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Nintendo Hard: Uncategorised
  • Flappy Bird. CNET has wisely described it as the embodiment of our descent into madness. Among the first 20 five-star reviews on the App Store include these fantastic headers: "The death of me"; "The apocalypse"; "Save yourselves"; "Life destroying"; "my life is spiraling out of control"; and "Hello Darkness My Old Friend."
  • Breakdown: Controls take a very long time to master, although not in a Fake Difficulty way. The most recurring enemies (the T'lon) are very strong, invunerable to your guns, and almost every one of their hits disorients the player, forcing him to adjust the view while under attack. Its penultimate battle is a five round deathmatch with no save points. Actions are slow but in a great, detailed manner, not Fake Difficulty. Save points are sometimes very distant. Suffice to say, the game has a very meaningful title.
    • And halfway through the game, you lose your HUD, meaning the only way to tell how much damage you've taken and how much power you've got left for special attacks is either by pausing or taking note of the effects on the screen and/or your arms mid-game.
  • There's a new generation of Nintendo Hard games, which take play mechanics from NES classics and crank up the difficulty way past eleven, to a number that can't be displayed on a standard pocket calculator. Homebrew game designer Dessgeega has referred to these games as "masocore," or games for hardcore masochistic players. She also created her own game in the genre, Mighty Jill Off, which is a tribute to Mighty Bomb Jack. The difference is that there are no bombs... instead, the player is forced to master the high jumps and gliding that defined the Bomb Jack series in order to climb to the top of a very high, very dangerous tower.
    • The first tower is relatively tame, but the second one... Well, just to tip you off, the criteria to play it is to finish the first level under twelve minutes. If you still want to play it, you'd better be prepared for some nasty tricks, such as jumping through a section with seemingly glitched graphics, jumping through what looks like solid floor, or having to kill yourself to get through a dead end... twice. Fortunately, the game plays fair and these obstacles aren't that hard to figure out.
  • The game Stuntman, especially in the later levels. You have to drive a car through a long sequence with numerous stunts with very little margin of error. The strict time limit and stunt requirements make it so that if you make a mistake at any point, you pretty much have to restart the level. Several levels take dozens of retries to get through. The sequel, thankfully, was much more forgiving, allowing you to get through most levels without much trouble, though it's still challenging to get a high score on them.
  • Odama. Picture a real-time strategy game where you had to keep an eye on the battlefield while maintaining a game of pinball, with a time limit.
  • Robo Warrior on the original NES. Similar to Bomberman, you had to drop bombs to create a path through a labyrinth of breakable rocks, unbreakable rocks and enemies. Your life meter was constantly draining, the enemies ranged from very annoying to downright dangerous, and then there were several sections where you had to bomb a certain breakable (or even "unbreakable") block multiple times to continue on with the game. DO NOT try to play this without a guide.
  • Legacy Of The Wizard. The game is one massive dungeon, there is no map, you will get stuck if you try to play without knowing where everything is, and the only Save Point is at the house where you start.
  • You would think that as long as you have the necessary skills in whatever it is the game is trying to teach you, Edutainment Games would avoid this, right? You've obviously never played Operation Neptune.
  • Robot Odyssey is about as hard as... no, it's much harder than you would expect a game about electrical engineering to be like. The first two levels are reasonable enough, but then the game shifts to "brutal" to "soul-crushing" to "virtually impossible" in each subsequent one. Puzzles that will make your brain melt, require inhuman amounts of dedication and endurance, and harrowing punishments for failure are just the tip of the iceberg that awaits.
  • Not only is Siren full of terrors, but if you slip up just once, the game WILL kill you.
    • If you want 100% Completion, you need a guide to complete all of the alternate level goals and get an extra ending in the process. Even then, if you're not thorough enough the first and second times around, you will miss most of the special document items, the last of which unlocks a bonus cutscene hat appears to be a prequel to the whole game that explains Hanuda Village's curse. There are also a couple of boss battles that are exhausting, but that's another trope.
