Any completionist who's ever played the game has spent untold additional hours getting the stray beads. Specifically, a set of three beads requires you to fight through a total of thirty demon gates in groups of ten each. The first set isn't bad... fifteen minutes to half an hour depending on your skills. The third one however is at least an hour and a half of the toughest enemies in the game, below bosses. You can't save, and if you leave after finishing any gates you have to start the stage over.
Oni Island, the fifth dungeon, is the longest in the game. Lots of racing segments, tricky obstacles, fairly tough enemy battles, and a difficult boss. Even getting to the place takes a while.
Ecco the Dolphin has at least one: the infamous "Welcome to the Machine" from the first game. It's a five-minute long Auto-Scrolling Level, which doesn't sound so bad until you understand that it's also The Maze and Under the Sea, so it scrolls in all kinds of ridiculous directions. One wrong move and you get an Ecco pancake and have to start over. The wonky controls don't help either. And the final boss that follows has an attack that acts as a Mook Bouncer, sending you back to the Machine.
The Palace of Winds in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Ezlo even Lampshades this in the page quote. Also, the Temple of Droplets counts, as you get the Big Key very early into it, but that's only a fraction of how far you'll have to go...
The Silenced Cathedral in Soul Reaver is the only area that has two warp gates linked to it instead of just one. It's a huge, sprawling maze of a place full of puzzles (both block and otherwise) and the creepy, wall-climbing Zephonim vampires. It takes about two hours to complete if you know what you're doing, and it's only the second stage of the game!
And that's the final version. It was supposed to be even longer, but a good portion of the Cathedral was Dummied Out due to various reasons.
Barkhang Monastery and Temple of Xian in Tomb Raider II, some of the climactic levels in the game and each frequently regarded as a Best Level Ever.
At least half the levels in Tomb Raider III classify as marathon levels by the standards of the rest of the franchise (and the genre as a whole for that matter), this, combined with Nintendo Hard is the main reason behind its Love It or Hate It reputation.
Devil May Cry 3 has the Bloody Palace which is 9999 levels. Fortunately you can skip 100 levels at a time.
Similarly, Bayonetta has Angel Slayer, which is divided into 51 levels, with a brutal boss every 10 levels and no saves in between. Didn't like Jeanne alone? Well, now fight three of her! As for the finale, what could possibly be more dangerous than three Jeannes? That's right — AnotherBayonetta.
Nearly every single level of Ninja Gaiden II (PS3/Xbox 360) is this to an extent, few of them taking less than half an hour to beat. The most brutal however is chapter 11, an endless gauntlet where you will be assaulted by armies of mooks every ten meters, with a healthy dose of Check Point Starvation and a boss at the end.
Beat Em Up
The Amiga game Yo! Joe! has a first level that takes over half an hour to complete.
In the third game, most of the levels are really long. Especially stage 5. It literally takes you about 15 minutes to beat it.
The final mission of the Japanese version of Super Double Dragon is more than twice as long as its American counterpart. In fact, it was originally planned to be split into two separate levels. The third and fourth missions of the NES version of the original were also very long, incorporating many areas not found in the arcade version.
Final Fight's fifth level is a long, long, long trip across the waterfront with tons of enemies and no scene breaks whatsoever. It's actually Lampshaded; it starts at night and by the end you can see the rising sun in the distance.
One of the downloadable challenges in One Piece Pirate Warriors has you defeat no less than 9999 enemies. Even with a high-level character, it takes about an hour to complete.
BAJA: Edge of Control has 3-hour long BAJA 1000 races. Keep in mind that these races are on extremely rough terrain, with trucks that require players to monitor heat, clutch damage, suspension damage...
The Rainbow Road track in Mario Kart 64. So long, a controller pack usually didn't have enough memory to save a track ghost.
The All Cup Tour in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, featuring all 16 tracks, which takes about 45 minutes to do on 50cc.
Subverted in Mario Kart 7 by Wuhu Loop, Maka Wuhu and Rainbow Road. The tracks are ESPECIALLY long. The subversion comes in when you pretty much only have to drive one lap, and progress is divided by 3 sections. Rainbow Road still takes longer than most races though.
Bowser's Fortress a custom track for Mario Kart Wii is even longer than most of the others, having three routes through a castle that each took about a minute and a half to complete without stopping. And it has three laps rather than checkpoints...
The Gran Turismo series has the Real Life Nürburgring 24 hour course (about 25km) and the Circuit de La Sarthe (about 13.5km) (including a version with the original and uninterrupted six-mile straight).
As if the previous variants of the Test Course weren't long enough, GT 5 adds Special Stage Route X, a 30km oval with 2 10km straightaways, intended to allow the fastest cars in the game to reach their maximum speed.
Then there are the endurance races. The shortest consists of 30 laps around Special Stage Route 11, which will take a little under an hour. The longest are the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Your best bet is to either get some friends to help you out or use B-Spec mode, which shortens the race to a more bearable 8 hours when sped up. It also lets the AI do all the driving, so you can do something else while your B-Spec driver does the racing, but you still gotta be there so you can tell him to actually pit.
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune has the Metropolitian Highway (Tokyo) time attack course, which combines all four Tokyo courses and takes over 12 minutes to complete with a fully-tuned car. Maximum Tune 3 adds the Kanagawa version, which is a 7-minute runthrough of Yokohane Line and Wangan Line. Due to their lengths, playing one of these courses requires you to insert an additional credit.
Fatal Racing's 3rd bonus race takes around 15 minutes to finish on Girlie mode... and over 40 minutes on a good day on Impossible, with low damage. Every other course can be finished (1st place, all laps done) in under 15 minutes on Impossible, even with high damage and a full house of 16 cars (15 or 14 computers). It is highly suspected that this is due to a mistake in the course's configuration.
EA's F1 series permits players to decide they're going to drive the same number of laps that occur in the real races, which all total up to around 190 miles.
Endurance races in the Forza Motorsport series, the longest of which are the 17 lap(238 km) La Sarthe race and 187 km Nurburgring race, the two tracks that are already marathon courses in their own right. At least there aren't any 24 hour races here.
A limited-time only multiplayer lobby in Forza 4 had players race on the Circuit de la Sarthe (which is by no means short) for three hundred and sixty laps. The absolute fastest lap time recorded is 3 minutes, 6 seconds. That's at least eighteen hours of racing, six hours short of the Le Mans 24h. Players who posted a picture of them on lap 360 were gifted a unique "Unicorn" car note Generally rare, ultra high-performance versions (such as the Mazda RX-7 Spirit R) of regular in-game cars. by the developers, which cannot be acquired in the game normally.
Ridge Racer V has the 99 Trial mode, which is literally a 99-lap race around the Sunny Beach course. You need to get first place in the race to get the ultimate prize (It's just an in-game trophy, which the game built up way too much).
Need for Speed: Shift has one set of races designed to infuriate anyone going for 100% completion: Endurance. It consists of 5 races: 3 of them are 10 laps on ostensibly long tracks (the famed SPA GP being one of them), one of them is 30 laps on a tiny figure-eight track, and 3 laps on the legendary Nordschleife. THEN you get to challenge the 'Endurance champion' to complete the race sets. Even with heavily modified Tier 3 vehicles, the entire thing will take you a good 2-3 hours.
Hot Pursuit 2010 has Seacrest Tour, a roughly 44 mile race that will take a player likely 15 minutes to complete. It tends to be a Curb-Stomp Battle if one should make too many mistakes.
Fule has Endurance races, which take at least 20 minutes to complete, but then there is the Mt. Rainier Endurance race, the last of them all, where you have to cover 100 miles of offroading up and down mountainsides in a Muscle Car that is built for going offroad. It takes an hour and 15 minutes to finish. made worse by the level getting glitchy from the chunk loading process.
The aptly named Gigatrack in Trials Evolution. In a game where 2 minutes is normally the average track length, this one can take well over 15 minutes to complete.
Wipeout HD has an achievement for causing the Time Trial lap counter to roll over. It rolls over at 99 laps.
