Here I am reminiscing again and thought I’d make a small list of a few games you might like to try if you are looking for a true challenge. It is PS1 onwards as there are just way too many older NES, SNES, Master System and Megadrive games to count such as Contra, Alienstorm, Zelda II to name but a very select few. Like any other list of this nature it is completely subjective. I haven’t played even a fraction of the games out there so please don’t comment with things like “What are you talking about; this game xxxxx was heaps harder than any that you listed”. Tell me which games they are rather and I shall try them for myself and make my own judgement on it.
Metroid Prime Series Nintendo Gamecube
Metroid Prime is the only game where I needed to sit with a laptop and the walkthrough on permanently. This game has by far and away the most complicated and extensive mapping system of any I have ever encountered. Add to this the fact that Samus can roll into a ball and go through secret tunnels and small gaps and you almost need a university degree to read the maps. Presented in a 3D holographic style the map system is superbly crafted, it’s more the sheer vastness of the landscape coupled with the fact that specific doors require specific weaponry to open, resulting in huge pilgrimages to different environments. In the second GameCube instalment Metroid Prime Echoes all the above applies with the addition of the concept of Dark and Light worlds each with their own distinct characteristics. In my opinion the Metroid Prime series is probably the best rounded, most challenging series I have ever played.
Silent Hill PS1
January 31st 1999
The first instalment in the series was very different to the current Silent Hill games most of us horror fans are enjoying. While the feel of the game is the same, and they both ooze the same ambience of despair and fear, there was more of an emphasis on puzzle solving combined with combat, rather than a combat based game with small amounts of semi-predictable puzzles to solve. Despite the less appealing graphics Silent Hill on PS1 was just as scary and enjoyable as future instalments and required you to use your brain in a more practical and complex manner than most other adventure based titles. A particularly memorable puzzle i remember having the whole family in frustration was the Piano puzzle involving a cryptic poem and bird references.
Ghosts n goblins Arcade
September 19th 1985
An old School game that had the capacity to send the player straight to the local Asylum through its sheer difficulty. Being a 2D side scroller, the premise was quite simple, move forward, up or down to reach your goal, avoiding all the little flying, walking and squirming undead enemies in your path. It isn’t surprising that this game is exceptionally hard considering it was designed as an Arcade machine to have you raiding your little sisters piggy bank for those valuable 20c coins. It truly took a master player to get through Ghosts n Goblins. The game was set over 7 levels and players had 5 different weapons to choose each varying greatly in their abilities. (Leave the torch alone). As is the norm, there is a princess that requires saving with you being her knight in shining armour. Play at your own peril.
Metal Gear Solid PS1
October 21st 1998
Is it just me or does anyone else think Solid Snake was based on Kurt Russell as Snake Bliskin from the Escape from L.A and NY movies. Either way, MGS provided players with a gaming experience like no other taking the concepts of stealth combat and realistic AI to spectacular new highs. Enemies react to Snakes every movement and while it was probably no more difficult than todays instalments, it required a totally different mode of thought to anything else seen before it.
Crash Bandicoot PS1 –
August 31st 1996
Crash is one of my favourite platform games, offering the player a huge array of challenges, combining elements of 2D side scrollers as well as free roaming 3D style play. Completing each level earns you a clear gem, but the real challenge of this game is collecting the coloured gems. Unfortunately this usually requires you to redo a level, taking an alternate path that is more often than not going to drain at least 20 or so of your hard earned lives from you. Think jumping across single boxes randomly placed in mid air, some surrounded by TNT, others by NITRO, where one mistake results in a delicious char-grilled bandicoot. Seriously though, these levels are #@#$% hard and require precision timing and control to complete. I think after years of play we finally got 24/25 gems with 1 or 2 of them being unobtainable. Subsequent instalments while being just as enjoyable didn’t come close to this in difficulty in my opinion.
Have a go and please let me know if there are any games you remember as being ultra frustrating and worthy of a challenge, theres plenty out there just remeber the last time you hurled a controller and what game it was.