The Hardest Games You'll Ever Play (And Never Beat)

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The Hardest Games You'll Ever Play (And Never Beat)

Despite the painful memories, we've painstakingly compiled a list of some of the most challenging games we've ever played, from the early 90s to present.

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I will disagree (marginally) on beating Metal Arms: A Glitch In The System... that's one of the few games I actually finished! And I did it on both normal and the unlockable hardest mode (forgot the name). A very rewarding game to beat, I might say. The gameplay is extremely varied, and it was one of the best shooters on the Xbox. I put it up there along with Halo: Combat Evolved. I didn't feel the driving chapters were the hardest, though, and I would even say those were too short.

I wish the developers would find a way to bring it back in an HD version! That game had a lot of love poured into it...

I adhere to the fact that theres no problem in Dark Souls that cannot be solved with either a Longbow, a Claymore, or backstab fishing careful manuvers.

Hell, even DarkSydePhil managed to beat Dark Souls... eventually.

I just went through Tomb Of The Giants in Dark Souls, and that area is waaay more irritating and cheap in comparison to Anor Londo.

For the archers, you can just run up to them, strafe to lure one away from the range of the other archer, and just treat it like a normal black/silver knight encounter.

Dog Skeletons are BS though.

Aside from those few tidbits(and Blighttown to be sure), the game isn't that difficult. It's just demanding, in the same way that say, Shogun 2 is demanding. If you just Ctrl+A and Right Click in that game, you can have your s**t ruined rather quickly, but use proper tactics and the fight becomes balanced, similarly to how paying attention(in the non-cheap areas) results in safe exploration.

Am I the only person in the world who likes Terror From the Deep more than UFO Defense?
I suppose it has something to do with the fact that I played TFTD first. After that intense, cuthuluesque atmosphere, I just couldn't get into the stereotypical presentation of aliens in the original. A couple of times I had that X-Com itch, I fired up UFO Defense to "finally check it out", and 10 minutes later I quit and go back to TFTD. I can't help it.

I agree that some of the Terror missions, especially the 2 level Ship missions, can be LONG. But I somehow enjoyed sweeping through them, checking every nook and cranny. If it was full of lobsters you were screwed however.

Also, Super Avatar Brothers deserves to be on this list. That jumping was just insanity. Especially considering that loading a game after death took like 4 minutes or so.
Also: "Tricks of the Trickster, Chapter 1: Exploding Books".
'nuff said.

Tiamat666:
Am I the only person in the world who likes Terror From the Deep more than UFO Defense?
I suppose it has something to do with the fact that I played TFTD first. After that intense, cuthuluesque atmosphere, I just couldn't get into the stereotypical presentation of aliens in the original. A couple of times I had that X-Com itch, I fired up UFO Defense to "finally check it out", and 10 minutes later I quit and go back to TFTD. I can't help it.

I agree that some of the Terror missions, especially the 2 level Ship missions, can be LONG. But I somehow enjoyed sweeping through them, checking every nook and cranny. If it was full of lobsters you were screwed however.

Also, Super Avatar Brothers deserves to be on this list. That jumping was just insanity. Especially considering that loading a game after death took like 4 minutes or so.
Also: "Tricks of the Trickster, Chapter 1: Exploding Books".
'nuff said.

Me I prefer Apocalypse, as it is the first one I played, the strategic map gameplay of the first two might be better, but tactical map and interface is so much better in Apocalypse, that I always had a hard time with the first two, even if I can see they are overall better game, due to better pacing mostly.

iniudan:
Me I prefer Apocalypse.

Me too - I never managed to get all that far into the first two. TBH though Apocalypse was WAY easier than the first two.

I also wouldn't mind seeing an apocalypse reboot... As long as they brought back the ship combat too.

I can honestly say I will never understand the Dark Souls phenomenon. Yes its hard. So is reading a book in a language you don't understand. Yes its unforgiving. So is a nun with a ruler and a scowl. Yes players are almost cultists in their elitism and smugness....
Can't really think of a good analogy to that one, but why bother?

And before you go smug on me, yes I DID play it. And yes I DID get several hours in. And it was just more of the same. Despite my character moving forward and gaining levels, I felt as if no progress was being made. In terms of gameplay, scenery, equipment and character development I couldn't point to a notable difference between me of the now and me of the six hours of gameplay ago.

So I proudly agree that I will never beat Dark Souls. I hope it feels smug at the bottom of my game collection.

