Compiling a hardest games of all time list

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Compiling a hardest games of all time list

Post by RobertAugustdeMeijer »

Difficulty is subjective, so naturally I was wondering how to possibly find common ground. I mean, everybody agrees that Ghosts 'n Goblins is hard to beat, right? So perhaps there's some objective truth to what difficulty is.
This lead me to making my top 40 most difficult games (that I've beaten), and I would love to compare lists from other folks, to see what we agree on. Also, I'm simply interested to learn about new games. :D

1 Radiant Silvergun
2 Super Hexagon
3 Spelunky HD
4 Rain World
5 Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!
6 Cruelty Squad
7 Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
8 Ikaruga
9 Contra III: The Alien Wars
10 Contra: Hard Corps
11 Thunder Force IV
12 Dark Souls
13 Sekiro
14 Demon's Souls
15 Bloodborne
16 Elden Ring
17 Hollow Knight
18 Mega Man 9
19 Castlevania III
20 Nioh
21 Hyper Light Drifter
22 Hades
23 Ninja Gaiden (NES)
24 Elliot Quest
25 Celeste
26 Rogue Legacy
27 Super Meat Boy
28 Ninja Gaiden Sigma
39 Pathologic 2
30 OutRun
31 Sega Rally Championship
32 Mega Man
33 Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
34 Neon White
35 Tunic
36 Monster Boy in the Cursed Kingdom
37 Ender Lilies
39 XCOM 2
40 Death's Door
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Re: Compiling a hardest games of all time list

Post by marurun »

I think it might help us if we knew why those titles were hard. There's so many different ways for games to be hard, it would be helpful to know what you find hard while also entertaining.
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Re: Compiling a hardest games of all time list

Post by prfsnl_gmr »

Yeah…I could make a compelling argument that many of these games aren’t really that tough. (Momodora and Monster Boy in the Cursed Kingdom are both pretty easy, and Death’s Door, OutRun, and Tunic aren’t that tough, in my opinion.) Also, some games are hard for absolutely the wrong reasons - there are broken games that are literally impossible - and I think you’d only want to include “tough but fair (and also really fun!)” games. Here are some additional games think falls into that category:

Alwa’s Awakening
Bit.Trip Runner
Electronic Super Joy
Elminage: Original
Legend of Grimrock
Nectaris: Military Madness
R-Type III
R-Type Delta
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

You’ll hear people say you should include Ecco the Dolphin. Don’t do it, though, because that game stinks! :lol:
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Re: Compiling a hardest games of all time list

Post by Ack »

Anybody else remember I Wanna Be the Guy?
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Re: Compiling a hardest games of all time list

Post by Raging Justice »

Many old school arcade games became super hard when you limit yourself to a 1cc play through. Those games were designed to be quarter munchers. Some of the really old score based arcade games going back to the 70s feel like what modern gamers would call survival modes

I find all 2d shooters that don't feature health bars to be difficult. You have to play those games perfectly, more so if it's a bullet hell shooter

Rhythm games are brutally hard for any player that can't keep a beat, another genre that demands perfection. Guitaroo Man is one that is known to be quite difficult.

An interesting thing about difficulty also is that some games are not hard by default, but become nasty when you factor in higher difficulties, optional challenges, and trophies/achievements. Trophy hunters can give you a list of games that may not seem difficult, until you factor in collecting all of the trophies.

For me, some games that were super hard:

Shinobi on the PS2 - Very demanding game, especially if you're trying to 100% it. I love this game, but never want to play it again

The Adventures of Batman and Robin on the Sega Genesis - This one is fairly well known for its difficulty. If you died and lost your upgraded weapon, you were kind of screwed.

Battletoads on the NES - I never beat it, and neither did a lot of gamers.

