In Honor Of Dark Souls: The 10 Most Difficult Games In Video Game History
5) Dance Central
Ha! You laugh. How could a rhythm game be difficult enough to make this list? If you were with me at Comic Con trying to use the Dance Central set up in one of the lounges, you wouldn’t have to ask. Unlike Dance Dance Revolution, you aren’t following specific commands with corresponding buttons, making it easy to learn the patterns, at which point you just have to work on eye-foot coordination in order to keep up. Instead, you have to watch video game versions of professional dancers doing some truly complicated moves, then mimic them in front of your Kinect. You get no hints or commands, and thanks to the rather sensitive Kinect camera, you have to be both subtle and extremely fast in order to keep from failing.
Is it a good workout? Hell yes. It’s also hell of humiliating.
4) Catherine (PS3, Xbox 360)
Catherine is a sadistic game. The folks at Atlus created a whole new kind of puzzle game about rearranging and climbing on blocks, and then they made the puzzles so esoteric as to be basically impossible unless you’re the type of person who can play an entire game of chess in your head. You’ll move blocks around for hours, making no progress, and then, whoops, you’re out of time. So not only are the puzzles basically impossible, but there’s a time limit. Oh, you insane Japanese assholes. -PO
3) Ghosts and Goblins (NES)
Ghosts and Goblins is superficially one of the best things ever. It has some pretty amazing music, great weapons-variety and a cool aesthetic that seemed like pure brilliance at the time. But it was a poisonous snake that had the power to destroy your ability to love your NES. First, you start out with 3 lives, and 1 ups are few and far between. Worse, while you start with a suit of armor, you can take only 1 hit before you’re reduced to your heart boxers (which, btw, was an awesome touch). New suits of armor are hard to find. But the game has 6 long, long levels, armies of swarming enemies that can only be defeated by playing again and again, and worst of all, no continue. Yes, you could literally play for hours, make it to the very last boss, but if you die and lose your last life? You have to start over from the very beginning.
Ghosts and Goblins is responsible for the first time I ever yelled the f-word at a TV. I will bet cash money that if you played this in 1988, you did too.
2) Ninja Gaiden 2004 (Xbox)
Ninja Gaiden for Xbox is, simply put, one of the most ridiculously difficult games ever made. But in that, it has good company with the rest of the games on this list. But at least most of the games you see here have aspects that keep you coming back for more. Ninja Gaiden might be unique in that it is so ridiculously difficult that it actually becomes boring, much like prison.
Ninja Gaiden 2004 is a nightmare. You don’t heal unless you find ‘essences’ that are really stingily meted out. Enemies take a ridiculous amount of damage and inflict even more. It somehow combines Metal Gear Solid style stealth with constantly having to defend yourself against fast moving enemies. Really, just imagine a game where the objective is to cross a street, only every time you take a step the street turns into a semi truck that runs you over and you’ve kind of captured the experience of Ninja Gaiden.
Here’s an extremely long playthrough that demonstrates just how god dammed difficult this game is.
01) The Oregon Trail (Apple II)
At the very top of the list come what might just be the hardest game ever devised. Yes, it’s a clunky educational game from the 80s. Yes, it was intended for Apple computers made before the company learned how to be hip. Yes, the only action is the occasionally badly animated river crossing. But the whole point of the game is to give modern kids somewhat of a taste of life in the pioneer days, and it succeeds by being, much like life in the era, nasty, brutish and short.
Players choose from a list of characters of different backgrounds who are joining a wagon train headed west along the titular trail for a new life on in Oregon territory. They start with a limited amount of money to buy food, weapons and supplies and then… try to survive. Gameplay couldn’t be simpler. You just click continue turn after turn. But the average game ends either with starvation for your party, death by disease or massacre by hostile native American tribes. And it’s all completely random. You could literally do everything right and still lose because the computer decided you walked next to a rattlesnake.
Frankly, if you or anyone you know has ever managed to beat Oregon Trail, there is probably a Nobel Prize collecting dust in your office.
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Prepared to die? Die a little less with Game Front’s Dark Souls Walkthrough.