Ninja Gaiden, Metal Arms, Terror From The Deep... yeah, I remember playing those to the end, especially how Metal Arms left us hanging with a sequel hook that never actually went anywhere. Dammit Blizzard, why'd you have to go and waste everyone's time by putting them on Ghost? We could have done with a sequel to iron things out.

Each was frustrating in its own way, that's for certain, but each one had something going for it. Ninja Gaiden had an interesting story for its time and fun weapons, Metal Arms had the humor and visceral thrill of blowing up Mils, and TFTD was more XCOM, which I loved growing up. Then again, wicked platforming, hard gimmick sections, and hard combat do have a way of ruining the fun.

Ghouls N' Ghosts I can only claim through the NES (and later SNES under the Super Ghouls and Ghosts remake) due to not having one in my local arcade, and man did that thing like to punish me on short notice. Nothing like fighting an aerial boss with a torch you accidentally picked up.

This list is missing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky.

Sorry. It aint complete. That thing, was harder then Demons Souls.
... and I am a pretty damn good PC FPS player and not a huge console RPG fan :P ...

Or STALKER MISERY on Dark Road Difficulty...

Damn...damn... damn...

xxobot:

iniudan:
Me I prefer Apocalypse.

Me too - I never managed to get all that far into the first two. TBH though Apocalypse was WAY easier than the first two.

I also wouldn't mind seeing an apocalypse reboot... As long as they brought back the ship combat too.

It indeed was much easier, mostly due to giving you good equipment from the start and ability to raid, which target will usually be the alien cultist, as they will never like you and they don't sell anything anyway. Thus why I think the first two had better pacing.

The original TMNT game on the nes with that damn electrcic seaweed. many rage qq tears

iniudan:
Me I prefer Apocalypse, as it is the first one I played, the strategic map gameplay of the first two might be better, but tactical map and interface is so much better in Apocalypse, that I always had a hard time with the first two, even if I can see they are overall better game, due to better pacing mostly.

I tried Apocalypse once, but that mix between real time and turn based combat was confusing me, so I went back to TFTD. :D
I admit I didn't try very hard though. Maybe I will check it out sometime, and try to be more patient about it.

Ive actually got the strategy guide for terror from the deep next to my computer and it actually states the developers made it harder on purpose because of complaints from players the first game was "too easy"

Silentpony:
I can honestly say I will never understand the Dark Souls phenomenon. Yes its hard. So is reading a book in a language you don't understand. Yes its unforgiving. So is a nun with a ruler and a scowl. Yes players are almost cultists in their elitism and smugness....
Can't really think of a good analogy to that one, but why bother?

And before you go smug on me, yes I DID play it. And yes I DID get several hours in. And it was just more of the same. Despite my character moving forward and gaining levels, I felt as if no progress was being made. In terms of gameplay, scenery, equipment and character development I couldn't point to a notable difference between me of the now and me of the six hours of gameplay ago.

So I proudly agree that I will never beat Dark Souls. I hope it feels smug at the bottom of my game collection.

If you got six hours in and none of your equipment changed then at the very least you had to have more skill since the enemies just get stronger. Saying you didn't feel like you were making progress either means you kept wandering around the same area without advancing or you ignored ringing the bells and reaching new and horrible areas (Scenery wise, the shifts from Undead Burg to Blight town to the Forest are pretty vast)

O.o it's a very weird claim to seem so proud of is all

A sense a disturbing lack of Battletoads, I'm slightly disappointed now :(

I also don't believe Dark Souls or any of the Souls games are really THAT hard. ANoyying, kinda but hard? eh not so much

I didn't play many of those games, but I did beat Ninja Gaiden.

phoenixlink:
The original TMNT game on the nes with that damn electrcic seaweed. many rage qq tears

And that. Seaweed still gives me nightmares, though.

To be honest, I don't really miss games like that.

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Aside from those few tidbits(and Blighttown to be sure), the game isn't that difficult. It's just demanding, in the same way that say, Shogun 2 is demanding. If you just Ctrl+A and Right Click in that game, you can have your s**t ruined rather quickly, but use proper tactics and the fight becomes balanced, similarly to how paying attention(in the non-cheap areas) results in safe exploration.

I completely agree. There are way harder games out there - I Wanna Be the Guy for the ridiculous manual dexterity and trial and error it requires, Angband for it's brutal punishment of even a slight bit of impatience or lack of preparation.

