The original Super Mario Bros. had many gamers' first That One Level: World 4-1. You can't warp around it. And it presents Mario with his first encounter with Lakitu, who is hard to kill, throws infinite enemies on you, and if you do kill him, he respawns ten seconds later.
Amazingly, this level becomes a literal walk in the park if you walk forward constantly without ever touching the run button; Lakitu's Spinies will never hit you. On the downside, this method requires you to time jumping-onto-a-wall-then-over-a-pit with extreme precision in two different spots.
In an interview, Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that World 4 would have been the first world in Super Mario Bros. if they hadn't rearranged things late in the development. This is a truly scary thought.
More difficult than that level for some gamers is World 2-3 (and, by extension, its "revamp" as World 7-3). At first it seems like you can just run across the bridge and outrun the Cheep Cheeps, but then you get to just before the end, where there are three small platforms. If you don't slow down, you can easily miss all of them and lose a life. However, if you slow down too soon, you will get snagged by a leaping Cheep Cheep. NES Remix forces you to do this level full speed the whole way.
World 8-1. The whole level isn't that difficult. But there's one leap that you have to make by perfectly timing when you let go of the run button while still moving and jumping at the right time to land on a platform that's only as wide as Mario is between 2 of the biggest gaps found in the entire game that are meant to be clear-able. This is also the longest level in the entire game and you only have 300 seconds to complete it.
World 8-2 has you facing Lakitu again, mixed with dodging a barrage Bullet Bills and loads of green Paratroopas. Oh, and there's also a long pit to jump over with a one-block wide pit just before that. At least it's much shorter than 8-1.
World 8-3 easily takes the title of nastiest level in the game. It looks simple enough, but there are Hammer Brothersall over the level, many of them on flat ground. You can't wait for them to get on a higher platform and knock them off; you can only run under them, jump over them, kick a Koopa Troopa shell into them if any are available, or have a Fire Flower (and good luck keeping one at that point in the game). Oh, and since it's a World 8 level, there is no midway point, which means that if you get unlucky and the Hammer Brother jumps at just the wrong time, you'll probably be starting the entire level over from the beginning again as Small Mario.
World 8-4 is basically a maze beyond a maze. There are loads of pipes to take in the castle and going down the wrong one takes you back to start. Oh and there's actually an underwater part of this level where you have to dodge bloopers and fire bars. Also, there are no powerups.
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels
World C-4. There's a firebar at about the two-thirds point that requires almost inhuman timing (or being Super Mario, which, at that point, is unlikely at best) to pass. This video (0:30 in) makes it look easy, but it's really, really not. Fortunately, however, there is a hidden mushroom early on in the level, which you can use to get past this firebar by giving Mario an extra hit point.
Heck, pretty much all of world C is nigh-impossible, with the exception of the first level.
The cloud stage in 8-3. You have to make big jumps and dodge Hammer Bros.Running Hammer Bros. In addition, there are Invisible Blocks designed to trip you up, one of which contains a Poison Mushroom. Oh, and there's that vexing Lakitu to deal with. This video not only shows you how to easily get past the Running Hammer Bros., but makes the entire level look like a walk in the park.
Ever tried B-3 with Mario? This video makes it look easy, but the jump off the green Koopa Paratroopa (around 20 seconds in) is insanely difficult to execute with Mario.
Super Mario Bros. 2
World 5-1, where you have to cross a vast waterfall by hopping on the heads of rising and sinking Trouters, is a nightmare if you try to complete it with anybody other than the Princess (who can simply soar from platform to platform). If you really want to punish yourself, try it with Luigi and his horribly imprecise jumps.
There's one portion in the level where you can't see the ground and you have to do a leap of faith onto an enemy. If you miss, you find out that there was floor there the entire time.
World 5-3. The entire level is a hornet's nest of Bob-ombs and Sparks, and the majority of it has you hopping up and down and across a bunch of platforms trying to dodge said Sparks and Bob-ombs with hardly any room to maneuver thanks to the low ceilings. And once you get past all that, you have to ride two Pidgits' carpets past a bunch of dive-bombing Beezos without getting knocked into the abyss to reach the boss of the level.