The Great Maze from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It marks a shift from shorter, individual platforming levels to a larger Metroidvania-styled labyrinth of interconnected areas. There are save points throughout the level though, and it's not necessarily meant to be played all in one go. Which is good, because the Great Maze alone takes up one-third of the "Subspace Emissary" story mode.
The "100 Fight Kumite" mode in Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX pits you against 100 fighters, with no continues or pause breaks. Win or lose, you have to complete every single fight for your score to be recorded.
Bushido Blade features a 100-enemy slasher mode. Quite difficult since it's possible to be killed with a single well-placed attack. Finishing this mode unlocks a hidden character.
The Cetan Ship in Perfect Dark is huge, features a difficult Escort Mission, and has enemies with cloaking devices or very tiny anklebiting aliens who attack you in dark places. Worse yet, the level is actually longer on the higher difficulty settings, both extending the time spent there and decreasing the odds of success.
The Library in Halo does seem to go on for ages and ages...
Assault on the Control Room is one long trek through a bunch of similar looking rooms with an occasional outdoor break. Then you do it backwards, in Two Betrayals.
Also, Truth & Reconciliation. At first it feels like it's the same length as previous levels, but then you get to the Truth & Reconciliation you are suppose to board and have to fight off wave after wave of enemies. Then you board the ship, which feels like it would be the level break, but it just keeps going. Notable because it's only the third level.
Get comfy, because Halo 3's The Covenant is the longest level, not only in Halo 3, but in the entire series. On Legendary Difficulty, it can take over two hours to complete.
The Great Pyramid in The First Encounter can take a while to complete. However, not only the final level is marathon level. Metropolis and Karnak are just extremely long and have the highest enemy counts in the game.
Grand Cathedral from The Second Encounter. The next-to-last War Sequence, in particular, is a real endurance-tester. Second Encounter also has the City of the Gods, Ziggurat, Courtyards of Gilgamesh and Tower of Babel, all of them which can take about an hour to complete on first playthrough.
While most of the levels in Serious Sam 2 are relatively short compared to 1. the Mental Institution's par time is an hour.
Later half of Serious Sam 3 have levels which last about an hour. Guardian of Time, the final level, can take even more with waves after waves of enemies.
For actual Metroid games, Metroid Prime 2 has some sequences which Save Game Limits kick in (save - walk a long distance - face a boss - walk some more - save again), most memorably before the Alpha Blogg and Spider Guardian fights.
The original Metroid Prime has the section that's topped off with the Elite Omega Pirate boss.
Even the first run of Phazon Mines, up until the Invisible Sentry Drone, is like this. You're talking about roughly ten straight rooms of Space Pirates, Elite Pirates, and such without a single save room.
Prime 3 has Phaaze, where you have to go through an area for half an hour without saving, THEN beat the final bosses, which can take up to another 20 minutes if not more. Thankfully, dying only puts you back at the bosses - too bad it's the first of the three!
The Super Spy has only two missions, but both take a long time to beat. The first mission takes place in a three story building with a basement, and the second mission takes place in a 16 story skyscraper. Even rushing through the buildings and skipping all non-essential rooms can still take several minutes to clear.
Turok 2 has only six main stages, but they are incredibly long, with some sublevels as long as the major levels of many games. Often easy to get lost in.
Medal of Honor: Airborne's six missions are fairly long, with additional segments after completion of the initial objectives, as well as being nonlinear with plenty of "skill jumps" and other secrets.
The Caverns in Golden Eye 1997 is an extremely long and difficult level. Playing carefully on Secret or 00 Agent, it can easily take 20-30 minutes.
Doom has a few, such as E2M6 ("par time" - i.e. how fast a skilled player could finish - of 6 minutes), E2M7 (4 minutes) and basically everything on Episode◊ 3:◊ Inferno◊ if you haven't memorized the path. It can feel even longer in the higher difficulties with its extra monsters.
Some custom Doom maps can take a long time to beat. Deus Vult II comes to mind, with maps like "Stargate" and "Unholy Cathedral"; playing them for the first time can take over an hour.
And then, there is the Memorial map, which is essentially all 32 levels of Doom II packed into one megamap. Even if you're absolutely familiar with the maps, you'll be going at it for a while.
Right up there is the penultimate map from Community Chest 1, The Citadel at the Edge of Eternity. The amount of time Lingyan203 spent on that map, after conquering it, should get the point across as a speedrunner's nightmare.
The ZBlood total conversion has one such level - in the original game, "Rest for the Wicked" is a normal-sized map, while "The Overlooked Hotel" is one of the longer ones. Here, the two are combined for one ultra-sized map that can take 15 minutes minimum to beat.
Likewise, Left 4 Dead 2 has a custom campaign, Suicide Blitz 2, which takes about twice as long as a Valve-created campaign. Even worse, you're down to three party members because one of them is carrying Gnome Chompsky [sic] to the end of the campaign, where it unlocks an Easter Egg, and is thus unable to use guns. (Or he could put the gnome down to shoot... and have it fall through the level geometry and be Lost Forever.)
The game mode Iron Man has you play a campaign without any restarts. This means you have to beat the campaign in one try and dying means everyone is booted back to the lobby. It's no longer than a standard run of the game, but no restarts can make it look like you have to keep going.
In Team Fortress 2, the third stage of Dustbowl as RED team will usually take about 20 minutes to win, because the first point is very easy to take in comparison to the second. Although some maps will take longer, this stands out just for the sheer length of time spent in a single area of a single match.
The running joke about Hydro, TF2's only Territorial Control map, is that it's always either a one-sided Curb-Stomp Battle or a drawn out, back-and-forth stalemate.
Ghost Fort, the 2012 Halloween map, has a gruesomely long time limit of 7 minutes for both teams, up from the 3 minutes that is standard for King of the Hill. Every time MERASMUS! shows up to wreak havoc, the control point resets and must be re-capped once he is chased away. So which will end first... one round or your patience?
Half-Life has Surface Tension, the longest chapter in the entire game, and the one that shows off the widest variety of environments and enemies. Notable because most other chapters focus on one small area (an office complex, a railway system, a floating alien island, et cetera).
It starts with you fighting some soldiers outside of the lobby and then assaulting a fortified position on a dam...
...then you escape through an underwater pipe and get chased throughout the desert by a helicopter while navigating a minefield
...then you flee into a drainage pipe and come out to see that you're on the side of a mountain, and you are forced to fight the soldiers camped out there, eventually acquiring a rocket launcher and taking out that annoying attack helicopter when it returns...
...then you go through a military-held garage, encountering more soldiers, tanks, IFVs, snipers, and more mines, until you find your way inside of a building...
...then you enter a missile facility filled with tons of trip-mines, being an Unexpected Gameplay Switch to navigating the trip-mine maze...
...then you come out and fight your way through a series of military-held garages and courtyards, which have more snipers and IFVs...
...then you fight your way through another series of courtyards where the aliens and soldiers are duking it out, with Alien Grunts and human marines shooting at each other, alien infantry clusters getting carpet bombed, Alien Grunts smashing soldiers through concrete walls, Gargantuas smashing soldiers with cars, marines getting mauled by headcrabs, artillery striking alien positions...
...finally after blasting through a military held building and getting outside to fight more aliens, you escape the courtyards only to be immediately pursued by a Gargantua in another garage. You eventually kill it by killing an air strike on it and then blast a hole in the building, going through it and ending the chapter.
Hack And Slash
The Rank 4 and 2 stages in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. Rank 4 starts with a seemingly endless battle against Mooks in the parking lot of a supermarket; this on its own can take twenty minutes, and you haven't even entered the stage yet! Rank 2 is short in comparison, but still stretches on a long way.
The original has Rank 5, a tunnel that just keeps going and going. And at the end Henry pulls a Kill Steal.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games
World of Warcraft raid instances, particularly the early ones. Molten Core, the first of their kind, could maybe be cleared in two hours or so if you had a well-equipped group that was capable of cutting through the trash mobs quickly...though if your group had the gear to pull that off, they probably didn't need anything from the dungeon in the first place. Parodied in Penny Arcade as Time Sink Cavern.