I can only assume all of these people stating how difficult Dark Souls is are young gamers who don't have much experience with gaming beyond the modern AAA hand-holding market. After a stint of Call of Duty, Dark Souls must seem like some kind of sadistic nightmare.

briankoontz:

Sigmund Av Volsung:
Aside from those few tidbits(and Blighttown to be sure), the game isn't that difficult. It's just demanding, in the same way that say, Shogun 2 is demanding. If you just Ctrl+A and Right Click in that game, you can have your s**t ruined rather quickly, but use proper tactics and the fight becomes balanced, similarly to how paying attention(in the non-cheap areas) results in safe exploration.

I completely agree. There are way harder games out there - I Wanna Be the Guy for the ridiculous manual dexterity and trial and error it requires, Angband for it's brutal punishment of even a slight bit of impatience or lack of preparation.

I can only assume all of these people stating how difficult Dark Souls is are young gamers who don't have much experience with gaming beyond the modern AAA hand-holding market. After a stint of Call of Duty, Dark Souls must seem like some kind of sadistic nightmare.

I don't think its even that. I think the game has a reputation for being demanding(after all, the PC version is called "Prepare to Die", and the preceeding game, Demon's Souls was stupidly difficult at times), and its more of an outsider's perspective into the game.

The game can even become easy, once you have the right equipment and/or you have farmed souls for a decent amount of time.

small:
Ive actually got the strategy guide for terror from the deep next to my computer and it actually states the developers made it harder on purpose because of complaints from players the first game was "too easy"

And later someone realised that there was that bug that set the difficulty of UFO defence to the easiest setting despite choosing higher difficulties.

Or something like that.

heh.

Sigmund Av Volsung:

I don't think its even that. I think the game has a reputation for being demanding(after all, the PC version is called "Prepare to Die", and the preceeding game, Demon's Souls was stupidly difficult at times), and its more of an outsider's perspective into the game.

The game can even become easy, once you have the right equipment and/or you have farmed souls for a decent amount of time.

It's annoying when people don't seem to want to talk about the design, the mechanics, the lore; nope, just the difficulty. Doing it a massive disservice, really.

Pink Gregory:

Sigmund Av Volsung:

I don't think its even that. I think the game has a reputation for being demanding(after all, the PC version is called "Prepare to Die", and the preceeding game, Demon's Souls was stupidly difficult at times), and its more of an outsider's perspective into the game.

The game can even become easy, once you have the right equipment and/or you have farmed souls for a decent amount of time.

It's annoying when people don't seem to want to talk about the design, the mechanics, the lore; nope, just the difficulty. Doing it a massive disservice, really.

Well, it has garnered FromSoftware a rather dedicated audience who will reliably buy all of their ventures, but I agree that the difficulty overshadows where the game truly shines.

phoenixlink:
The original TMNT game on the nes with that damn electrcic seaweed. many rage qq tears

I may have simply blocked blocked that memory in its entirety, hence the exclusion here.

Issurru:
A sense a disturbing lack of Battletoads, I'm slightly disappointed now :(

I also don't believe Dark Souls or any of the Souls games are really THAT hard. ANoyying, kinda but hard? eh not so much

There was actually some discussion of Battletoads around Escapist HQ, but for whatever reason, I didn't find it to be as difficult as my other inclusions here. Dark Souls was up for discussion as well, but we decided that a learning curve that steep counted, even if it did eventually level off in difficulty as you figured things out.

Tiamat666:

iniudan:
Me I prefer Apocalypse, as it is the first one I played, the strategic map gameplay of the first two might be better, but tactical map and interface is so much better in Apocalypse, that I always had a hard time with the first two, even if I can see they are overall better game, due to better pacing mostly.

I tried Apocalypse once, but that mix between real time and turn based combat was confusing me, so I went back to TFTD. :D
I admit I didn't try very hard though. Maybe I will check it out sometime, and try to be more patient about it.

It not really mixed, you choose one or the other at the start of a tactical mission. Me I prefer real time, mostly due that I like going in with a big team, which make control less tedious, so I set up most teams in a defensive position to cover exit, then I use an assault team to sweep the building.

Real time also got the advantage of making you less susceptible to head crab and allow for better for defensive position (both due to real time reactive fire), but it make you weaker to enemy with actual firepower (as you will get shot a lot more), harder to capture alien (as they don't stop attacking and moving unlike turn based mode) and is more wasteful on ammo (which you can only purchase a limited amount each week, which can be a problem in a first few week, if not careful, especially since it much easier in turn based mode to switch magazine before they are fully spend, thus get a free refill back at base, instead of it been destroy).

