Dizzying shooters, agonizing puzzles, and water stages (ugh)...
May 25, 2023 6:41 AM   Subscribe

The 100 Hardest Video-Game Levels of All Time [Vulture] “There are so many different ways to create a hard level. This list contains resource-draining RPG grinds, uncompromising tactical grids, mind-melting adventure-game puzzles, and the sort of quicksilver, arcade-y gauntlets that require a speedrunner’s acumen. *(It does not contain, we want to note, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, which came out too recently for us to confidently make a determination about whether any of its challenges warrant a spot. We reserve the right to add it at a later date.)

“We only looked at console and/or PC games released in the U.S. — meaning no arcade games (unless they were ported to a console) and no mobile-first games — and we created a few rules to guide our selections:
➼ The Flappy Bird Rule: Levels have a clear beginning and end.
➼ The Open-World Rule: As game styles evolve, so do level styles. Side quests can be levels; discrete sections of a map can be levels (as long as they follow the Flappy Bird Rule.)
➼ The ’90s Disney Games Rule: Intended audience matters. If a game was targeting young kids, how difficult was this level to that particular cohort?
In general, we attempted to weigh a given level’s difficulty relative to the rest of the game and relative to other games in its genre. Each level’s difficulty was considered in the context of when the game was released — How hard was this when it came out? — since subsequent accumulation of knowledge, online resources, simplified rereleases, and better technology have made some of these stages more manageable over time. The impact of technology was taken into account, too: The difficulty of some games on the list was compounded by the inadequate controllers of their era.”
posted by Fizz (74 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
posted by logicpunk at 6:57 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Fuck this Ninja Gaiden level, specifically this piece of shit bird. Just completely wrecks me, EVERY time.
posted by Fizz at 7:08 AM on May 25 [5 favorites]

Some odd ordering choices in there. Portal chamber 15 in the top ten, but The Water Temple in the mid 40s? I had to go look up Chamber 15 for a refresher, but for anyone who played through it you don't even need to name the game, when I say "hard as in Water Temple" you just know.

The Ghosts'n'Goblins cemetery def. belongs on that list, though The Witness, in my opinion, does not. It wasn't so much "hard" as it was "pattern-repetitive tedium" by the end of it.
posted by mhoye at 7:20 AM on May 25 [5 favorites]

Ctrl-F "Water Temple." And there's TWO different frustrating Water Temples in the Zelda franchise! The one in Majora's mask has a built in time limit, three days of frustrated wandering pass and you have to start all over. But I think fewer people ever reached the Majora's Mask water temple.

Another frustrating Zelda dungeon was Eagle's Tower from Link's awakening. Maybe it's just me but there is a tricky 3d puzzle in a 2d black and white game. It's a bit easier in the remake which has color and a little perspective.
posted by muddgirl at 7:25 AM on May 25

I absolutely quibble with the ordering here: The Mountain in The Witness at #2? Surely not. I’ve beaten DROD, level 24 took days. Chamber 15 in Portal is pleasantly tricky but like half of The Talos Principle would give it a run for its money.

I think the hardest level I’ve personally beaten is Anor Londo. I knew Ornstein & Smough’s reputation going in. Friends, they lived up to the warning.
posted by Merus at 7:26 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

The Labs map in Escape from Tarkov may be the single highest skill, most physically intense experience in video games (outside of a tournament).
posted by constraint at 7:30 AM on May 25

The Astral Plane in Nethack is pretty hard.
posted by aubilenon at 7:32 AM on May 25 [7 favorites]

Lists like this are inherently flawed because there's no objective measure of difficulty, and that's okay. I think the collection of games and kinds of difficulties they've ordered are interesting in themselves. I also think the difficulty of the Water Temple is overstated because of the widespread (and false) idea that you can get soft-locked; I think several 2D Zelda games have harder dungeons.

Were I to add something to this list, I think I'd add the Boost Guardian from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. You're taking constant damage and have to be playing at a very high level. It's a noted difficulty spike in a game that is at baseline more difficult than a lot of Nintendo games.
posted by TheKaijuCommuter at 7:35 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

I did not need reminding of Nova Prospekt today. Or any other day. Brrrrrr.
posted by dragstroke at 7:43 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]

There's quite a bit here I don't agree with. I don't recall Lavender Town being all that tough (though to be fair, I did play Pokemon Blue for the first time after a handful of other Pokemon games). Maridia was a slog but otherwise fine, and should ideally be replaced with Hell, the secret stage from Cave Story. Golgorand should be replaced with whatever that map was in Final Fantasy Tactics with all the summoners. Route 666 and Toxic Sewers should've been replaced with something else as well, though I don't know what. Katamari Damacy and Half-Life 2 shouldn't even be on the list, while Baba is You and the license tests from Gran Turismo 3: A-spec should've been. Doom 2016's level should be replaced with one from Doom Eternal, which is a much tougher game overall (or, hell, the Icon of Sin from Doom II).