Blackrock Depths also qualifies, a gigantic disorienting underground labyrinth of a city it was always just that place you had to go to get attuned, or to get the repair bot schematic or to farm dark iron ore etc. Point is the place was so damned huge non-linear and its major points of interest so widely dispersed nobody really ran it, they just used often quite unusual tactics (such as swimming in lava) to make their way to a particular thing they needed for endgame progression then left. While every other endgame instance was run ceaselessly it was extremely rare to meet anyone who had ever actually seen let alone fought the final boss of Blackrock Depths since honestly the gear from the place wasn't even very good. Gnomeragon followed much the same pattern, but since it never contained anything important to endgame progression it just never got run period.
Kingdom of Loathing has Fernswarthy's Basement, an infinite-floor dungeon. The current record is about 11000 floors deep, though the last major reward is on floor 500, so most people don't bother going deeper. Subverted somewhat in that you can always stop and go back to the exact same floor you just left.
In City of Heroes, the task force you could get from Doctor Quaterfield was twenty-four missions long, with several "defeat all enemies" missions and repetitive maps. Based on the official formula for calculating completion rewards, the median time for running it was over six hours.
In order to encourage more people to play it the developers had two options: make it shorter by cutting out the redundant missions or increase the reward at the end. Guess which option they chose.
The "six hours" time was typical for current runs, after seven years of increasing player skill, increasing character power, and added fast-travel options. When it was originally added to the game, completion times upwards of ten hours were common, including around two hours just spent traveling to mission locations.
The Fissure of Woe from Guild Wars can take several hours to complete even with a fairly-well prepared group.
Domain of Anguish could potentially take MUCH longer. Although it consists of four sections you could theoretically do on separate sittings, the rewards are far better when all four are done in one sitting. Each of these individual sections can take an hour or more, and some (Foundry in particular) can take several hours. Back before the last expansion, Domain of Anguish full runs could take eight to ten hours, and that isn't even including the final boss. (which thankfully you can do separately without an effect on the reward)
Wizard101 has a few instances that can qualify, but the worst has to be the Tower of the Helephant. It has seven floors (just above the average size of a dungeon); the kicker is that two of the three bosses in there do notplay fair. The first boss is actually a Dual Boss where only one of the bosses can be harmed without a 90% resistance to all attacks while the other can cause your spells to lose an additional 50% from their hit chance. If any your spells fail (even after the first of the pair dies), then you're punished with an attack that rapidly drains more health than most schools have max health, and after the first of the two dies, the second flings about an extremely powerful storm spell. The final boss calls in a minion every turn and can use a strong attack that hits all players. Even with a fairly powerful and skilled group, it can still take up to four hours to complete, and it's expected that teammates will die along the way.
RuneScape has several, but the Underground Pass is probably the most well-known. It's a long, long trek through a deep tunnel, filled with monsters, puzzles, and traps. Years after its release, it's still considered one of the most challenging quests in the game. And if this wasn't bad enough, you have to go through it again at the beginning of the "Regicide" quest.
The TzHaar Fight Caves, which require you to fight over sixty waves of monsters. When it was first introduced, there was no way to take a break, meaning you had to sit at your computer for over an hour fighting monsters.
The quest "One Small Favour" is basically a very long Chain of Deals that requires you to nearly trek across the entire continent and back.
The central challenge in "Elemental Workshop III" is a complex, 3D sliding puzzle that can take hours to complete...with a guide.
Seeing as it's built around group play, pretty much all dungeons in Eden Eternal are marathon levels, but a special mention goes to the positively nightmarish Ulta Hall; there are several groups of enemies each with their own Elite Mook, and even taking out a pack of the easiest monsters will do enough damage to you to make you sit down and recharge HP and MP. This continues for one half of the level, and after killing Tiamat, it gets worse; the entrance to the centre of the maze in the dungeon has you go through Smash Mooks with HP nearly equal to that of the bosses. The thing is, though, when you fight one, you fight two. After this, there are enemies that materialise to attack you, and the final two bosses of the dungeon, Kenny and Gamera, are both Damage Sponge Bosses with attacks proportionate to their HP. Hated this dungeon? Tough, because there's a second Trial version, which is even harder.
Most levels in Apogee's Monster Bash have par times of 2-7 minutes. Episode 1, level 9 has a par time of half an hour.
The French Amiga game Nicky Boom (recently resurrected for cell phones) invokes this for every level. It's quite good.
Level 6-5 of the original Yoshi's Island is called The Very Loooooong Cave.
And a level in Yoshi's Island DS is called The Cave That Never Ends.
A bonus level in the remake of the original for the GBA is called "Endless World of Yoshis". How endless? Even the Tool Assisted Speedrun takes over 7 minutes to finish the level (which is amazingly long for a non autoscrolling 2D platformer). It is also Nintendo Hard, and even has elements of Platform Hell.
In a non accurately named example, A Light in the Dark. Stuff like Yoshi's Island Easter Eggs at least has short rooms, but this place has something akin to a four story gauntlet before you reach the halfway point, at which point it becomes a two or three section skiing level and yet more platforming after that.
Eggmanland in the HD versions of Sonic Unleashed can (usually) take up to an hour to beat the first time through.
As far as the classic games go, Sandopolis Zone of Sonic & Knuckles qualifies. It might not have been intentional, but the zone is still way too long, especially for Knuckles as it has a puzzle towards the end. If you can't figure it out immediately, you are going to run out of time. Very much Guide Dang It territory.
Death Egg Zone Act 2 is not significantly longer than the Sandopolis stages, and after defeating the zone boss you immediately move on to the final boss, carrying whatever rings you may still have. Problem is that your time also carries over. You restart the final boss with a fresh clock if you time out, but there are no rings...
There's also Act 2 of Carnival Night Zone, which is apparently designed to make you waste time, and get a time out while fighting Robotnik at the end. Especially if you get stuck at the infamous Barrel of Doom... Knuckles's CNZ Act 2 is almost comic in comparison. It can literally take less than 70 seconds (no boss).
Metropolis Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 also counts - it has three acts instead of the usual two, and each one is quite long.
Nearly every level in Sonic Heroes is upward of 10-15 minutes, which is really damn long as far as Sonic games go. Special mention goes to Team Chaotix's trip through the haunted mansion, and having to put out every torch in the buildingfor some reason — backtracking to the beginning of the level if they miss a single one (it takes about half an hour).
Bingo Highway. If you want the emblem for level B you need to collect twenty chips. The first nineteen are tricky. but if you're not lucky enough to notice the one almost taped to the ceiling in a position you can only see when rotating the camera 180 degrees then you can stripe a good hour of the remainder of your life.
Sonic Adventure 2 (and Sonic Adventure 2: Battle) has Cannon's Core, a single, straight-shot marathon level with a mini-level for all of the playable characters except for Shadow. After this level is a double-feature boss fight.
Sonic Generations features Planet Wisp, which is the last level and is pretty long. It's not actually that hard, but the level design can get quite convoluted. It can take around 6-7 minutes compared to most of the levels being around 2-3 minutes.
The portable titles aren't exempt, either. In particular Sonic Advance features Egg Rocket Zone, which is long enough that it's the only level in that game that doesn't have a 10-minute timer, opting instead for a 5-minute countdown that resets at two points in the level. Having some fake difficult enemy placements (in your path as you come off a spring, anyone?) doesn't help.
Every single level in the Wii Platformer/art game De Blob. The average time of completion for a single level is approximately 2 hours, with no saving allowed in between, and without100 Percent Completion.
Battletoads, considering its fast pace in some of the levels, seemed to have quite a few levels which seemed to last for a long time, especially for those who were used to Sunsoft NES games with fairly short levels. Levels 2, 3, 4 and last level are examples of it.
Most of the levels in Wario: Master of Disguise take at least an hour to complete the first time through. Going through them again won't be nearly as long once you get all the upgrades and gained knowledge of the levels, but most of them will still be longer than your average video game level. Since there are only ten levels (not counting the 5 special episodes that reuse maps), it makes sense.
Super MetroidRedesign has the escape sequence timer extended from 3 minutes to 25 minutes. There is a very good reason for this.