  • The Tomb Raider series fluctuates in difficulty (generally considered to be quite difficult compared to the games of today), but Tomb Raider III is definitely the hardest, and was clearly intended for players who had beaten the first two games. The very first action in the game involves sliding down a hill while jumping to avoid instant-death spikes; seemingly an intentional portent of the overall difficulty, and navigating treacherous bogs disguised as regular ground (which in some cases, gives Lara no chance to get out before drowning). In the second level you start fighting the so-called "Shivas," giant six-armed statues that can crisscross their blades to block your bullets, take a ton of said bullets, and instantly kill Lara if she gets too close. The wolf ambush that opens the second level of the first game, panic-inducing for newbies, is almost comically easy in comparison. There are also unkillable piranhas (turning simple ponds into deathtraps), poison from snakes and blowdarts (you better kill those natives FAST), guys who get off one last shot after you've killed them, and environmental hazards that are extremely hard to get through without heavy damage, and unavoidable in one case outside of glitches (Late in the game, you have to swim through freezing water so deep you have to use health packs as you swim just to stay alive.) Then there are the save crystals, which you collect and use anywhere you want. This should be better than the first game, in which you saved at fixed points, but there's no indication of where the crystals should be used, turning the whole system into just another stress-inducer (PC players get a break in this regard and can save anywhere, making their version far easier; said crystals were even turned into health-restoring pickups). Another "this should be great but it isn't" feature is that you can choose in which order to play certain levels; see below for why this is the case... Overall, this game gives off an Everything Trying to Kill You vibe that the others don't necessarily give off.
    • But if you play the level where you lose all the guns and ammo you've collected last, then the final area is much tougher to get through. Tomb Raider III has the obligatory "lose all your weapons" level, as did the previous two games, but this time, not only does Lara lose her weapons, but also loses all collected ammo and medipacks, which this time cannot be recovered. That's right, no point in saving up medipacks in India, you'll lose them eventually.
    • The iOS re-release of Tomb Raider quickly becomes this due to the questionable touchscreen controls. Among the highlights include not being able to shoot while jumping (unless you take the time to assume an awkward finger position on the screen) and difficulty in running in a straight line. Good luck in Atlantis, you'll need it.
  • Glider PRO and its predecessors at least approach Nintendo Hard difficulty: colliding with the floor or furniture will kill you, never mind moving enemies, and you need to ride vents in order to gain height. The few enemies that can be killed respawn quickly, but extra gliders and other powerups never respawn. Though there are houses with very Benevolent Architecture and sparse enemies, there are also houses like "Castle of the Air," which has a room titled "It Gets Worse!" The stars in "Nemo's Market" are located in rooms that transport you out in a dozen seconds or less, and you will not be forgiven for missing a single one.
  • The Adventure Island series would also qualify. One hit deaths, cheap AI, limited attacks, and a limited timer that had to be constantly refilled by eating fruit before you starved to death are just some of the things that make this series difficult.
  • Chakan The Forever Man for the Sega Genesis. Named for both the titular character's immortality and the amount of time it takes to beat it on hard mode. The BonusBoss is Death himself. Although he's not nearly as cool as one would imagine.
  • Ecco CD for the Sega CD is so difficult that you can die when you have the invincibility god mode on. Even the cheat codes are hard to use and difficult to implement (there's one that lets you teleport to X Y coordinates, which will usually end up with Ecco crushed in a wall... which will probably kill you). Which is a shame, since the music and FMVs are quite gorgeous.
    • The Ecco the Dolphin series in general (except for Ecco Jr., of course) is brutally hard. Oh, sure, it stars a cute little dolphin, but he is going to die. A lot. The first game is hard to beat even if you enter the invincibility code and the level select code to begin on the final boss.
    • Hilariously, Ed Annunziata has actually admitted he was paranoid about kids beating it in a weekend, so made it hard.
  • Air Fortress actually starts off pretty easy. At Level 4, the game stops playing around. On Level 6, it officially crosses over into this trope.
    • The shmup section of each level can get fairly brutal, but is a lot easier once you've had some practice and know what's about to come at you. Where the game really screws you is in the infiltration sections. The fortresses themselves can get utterly mazelike, including transport tubes that don't take you to the same place if you try to return the way you came. You can only fire tiny projectiles forward, meaning hitting anything that isn't directly in front of you is a nightmare, and you move fairly slowly while most projectiles move at at least twice the speed, and a lot of them even home in on your position. There's no Mercy Invincibility, so it's very, very easy to get pinned down and locked into a Cycle of Hurting (especially when the evil spacemen and jumping robots get involved.) And even when you get to the end and destroy the core, you still have to make it to the exit in less than two minutes, and after the first stage or two it's somewhere deep within the labyrinthine levels, pretty much requiring you to plot out your escape route in advance. The only real mercy is that most enemies don't respawn after they die...except when they suddenly do.
    • The Japanese version of the shmup sections are even worse. In the other releases, you can at least pick up where you left off if you die, but dying in the Japanese version kicks you all the way to the start of the stage every time (and the spinning destructible obstacles take far more hits to kill.)