Personally I also find real time make grenade much harder to use for take down, so they are better used as to flush out resistance, as much harder to time them correctly without giving enemies time to react.

lol. All I saw was the title of this and the first thing I thought of was Ninja Gaiden 1.
Yea, TMNT was brutal too.

For me, I always take the old adage from Ms. Frizzle: "Never say 'Never'!"

I say that because while I've never beaten the two hardest games I've ever played, Touhou 6 and 7, I don't think I can say I'll never beat them. I mean for instance, when I first started playing them I started out as "Ah, crap! How do I get around Cirno's ice vice-grip thing?" And then a month later of playing it, I got to the point where I got Remelia down to the last few pixels on her life bar with no continues before dying... on my last life. I was ridiculously close to beating that game and getting the good ending. Nowadays I don't tend to play the games as often as I used to. Part of it comes from the fact that my interests change, part of it is because the left key on my keyboard is missing, part of it is because it IS a hard genre, and part of it is because I like to enjoy the Touhou material outside of the games as well. But even after all of that, I can't say that I'll never beat the game.

As further evidence to this claim, I can say that a few months ago I tackled Touhou 6 a few times during my stay in New York. And this was the first time I had gone into the game in at least two years. Yet, after all that time (and a few practice rounds), I had an instance in which I got 2nd place on my high score on normal, and another instance where I got Remelia down to her last life bar.

So 1cc-ing Touhou 6 and 7 on normal with Reimu A are on my bucket list.

phoenixlink:
The original TMNT game on the nes with that damn electrcic seaweed. many rage qq tears

Burn! Burn burn burn! Burn it all down. The console, the game, the freaking house! Purge that evil stuff from the face of the world!!!
Sorry, reliving childhood traumas. Surprisingly I did get past that stuff eventually, but then the game got even harder and I gave up completely.

Ah yes, the original Ninja Gaiden. I remember loving that game when I was kid. I loved the grapple throw that you could do (the guillotine throw as it's called) and smashing enemies through phone booths or boxes with it. Never did get very far though, because yeah that game was hard. Then I unlocked it on Ninja Gaiden Black, and with infinite lives, I went through and beat it finally.

CaptainMarvelous:

Silentpony:
SNIP

If you got six hours in and none of your equipment changed then at the very least you had to have more skill since the enemies just get stronger. Saying you didn't feel like you were making progress either means you kept wandering around the same area without advancing or you ignored ringing the bells and reaching new and horrible areas (Scenery wise, the shifts from Undead Burg to Blight town to the Forest are pretty vast)

O.o it's a very weird claim to seem so proud of is all

Well of course my equipment changed. But for all intents and purposes it might as well not have. Everything took dozens of hits to kill and everything one-hit killed me. Instead of me wearing leather armor and a skeleton killing me, six hours later I'm wearing chain armor and a larger skeleton is killing me. Things are different for a technical stand point, but not it an practical sense. The new equipment wasn't making the progress any easier. Like the larger skeletons still one-hit kill me irregardless of my armor, so why bother upgrading?!

>Hardest Games From 90s To Now
>Ninja Gaiden (1988)

narf

I'll say the same thing I always say in these threads: SMASH TV. The arcade original on solo, not the bastardised 2-player SNES thing. That game is designed to be impossible.

The reason I constantly cite it as the hardest game ever is that it doesn't matter how much time you spend practising and playing, it never gets any easier. Ninja Gaiden is defined and mostly predictable; once you've run a level a few times you can learn it and pick where the enemies are going to come from, and then it's just a case of memorising the patterns. (Ditto most games cited as "incredibly hard" these days.) Jet Set Willy on the ol' Spectrum is damn hard, because even once you've memorised the pattern it's still a bitch to execute it (some of the jumps around The Yacht are literally pixel perfect; the infamous Banyan Tree can be pixelled through without too much difficulty as well). Those famous Mushi shooters are also about precision execution of a pattern; but the key word is pattern. You can learn it, and memorise it.

Smash TV does none of that. While many of the waves are structured, either sequentially or on timers, the challenge in that game comes from sheer volume of enemies; however you do it, you'll never find a safe spot to park up and turret from. Hiding in the corners will get you overwhelmed; you can never tell which doorways are safe to boot it past at any point. You can't learn the game; you have to adapt to every new challenge it throws at you, and it throws a lot. Of varying degrees of cheapness. Yes, it's meant to eat coins. Doesn't stop it being the hardest game I've ever played.