We Love Katamari has two. There's the 17-minute "As Large As Possible 5" level in which you create the Big Bang itself. It lasts about twice as long as any other level in the game and feels really long, which in this case is a good thing. Then, there's the Million Roses level which has you pick up one million roses. Thankfully, you can do it over multiple sittings.
Kid Chameleon has The Final Marathon, which is aptly named - an extremely long, difficult linear level where you run to the right for a long, long time. It is the penultimate level, and immediately after you beat it, you face the big boss (though, thankfully, he has his own, separate level). The game itself is in some ways an example of this trope, as it is extremely long (over 100 levels, though you are likely to go through somewhere around 2/3rds of them on any given playthrough) and there is no way to save, meaning you have to beat the ENTIRE GAME in one sitting. This is fixed in the rerelease for the PS2, where there is a save feature.
The bigger Super Mario World levels show up as a big dot on the map. And if these aren't enough for you, try ROMhacks. Even if it's just one of the dime-a-dozen Kaizo Mario World rip-offs, many hackers decide that longer = better. Particularly infamous for this is Super Mario Infinity's level Dark Depths, a cave level that essentially takes you to hell. It's been said to be worth an entire world of Super Mario Infinity levels. The individual levels before Dark Depths are thought to be worth a world of the original game each, which essentially makes it this trope squared.
The very much Nintendo Hard Special World is worth mentioning. Tubular, Way Cool and Outrageous especially. But they pale in comparison to the very last level of the special world: Funky. How long is it? Know how the 2D Mario games have time limits on the levels? There's not enough time to beat this level. The only way to beat it is if you're very skilled with the cape... or if you brought (or found in the level) Yoshi, as the various berries (with no indication) increase the time limit. The level design is quite clever however, and if you manage to brave all that, the very last part is filled with nothing but coins that you won't collect and will rather run under so you could reach the end on time. And all the better for it, as it spells out YOU ARE A SUPER PLAYER! After this level, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
The final level in the original Super Mario Bros. game was much longer than any of the equivalent levels earlier in the game. In an early case of Guide Dang It, you also had to know how to go down a pipe in order to beat that level, even though pipes weren't in the instruction manual and were optional in every earlier level of the game. (But of course, pretty much everyone did know about pipes.)
SMWCentral's 9th Door Contest had this as a surprisingly common feature. Since they were supposed to be comparable to the 8 doors in Super Mario World's final level, the ones that were marathon-length were docked points.
Raocow: This is unreasonable! Look how long this... freaking thing is! It — it goes on!
Contests have this in spades, regardless of the game. The 2010 Super Mario World Chocolate Level Contest had Logup's level, which took some poor guy nearly FORTY MINUTES to complete because of how ridiculously long it was. And that's only because the boss didn't work. Here's a video. The Super Mario Bros X contest raocow is playing has these too, like thisCastlevania: Harmony of Dissonance themed level and this Castlevania cave themed one. Every one of these could probably work as a full length game.
Bowser's Castle in Brutal Mario is one of these too, with at least twenty seperate areas and about 10 bosses in total.
Something Else: Switch Room in the Evil Guy's moon base. To finish the level, Luigi has to press the four switches and activate the switch block bridge. However, each switch is behind an obstacle-filled path. The stage is so long, it counts as two exits.
The Dragon City from The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon. While it's only somewhat more lengthy than other levels, it's extremely chaotic, and the later half of it is basically an endless stream of combat. Not to mention constant running back and forth between several places you need to be on a strict time limit.
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse has the mountain range block (one of the two possible entry level castle areas, the one you have if you take the Alucard-optional route), which consists of SEVEN stages containing FOUR bosses. Even if you make generous use of Alucard's ability to bypass entire long sections of the block as a bat, you're still in for quite a long and grueling ride.
Click Clock Wood from Banjo-Kazooie (literally four times bigger than any other level, due to its season-changing concept), and pretty much the second half of Banjo-Tooie (with levels that approach the gargantuan scope of the Donkey Kong 64 levels, such as Terrydactyland and Grunty Industries).
Ultimate Mode in Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, where you have to go through all of the Beginner, Advance, and Expert stages in one sitting. You are able to save, but it possibly won't help that much. Also, this is the only way to unlock the Master stages. Good luck on Exam-C!
Any of the final levels in Brutal Mario. The Mega Man styled level is a key example, it's actually three seperate stages accessed by the same overworld tile, the first of which is a Marathon Level in its own right. Other key examples include Bowser's Castle (this is just part 1 of about 9 sections...) Practically, most of the later levels are designed like this because the same custom sprite is used to generate 90% of the enemies in each level, and merely acts differently based on level and screen number...
Goemon's Great Adventure has the 5 castles. Each one of them is much longer than the average level and can easily take 20-30 minutes to just get through - if you're good at this. The last one, Floating castle, is even longer, being made from 4 parts, each having 2 long, difficult platforming sections.
Distorted Travesty 2 has the final level: "the Bug". It is seriously almost as long as the entire rest of the game combined (although, given that the game is rather short, this isn't as bad as it sounds). Fortunately there are save points every few rooms.
"Veiled Detritus" from the original game is the only level to actually have a map screen, due to how enormous it is. That One Level "Secured Data Segment" also goes on and on and on... luckily it provides a teleporter room partway through so you can leave and pick up where you left off.
Area 5, the Foot Clan Fort, can also be this, as the pathway to the level-end boss is randomly chosen. This means that it could be under either the first manhole you choose, or the very last one. If you're unlucky, expect the level to become exponentially longer and more grueling as you'll have to constantly backtrack to restock your weapons in order to deal with all the Demonic Spiders that have replace the Goddamn Bats of previous levels. And if you lose a Turtle, expect that exponentiality to increase by leaps and bounds, as the dungeon that contains your captured Turtle is also randomly generated.
Although it's mentioned in bonus levels above, Tactics Ogre deserves special mention. The Hell Gate bonus level is 100 floors long, each floor containing a full campaign battle (more than the rest of the game combined), without the free HP refills and saves you'd get between normal battles. Every floor contains some of the deadliest enemies in the game, many of which have petrify (gorgons in particular, can petrify numerous party members at any distance in one move!). In the PSX remake, you can save in battle and thus break this up into segments, and redo a level if you screwed up big time, but in the Super Famicom original, it's a 10+ hour mission, no saves, no free heals, and the game featured permanent death if you didn't resurrect the player before the end of the battle (meaning before you kill everything on the floor). Both of your rezzers petrified/dead? You lose, even if you were on level 99 and spent the entire day on this. Now that's a wonderful failure. To be fair, the items gained here were mostly of the gamebreaking variety: full screen, unlimited range nukes, Infinity+1 Sword type weapons, and a spell that could be abused to gain virtually unlimited stats, plus you could recruit some of the enemies, including gorgons. Finishing this dungeon was not only infinitely harder than the final dungeon, the gear obtained totally trivialized any other content, even if you didn't abuse the infinite stat spell. In the original version, possibly qualifies as the longest marathon level in any console game.
Any particularly long Hold the Line level can be a Marathon Level. It doesn't matter if you have all of the upgrades and a maxed out army - you still need to sit tight until the timer runs out.
Although in the rare instances (such as the first such mission in Starcraft) that you can aggressively wipe out all enemy forces, you at least don't have to be playing the game for the remaining time.
Age Of Empires I's The Great Hunt. So you just spent fifteen minutes dashing madly past wild animals, towers, and siege weapons to get two priests? You're maybe, oh, a third of the way through.
"The Camera Eye" by Rush (Rock Band DLC) is over 10 minutes long.
Jailbreak (live) (from the Rock Band AC/DC track pack) is over 14 minutes (though Jailbreak does have a long bridge that might have been exciting to watch at Donnington, but is essentially the music equivalent of a Space-Filling Path).
Guitar Hero 5 has "Do You Feel Like We Do" (LIVE) by Peter Frampton, which is over 14 minutes looooong.
Can you say "Free Bird"?
The Beatles: Rock Band has the entire Abbey Road album available as DLC. This includes the B-side suite, which you can either play separate sections of... or you can play the whole thing joined together as the Abbey Road Medley, which will take over 16 minutes.
"Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock" let you play Rush's 21-minute long masterpiece 2112... which you have to play in seven separate sections. Rock Band 3 too released 2112 as its inaugural DLC for the year 2012... which you can play as one uninterrupted track, PLUS with Pro Guitar and Pro Bass.
Beatmania IIDX has "Scripted Connection=> (Long Mix)", a 5 1/2-minute song that combines all three versions of "Scripted Connection."
Dance Dance Revolution 5th MIX and some versions of Pop N Music have several "Long Version" songs that take up two stages and were about 3-4 minutes long, in contrast to normal-length songs that last between 1.5-2 minutes.
Some Oni courses on PS2 versions, such as Hardcore in DDRMAX, are up to 20 songs long, which is a total of about 30 minutes.
When it comes to single songs, no one song wears one out faster then "Love is Dreamless" by L.E.D.; even though it's not that much longer then the average DDR song (almost 2 minutes compared to 90 or 100 seconds), on Hard or Oni Mode, you're just BEGGING for it to be over by the last 30 seconds!
The arcade version of DDRMAX2 also had the Oni Road course, which was the longest course ever in an arcade DDR, made up of 10 of the hardest songs in the game at the time and ending with Maxx Unlimited. It was over 15 minutes long and contained 3,783 steps (if you count jumps as one step). And it was playable on a single credit, which was probably why it was removed from later versions.
In the Wii game Hottest Party 3/MUSIC FIT, players can do this to themselves as a Self-Imposed Challenge. There are two songs that are about 4 minutes long each, which are megamixes of the best or most popular songs from Hottest Party 1 and 2 respectively. Doing 6 of these in a row in a custom non-stop course? Hope you have a lot of energy, and I hope you didn't pick Expert!
Pump It Up NX Absolute has a Special Stage called Beat No. 4 Full Version. It's five minutes long and contains somewhere between 1000 and 2000 steps (it's difficult to be sure because of the way that Pump it Up counts freeze arrows). Fortunately, the Crazy chart has a mostly empty section in the middle to give you a breather. The Nightmare chart, on the other hand... doesn't.
Literally any long piece of music will become one if you load it up in Audiosurf, Beat Hazard, Vip Ribbon or any other game that generates levels from music.
Not to mention DJ mixes.
Beat Hazard also includes a Survival mode that continues until you run out of music or lives.
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games have a few 50-floor dungeons that push any player's patience, but the 99-floor dungeons take the cake.
The Orre games have Mt. Battle - you are forced to ascend the first Area as per the story, but afterwards you can go back there and scale 100 battles' worth of trainers. You can save on your way up, and transfer to and from each zone on demand, but if you want a special prize from the region, you need to do it all in one run (saves are permitted, mercifully).
ADOM has the Infinite Dungeon. Thankfully, most players won't ever have to do anything in it beyond grind at low levels or look for spellbooks. It's only important for Ultra Endings. Players will need to kill Filk the Ratling Bard, who is on a dungeon level decided by what the player's first kill was, multiplied by how many times the player has killed that monster. God help you if it was something common like a rat or kobold, because Filk will be hundreds of levels down into the dungeon. Secondly, the player needs to kill Malakai the Chaos Knight, who is on level 66 of the Infinite Dungeon, and has to be reached in one try.
The ultimate goal of Azure Dreams is to reach the 40th floor of the monster tower. Since it's magical, the tower always sends you back to the 1st floor when leaving it, forcing you to do it in one go, entering and leaving the tower before a lot to train your familiars and collect items so you can actually best the higher floors' monsters.
In Dungeon Crawl, the Abyss and Pandemonium cannot be exited easily once you enter—they both consist of infinite random levels with random loot and monsters (and for Pandemonium, randomly generated bosses) and can only be left if you stumble upon a portal out (with most portals out of Pandemonium leading into the Abyss). Getting the abyssal rune requires wandering around for thousands of turns since its likelihood of spawning increases the longer you're there, and getting all the runes in Pandemonium requires you to be ready for any of four different special levels with endgame bosses at any time. Needless to say, starvation is a serious concern, especially if you're sent to the Abyss unexpectedly!
Role Playing Game
Absolutely ANY multi-level gauntlet area in a game, apparently. Paper Mario and the Pit of 100 Trials...
In Super Paper Mario, there is the Flipside Pit of 100 Trials, beating the boss at the end unlocks the Flopside Pit of 100 Trials. Getting to the end of that one has a second boss say "I'm impressed, come back again and we'll fight." So you do the Flopside pit a second time and you can fight the boss. That's 300 levels in all, with two boss fights, escape pipes every 10, and checkpoints every 100.
These are made worse by the difficulty gradually increasing...
A Mario World hack (Demo World The Legend Continues) has a 100 floor tower for Big Boo in a similar style, and there's another which is literally called the pit of 100 trials.
The Savage Labyrinth was especially punishing, because 30 out of its 50 floors are mandatory to finish the game.
Ys has the Darm Tower. 25 floors of madness, and four bosses. Also, the Solomon Shrine in Ys II.
At least Final Fantasy X-2's Via Infinito lets you return to the floor you left off on.
The last dungeon of Final Fantasy III, since it consists of a long climb up a tower, a boss battle against what was up to that point considered the Big Bad, the appearance of the real villain, a Hopeless Boss Fight, and then another dungeon before the real final boss fight. And there's no save points. And the sequence after the first Big Bad is a Point of No Return. So if you die to the final boss (a very real possibility since this isn't one of the wimpy final bosses of later Final Fantasy games), you get to do the whole thing over again.
That's not even counting the extra dungeon in the basement (which contains the infinity plus one equipment). But you can save right outside it, so it's still not nearly as bad as the final dungeon.
The game sort of intends that you go there first. NOT doing so is an exercise in madness.
The Azure Sky Tower in Boktai starts out 12 floors tall, and adds 3 more every time you complete it. It may not seem big at first, but there's a reward for getting it up to 99, and you have to start from floor 1 every time you try, and it's even worse if you got all the Emblems, since you need to fight a difficult boss at the end. Depending on your luck, individual floors can take anywhere from a minute (where the key and door are right nearby) to much longer (if you accidentally miss the damn Undead hiding the key while making your sweep, for example).
Dream Avenue in the second one works similarly (though thank the gods, the number of floors are fixed). This one depends on enemy layout however - since you'll want them to trip the switches that may drop the key, or nuke anything around it.
Vambery in Lunar Knights too, but you can do it in 10-floor segments. No hunting here - just kill everything in a small section, and you move on. Problem is that the area level is scaled to the floor level.
All three require you to finish the entire section before you can save - die or use a Fool Card/Escape, and the whole thing doesn't count. Souped-up bosses also appear at the end of both Dream Avenue and Vambery, up to the last miniboss in Dream Avenue, up to a L99 version of the final boss in Vambery.
Arc The Lad had a 50 floor long bonus dungeon. It didn't let you save. The dungeon returned in the sequel with additional floors if converting the save file from the first game.
Super Paper Mario had Sammer's Kingdom— after it's restored in the postgame, it's a 100-man gauntlet. Optional, but if you want an audience with Lord Sammer, you better have some time on your hands...
Seeing how you can play through most levels and subquests of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines in under 15 minutes, the Nosferatu Warrens are VERY long by comparison, as you can spend several hours finding your way through them. Luckily, the levels have two emergency exits (the only instance of such in the entire game) for you to replenish spent ammo etc.
The Pharos Lighthouse in Final Fantasy XII. Contains 100 floors, and you actually do have to climb almost all of them.
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne has the Obelisk (145 floors) and the Tower of Kagutsuchi (666 floors). Although they both have elevators that'll take you past a good majority of those floors, it's certainly going to feel like you're walking up each and every one yourself. Also, as if to emphasise its sheer length, while the Tower has three large Terminals, the Obelisk only has S-terminals, which means if you have to go back down for whatever reason, you have to start the entire dungeon all over again. And it's not like they're not filled with incredibly annoying puzzles, extremely difficult bosses, powerful Mooks and a ludicrously high random encounter rate.
Digital Devil Saga ups the ante with The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Karma Temple. It's three times the size of any other dungeon, filled with the toughest encounters in the game and multiple mid-bosses, and features confusing mazes filled with false walls, invisible teleportation circles and damage floors. Also, it has very few save points and only two healing stations: one at the start and one at the two-thirds point.