Ctrl-F "Water Temple."

Me, but replace "Water Temple" with "Library". Said Library isn't the toughest thing in the Halo franchise, but it is the most tedious. The Thunder Plains from Final Fantasy X were similarly tedious.

Perhaps this list should've been for the "most annoying video game levels".
posted by May Kasahara at 7:47 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

41. Toxic Sewers, Dead Cells.

Tell me you haven't played much Dead Cells without telling me you haven't played much Dead Cells. (Slumbering Sanctuary? Yes. Fractured Shrines? Absolutely. But Toxic Sewers? C'mon.)
posted by The Bellman at 7:55 AM on May 25 [9 favorites]

Tell me you haven't played much Dead Cells without telling me you haven't played much Dead Cells. (Slumbering Sanctuary? Yes. Fractured Shrines? Absolutely. But Toxic Sewers? C'mon.)

In fairness to them, they position it as such a shift as the first unlockable you encounter and I wouldn't be surprised if some folks just give up at that point. But in the context of the whole game, yeah, definitely not the hardest or most infuriating.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:59 AM on May 25

But Toxic Sewers? C'mon.)

Depending on where in the rogue progression you are, this can be a hellish level. But yeah, its pretty low-stakes considering the other end-game levels.
posted by Fizz at 7:59 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

I'd be more interested in the top 100 most bullshit levels and bosses, specifically those that take away skills/items/moves that you spent dozens of hours perfecting and suddenly "haha, sorry, this isn't that game any more, this is a completely different game, and you suck at it!" People who design shit like that should get the fuck out of the industry forever.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:02 AM on May 25 [9 favorites]

Tell me you haven't played much Dead Cells without telling me you haven't played much Dead Cells. (Slumbering Sanctuary? Yes. Fractured Shrines? Absolutely. But Toxic Sewers? C'mon.)

Yeah, pretty much. I also had a similar reaction when seeing the Jungle from Spelunky listed. Guess they never reached the Ice Caves!
posted by May Kasahara at 8:03 AM on May 25

Some strange choices in here ("No Russian" isn't particularly difficult, even factoring in the gimmick), so I'll just add one of my own: Hollow Knight's "Path of Pain" took me days to grind through, courtesy of its maddening combination of precision platforming, instant death hazards, and multiple-screen aerial sections that have to be completed in one go.

And that isn't even the hardest challenge in Hollow Knight!
posted by fifthrider at 8:08 AM on May 25

I could never get past the first stage of Deep Blue for TG16. Still can't!
posted by avocet at 8:13 AM on May 25

I'd be more interested in the top 100 most bullshit levels and bosses

Approximately 1/4 of Hellgate: London. Even where it's not hard, the levels that try to do something different with gameplay were just poorly thought out and tedious. But then, the entire game was a waste of its own cool potential. It needed more content, more time in the oven, a publisher that was willing to actually support its development.

All of the areas in Guild Wars 2 that arbitrarily force you to dismount, with no in-game rationale for it. Most of those are to preserve jumping puzzles that are honestly kind of tedious and require a different set of skills than the entire rest of the game. Some of them are just because they made some low walls before the mounts were introduced and didn't want to fix them (and yet in other places, they use invisible barriers to stop you from going where you shouldn't... which is a different kind of disappointing bullshit, but at least it's a bit less annoying).
posted by Foosnark at 8:16 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]

⌘F, "198", ⌘G… okay, I guess those are fine choices from that era, although I'm not sure why they even (sort of) mentioned the godawful Atari 2600 Donkey Kong port…
posted by Ampersand692 at 8:16 AM on May 25

Golgorand Execution Site
Final Fantasy Tactics (1997; PlayStation)

Oh come on now, we all know its the battles at Riovannes. This is where every person playing a JRPG learns a good lesson: multiple saves.

Cultist Tower
Final Fantasy 6 (1994; SNES)

This was surprisingly hard depending on when you came in and what you had equipped.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989; NES)

My cousin perfected this and I watched, so the first time I did it, I had the route down to perfection. I had no idea people struggled with this for years.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 8:18 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

I read this more as a list of "well designed levels with an interesting challenge"; there's plenty of harder game challenges out there than these; but these are mostly remembered as being fun and fair while also hard.