(The home system version of TMHT I've seen mentioned a few times? Never found it that difficult; I completed it fairly readily on my Amstrad. Again, just memorise the maps.)

I've never been able to get to the credits scene of Tetris :,(
That game is hard as hell!

Silentpony:

Well of course my equipment changed. But for all intents and purposes it might as well not have. Everything took dozens of hits to kill and everything one-hit killed me.

You are either lying, or playing the game profoundly wrong. Not even the strongest bosses should ever one shot you, and I don't remember anything besides bosses and minibosses taking more than a few hits to kill.

OT: yea, no. I love Dark Souls but it doesn't belong on this list. DKS isn't really even a hard game, its a game that demands a lot and tells you very little. Once you overcome the vertical learning curve its only moderately challenging outside of a few bullshit areas (fuuuuuuck Anor Londo, fuck TOTG and fuck Lost Izalith).

Charcharo:
This list is missing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky.

Sorry. It aint complete. That thing, was harder then Demons Souls.
... and I am a pretty damn good PC FPS player and not a huge console RPG fan :P ...

Or STALKER MISERY on Dark Road Difficulty...

Damn...damn... damn...

I never finished CS due to it's buggyness. From unique items loosing their unique property's at level changes to badly implemented graphical features.

I guess Ikaruga counts, I own it but couldn't gett far into it. It might be easier than I remember though so I oculd be wrong.

0takuMetalhead:

Charcharo:
This list is missing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky.

Sorry. It aint complete. That thing, was harder then Demons Souls.
... and I am a pretty damn good PC FPS player and not a huge console RPG fan :P ...

Or STALKER MISERY on Dark Road Difficulty...

Damn...damn... damn...

I never finished CS due to it's buggyness. From unique items loosing their unique property's at level changes to badly implemented graphical features.

I guess Ikaruga counts, I own it but couldn't gett far into it. It might be easier than I remember though so I oculd be wrong.

Tis a fact its buggy as all hell.
But have you tried it patched? It works well that way. If only it was released that way ...

As for badly implemented graphical features.
What do you mean?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkLR2tYRubw&list=PLD2B82E405CF9650C&index=2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAYLHAPPkvw&list=PLD2B82E405CF9650C&index=3

Still, it counts. Its quite a bit harder then Demons Souls.

Silentpony:

CaptainMarvelous:

Silentpony:
SNIP

If you got six hours in and none of your equipment changed then at the very least you had to have more skill since the enemies just get stronger. Saying you didn't feel like you were making progress either means you kept wandering around the same area without advancing or you ignored ringing the bells and reaching new and horrible areas (Scenery wise, the shifts from Undead Burg to Blight town to the Forest are pretty vast)

O.o it's a very weird claim to seem so proud of is all

Well of course my equipment changed. But for all intents and purposes it might as well not have. Everything took dozens of hits to kill and everything one-hit killed me. Instead of me wearing leather armor and a skeleton killing me, six hours later I'm wearing chain armor and a larger skeleton is killing me. Things are different for a technical stand point, but not it an practical sense. The new equipment wasn't making the progress any easier. Like the larger skeletons still one-hit kill me irregardless of my armor, so why bother upgrading?!

Oh boy, sounds like you made THE classic Dark Souls mistake and went to the Catacombs instead of the Undead Burg first. At least, that's my only explanation, unless you were simply trying to kill everything with a broken sword hilt, hardly ANY enemy in the game should ever need dozens of hits aside from bosses.

Charcharo:

0takuMetalhead:

Charcharo:
This list is missing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky.

Sorry. It aint complete. That thing, was harder then Demons Souls.
... and I am a pretty damn good PC FPS player and not a huge console RPG fan :P ...

Or STALKER MISERY on Dark Road Difficulty...

Damn...damn... damn...

I never finished CS due to it's buggyness. From unique items loosing their unique property's at level changes to badly implemented graphical features.

I guess Ikaruga counts, I own it but couldn't gett far into it. It might be easier than I remember though so I oculd be wrong.

Tis a fact its buggy as all hell.
But have you tried it patched? It works well that way. If only it was released that way ...
Still, it counts. Its quite a bit harder then Demons Souls.

Did that, fixed most issues but those damn godrays, couldn't disable them either without changing the settings in the config file.
Talking about difficulty in Stalker, I find it silly that SoC is easier on higher settings. Played it 2 times on medium, half the time getting my ass kicked and now have a run going on the highest difficulty without failing much at all. Friendly A.I. took a lesson in derp though it seems.

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