Finding Arawn to cure Samson's curse in Beyond The Beyond qualifies for this. After completing a number of side quests you fight your way through the Gaea Shrine, which is like one big puzzle in it of itself. Then you climb a giant monster-infested Magic Vine in order to reach Arawn's Tower. Then you have to fight through the Tower and its puzzles to finally meet Arawn. Considering this game's only save point is at churches, you better prepare for a long play-through and have your characters appropriately leveled and stocked.
The Golden Sun series has a number of these, with the biggest offenders being the Elemental Rocks in the second game. Air's Rock in particular has two parts, each of which being a longer-than-average dungeon in and of itself. It requires the use of a Psynergy that's fairly expensive for utility Psynergy, and which requires unequipping all Djinn unless you're playing with single-element classes. You're also supposed to go there with only three party members; it's possible to get the fourth before completing it, but that requires fighting a Wake-Up Call Boss significantly underleveled. The area's one saving grace is that it has a very low random encounter rate. Dark Dawn has a few as well, with Belinsk Ruins being the longest.
Otka Island in the third game. Too many rooms to count. You can get through the dungeon in a reasonable time for a dungeon if you use a guide, and a little longer to get all the items as well. Not playing with a guide? Too bad. Unlike everything else, there's no map. And to make matters worse, all the rooms look the same. Yes, it is very easy to get lost. Thankfully, the dungeon is designed for someone who knows how to navigate labyrinths (specifically, by using the "left hand rule", touch the wall to the left and walk along it, only going where the wall leads you). You can get all the items and the summon this way, however, it will lead to going through a LOT of unnecessary rooms and if it weren't for happening upon the items, an impatient person will wonder if they aren't going around in circles with this method.
At least half the dungeons in Avalon Code. When you're only 15 hours in and the dungeon consists of over 25 screens, each with their own mini-puzzle and monster battles, you know you've got a long haul ahead.
Wild ARMs 3 contains The Abyss, a hundred level dungeon with every encounter being an ambush with out a certain skill on all the characters. It also contains Ragu Ragula,one of the hardest bosses in the game.
The Eternal Tower in Phantasy Star Zero certainly lives up to its name. It's 101 floors long and while each one is short it eventually adds up. There's no saving so you can't turn off your DS during this. You can't use telepipes and can only return to town after beating a boss after every 10 floors. If you want the full rewards you have to beat it a total of three times, once for each difficulty.
And to top it all off, you HAVE to beat it on Hard if you want to play on Super difficulty offline, once for each character you have. Thank God for the DS' Sleep Mode function...
Missions in Crisis Core can get really, really long at times, not counting the time you spend fighting the ridiculously healthy enemies. Cetra forbid you die to the mission-ending encounter.
The last dungeon of Exit Fate (Vanaheim) contains three bosses before you get to the final boss, and the paths between them are fairly long; in a game where most areas have two or three save points, this one has five.
The True Moon in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. First, you enter its Subterrane, which reproduces the entire final dungeon of Final Fantasy IV, full of hard monsters and boss fights every three floors or so. But then, near the end of the Nostalgia Level portion, you go through three two-to-three floor areas based on the Elemental Archfiends you haven't faced yet. At thee end of that, at about Basement 16 of the Subterrane, you have a climactic battle with The Dark Knight. Your reward for beating that? You get to continue on and enter the Depths. There are roughly twenty-odd floors to the Depths, with four mandatory boss fights every five floors or so. And it just gets harder and harder and harder as you descend. The True Moon is, without hyperbole, longer than the other chapters of the game combined.
Baldur's Gate II has Watcher's Keep: Not that many floors, but when these floors include a teleporting maze, a dozen different puzzles, some of the toughest monsters in the game (including the Bonus Boss of the un-expansion game encountered pretty much just by randomly entering a room) it literally takes about as much time as the rest of the expansion content. Luckily you can save the game.
Dragon Age: Origins doesn't exactly have short levels to begin with, but completing Orzammar in its entirety is twice as long and twice as hard as anything else in the game, involving a huge amount of time spent running around both city and subterranean roads, encountering hordes of enemies and sidequests, several bosses (often lumped in quick succession), and a freaking tournament. It is exhausting.
While not as mind-bogglingly gigantic as Orzammar, the Circle Tower deserves a mention. It would be a typical Dragon Age: Origins level if it weren't for the fact that in the middle you suddenly get sent into the Fade and separated from your party, requiring you to first track down multiple Fade forms to shapeshift into, a process which in and of itself requires you to enter every part of the Fade about seventeen different times, and find all your party. When that's done you get to go back to the Circle Tower and complete the level. Oh, and once you enter the Tower, you have to do the whole thing without returning to camp for supplies or to switch out party members, something even Orzammar lets you do.
Mass Effect 1 doesn't have very many main quests to start out with, so most of the missions are slightly longer than usual. However, Noveria makes up the bulk of the game. You must manage to find a way into a garage after breaking into a back office and finding computer evidence. Then, you must drive your vehicle all the way to a ruin site, repair a broken computer terminal, then use that in order to take a train to a human colony. You must then find some health supplies for an infection that has broken out, and THEN you finally fight Matriarch Benezia, the boss.
And not only that, there's loads of geth and rachni that you must fight along the way.
Final Fantasy I's Very Definitely Final Dungeon is this, especially if you depend on your mages. Each floor is long and capped with a boss fight (on a trigger tile, no less; one misstep and you're doing the fight twice), and then you finally get to fight the end boss. Your mages, at max level, get 9 casts per level of magic (which is often the most efficient way to clear a crowd). Hope you left them something to do in that last fight...
The Demon Shaft in Dark Cloud is 100 floors long, and each floor has a random layout. Thankfully, you can leave the dungeon, and come back to the last floor you were on at a later point.
Etrian Odyssey has a quest called Explorers Guild Trial. It involves spending five days of game time on level B 8 F. This can take three hours, and the only thing that makes it beatable is the spring nearby that heals all health and mana.
Any time you go into an Oblivion Gate in Oblivion. You have to go around and find a way to get to the main tower where the Sigil Stone is before you can get inside, then you have to fight your way up (which can take hours since your enemies level up with you) and then take the stone.
The Forgotten Vale quest of the Dawnguard DLC to Skyrim. The region you must work through is easily one third the size of the original game map. The fact that there is gratuitous amounts of Scenery Porn there helps, however.
Infinite Undiscovery has the bonus dungeon, the Seraphic Gate. While it's only 17 floors deep, and most of the floors aren't particularly huge, the enemies are all very powerful, and simply running from them all is a good way to get your party members killed (you must sheath your weapons to run). The floors that ARE big are very big, some of which take over 5 minutes to run through without fighting anything. There's only one save point (halfway down and just past a difficult bonus boss), one teleporter back to the surface (in the save room, also meaning there's no easy way out if you're simply farming for experience or item drops), and the super powerful boss of the dungeon, Ethereal Queen, can only be fought if you first beat another difficult boss immediately before her. And the dungeon's longest and most dangerous floors are AFTER the save point, meaning if you lose to Queenie, you've got another long slog ahead of you. The worst part? If you want full gamerscore, you have to kill her on Hard and Infinity mode, both of which can't be unlocked until you beat the game on the difficulty before it, meaning you have to beat the game 3 times (the Gate only opens up when you beat the game and load your save).
Fallout3's final mission, Who Dares Wins, is about the length of two regular missions, consisting of Sneaking into the Metro Station, then reaching the Enclave's final base, getting into their mobile platform, and either recalibrating the targetting system or letting it destroy what's left of the Pentagon. Also, if you're higher levels, you will meet about 4-5 Feral Ghoul Reavers...at once. Not even those Sentry Bots can save you.