3-3 and 3-8. In both of them, there is water at the bottom of the screen, and most of the platforms in the level rise and fall at intervals. The problem is, Boss FREAKING Bass is swimming across the bottom of the screen, ready to leap up and swallow the player whole in an instant. This is, by the way, the only enemy in the game that can instantly kill Mario or Luigi when they're not small. It doesn't help that one of the White Mushroom Houses is triggered by 3-8....
The second mini-fortress in World 5 has lava on the ceiling. Although it's not deadly, there are Podoboos that come down from the lava and then "fall" back up, with no indication of where such Podoboos are located.
World 5-9. What makes already difficult platform jumping more difficult? Diagonal autoscrolling.
All of Pipe Maze, especially either of the levels blocking the crossroads.
The mini-fortress in World 8. So many doors... Even worse in the SNES remake, where the two sides of the fortress are the same colour.
The (unnumbered) airship level from world 8 is a real nightmare: compared to the airship levels which end every previous world, it scrolls faster and has Floating Platforms spaced further apart.
The tank level just before Bowser's Castle is pretty wild, with cannon balls and bob-ombs littering the screen. Let's just say all of World 8, provided you don't have a suit and don't swim under the boats.
On the plus side, the designers (no doubt aware they've made several levels that fit this trope) added an item made to bypass them: the P-Wing. Activating it prior to a level gives you infinite flight, letting you fly over the entire level. It works in almost every level, save the underground and water ones.
Also, there's another item available called the Jugem's (actually Lakitu's, but mistranslated) Cloud, which allows you to bypass a level completely. Personal note: do not lose a life if you haven't cleared a level after using the cloud. You'll be forced to play the level you skipped unless you have another cloud.
Super Mario World
The (thankfully optional) level "Tubular", which forces you to play as a balloon version of Mario, having to float in between enemies throwing footballs at you, three waves of Koopas, and lava-spewing plants. Oh, and there's no solid ground, no halfway checkpoint, and the balloon won't last for the whole level — you must periodically get a new balloon powerup in increasingly hard to reach areas. Fortunately, it's possible to use a Blue Yoshi and a Cape in order to get through the level without having to use the balloon power-up once. It's tricky to pull off, but compared to going through the normal level, it's cake.
Harder than Tubular (if you think platforming is harder than balloon flight) is Outrageous, which is not only full of enemies, but seems specifically designed to combat the easy option of flying over it.
Awesome is another particularly difficult Special World level to fly through, which is full of shell-kicking Koopas and other hazards. There are probably as many enemies in this level as there are in any other level in the game.
Funky, the final Special World level, isn't as hard as Outrageous or Tubular, but it can throw people off with the 200 time limit on what is the longest single-room level in the entire game (32 screens, which is actually the longest a single sublevel in SMW can possibly be). Unless you get Yoshi (who is in a high hard-to-reach block) and eat the time-raising green berries, you will be rushing to get through this level and the hordes of enemies.
Soda Lake is an underwater level that features Torpedo Ted, a type of enemy that is (thankfully) only seen in this stage. There are several spots that spawn them, they're quite fast (much faster than a swimming Mario, at any rate), there's almost no room to dodge them, and some spots require you to swim right through where they spawn. Those spots often require the utmost perfect timing to get through without taking a hit.
Related, the Cheese Bridge secret exit. It's a Kaizoexit, and you have to fly under the normal exit, or float under it with Yoshi and jump off him, sacrificing the poor creature. Oh, and for that, you get Soda Lake. Thanks, Nintendo.
Until you get used to it, Wendy's Castle in Chocolate Island is this. The bone-throwing Dry Bones will be the least of your problems, what with the spiked pillars (which, by the way, are not treated as normal hazards, but rather as solid walls, meaning they can kill you instantly and you cannot run your way through them) pounding the ground and ceiling and the saws. Oh yeah, and the section at the end with the floating platforms with little spark creatures rotating on the perimeters.
That One Exit rather than That One Level, the secret exit from the Valley Ghost House to Larry's Castle can be frustrating to execute even when you know how to go about it. The key and keyhole are off the top of the screen and must be reached by generating a "staircase" of coins from a ? block and turning them into solid blocks with a P-switch; however, since the goal is off the top of the screen, creating the staircase is reduced to guesswork after a few seconds. Moreover, the entrance into the key area is only as high as small Mario, so it is easy to fall at the final hurdle if you have a powerup and cannot duck through the entrance. Though there are other ways to get into the room, they also require considerable practice to execute consistently.