A little baffled by Arcatraz as the World of Warcraft callout. Sure, it was hard, but the other BC dungeon that had the 6 mob pulls (Mana Tombs?) was harder. I miss the old WoW, when AoE wasn't the primary mechanic and crowd control was still a thing.

From what I've read Twin Emperors has stood as the hardest boss challenge for raids to take down in practice because it required coordinating 40 players in two separate groups. Personally it was the Zul'Aman timed run that was my most memorable WoW challenge: our 10 person group took like twelve weeks to get it down and I'm still proud that I have the Amani War Bear to show for it.
posted by Nelson at 8:37 AM on May 25

Shocked that TMNT only appeared once and not in the top 10 but that one appearance being the Dam is perfect.
posted by Reyturner at 8:44 AM on May 25

Fuck this Ninja Gaiden level, specifically this piece of shit bird. Just completely wrecks me, EVERY time.

Hey once you pass the birds, you get to the double boss level, and when you die, you get to face the bird again!

I'd be more interested in the top 100 most bullshit levels and bosses, specifically those that take away skills/items/moves that you spent dozens of hours perfecting and suddenly "haha, sorry, this isn't that game any more, this is a completely different game, and you suck at it!"

Hey they included Legend of Zelda II, and Ghosts and Goblins, so they have that covered. I always struggled in a similar way at Star Tropics, with the terrible controls and limited weapons range.

IMO, they should have included at least one level in Operation Flashpoint, maybe the first one where you have to stop the SCUD surrounded by enemy armor with almost no help. It's not that it's badly designed or anything - just with only one save and so many one-shot you are dead scenarios and a limited clock, it's pretty difficult.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:49 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

I'm going to nod at Elden Ring for bullshit bosses when they give you an open area to fight the bigbad in, but the motherfucker dematerializes and respawns back at its anchor point if you don't fight it in the prescribed arena. That's some lazy design work.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:33 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

My nomination would be level 4 of Gitaroo man which is a ludicrous difficulty spike in an already difficult game.
posted by tomp at 9:51 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Ctrl-F "Medal of Honor" - No result
Ctrl-F "Normandy" - No result

Other than that invalidating the whole thing, the list seems much too console heavy.
posted by Sphinx at 10:01 AM on May 25

I thought, before following the link: I bet they forgot I Wanna Be the Guy. And yes, they did!

Looking at the list more closely, this is a really arbitrary collection of game levels.
posted by painquale at 10:08 AM on May 25 [4 favorites]

The level after the damn in TMNT was the one where you got to drive the turtle van.

That was enough incentive to keep playing.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:19 AM on May 25 [5 favorites]

I'd be more interested in the top 100 most bullshit levels and bosses

It's just "the boss fights in the original release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution" 100 times. Just, god, I'm still salty about what a shitty, jarring sore thumb those were in an otherwise excellent game. Setpieces—especially the final one—that discarded most of the core mechanics of the game and dispensed narratively with the non-lethality option in what is otherwise a game that goes hard out of its way to keep that path open. Even if you managed to make a nominally non-lethal go of taking them down, the resulting cutscenes decided you absolutely did in fact murder them, with blood leaking to make the point.

And that narrative problem is on the core dev team—DE:HR has several cut scenes where, without any agency, the player is forced to watch Adam Jensen be an off-model dipshit compared to how they've been actually playing the game, so it's not just the "you definitely murdered that boss" thing that jars here—but the fights themselves were so colossally off-spec that it overwhelmed everything else about the game whenever they came up.
posted by cortex at 11:05 AM on May 25 [6 favorites]

but also yeah fuck that dam level in TMNT
posted by cortex at 11:07 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Ctrl+F "Sonic"... Hydrocity Zone

posted by JoeXIII007 at 11:08 AM on May 25

Wargroove was stupidly hard. I love turn-based strategy and was so looking forward to it, and deleted it in frustration after having to start levels over way too many times to be fun.
posted by oulipian at 11:33 AM on May 25

up up down left right down up speed up slow down slow down slow down left speed up up down left right right speed up speed up speed up

cut scene smashes into ocean
posted by stltony at 11:34 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]

Turbo tunnel from Battletoads deserves #1 just for being the OG impossible level. That's OK by me.

