Resonance of Fate
The relatively anonymous nature of Tri-Ace’s 2010 role-playing game called “Resonance of Fate” could be attributed to the fact that was released at the same time as Final Fantasy XIII. But it could also come from a gameplay that was so difficult that many players just gave up rather than attempting to forge on and see what it had to offer. Resonance of Fate came with three unique tri-attack battle system that definitely took some getting used to. Once players felt like they had the structure of the game under control, it just got progressively harder and harder and made gamers question themselves all over again.
Zelda 2: The Adventures of Link
After creating a gaming sensation with the release of The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo effectively pulled the rug out from Zelda fans hotly-anticipating the games follow-up. While there were more villains to conquer which was expected, some deliberately choppy platforming owing to a newly introduced side-scrolling was not. Gamers that use up their three allotted lives as they adjusted to the gameplay rewarded with a trip right back to the start of the game. Quickly complaints arose about everything from the difficulty and refilling the life bar to links comically short-sword.
Bart vs. The Space Mutants
You might be thinking to yourself, how did an inane, ridiculous and mostly comedic Simpsons game end up making it onto this list? That is surely what many players and critics alike, felt in 1991, as Bart vs. The Space Mutants was released at the height of Simpsons mania to mixed reviews that chided the game for being way too hard. After all, these weren’t expert gamers who were buying the game, but rather Simpsons loving kids. Still Nintendo made no apologies for a game speed that tested not only reflexes of the player, but the limitations of the simple and insufficient controller.
Racing games rarely find a place among more difficult game list, then Nintendo opted to launch a series of futuristic and often dystopian racing games, the most renowned of which was 2003’s F-Zero GX. Alongside the standard challenge of racing along the track at breakneck speeds with opponents trying to knock you out of every turn, there’s a series of unpredictable environmental obstacles to take into account in the looming possibility the chunks of energy can simply melt off your car for no particular reason. Chances are, you’ve beating yourself long before the fearsome Black Shadow has ever had a chance to beat you.
There’s something that borders on unfair about the two-pronged assault that the developers of the Ninja Gaiden series launched on unsuspecting gamers, compounding some seriously difficult game play with psychological taunting. Nowhere was that more evident than in 2004’s Ninja Gaiden Black. A sequel that already proved vexing to players with a gang style attack mode involving multiple enemies and a final boss that was lacking in any evident weakness or pattern of behavior. For any player self-loathing enough to lose at many times, a less difficult Ninja Dog level would be unlocked to allow for easier gameplay, all the while calling you an unworthy gamer.
Mega Man 9
When Creator Keinji Inafune and Capcom reintroduced Mega Man with a retro 9th edition of the game in 2008, popular game theory held that Enafune was staging an elaborate protest over the increasing ease with which games have been recently treated. Mega Man was always known for boasting tough gameplay and the 9th edition was no exception. In a stark contrast to so many games of the era that offered No Fail modes, Mega Man 9 seems to offer an endless barrage of challenging levels and big bosses to overcome with no clear end in sight.
In 1991, Battletoads came onto the scene as a thinly-veiled send-up of the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, offering instead frog heroes with fun gross-out names like Zits and Rash. But dismissing the NES game as a silly, juvenile mockery ignored some surprisingly tough gameplay. Not only were extra lives and continues a rare sight, but Battletoads also enhance the difficulty through its two-player framework that actually enabled users to harm the character of their fellow player. This proved particularly challenging on levels with multiple enemies attacking at once, with one wayward shot fired being possibly damaging to your partner.
The iconic 1987 run-and-gun action thriller “Contract” is perhaps best known for prompting desperate users to stumble upon the Konami Code, and intricate password that afforded the player 30 lives instead of the typical three. While game purists may scoff at the Konami Code its followers, most of those who opted to use the code did so not out of laziness but simply out of sheer desperation for some satisfaction amidst an otherwise great game. Armed with just three lives, most gamers struggled to even reach the first level’s main boss.
When Demon’s Souls was released in 2009, the game carried the look and feel of most games of the era, but certainly not the degree of difficulty. Rather than pandering to current conventions, the games developers held true to their convictions in building an intense gameplay experience made without a pause button so players couldn’t break from the action to seek out hints online. As if to douse any hope that players might actually have, all helpful in game notes come from either ghosts of others who didn’t make it through or lose papers that were left behind.
As the title suggests, 2002 ps2 offering, Stuntman certainly keeps the player on their toes, demanding a constant alertness and high level of near-perfect gameplay. As if navigating through the crazy and elaborate stage designs isn’t quite challenging enough, there are still the last minute directional changes to deal with as well as the unique specifications of each of the 20 cars that each require their own particular adjustments. Although often resulting in frustration and taking most players 30 minutes or more to simply get through a single-stage, gamers keep coming back to Stuntman for its fresh style and fun, challenging gameplay.