Valley of Bowser 3, on top of the Mind Screw of being an air-based level inside a cave, is the only level in the game to feature the timed platforms. Oh yeah and toward the end there are Banzai Bills that take up a good percentage of the screen.
The Valley Fortress not only has the same spiked pillars as Wendy's Castle, but toward the end of the level they move up and down equally quickly, requiring more than usually sharp timing and positioning. If you have a Cape, it becomes even more frustrating unless you can force yourself to tap the Jump button instead of holding it for even a fraction of a second longer than necessary; otherwise, Mario will float for a while and throw off the timing.
Wario's (or rather, Mario's) Castle has many jumps that are nigh impossible without bunny ears. It's also much, much longer than any other stage in the game, and has no checkpoint. Die while fighting the final boss (or at any other point for that matter), and you're doing the whole damn level over again from the beginning.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
The 5th bonus level "Kamek's Revenge". To obtain all those red coins, you first had to perform two whole screens of skiing and hit all the obnoxiously difficult placed items with perfectly-precise jumps, THEN, you had to hunt down a bunch of them on a huge, nonlinear helicopter course (which happens to be timed — run out of time and you fall to your doom). Miss just one coin, and your only option is to die and try the whole thing over again. And while we're at it, the first section of that stage — where you have to make your way across a whole bunch of tiny floating logs without getting knocked off by Kamek or the pitchers—ain't no picnic either.
World 2's "extra" level "Hit the Switch!!" is an utter nightmare. If you're aiming for 100% completion, it feels like the level designers confused "making a 'complex' level" with "making a level that makes you remember and do way too much shit." If you manage to reach the end... it pulls you into a nearly Unwinnable situation — simple as that.
"Poochy Ain't Stupid", World 1's extra level, is a goddamn lie, featuring lava for practically the entire level and auto scrolling to go along with the introduction of Poochy, a dog that, if you unlocked the extra stage before proceeding to world 2, is a new mechanic.
"Endless World of Yoshis/Crazy Maze Days". The first part isn't so bad, although it does have fast auto scrolling. However, the maze part is worse. Not only is there a long shaft filled with instant death spikes you have to dodge with split second timing (entirely blind), but to get 100% completion, you need to beat this section THREE TIMES. There's just one midway ring after it, meaning that if you mess up before the cave (and given the confusing layout of the place, you probably will), you'll have to do a significant amount of the level over. After that, there's a cave with some rather mean tricks as well as a replica of the intro with Kamek attacking Yoshi throughout. It's also a Marathon Level. And the last flower is literally right before the goal, so if you forget about it/run out, you're playing the whole thing over.
"The Very Loooooong Cave". It isn't the length of the level that makes this one a pain, it's that it requires a steady sequence of very precise jumps, which due to the continuous auto-scroll, you have essentially no time to prepare. Going for hundred percent? Bet you're looking forward to that part about 5 minutes in where you have to ride a rolling boulder across a lava pit to reach an alternate exit door, while the screen is auto-scrolling. Slip and fall in the lava, and it's back to the very beginning of the level for you!
The very end of the level autoscrolls especially fast and has a series of pillars that you need to Ground Pound to collect the last red coins. If you miss, you only have a fraction of a second to get yourself pinched between the pillars and the autoscrolling sides — otherwise, instead of dying and going back to the last checkpoint, you must complete the level and start it again.
"More Monkey Madness". GODDAMMIT, STOP SPITTING SEEDS AT ME, YOU #@!$%* &%$#@! MONKEYS! And you have 5 seconds to get past those monkeys and grab the Shy Guy hovering above a bottomless pit before it flies off with a red coin. Gaaah! It isn't so bad in the SNES version, since for some goofy reason there are 21 red coins in that level (normal is 20, and you need exactly 20 of them); however, the GBA port fixes this, leaving you no room for error.
Anywhere that requires you to use the Wing Cap, due to the steep learning curve for the flying controls.
Super Mario 64 lends itself to many a Self-Imposed Challenge, one of the most common being getting every coin in each level of the game. There are a few levels that are annoying to do this on.