But Anor Londo... really? I think if you specifically called out the boss runback for Ornstein and Smaugh that would be arguable (fucking silver knight archers!), but really what should be here from Dark Souls is Blighttown. Tortuous and torturous.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:54 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]

Wargroove was stupidly hard.

I bought it on release and it wasn't too bad; what I think spiked campaign difficulty was the balance patches made to fix multiplayer degeneracy. The "good" news is the game has customizable difficulty sliders built in.

The DLC however, seems to be way, way harder. Especially for a game intended to be a "parent and child multiplayer" mode, the kid commander side of the map doesnt fuck around.
posted by pwnguin at 12:04 PM on May 25

No “maze of twisty passages, all the same”? I never managed to beat Adventure, don’t even know if it was actually possible. Alpha hard level, IMHO.
And on to Witness, I STILL haven’t solved the timed level in the cave. I’m just not fast enough. Low IQ I guess.
I couldn’t describe myself as a gamer, but there are a handful I’ve played over the years, and was satisfying to see some of them on the list. Portal and Braid were favorites.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 12:06 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

I think I agree with Blighttown in the Fromsoft ouvre. Dark, treacherous footing leading to falling deaths, enemies appearing out of nowhere, toxic-inflicting blow-gun dudes you couldn't see, and even if you did survive the fall, you fell into poison, and then the giant mosquitos and leeches would eat your face. Miyasaki thinking, "people really hated Swamp of Sorrows, excellent, now how can I make something worse?"
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:07 PM on May 25

Since I mostly seem to play either Animal Crossing or Fallout/Skyrim/Wasteland (that's a mix) - Dead Wind Caverns is complete and utter terrifying bullshit when you first accidentally run into it.

But... go into with some kick ass weapons and still spam stimpacks because Legendary Death claws...
posted by drewbage1847 at 12:08 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

One of the reasons why the dam level in the NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is so difficult is that has some broken physics/movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHiFNWJXWgI
posted by ElKevbo at 12:14 PM on May 25 [3 favorites]

I guess Gabriel Knight 3 isn't here as they couldn't narrow it down from the whole game.
posted by biffa at 1:17 PM on May 25 [3 favorites]

I guess technically Argent D'nur is hard but if you've got Doom 2016's mechanics burned into your reflexes like you really should at that point it's amazing- it's like a lock you've been building your playstyle into a key for, and feels really, really good when you're firing on all cylinders.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:21 PM on May 25 [3 favorites]

damn I was almost feeling pleased with myself to see 2 games I did manage to finish, portal and the witness, so high on the list, but here they are being pretty much the first games to be scoffed at! sigh...
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:00 PM on May 25

Some choice picks here -- Hyper Hexagonest! That VVVVVV level that forces you through a lengthy double-back gauntlet because of one tiny knee-high block! The curse of THE COWBEAR! But I was really surprised to not see anything from N, which to my mind is the prototypical example of a punishingly difficult (but fair!) puzzle platformer.

Lots of really tough stages in the original game and its various sequels, but the one that gave me the most grief was undoubtedly level 88-4, "Mother Thumping Impossible," not least because it comes at the very end of a challenging set of levels in that block.

Also, special mention to some of the hyper-hard user-created levels from Mario Maker -- I haven't had the pleasure (?) of playing any myself, but have enjoyed watching videogamedunkey attempting them with appropriate commentary:


Giga Bowser's Reckoning

The Hardest Mario Level of All Time
posted by Rhaomi at 3:14 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Oddly-angled Room
This is a room with oddly angled walls and passages in all directions. The walls are made of some glassy substance.
posted by googly at 3:29 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Leaning towards cRPGs and strategy games rather than the action-oriented stuff that makes for very hard levels, IIRC I only did two of these: Star Forge in KOTOR, and the one from XCOM.

Star Forge was not hard, if you realized that Darth Malak is refreshing his health and force powers from already dead Jedi and run around destroying the machines holding their receptacles. If you don't realize that--and I didn't, in my initial play through, it seemed evil to do that--it's a grueling endurance fight that requires all those health serums you never got around to use during the rest of the campaign.