Baten Kaitos Origins has The Very Definitely Final DungeonTarazed. It's composed of four different 'blocks' that you have to traverse to shut down the power generators. Each block is a maze, full of loot, one-way paths, and dead ends, and every room looks the same. When you finally find the generator room, you have to solve a smaller maze puzzle to actually enter the room and shut it down. Even worse, the place teems with Machina Auto-Turrets, high-order Demonic Spiders that can effortlessly wipe away an hour or two's worth of progress. You'll want to save every chance you can, except the closest save point is rather inconveniently located, forcing you to run all the way out of Tarazed every time you complete a block. Did you get the impression that it's That One Level?
Chrono Cross has Terra Tower, a Reptite city dragged into time from another dimension. Not only is is very, very long, but it's also full of enemies and minibosses that take long to defeat.
The original Chrono Trigger has the Black Omen, which while optional is the game's equivalent of the Very Definitely Final Dungeon. It comes complete with a lot of minibosses, some tricky enemies, and a three-form boss at the end. Worse, there's a shop and teleport back to the entrance about a third of the way in, but nothing of the sort at the end, when you'd actually need it to get ready for said boss.
Several levels in Diablo 2 qualify in the higher difficulties, but the most egregious is the Durance of Hate second floor. What makes this example especially annoying is that, besides its incredible length (its area is several times a regular level), there's a chance for it to be filled of Stygian Dolls. Good luck making through that incredibly long level while fighting them every three rooms.
Replace "difficulty" with "tedium" and you have the Maggot Lair in Act 2. You have a giant maze of hallways, each a single sprite wide. As in, no enemies or allies can cross another enemy or ally; everything blocks everything's pathnote unless it's an item or a projectile, of course. This means you are forced to fight anything in front of you. And there are lot of things in front of you. And only one melee fighter can attack one enemy at a time. Decided to bring one of the town's lancing mercenaries with you? Well expect them to be either bored or dead. And if you had the misfortune of going the wrong way, well then it looks like you're going to have to go through said process all over again. Needless to say, it's not one of the game's more attractive experiences.
The optional Gladsheim in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is so enormous and labyrinthine that the most common method of dealing with it is to get a paper and draw a map of it as you go. There's 10 floors, only two of which have save points on them. And don't bother going online to look for a map of the place - it's randomized.
In Magi-Nation, we have the Shadow Hold. How bad is it? The Shadow Geysers and other dungeons are only about 20-30 mins. The Shadow Hold is at the very least three times that long, with enough dead-ends and false openings to lead anyone insane. It's so bad, it's actually optional.
Some dungeons in Dungeon Siege can take a long time to complete, especially the later ones. One of the worst offenders is the Goblin steampunk dungeon, where your party has to hack through giant mob after giant mob of high-level enemies. Even if you get fed up with it and decide to just rush through, it will still take at least 15 minutes until you finally reach the end.
Mario & Luigi as a series has a few of these, especially the final dungeons. Bowser's Castle in the first game must have at least 50 rooms in it along with all seven Koopalings, Fawful and the two stage Final Boss to contend with. Partners in Time has Shroob Castle, which is even longer and with four floors of that many rooms each, and Peach's Castle/Fawful's Castle just goes on and on and on and spans a good few hundred rooms. Joke's End from the first one might count too, as might the two section Woohoo Hooniversity.
The volcano area is quite lengthy with some hard hitting enemies and it is coupled by a two part boss fight, followed by another two part boss fight after that. Luckily, you catch a break after the first boss fight.
Bowser's Keep on the return trip. The castle is extremely long and has enemies that can kill a party member instantly. The length is padded out mostly due to the trials you have to complete by going through 4 of 6 doors and if you want to get all the ultimate weapons for the majority of your party, you'll be coming back to those doors that have them if you missed out since completing 4 of the trials puts you in a Point of No Return until you leave the castle and reenter. The end section is then followed up by two boss fights and you don't get a break in between them either.
The road to Smithy is a very long one. It's filled with tricky platforming, several boss fights, and respawning enemies on conveyor belts. Luckily, the factory area is very brief as it consists of every room being a major/boss battle with breaks in between.
The Central Park area is very lengthy with no activity other than one cut scene early on. The random encounter rate seems to kick in at every screen.
The sewers under Chinatown are lengthy due to the maze like structure and if you want to find every item in the area, you'll spend a good amount of time exploring every path for them. This area is also padded out by random encounters that have bats that can inflict Blindness on you.
The Museum of Natural History is very long on the revisit section in day 5. You're forced to wander all over the museum by going through several hallways or going up floor by floor just to be able to open another room somewhere else. To make matters worse, when you seem to be able to finally confront Eve at the top floor, the mini boss you defeated comes back and knocks you down to the ground floor and a T-Rex comes to life and attacks you. From there, you have to climb back up all over again.
.hack//G.U. Volume 3 has a Bonus Dungeon known as The Forest of Pain a 100 floor dungeon packed with enemies and objectives that a player must complete. Though it's tolerated for lacking Check Point Starvation for the first half of the dungeon, but after that it's all the way or nothing.
Pillars of Eternity's mega-dungeon the Endless Paths started with three subterranean floors and gained an additional level for every 2,500 Kickstarter backers. It ended up with thirteen.
Fans of the Suikoden series disliked the third installment for avarietyofreasons. One of them was the infamous Mountain Path. Not only was it an infamously long trek with constant Random Encounters (and this was 2002; you'd think they would have known better by then) with branching paths that led to either dead ends or the wrong location entirely, but you had to traverse it multiple times, back and forth in different directions because it just so happened to be between you and a required destination a multitude of times and you weren't allowed to circumvent it. Once you finally got Viki's mirror some 2/3s into the game you could finally breathe easy, but it still wouldn't bring back all those hours the game forced you to waste.
Citadark Isle in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. Longer than any other area in the game, filled with trainer battles and Shadow Pokemon. You also have rematches with all 3 previously-fought bosses, plus two entirely new bosses, a legendary fight and the Final Boss. Just to show how insane it is, fully HALF of the game's Shadow Pokemon are located on Citadark Isle.
While previous Metal Slug games would settle for having six reasonably sized levels (five normal and one FINAL MISSION!), Metal Slug 3 smooshed together the last two levels into a gigantic fifth and final mission, which starts with your PC's aerial assault on the enemy's rocket base, has its first false ending with a reenactment of the original Metal Slug final battle, launches you into space in a cutscene, runs you through a mock vertical Shmup section, crashes you into the enemy spaceship, has you assault the alien hordes within alongside the mooks you were just killing five minutes ago, gives you another faux final boss, forces you to escape the self-destructing spaceship, throws hordes of clones of your previously abducted PC at you, throws hordes of ZOMBIE clones of your previously abducted PC at you, before sucking you out of an airlock and then FINALLY giving you the actual final boss...
Which is a good thing, since it's possible to go from the start of World 1-1 to the final boss in 30 minutes. Half the fun of the game is searching for the bajillion secret areas and shortcuts. The penultimate level is a true marathon, though, with almost no secrets and a forced trek through every corner of the record-length stage without any of the Crowning Music of Awesome that the rest of the game consists of.
R-Type Final's Extra Stage. And you only have one life and no continues.
The Training mode in Raiden DX is one continuous, 15-minutes long level, which may not be as long as some of the other examples on this page, but is very long for a Shoot 'em Up.
Stage 6 of Sin and Punishment 2 is abnormally long compared to the others, and it seems even longer due to being right after the very short Stage 5. It's the longest stage of the game by far, with Stage 7 only being long due to its high difficulty. It's this level that causes a lot of trouble for people trying to 1cc the game, and the game certainly doesn't let up on the difficulty despite the length of it.
The infamous Desert Bus, part of the unreleased prank game compilation Penn and Teller's Smoke and Mirrors. Surviving the entire eight-hour drive earns you one point, at which point you turn around and drive back the other way for eight hours. There is no end to the game, or to the torture. Adding insult to misery is the fact that the bus veers slightly to the right while driving, meaning you must stay at the "wheel" the entire time, or risk running off the road, at which point you will be towed back to your starting point. In real time. The point was to create the game that Moral Guardians could not protest for any possible reason.
It says something that there's a charity event based around this game. The more you pay them, the longer they have to keep playing.
Many Harvest Moon games have a mine that goes down for many, many floors. The one in Friends of Mineral Town is 255 floors deep, and you have to get to the bottom in order to get one of the items — luckily, said item is pretty awesome. The deepest mine in DS is some 60,000 floors deep. The only reason to tough them all out? Bragging rights.
