5. Contra (NES) - This is one of those must-haves for NES owners (and Wii owners, now). It's the quintessential run-n-gun game. You run around, shoot stuff, the stuff shoots you, you fight giant bosses and insane enemies, and you win. Or at least, you tried to. I'd say 98% of Contra players have never seen the ending, not counting YouTube watchers. You see, Contra did what most games don't: added a touch of realism. And by that, I mean if you get shot, even once, you die. Doesn't matter if you get hit in the face, or the heart, or the toe, or the toupee, you die. Wow.
Let me say that Contra is fun, regardless of the difficulty. It's just so insanely hard. It definitely requires lots of time and patience, just like many games of its era. Since there isn't much randomness of enemy placement, you basically have to memorize the levels and bullets paths. Fortunately, if you do that, you can beat it, since there aren't really any difficult platforms to jump to or things like that. Unlike some other game...
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) - The original TMNT game is hard. That's all there is too it. Full of barely-reachable platforms, difficult enemies, insane levels, and all-around ridiculousness. It's easy enough at first, but only the first few levels. Then comes the dam. Let me tell you about the dam.
Apparently, the Shredder (or one of his minions) rigged up the dam with a ton of explosives. Your job is to swim around and deactivate every bomb. And you're timed. Oh, and there is electrified seaweed everywhere. I think if you knew where every bomb was and went as fast as possible and didn't get hit by the seaweed, you'd have like 10 seconds left over. So imagine how fun it was the first time through. Or the twenty subsequent tries. I hate that dam level. And that's just the beginning. Later on, you're expected to jump over gaps where you literally have to jump at exactly the right time. I think you have about 1 pixel of leeway. Ouch.
Now don't get me wrong. I like this game. I really do. I love TMNT. Just ask anyone. I just think this game suffers from NES-era way-too-hard-itis. Thankfully, it got over that in the extremely entertaining TMNT 2, which by the way, is one of the best games ever.
3. Mortal Kombat (SNES, N64, etc) - This one is for all Mortal Kombat games. Which I love. But, as we saw in yesterday's post, the story mode is just stupid hard.
Honestly, I enjoy a good MK match. Give me Raiden or Sub-Zero and I'll go to town. But don't make me play the single player mode. It's not worth it. Even on easy, it's insanely hard. Like, unfairly and cheatingly hard. Seriously. I've always been baffled as to why the designers made the computer players' reflexes so fast. If you try to uppercut them, they will duck before you can land the punch and then uppercut you themselves. That's dumb.
And I'm just talking about the easy mode. On the second or third match. Forget about trying on medium, hard, or master (or whatever they're called). I honestly think I would rather have someone run over my face with a car than try and beat it on Master mode. Come on, Midway! Tone it down a bit, huh?!
2. Mega Man X6 (GCN) - You are probably familiar with Megaman games. The original games were hard, but they weren't impossible (for the record, I have beaten all 9 Megaman games without cheating). I guess Capcom decided its fans needed something even harder. So they made Mega Man X. It was Megaman on steroids, and it caused a nasty mutation in the difficulty department. The levels were harder, the bosses were way harder, and then end boss is not even worth trying. So, naturally, they decided to make another Mega Man X. And another, and so on.
Enter Mega Man X6. It looks cool, I won't lie. The graphics are very well done. The music is also nicely arranged and fits the mood. But, in the words of Garfield, whoever designed the levels needs to be drug out into the street and shot. I was using cheats for invincibility, unlimited lives, and infinite jumping ability, and I still died close to 100 times. On one level. I kid you not. There are killer spikes, holes, and flatteners at every turn. And don't forget the unreal number of enemies that will annoy you incessantly. By the way, this is just on the first 8 levels. Don't even get me started on the boss levels.
Ok, you got me started. The very first boss level could take a person years to beat. You have to use an ice block to get you just high enough to where you can jump to the next level. If you don't do it just right, you die. Also, you have to do it about 6 times in a row to get to the top. And that's just the beginning. Then you have to side-slide on moving floating platforms, all while dodging tons of spikes. Man, that sucks. And that's just the first of four boss levels. The bosses in these levels are just stupidly hard. They can shoot laser beams, giant fireballs, and of course, they have nearly impenetrable shields. I had invincibility turned on and it was still ridiculously hard. In fact, one of the boss levels has holes in the floor, so if you get hit in the wrong place, say good bye. And then comes the end boss. As usual, after you beat the end boss, he morphs into something bigger and you have to beat him again. Since I know none of you are insane enough to play this one to the end, I'll spoil it for you. The guy has laser beams that literally take up 80% of the screen. What?! Don't forget the giant floating green skulls, too. So, after all that, I must say that when Capcom adds to the difficulty of Megaman games, it takes away from the fun. That's all there is to it.
And that brings us to the final game...
What could it be?
Perhaps... something hard?
I'd bet on it...
I like pudding...
1. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GCN) - Ah, Metroid. You are so fickle. The original was so, so, so insanely hard. Likewise for most of the others. The easiest was probably Zero Mission, which is my personal favorite. But despite how hard they were, the games were pretty fun. They have a lot of similarities to Zelda games. You fight a boss, get a new weapon, fight a boss, etc. And when the Gamecube came out, the series evolved dramatically.
Metroid Prime took the classic 2D series and thrust it into 3D. People were a little unsure of the first person shooter style, but they knew how great it was once they played it. It took everything that was great about the series and added to it. Yeah, it was hard. But it was doable. It was frustrating, sure. But it was still rewarding in the end. Then, inexplicably, Retro Studios decided to make it even more difficult.
Why, I wonder? Did they not think it was hard enough? Was there really that much demand for higher difficulty? Who knows. All we know is that game is hard. It's about twice as hard as MP1, which was insanely hard in its own right. And not only that, it has something that many of my most hated games have: confusion.
One of my biggest annoyances is getting stuck in a game. Metroid is notorious for not giving hints, but this game gives about 2 the whole game, and even then, that's only when you've been stuck for an hour. And we haven't even talked about the bosses yet.
Bosses are meant to be hard. This is an eternal video game truth. It can sometimes be less than fulfilling when the boss is too easy. But these bosses are overkill. They are invincible for 2/3rds of the time, and when they are hittable, they always throw something at you or throw you at something or someone else.
I'm not gonna ramble forever about this, because it's all the same shtick. I will say that if this game was as hard as MP1, it would have been amazing. As it is, it's way too hard, and therefore, not very fun. Sorry, Samus. Your problem, not mine.
Earthworm Jim (SNES, N64): All these games are too hard. They are insanely funny, and the music is great (especially in Earthworm Jim 3D). Just too dang hard.
Kirby Dream Course (SNES): Probably the only hard Kirby game ever. Still fun, though.
Mario Golf (N64): The key to this game is that even though it's hard, it's extremely fun.
Currently Playing: Super Monkey Ball Adventure, DDR Hottest Party 2, My Japanese Coach