One of the major staples of old school video games is the incredible difficulty. I’ve talked about the level of challenge in older games before in an article about the things I miss most from classic games, and while the challenge is great, some games take it a little too far. I’m not saying hard video games are bad, but some of them can be downright frustrating. That said, the satisfaction when you make it through one of these difficult games is something you just don’t get enough of in gaming.
Modern games tend to hold the player’s hand. Instead of letting players get stuck, game developers tend to focus on making sure players make it through their games with only minimal frustration. Of course, there are still games with plenty of challenge today, but they are few and far between.
If you love games that offer no mercy, the ones that follow will be perfect for you. Just be prepared, because the rage you may experience may just make you want to become the next Angry Video Game Nerd.
Mega Man 9 (Wii, PS3, Xbox 360)
Capcom decided to make old new again with the release of Mega Man 9. Even through it is a modern game, it is built to play just the old Mega Man games, right down to the beat your face into the ground level of difficulty. In fact, you can easily make an argument that it is harder than the old Mega Man games, which is impressive, because the classics are downright brutal.
Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (NES)
Mike Tyson’s Punch Out is hard the whole way through, but it’s completely beatable. Then, you get to Mike Tyson, one of the hardest final bosses in the history of video games. It is possible to beat him, but it will require hours of trial and error. After all, he has a move that can spell game over with one hit, and there is nothing scarier in all of video games.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins (NES)
There is nothing easy about Ghosts ‘n Goblins. While playing through the game, you will die, and you will die a lot. After banging your head against your NES for hours on end, you might actually beat the game. You will feel a generous swelling of pride, but the game will tell you that if you want to see the real ending, you need to go through it again. Not only is that difficult, it’s just mean.
Demon’s Souls (PS3)
Demon’s Souls is a modern RPG that feels much more like the games of the past. Instead of guiding you through a linear story, Demon Souls throws the player into the world and leaves them to figure it out on their own. Not only does it not guide the player through the game, but the fights tucked in the world are incredibly hard, and death has some serious consequences. While not quite as hard as many of the older games, it’s one of the hardest modern games you will find.
This is a really weird and hard video game where adding in a co-op partner actually makes the game harder. It’s easier to smash your fellow Battletoad to bits than it is to actually kill your enemies. While the game is not easy alone by any means, it certainly becomes more manageable. Still, don’t expect to make it through it solo without plenty of struggle, because no matter what, you will die plenty while going through Battletoads.
F-Zero GX (GameCube)
F-Zero, a franchise known for its difficulty, had its most difficult game released on the GameCube, a system not necessarily known for its brutal games. If you like racing games that will make you want to pull your hair out with rage, you will love this game. It’s actually really good, and well worth playing, but you need to be prepared for some serious fits of anger while going through it.
Ninja Gaiden Black (Xbox)
The original Ninja Gaiden games on NES were insanely hard, and the modern releases follow the form laid out by the past, but they add piles of strategy and combos. apparently the brutal difficulty offered in the first Xbox version of Ninja Gaiden was not enough, the developers released Black, which ratcheted up the difficulty even further. The game is totally beatable, but the amount of precision and skill it requires will test the mettle of even the best gamers.
For any masochist who wants to play a hard video game that will make them want to scream, these are the games for you.
Are there any really hard games you think should be included on the list? Hit the comments section below and let us know!