Sub-Terrania - Part of the difficulty is the controls and the gentle way you have to maneuver your ship around the environment

God Hand - I hated the controls and the way that the game would increase the difficulty on you if you played it too well

Devil May Cry 3 - Good luck 100% completing it, extremely demanding game for only the most hardcore

Jak 2 - Significantly more difficult than its predecessor. I ended up hating this game

MDK 2 on the Dreamcast - I cussed so many times while playing this, but still loved it because it was so entertaining

Ninja Gaiden II (the original Xbox 360 game) - I loved this game, but it was full of cheap BS and many high level players made use of various exploits in the game in order to overcome its absurd difficulty

Ninja Gaiden III on the NES - Everyone always picks the first one, but I never beat III. I think NG II is probably the easiest one

Space Channel 5 - If you miss one prompt near the end of the last level, YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE ENTIRE STAGE ALL OVER AGAIN

The Earthworm Jim games - Super hard, but so much fun you kept coming back for more. I have beaten both of them and love them

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES - This one is infamous. There's a lot of debate over whether or not the game is good, but everyone agrees that it's brutally hard. I never beat Battletoads, but I took some solace in having beat Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory - Not as soul crushing as the Ghosts n Goblins/Ghouls n Ghosts games, but still hard.

The Dishwasher Samurai games - Brutally hard, hack n slash/beat 'em ups (especially the first one), but super fun to play

Final Fantasy XII - !00% completing the game requires you to get the Zodiak Spear, which many players will unknowingly screw themselves out of getting if they are not using a guide, meaning they will have to start the game over from the beginning. Some things in the game are enemy drops with extremely low drop rates, and there are bosses in the game that can literally take you an hour or longer to defeat.

Final Fantasy IX - For 100% completion you need to get everything in the game, while also speed running it to get Excalibur II. Meeting the time requirements requires you to make some hard choices. It's one of the reasons it's my least favorite game in the series. RPGs are not meant to be sped through.

Final Fantasy X - the requirement for Lulu's ultimate weapon will break some players, and the one for Tidus is damn annoying too. Final Fantasy games seem easy, until you try to 100% complete some of them

Final Fantasy Tactics - I know many players just hit a brick wall at some parts of the game and can't make further progress. If you go into some parts of the game unprepared it is possible to really screw yourself over

For trophy/achievement hunters, these two games are notorious

Vanquish - There is one challenge that is known to be brutally hard for people trying to get every trophy

Dead Rising - That one achievement that required you to play survival mode for basically an entire day without dying or saving.

I don't think the Punch Out games are hard in general. There are just one or two fighters that can be a real bitch. For me, it's Bald Bull and Super Macho Man...and I guess Tyson too obviously
Last edited by Raging Justice on Tue Jun 11, 2024 1:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Compiling a hardest games of all time list

Post by stickem »

Ack wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 12:27 pm Anybody else remember I Wanna Be the Guy?
brutal. kids thought i had tourette's, and controllers went flying
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Re: Compiling a hardest games of all time list

Post by pierrot »

I think the hardest games would mostly be competitive games at e-sports level (as much as people might hate the idea of e-sports).

Aside from that, a semi-random smattering of single-player games I consider difficult would be:

- Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei
- Madoola no Tsubasa / Wings of Madoola
- Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu
- Romancia
- Draslay Family / Legacy of the Wizard
- The Legend of Heroes II
- Final Fantasy III (NES)
- Dragon Quest II
- Valkyrie no Bouken
- Ganbare Goemon: Karakuri Douchuu
- Getsu Fuumaden
- Hi no Tori
- Little Nemo
- Zelda II
- Phantasy Star
- Phantasy Star II
- Comix Zone
- Out of this World
- Revenge of Shinobi
- Shadow Dancer
- Umihara Kawase
- Tsumi to Batsu
- Trauma Center: Under the Knife
- Castlevania Rebirth
- Gradius
- Akumajou Dracula (X68000)

I mostly tried to list games I felt would still legitimately make people sweat, even if they know what to do (maybe not Phantasy Star or Phantasy Star II, with maps at hand). Probably most "difficult" games end up being like that: If you know what to do, they aren't that difficult. I love Contra: Hard Corps (US), but it's only really difficult at first. After learning patterns, it's a pretty easy game, and doesn't require the sort of memorization a memorizer shmup would. Same idea with Breath of Fire - Dragon Quarter: It will slap newcomers silly, and quickly turn them into a sobbing mess, but with a basic understanding of the systems it's not especially difficult.
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