frustration. Yup, it's Terry Cavanagh whom you have to thank (or blame) for Super Hexagon, the game that broke your spirit. Shhh, it's ok; I won't tell anyone.
Fast-paced and designed to test not only your patience but your resolve as well, trial and error will quickly become your new best friend. All you have to do is not get hit and squeeze through the openings. It sounds easy enough, right?
Making your way to the Hyper Hexagonest stage and coming out the other side to witness the end will require quick reflexes and a keen eye. It is a feat truly worthy of song and endless barrels of ale.
Rest well, noble warrior, for there is a well-deserved place for you among the pantheon of gods for an achievement such as this.
Well, that's a wrap folks; my top 5 games that are blindingly difficult, each for a very different and unique reason.
There are obviously countless games out there that could have earned a spot in this article, I'm sure. Like art or music, how hard a game can be is also totally subjective, so let me know in the comments below the hardest game -- or games -- you have been playing.