Hazy Maze Cave: Several coins must be obtained by defeating the bat enemies, which have a tendency to hang around over bottomless pits. Another type of enemy (Mr. I) must be defeated by running quick circles around it on small platforms.
Lethal Lava Land: Coins vanish when they touch lava. The player has to choose between using the shell and its imprecise controls, or going without and taking tons of damage, being oh-so-careful to time the coin collection just right. The volcano portion of the level has an enemy who must be punched down into the lava (which is about 10 stories up), at which point the player must then jump in after it, with perfect timing and perfect accuracy, and then make it back to the tiny platform nearby while you're flailing about from the lava so you can live to tell about it''. It's even harder than it sounds.
To single out a level which requires the Wing Cap, Wing Mario Over the Rainbow is one of the hardest levels in the game. The player has to collect eight Red Coins in the air. Solid ground is minimal, and due to the angles, it can be really difficult to gauge safe landing spots. The Wing Cap must be refreshed every so often to have enough time to collect all the coins. And that's not even mentioning the fact that if you fall off the stage, you end up outside the castle, and have to go all the way back up to the top to try again.
The DS version takes some of the sting out of this - if you need to land, keep an eye on the lower screen and activate a Ground Pound when the Mario icon is directly over an island. Even this is not foolproof, though - the lower map gives no indication of height, so if you rely on it too heavily you may Ground Pound while under an island instead of over it - and if you are too high up when you Ground Pound, Mario will lose two or even four units of health.
Tick Tock Clock is a nightmare. The level is long and painfully linear, and it's one continuous tricky jump after another after another, made worse by the fact that most of the level takes place on very thin platforms which are really easy to fall from. Plus, if you don't know the "trick" for entering the level, the whole level can end up requiring insane timing. Even if you do know the trick to stop the clock, two stars all but require the clock to be in motion so that the hands of the clock can carry you to the stars, at least in the N64 versionnote It is possible to get all the Tick Tock Clock stars without the clock moving(SuperJeenius having pulled it off in a Let's Play), but it does require some very skilled jumps. In the DS version, if you play as Luigi, all eight stars (including the 100-coin star) can be obtained while the clock mechanism is stationary.
Rainbow Ride (a really difficult area as it is) has a notably hard 100-coin star. There are plenty of coins in the area, but they're spread amongst several divergent pathways, and to get all the coins you need, you must go down each pathway and then backtrack so you can go down another. The layout of the course - a series of platforms in the sky with large distances between them and only flying carpets for navigation — does not make this easy, to say the least, and to boot, there is (as always) a switch that activates blue coins worth 5 each for a short time. In this level, the blue coin run is very easy to flub, resulting in an Unwinnable situation.
The race against Big Penguin in Cool, Cool Mountain. CrazyCommentaries mentions that one turn in particular is angled just such that you can't slow down without falling off, you can't go too fast without falling off, and sometimes the penguin you're racing will just bump you off the track if you barely make it past the turn. The turn actually earned the nickname "Demon Turn" from the duo.
Dire, Dire Docks is another area which is just hellish in general, and it's all thanks to the horribly imprecise swimming controls. The first mission is required to complete the game, but the only reason for a non-100% Completion-ist to bother with the rest of it is the awesome music. To single out specific missions:
Chests in the Current: You have to open four treasure chests in a specific sequence while underwater, but unlike the similar mission in Jolly Roger Bay, the chests are all facing different directions, and since they're clustered so closely together, you have to keep constantly swimming in circles and readjusting your angle so that you're lined up properly with the next chest. (Mario in this game lacks the ability to dive straight down, which if he had it would make this level significantly easier; sadly, that mechanic would not be added until Galaxy.) What makes this one really bad is that the final chest is located right in front of the whirlpool, making it next to impossible to open it without getting sucked into the whirlpool and dying before you can claim the star.
The Manta Ray's Reward: You have to trail behind a manta ray and swim through the rings that he releases as he moves through the water. To get the star, you have to swim through five consecutive rings, which due to your inability to turn on a dime while in the water, and the fact that they vanish after a couple of seconds and if you miss just one you have to start over, is really amazingly fricking frustrating.
The 100-coin star: There are only 106 total coins in the level, so you really need to collect almost every coin. And sooooo, sooooo many of them are underwater. And many of those are directly in front of instant-death whirlpools, so good luck collecting them all without dying! To save yourself some work, you might want to get this star at the same time as the red coin star, since you'll pretty much have to get all of those anyway in order to have enough coins to reach 100.