  • Many online flash games unintentionally fall under this trope, as they are often created primarily by one person, thus preventing much play testing. As a result, they often start with an insultingly easy tutorial and quickly spiral into insanity, with little in the way of a curve in between.
  • QWOP. Who would had thought the simple act of running for even a measly five meters can be so hard?
    • You're supposed to get to 100... It's a long jump.
  • The Guardian Legend was at the very least Trial-and-Error Gameplay at its finest, in those pre-Game Faqs days. The Zelda-like bits weren't so bad once you memorized them, but some of the space-shooter parts were terrifying even when you knew exactly what was coming.
  • Wonderland Adventures is overall rather tame, focusing more on complex puzzles than on quick reflexes, even if it does contain an occasional hairpuller like "Button Me Down". Then you run into the level "Wakka Wakka 2". For those who don't know, it's a Pacman-like maze where you are chased by an enemy that always, always moves faster than you. Your only hope is to use the teleporters in the maze that simulate the "from one side of the screen to the other". The catch? There are only 8 teleporter pairs, and each pair can only be used once. So if you haven't got the gems before that, tough luck. Unless you have played it, you have no idea how hard it is.
  • Dark Reign, a fairly obscure Real-Time Strategy game, started out seeming like a run of the mill Command & Conquer knockoff. It doesn't end that way.
  • Terminator Salvation the Arcade Game is a very tough Light Gun Game compared to Ghost Squad or Razing Storm. Let's see... swarm waves of enemies which can take an entire magazine of your gun to kill a single Terminator. Swarms of Demonic Spider units which will utterly overwhelm you. And there is no way to know how close you are to finishing off an enemy, unlike its cousins, which will put your skills as a resistance soldier to the test.
  • Larger levels in Jet Set Radio can be quite frustrating: you have to tag each of dozens of spots with graffiti, while collecting cans (you can only hold 20-25, they're limited, some spots use up nine of them, and often you'll go a while without seeing any) and running away from police, who will come at you in helicopters and on jetpacks or snipe you from afar even while you're tagging. Oh, and there's a time limit.
  • A Fairly OddParents game called Unfairly OddParents has "unfair" right in the title, and it lives up to the name. It's an April Fools' Day game.
  • Fear Effect. There are a lot of ways to die in both games, and they will happen often.
  • In Mabinogi, there are storyline events that may consider be Nintendo Hard:
    • Post-G9 mission difficulty is weighted by your total level. Hope you weren't level 1000+...
    • Peaca Dungeon is worth a mention, but the Arc Lich from Metus turns difficulty Up to Eleven.
    • YMMV, when you're experience lag, and in a dungeon, or Shadow Mission.
    • Giant Field bosses. Even though it's pointless to kill them, but they give awesome drops and several unobtainium items.
  • The Tower of Druaga is almost impossible to beat without knowing in advance what treasures you need to collect and how to collect them, which the game doesn't explain. Even with a Strategy Guide, every level is a Timed Mission with random player, enemy, item, and exit placements. And there are no Save Points, a fact that players who see the dreaded message "YOU ZAP TO..." will bitterly regret. (There is a Continue Mode, though.)
  • Super Cosplay War Ultra has its fair share of SNK Bosses, but where the Nintendo Hard aspect truely shines is in Battle Royale mode, which pits you and an AI-controlled partner against a series of mook enemies with a boss battle at the end of each stage. Even if it weren't for the fact that your AI partner is guilty of doing some pretty dumb things (like wasting supers when the enemy's got you in the middle of an attack and renders both of you untouchable) and getting caught in between two enemies can cause you to swap directions randomly, Battle Royale mode would still be tough as hell, thanks to tougher-than-they-really-should-be mooks (every one has a super move, and the recurring Pac-Helo enemy can electrify himself, hurting the player if he/she doesn't attack him from a distance) and gigantic bosses with lots and lots of HP and attacks that hurl the player across the screen for massive damage (and some of them even render the boss immune to hitstun.) Most notable are stage 3, which gets rid of your AI partner entirely and pits you against 5 enemies all by yourself (and the game doesn't wait for you; if you take too long to defeat an enemy, more will spawn until you're completely overwhelmed.) and stage 5, which pits you against two mooks, two Elite Mooks at once (both of which are practically Mid Boss material) and the boss from stage 3 (who will spawn anyway if you take too long) and then finally one of the biggest SNKBosses in the game. All in one sitting. And that's not even getting into Another Battle Royale...
