Difficulty is part of the systems we interact when we are playing video games. Back in the 80s, in the golden age of arcade halls, difficulty was used primarily to encourage players to keep inserting coins, then with the arrival of consoles, it was used to extend gameplay time.
Over the years, video games have become more accessible, allowing players to complete them, and adapting the difficulty to their abilities. Although there are exceptions, and this article wants to show you some of the most difficult missions/levels of video games. So if you are looking for a challenge, you will most likely find it here.
1. The Train – Goldeneye 64
Goldeneye 007 was a revolution for the console shooter at the time. Until then this genre was relegated only to PC, with games like Doom, Half Life or Counter Strike. However, this title developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64 set the standards that future first-person shooters for consoles would follow, with standards like tank controls or the way missions are planned with objectives.
However, one of these missions could frustrate more than one player, we’re talking about the Train, a level that not only introduces tons of enemies to face, but at the end you have struggle opening a gate against the clock, and if you don’t do it in time, you have to restart the level.
2. King Dice – Cuphead
Cuphead is a beautiful game, with an art style inspired by 1930s animation. This game also tries to recreate the difficulty of the 80s Arcade, and therefore the game mainly consists of defeating huge bosses, with many different attack patterns.
None of these bosses is exactly easy, but if we have to highlight one it is King Dice, since this boss fight consists of rolling a dice and moving a checker on a board, depending on your luck, you will have to face different enemies, and to make matters worse, if we fall on the penultimate square we go back to the beginning, losing all the progress of the fight.
3. Crumbling Farum Azula – Elden Ring
Elden Ring is one of the best games released in 2022. With its huge open world, it is able to delight anyone who dares to explore these desolate lands. But let’s not forget who oversees the development, From Software has earned its status in making games with high difficulty, but without becoming unfair, and Elden Ring is no exception.
There is an area of the game we have to highlight, where the difficulty can surprise even players who have taken their time to build the best equipment, This area is Crumbling Farum Azula. In here not only the enemies are very strong, but it has up to 4 boss battles that are very complicated. One of them is even able to temporarily take away part of your max HP. It is definitely a challenge worthy of a game that has not been exactly a walk in the park.
4. Great Bay temple – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
There isn’t much I can say about the Zelda series that hasn’t been said before, and challenges abound when trying to solve the intricate dungeons of the series.
The water temple in Ocarina of Time has been talked about a lot, supposedly for being very difficult. But aside from the fact that it is tedious having to constantly equip the iron boots from the pause menu, this dungeon pales in comparison to the water dungeon included on the following game, Majora’s Mask. We’re talking about the Great Bay Temple.
The gimmick of this dungeon is that thanks to the power obtained earlier with the Zora’s Mask, we can now swim gracefully underwater, however, this temple consists of a factory with turbines that generate strong water currents, and rooms that we can only access by swimming in the right direction. There are ways to invert the direction of the water, but that does not change the fact that if you enter on the wrong room (Which is very normal because you are being dragged by the water), you have to make an entire round to be able to return, because you cannot swim against the established direction. This, added to the fact that the rooms are very similar to each other, makes this temple an authentic labyrinth for anyone who tries to cross it.
5. High Road – Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot is known by many as the mascot of the PlayStation One, with his crazy character and the proposal to bring the classic platforming genre to 3D, certainly brightened up the childhood of many kids with this console.
However, although Crash Bandicoot was not the most difficult platforming game, there is a level worth highlighting, High Road, a level that consisted of crossing a bridge in the sky, with the big problem that some of the planks you walk on breaks. Crossing this level requires a lot of skill to control the character’s jumps and dodge the enemies.
6. Forgotten Sepulcher – Dead Cells
Dead Cells is a frenzied 2D action game of the Roguelike genre. Once you understand the combat system, it’s a delight to explore its levels, and it has a similar mechanic to Star Fox 64, in which you have different paths that vary in difficulty and reward.
However, if one of those paths goes through a level called Forgotten Sepulcher… I wish you good luck. This level consists of a kind of dark tomb, in which you must turn on certain lights and stay in the dark for as little time as possible, because if you stay on the dark, your life will start to decrease very quickly. This, combined with the appearance of enemies that can kill you in one hit, and the fact that if you die it resets all your progress, makes you fear for your life every time you move away from any source of light.
7. Wrong Side of the Tracks – GTA San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto is one of the most iconic game franchises in history. Those games have sold millions of copies and pioneered giving the player total freedom in an open world, while still offering varied missions.
Among these missions, we highlight one in GTA San Andreas, which may not be the most difficult, but it is the most iconic for the memes that have been made. We are talking about “Wrong Side of the Tracks”, that mission where, while riding a motorcycle, we have to chase a train while our partner, Big Smoke, shoots at the enemies on the train… The problem is, our partner has VERY bad aim, and we must be in the exact spot for him to hit the enemies, not only that, but another train can also come from the opposite direction and run us over… On top of all that if the train leaves the city, the mission will fail, and Big Smoke will say “All we had to do, was follow the damn train, CJ!”
8. Turbo Tunnel – Battletoads
I can’t leave without talking about Battletoads, a classic beat em up for the NES, renowned for its extreme difficulty. Nowadays, it may not be the hardest game in the world (because games like I Wanna Be The Guy exist), but among the classics, it stands out a lot.
Everything in this game is difficult. Most players don’t even get past the first level because of it. However, for those who have managed to get past it, they always highlight the Turbo Tunnel level as the hardest of all. This level consists of flying a hoverbike at high speed and dodging a series of obstacles while taking advantage of certain ramps. The problem is that you need inhuman reflexes to be able to realize the obstacles that are coming and react in time.