In this article, I will take a look at some of the hardest games ever made. How many of them have you played? And perhaps more importantly, how many of them have you actually finished?
Are these the hardest games ever made? Relive the suffering.
Some games are made to be fun. Others have a story to tell. Then there are those games which have seemingly been made to make you suffer. And also to provide a challenge…but mostly to make you suffer. Here are some of the hardest games ever made. First up, Contra.
1) Contra – NES.
If you’re looking for an insanely difficult shooter, look no further than Contra on the NES. Forget waiting behind cover for your health to regenerate. Contra gives you three lives to tackle the entire game. If you get hit by a single bullet, you lose a life. This game does not fool around at all!
2) Demon’s Souls – PlayStation 3.
I was a little torn about which of the Souls series to feature on this list. In the end I plumped for Demon’s Souls. Especially in NG+, Demon’s Souls can be brutal. Maneater is a nightmare. And then there is the fact that there’s no bonfires. As my first taste of this kind of game, Demon’s Souls really made me suffer.
3) Ninja Gaiden Black – Xbox.
The original Ninja Gaiden game in the 1980s was really difficult. When Team Ninja developed this modern reboot, they ensured that it was at least as challenging as its predecessor – possibly even more so. Ninja Gaiden Black is the definitive version of the franchise’s 2004 Xbox relaunch. If you thought Ninja Gaiden was too easy then good news – even harder difficulty modes were added with this version. This action-adventure casts you as Ryu Hyabusa. You must conquer hordes of demonic enemies. Good luck with that!
4) Battletoads – NES.
Kermit the Frog was right. It’s not easy being green. This hard-as-nails beat ’em up casts you as one of three mutant toad warriors (it was “inspired” by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). The NES version was really difficult. Future versions were made easier to provide a more fun experience.
5) Cuphead – Xbox One, PC.
Cuphead is adorable. It features hand-drawn animation to make it look like a 1930’s cartoon. Everything about it is just so perfect. The crackling effect with the music to mimic a record player. And the way that static crackles across the screen as you play. The jazzy music is also very cool. And all the enemies look lovely – and then they kill you. The good news is, dying so much means that you have more time to appreciate the lovely artwork on each level. I’m more than a little bit in love with this game.
6) Super Meat Boy – PC, Mac, Xbox 360.
Super Meat Boy is one of the hardest platformers that I’ve ever played. Each level is filled with obstacles such as spinning blades and lava pits. It’s charming but also incredibly difficult. There aren’t any mid-stage checkpoints. So you have to start all over again when you’re dismembered.
7) Flappy Bird – iOS, Android.
The premise in Flappy Bird was very simple. Tap the screen to make the bird’s wings flap. If you tap it faster, you’ll fly higher. So yes, nothing complicated about that. But making it past more than a few obstacles? Well, that was tough. Its infuriating difficult level was a part of what made it so addictive. And unfortunately, due to it being so addictive, the developer opted to pull it from the marketplace. I still find that decision to be quite strange.
8) Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – NES.
Compared to the first Zelda games, modern Zelda titles are fairly easy. Out of them, Zelda II was the most challenging. Even regular enemies can be tough and you’ll regularly run out of lives, magic…and possibly patience.
9) Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts – SNES.
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a side-scrolling platform game developed by Capcom. There are only five levels in the game, so it may sound quite simple. However, those five levels are all extremely tough. What’s more, this game wants to embarrass you for making mistakes. If the brave knight Arthur takes a hit, your armour falls off and you’re left to face the enemies wearing only your underwear.
10) Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse – NES.
All of the early Castlevania games were difficult but the third in the series was the hardest of the lot. Unfortunately, part of this difficulty was caused by the stiff controls. So it may have been a hard game but it wasn’t necessarily one of the best.
Which games do you find to be the most difficult? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Want more opinion pieces? If so, you could read Soulblight as seen through the eyes of a developer. Or you could read The best games & movies within games.