This is made much more difficult by the fact that the player character has a Stamina/Fatigue stat that brings you closer to blacking out with each action you take. Even if you can last 255 floors, your character can't without preparation.
SSX 3 has the peak events, where you start at the top of one of Big Mountain's 3 peaks and have to either race or beat the trick score of an opponent all the way to the bottom of Peak 1. The All Peak events (where you start at Peak 3, the very top of the mountain) take around 25 minutes to complete.
The official Formula One computer games allow you to select what percentage of each race you actually want to do, out to a whopping 70 laps around the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Brazil.
Stealth Based Game
Metal Gear Solid. The stairs in the Comm Tower. Oh man... the stairs in the Comm Tower.
MGS3 and its goddamned mile-long ladder. It only lasts a few minutes, technically, but a few minutes of tactical ladder climbing action is far too many.
Project IGI has it on a few levels, which is especially frustrating as there is no way to save a level midway through. You die and you start the whole thing again.
Parasite Eve has this for the Chrysler Building. 77 floors tall and every floor except the 1st, every 10th and the last 7, have randomized floor layouts so you can't exactly go and remember the patterns. There is an elevator, but you can't use it unless you obtain a key from a boss that is located on every 10th floor. No save points are here either, which means either you go all the way and fight the next boss to get the key and get back down the fast way, or you take the slow way by running down the stairs.
Resident Evil 4: Two words: Level 4-1. Assuming that you don't backtrack to get the free Broken Butterfly magnum, you have to retrieve the last piece of a puzzle key in a room with fire-breathing horse heads to unlock a door to progress further. Then, you have to obtain 2 Grails to unlock a door, one of which protected by 2 sets of 3 suits of armor with Plagas controlling them. Then after Ashley gets kidnapped (again) you have to survive an onslaught of flying insects. THEN you have to head to a clock tower to get it running while surviving flaming rocks catapulted at you and the tower is swarming with Zealots inside and out. And when you leave the tower, you have to deal with another crowd (the leader of which has a freaking rocket launcher), then try to simply survive a locked room with TWO Heavy Armor Garradors (the other Zealots in the room are the LEAST of your worries!) And if you should survive THAT, as well as a Press X to Not Die cutscene, the last thing to do is simply survive the encounter with Salazar's 'right hand' until the elevator shows up! Yeesh! Count on spending at LEAST an hour playing through this nightmare. The single hardest part of this level (if not the game PERIOD) is between the start of the clock tower to surviving the cutscene, because there's no typewriters in between, so no opportunities to save. Bottom line, if you can come out of this level with your sanity intact, give yourself a freaking medal. Though, in the Playstation 2 version, the programmers at least had the MERCY to put a typewriter right after the clock tower, making the fight with the 2 Garradors much easier to prepare for.
Third Person Shooter
Gall Spaceport (the canyon level) in the Nintendo 64 game Shadows of the Empire takes almost half an hour to finish. It does have a cool boss battle with Boba Fett, though.
The final mission in Scarface: The World is Yours. Tony's raid on Sosa's mansion requires you to go through one large bunch of mooks, an Anticlimax Boss, another bunch, then a second boss before you finally get to Sosa and a third boss fight. Drug distribution runs can also get lengthy, especially once you have to deliver to fronts in all four main areas. Best hope your Heat isn't high enough that no belligerent gangsters try raiding your fronts.
Krivorozhstal Mill in Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain has an 18-minute solo par time, more then twice the length of most levels, as well as a frustrating Escort Mission getting the mill workers and foreman to safety.
Worse is the 20-minute International University mission, the first two thirds of which are a Stealth-Based Mission, and in the first third, you can't move around with unconcealed weapons(such as sniper rifles) either.
Although not as frustrating as the above examples, Lorelei Salvage Rig, at nearly half an hour in length, is the longest mission in the entire series.
Defense Grid The Awakening: Any level that has Grinder and Super Grinder as available challenges. Both of these will extend the number of waves to 99, and will easily take over an hour to finish, even with liberal application of the F key. Unfortunately, you still have to finish to earn medals. Fortunately, the score requirements—usually no more than 200,000 for gold—are absurdly low in proportion; a decent run will see a resource count of over 1 million. Unfortunately, you still need all cores intact to get the gold; lose one core and all of your work will have been for nothing.
Turn Based Strategy
Item World in the Disgaea games tend to be like this, especially in the high-numbered levels. Even if you can leave and save every ten floors, it can be a very long, tedious ten floors unless you have a huge stock of Gency Exits. If you're going for the hyperdrive, you must do 100 floors in one sitting (on the highest level item possible). Makai Kingdom is even worse - dungeons can literally be thousands of levels deep, and the most number of floors you can skip with an item is 100. (Phantom Brave, thankfully, has an "escape" spell - so long as the phantom that can cast it is available, that is. Savvy players Fusion it to Marona.)
The Item World is only that bad if you actually plan to complete each floor, which is only desirable if you want to grind character levels or farm items. If you only want to improve the item you're inside, it's just as good to bypass floors. With the right equipment, skills, and strategy, most floors can be skipped in seconds, and few take more than a minute.
Chapter 17 of Path of Radiance, in the massive, burnt-out Serenes Forest. It's the longest slog in the game and is the only chapter split into multiple stages. Four of them. Fortunately there are save points between them, and you're also allowed to call in two reinforcements from your party at each stop.
The sequel Radiant Dawn had a ton. Chapter 1-6 is split into two stages with only a save point between them. Part 3's endgame is an interesting subversion in that it looks like (and is described as) a massive "rout all the enemies" bloodbath - there is something like 80 enemies to start and tons of reinforcements - but the battle immedeately ends once any 80 units are killed thanks to an urgent plot development. Still, the enemy phase on every turn takes a long time. Almost every chapter in Part 4 is a tiring rout-all-enemies marathon. Lastly, there is the epic final chapter, split into 5 stages much like PoR's chapter 17, but you only get to choose 10 units (plus the 5 that are forced and one Heron) to last all 5 maps. You still get save points and, unintuitively, access to your supply convoy inbetween.
The Sacred Stones has the Tower and Ruins, optional dungeons that are 8 and 10 maps long respectively. They both become increasingly Nintendo Hard the further you go, and you aren't allowed to perma-save between floors. The only consolation is being able to swap anybody you want in or out of your party at each break. You also get to flee anytime (either through the menus or resetting and not choosing to continue the map), which is good to remember considering the series standard of All Deaths Final.
Every chapter of Genealogy of the Holy War is a Marathon Level. The maps are atypically huge and there are always several castles to seize before you complete the chapter, among other numerous things going on in the meantime.
Blazing Sword has two of these chapters toward the end: "Cog of Destiny", a sprawling map where you must rout the equivalent of a small army to win (with 15 people, of course), and the appropriately-named "Victory or Death", a map so big it has three different routes to your destination, and enemies lying in wait around every corner - including reinforcements that literally appear from thin air when you step near them.
The Game ModElibian Nights has Karel's tale, which is six maps back to back - and Karel is all by himself. While they're not particularly long by themselves, it's still an endurance test because you never get a chance to restore your equipment, and you only get one Elixir with three uses. The upshot is that you have two Wo Daos and an Iron Rune, meaning that you'll never take a critical hit and you'll deal them out easily... except on the last two maps where the bosses also have Iron Runes. One of them is a trick Hopeless Boss Fight, though.
An infamous one occurs as early as chapter 3 in Mystery of the Emblem (Book II) and its DS remake. Your destination is a castle smack in the middle of a huge map, where the enemies have been thoughtful enough to raise the south bridge, forcing your non-flying units to take a long clockwise hike around. While you're capable of taking the bridge key from a village near the start and simply charging in, there's another village way up in the northeast with a useful ally waiting. The issue here? Marth is the only unit allowed to visit villages in this game. You also need him to seize the castle to end the map. Enjoy spending 20+ turns marching his butt all the way around if you want everything.
Most of capstone levels (and quite a few others) in the assorted campaigns in Battle for Wesnoth.