XCOM was just a hard game. Finishing a hard level there involved good moves, zero mistakes, and not having the bad luck to miss an "easy" shot. But people say the original was much, much harder.
posted by mark k at 3:38 PM on May 25

Katamari Damacy [...] shouldn't even be on the list

wait why not? those levels are infamous for being hard, in that you have to learn where all the cows or bears are because rolling one up counts even if it's too small for you to see what you're rolling up

it's basically guaranteed your first N attempts are going to end in "ha ha, you just accidentally rolled up a tiny cow, go get fucked," if not "ha ha, actually this cow-print non-cow object counts as a cow, double go get fucked"

at my prime I could produce ten successful Can't Wait To Be Kings or fifty successful Super Hexagonests before I could give you one good ratzerfratzin Taurus
posted by taquito sunrise at 4:36 PM on May 25 [7 favorites]

I still haven’t gotten past the first level in Tetris.
posted by nickmark at 4:42 PM on May 25 [5 favorites]

I guess Gabriel Knight 3 isn't here as they couldn't narrow it down from the whole game.

I was thinking the same, except X-COM: Terror from the Deep.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:50 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Only played 15 of these, only completed 12.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:13 PM on May 25

Claiming to have the 100 hardest levels is laughable because it claims they've played every game there's ever been, and they obviously have never seen the World of Labyrinth from Athena.
posted by JHarris at 5:15 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Or, for that matter, anything from Mighty Bomb Jack, or Solomon's Key, or Cobra Triangle.
posted by JHarris at 5:16 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]

"no arcade games" - yet they listed Donkey Kong.

They stretched their definitions of "level" to include a puzzle from Maniac Mansion, but I'll bet the babel fish was responsible for far more in-game deaths...
posted by cheshyre at 7:03 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]

Yeah, there's a lot of problems with their rubric.
posted by JHarris at 7:06 PM on May 25

>XCOM was just a hard game.

It's really hard to talk about difficulty in games, perhaps accessibility makes more sense.

You could argue that it's easier to complete XCOM2 (2016) compared to the original XCOM (1994), and you'd be right. But it's also possible to argue that finishing XCOM2 in certain game modes would be harder. I did a run to get the Exquisite Timing achievement, which is a speed run to complete mission before June 30th game time and only 0.3% of players had achieved it at the time I did it (0.8% today, 7 years later). I did a Commander Ironman run which only 1.3% of players had achieved at the time, today it's 2.1%.

Games have to capture the broadest possible market while simultaneously offering a genuine challenge and a sense of achievement to those who want to get stuck deep into the game mechanics - so that's how you get XCOM2. Which is a fantastic game.

A game that people say is "hard" could therefore be construed as a flaw, because it's inaccessible.

On the other hand, the measure I like to use is - how well does this game enable skill expression? A coin flip is a game with zero skill expression - you had no influence over the outcome. Would we then say a game with higher skill expression = is a harder game?

Autochess games (like Teamfight Tactics) are - to my mind - one of the most skill testing games that exists today, so it would get my vote as being the "hardest". It's complex and difficult to play competitively, yet at the same time incredibly accessible and fun for casual players. You get random cards, so you try make the best team out of it, but you also get semi-random items and augments which you can choose, and your 7 opponents are also making their own choices, and their choices influence the pool of remaining cards, and you're now predicting what they're doing for the rest of the game, which influences what you want to do. What counters you? Who is competing for the same cards? How do you position your champions? You have to manage your health, manage your money and economy, try to predict who you're matching next, and you have very little time to do it before it rolls onto the next fight and next turn. It's what we call a "cruel" learning environment, where the link between action and outcome is very obfuscated due to the sheer number of variables and random factors in the game, so getting feedback on the optimal strategy is really difficult. You lose, and on the surface, it's very hard to know WHY you lost and how you need to adapt. It's like, you made some investments in the stock market, and you earn a lower rate of return than the Index fund, and you could have an endless debate about WHY you lost without coming to a definitive conclusion on how you could do better next time.

It's like saying, is Chess hard? You can teach someone to play and have a fun time in an hour, and if you want to play at the Grandmaster level it's extremely technical.
posted by xdvesper at 7:09 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]

Cobra Triangle I DID complete. Thanks for the validation, JHarris.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:20 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]

The most difficult level is the Sif boss fight in Dark Souls because I can't see anything through the tears.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:50 PM on May 25 [4 favorites]

"All we had to do is follow the damn train CJ"

The GTA train level (#32) is the first thing that I thought of, and I think the article is making a bit of a mistake of why it's hard. It's not actually that hard to follow the train. The problem is that if you follow it too closely the guy on the back of your bike can't shoot at the people on the train. So you fail over and over again and get shouted at by the very person who screwed up. The more you follow the instructions you're given the less well the game can do it's job. If you do a less good job following the train then the angle between the shooter and the targets is wider and it's not so hard a level.