  • Katamari Damacy has always had frustrating gimmick levels, but Katamari Forever takes it Up to Eleven with some of the King's Cosmos levels:
    • The Cowbear level from We Love Katamari makes its return, but is even more obscenely difficult with the black-and-white filter making it impossible to tell what, exactly, counts as a cow or a bear.
    • Levels such as Make Mars, where you have to roll up specific types of items while avoiding others, are also made needlessly frustrating because of the black and white filter.
    • The superior computing power of the PS3 makes it that so small items disappear much slower as you get bigger, which means the Only 50 items level is ridiculously harder than the last time it appeared.
    • Katamari Drive mode takes the cake, though: your katamari rolls about ten times faster, which is a huge drawback on the gimmick levels, but on every level, you're expected to do BETTER than normal!
    • On top of all that, the camera is much worse this time around, and it's really easy to get it stuck behind something, which adds just another facet of BS difficulty.
  • The first Shogun: Total War's battles. Lets start listing them.
    • Campaigns of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi are notoriously hard. Tokugawa's campaign's Mikata Ga Hara makes you fight a losing battle. Toyotomi's campaign's first mission itself is hard.
    • Archer tutorial. You have 30 archers, as a unit to fight a 34-35 spear samurais. You start in a hill, but the weather is stormy, which makes archer-ing even worse.
    • Uesugi's 1530 scenario. The nearby Hojo will invade. Oh, to add more insult, the rebels, for some odd reason, will swarm you also. If you somehow beat that, then hope your ONLY heir didn't die. Hope you're not playing Expert or Hard...
    • Takeda's 1530 scenario. The rebels WILL invade Aki province, one way or another. The Computer seems to lose this province, though.
    • Japan vs. Mongols scenario. In the scenario, you are promised many strong troops. To make it worse, the Mongols won't land on that specific spot. They land on the North coasts. Meaning anything that's North have a coastline. To make it worse, you can't train the warrior monks. The only way to win? Cheat for money and bribe the Mongol forces, or wait till you can train no-dachis, which needs multiple victories to obtain.
    • The Segoki Jidai Rebel scenario, assessable via cheat, has you controling the Game Breaker no-dachis. You can also build warrior monks, but guess what, when the years goes by, both the no-dachi and warrior monks will fall. Even to the ashigarus. This problem seems to be averted towards the Medieval version rebels, though.
    • Everything in the 1580 scenario. You have: The Shimazu, who can be invaded by the Mori. The Mori, who can be invaded by Shimazu AND Oda. The Oda, who can be invaded by rebellions and the nearby Takeda/Uesugi. The Tokugawa, who is surrounded by Takeda forces. The Hojo, who can be targeted by the aggresive rebels and Uesugi. The Uesugi, who can be wiped by the Takeda. And finally, the Takeda, which almost can be the winner, can be targeted by the Tokugawa... in which if they build a citadel and the geisha.
  • The first Medieval: Total War suffers from Nintendo Hard also. Examples include:
    • Campaigns. Again, these makes you fight with units that you either have no experience, and most of the time, you're pitted with enemies that never get tired.
    • Total Victory. If you're about to win, hope that your generals won't mutiny. If they do, you have to attack strong troops you trained. What's worse, Medieval has a year limit, and if the game is going to end, and your generals mutiny, it becomes an Unwinnable game.
    • Sieges. Unlike Shogun, these sieges are deadlier. You will lose many troops, if you're attacking that is.
    • Units. So many to pick from. If you don't have the internet (during the game is first released), picking out stronger units becomes a Guide Dang It. Unlike Shogun, again, there's too many units to try.
    • The Pope. Sure, he's the Holy Father, but if conquered he comes back. Strong. And if you're his enemy, prepare to be excommunicated and for Crusades on your lands. It's averted if you're not a Catholic religion, or you are the Pope.
    • A not so severe case exists with peasentry forces - Players who played Shogun before will think that peasentry (ashigaru in Shogun) will be good on certain fights, right? Nope. You can try to make it fight horses. They die. Fight ranged units. They die. Make them have MAX Rank and Weaponry? Make it 16 units? (1600 men) They still lose, regardless (unless the opponent is also a peasentry force, but weaker). A non-button example of Damn You, Muscle Memory?
  • Total War Shogun 2 is considered to be the most difficult Total War game to date thanks in part due to improved AI and gameplay. And then there's Legendary Mode, which not only makes AI opponents incredibly aggressive and generally managing your clan a challenge but also makes it impossible to save your progress outside of the autosave feature.
  • BattleZone: The Red Odyssey (a RTS/FPS/Vehicle Combat game) is an entire expansion pack of Nintendo Hard missions. The very first mission has you walking over a kilometer on foot (this is a game where you spend 99% of your time inside a hover tank), while being hunted down by other foot soldiers - dark red who easily blend into the dark gray ground of the planet. Once you reach your destination (a Russian army base), you have to snipe a hover tank's cockpit to kill the pilot (no easy task, mind you), steal the tank, scan a couple buildings, then rush through the base while being shot at by everything, then escape through a labyrinth of narrow canyons, then defend a small base for upwards of 20 minutes against a nearly constant onslaught of Russian hover tanks.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS easily qualifies for this trope. While the difficulty level is adjustable, when it's hard, it's Nintendo Hard.
  • The laserdisc game Badlands plays like if Dragon's Lair had one button, extremely strict timing for the button presses, and no continues.
  • The Immortal. It's an isometric adventure game rather than a platformer, but just like in Another World, you can and will die a lot - to the extent that you can die in the very first room if you stand on one particular spot just a few seconds too long. To put it simply: the title doesn't refer to you.
    • There's something written on that amulet you picked up. Do you want to read it? You just blew up.
    • One of the puzzles requires you to drink poison in order to move further ahead. Better find that antidote in the next level quickly enough...
    • Did you miss the Fire Resistance spell? The Magnetic Hands spell? The Stone Form spell? Sorry, if you're missing even a single one, the dragon at the end cannot be defeated and the game becomes Unwinnable. Time to restart...
    • Electronic Arts sold a promotional T-shirt at the game's release which read "It's not when, it's how." The rest of the shirt was covered with pictures of human skulls in various states of damage with labels like "Crushed", "Fried", "Impaled", "Squid-bait"...
  • Nintendo Land: The Extra Stages in The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest and Metroid Blast (available after beating all standard stages) and several games as a whole, particularly Donkey Kong's Crash Course and Balloon Trip Breeze which demand very precise control.
  • Bloodline Champions: So you start the game, thinking to yourself "I'm a MOBA veteran, let me see what everyone's talking about this one's combat for." Approximately 15 seconds after the start of your first battle you are now thinking "What?". After giving a woefully inadequate tutorial which only convinces you that you know nothing, the game throws you in with 15 abilities (counting your two items you can take in) to manage cooldowns and such on simultaneously (most of them requiring aiming, even the self-defense ones) and says "go". This game does not have a "steep learning curve", it has a learning cliff with everyone at the bottom dying like flies to everyone at the top who walk around racking up kills on the poor souls looking like an Implacable Man.
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors can make masters of Contra cry. To put it like this, you have to run through mazes and fight B-movie monsters. You also have to find and rescue your Too Dumb to Live neighbors. The Mooks are tough, and surprise, the bosses are worse. Oh, did we mention that you have to conserve ammunition?
  • The House of the Dead series. It doesn't help that in the Wii port of The House of the Dead 2, you don't get unlimited continues.
    • You would think that, by being given a shotgun in 3 and a machine gun in 4, along with a supply of grenades, would make those games easier than their predecessors. How wrong you are. How very, very wrong you are...
    • Some players can finish 1, 2, and 4 in one credit and get the best possible endings. 3, on the other hand, would rip your spine out and snap your head off with it. It was really long, it was tough to get shots off quickly with the heavy shotgun, and there were numerous spots where you were guaranteed to take a hit if you didn't have absolutely perfect accuracy and lightning speed. And the bosses, oh, the bosses. Did anyone beat Fool without taking at least 8 hits? No surprise that this is the least popular HotD of all and didn't even last a year in some arcades.
    • Hell, just about any Sega-created arcade-style light gun game could fit this trope; there's The Ocean Hunter with its slow-to-reload torpedoes and annoyingly frenetic and hard-to-kill bosses, Lets Go Jungle with its swarms of enemies and irritating minigames to determine how you fare in certain forced scenarios...but the king has to be Brave Firefighters, a Time Crisis-like firefighting game where each and every fire you're supposed to put out, including the "boss" fires regenerate their health and spread if you don't take care of them fast enough...before throwing in a "save the hostage" scenario in each "boss" fire that — if you allow to get burned — takes time off. Prepare to have your bank account emptied by this game, and try to avoid the All Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks, while you're at it.
    • What of Typing of the Dead? The last levels will have you snap your keyboard in half after giving you carpal tunnel three times on each wrist... somehow.

Turn-based Strategy GamesNintendo HardVideo Game Publishers

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