So this one is hard not because it's intended to be a challenge, but because the game isn't set up to let you succeed.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:49 AM on May 26 [4 favorites]

The Souls games really are exceptional. Some parts can be easy for some people and extremely tough for others. I never thought Blighttown was that difficult. Yes, I dies a few times (it's a Souls game) but compared to other parts it wasn't terrible for me. I used a shield. The enemies with blow-darts make it almost necessary. And no, I'm not bragging because I had a tremendously hard time with other parts of that game.

I think I remember that on release, the Blighttown area was extremely glitchy and prone to stuttering. By the time I played it I think it had been fixed a bit, but I do remember uneven frame rate. I found that whole area not too bad... the big ogres at the bottom throwing rocks were not too tough, and even the Spider-woman boss wasn't completely bullshit (though not particularly interesting and stupidly sexualized in a series of games that are almost completely free of chainmail-bikini bullshit).

I am in the minority of Souls fans who love the games but also believe that there are many parts that are unreasonably difficult. Even in Elden Ring, after a decade of making these games, the camera was often your worst enemy. From Soft sucks at titanic sized enemies. Too much clipping and too many camera issues. Some are outdoors! Let us zoom out the camera to actually see what we are doing, please.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:56 AM on May 26 [3 favorites]

Truth. I'll never forget when I finally defeated the Fire Giant's [checks notes] ankles
posted by cortex at 7:14 AM on May 26 [3 favorites]

There is no mention of the final and succinctly named "Meat Circus" from Psychonauts.
posted by now i'm piste at 8:16 AM on May 26

There is! It's number 95.
posted by cortex at 8:30 AM on May 26 [2 favorites]

Well, there is at 95. I missed it and I'm enjoying this egg on my face.
posted by now i'm piste at 8:40 AM on May 26

To be fair, "listicle parsing" is one of the worst levels on the web.
posted by cortex at 8:59 AM on May 26 [6 favorites]

Even in Elden Ring, after a decade of making these games, the camera was often your worst enemy. From Soft sucks at titanic sized enemies. Too much clipping and too many camera issues. Some are outdoors! Let us zoom out the camera to actually see what we are doing, please.

Those big writhing Ulcerated Tree Spirits are bad enough but then there's I think two of them that you have to fight in small boss rooms? The camera will fuck you again and again in those fights.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:46 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]

I died so many times in Blighttown, mostly not to the enemies though. The elevator wheel/belt lift is the real boss of Dark Souls for me.
posted by rodlymight at 1:39 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]

Defeating Gargamel was a bitch in Smurf Rescue on ColecoVision.
posted by slogger at 2:35 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]

No entry for La-Mulana's Hell Temple.
posted by rifflesby at 4:45 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]

Definitely needs some Cave Story.
posted by brundlefly at 4:51 PM on May 26

My least favorite thing about this was the constant dissing the N64 controller. It was fine! You hold it one way for 2d games and another way for 3d ones! Sheesh!

It you want to complain about the N64 controller, you talk about how the analog stick gets loose and wobbly after a lot of play. Which it does! But when brand new, the analog stick is great!
posted by JHarris at 6:40 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]

Apparently I am a total weirdo, because I clearly remember using my rented Game Genie to skip TO the Turbo Tunnel level in my rented Battletoads game.

Mind you, I am not saying I ever passed the level. I just thought riding those jet-ski thingies was the coolest.
posted by lampoil at 2:44 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]

Renting games is the thing I miss most about how games have changed. You're lucky to get a demo now. Renting for a weekend made me buy so many games I never would have. Bring back Blockbuster! Or have a Redbox kiosk with games. I don't care. Just let me try before I buy.
posted by downtohisturtles at 4:33 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]

Steam has a generous refund policy: you can refund any game within 14 days, with up to 2 hours of gameplay. I sure wish the console vendors would follow suit. They got so much out of the transition to digital purchases: user tracking, the destruction of the used games market, ... Would be nice to be compensated with a try-and-refund policy. (Xbox may be better about this. Sony is awful.)
posted by Nelson at 4:48 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]

You can still rent plenty of games, Netflix style. Personally, I borrow the from the local library.

Pro tip: libraries have a hold system, put your name down on whatever you like, then pause them when you get busy. Even more pro-tip: commonly used catalog browsing webapps allow saved searches and sort by recently acquired, so you can get in line early, often before the material has arrived at the library.
posted by pwnguin at 4:56 PM on May 28 [2 favorites]

The original Far Cry's last chapter Volcano. Had to resort to enabling God Mode.
posted by Dez at 11:41 AM on May 30

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