Really, any level where the stage is over a huge bottomless pit (Whomp's Fortress, Cool Cool Mountain, Tall Tall Mountain, Tiny Huge Island, Tick Tock Clock, Rainbow Ride, Bowser in the Dark World, Bowser in the Sky) or any level involving lava (Lethal Lava Land, Bowser in the Fire Sea) could count as this. That's roughly 2/3rds of the game.
"Wall Kicks Will Work/Mario's Super Wall Kick" is a brutally hard star to get, especially if it's in one of the Starter Levels (Cool Cool Mountain). You have to activate a cannon, which is in the middle of a chairlift section, which is easy to fall off. Afterwards, you must fire yourself onto a small island. If you fire too low or too high, you risk falling off. And learning to wall-jump can be a pain, especially if you accidentally land in a bottomless pit.
There's a very easy workaround for this. Jump on and kill one of the propeller-headed enemies standing on a ledge a bit below the area where the snowman bridge starts. Once you're flying, guide Mario so that he can go around the entire landmass and fly down to the platform with the ice bridge.
Super Mario Sunshine
The boat ride to Bowser in the last level. You must turn Mario just right and fire the FLUDD to propel the boat. It is very easy to crash the boat and tip you into the lava, an instant death.
Not to mention getting all the blue coins in that level for 100% Completion.
The mini-stages, in which every other platform is either moving, has tons of holes in, or is disintegrating beneath your feet, and in some cases the camera is swooping around so much that that jump you judged you'd make has now sent you plummeting off the edge. Not to mention that they all share the same Ear-Wormytune.
Probably the hardest mini-stages are the ones from the 2nd episode of Sirena Beach and 6th episodes of Noki Bay.
By far the worst Sunshine mini-stage is Delfino Plaza's Lily Pad Ride. First, you have to ride Yoshi across 3 barges to get there without running out of juice or falling into the water. And that's just to enter the mini-stage! Once you enter this dump, you'll find that you have to grab 8 Red Coins (many of which are in mid-air) while floating down an instant-death river on a barely-manoeuvrable lily pad that will dissolve shortly after you get on it. Oh, and there are bottomless pits all around the river. If you get a Game Over, you get taken back to Delfino Plaza's main square. That's right! You have to ride Yoshi ALL THE WAY BACK ACROSS THE WATER JUST TO TRY AGAIN! The only way to win is to make it to the end grabbing as many of the Red Coins as you can, and then walk very carefully along the super-thin railing to get back to the start for another run down the river. Oh, and that warp pipe at the end? Logically you'd think it would take you back to the start, right? Wrong; it takes you out of the level and back to Delfino Plaza! It's much, much easier to abuse a glitch to ride Yoshi underwater than to bother with the barge-riding to get there.
The Secret of the Village Underside. Yoshi controls terribly anyway, but you have to somehow jump down to a platform you can barely see. Then you get the actual mini-level, which instead of actual platforming, you just have to be thrown by Piantas. Sounds easy, but you have to be DEAD ON in your positioning and how you move the control stick, otherwise you're screwed! Actually, you may still be screwed anyway.
Averted in the Red Coin mission. Despite the Red Coin missions usually being more difficult than the regular secret levels due to the time limits and awkward coin positions, FLUDD will allow you to bypass all but one of the Piantas.
Pachinko Game. You have to retrieve eight Red Coins in a giant pachinko board (which, for those unfamiliar with the game, is essentially an upright pinball game with no flippers). However, you have extremely limited movement with FLUDD, and a good half of the coins are in really hard-to-reach locations. And should you happen to miss all the pockets and fall to the bottom of the board, you're immediately chucked out the bottom where you fall to your death. And should you happen to bring the Rocket Nozzle with you instead of the Hover Nozzle... good luck getting more than four coins.
This doesn't even touch on the worst part of it: you can't go left. Not past a certain point, anyways. Those two ball-returns on the left side of the board? You've pretty much got to cheat your way into them, because once you hit the center section, you can't go back. And if you're on the left, you can only move right. And the plunger will always shoot you past the top-left cup. The only real solution is to wall-kick up the starting chute and hope you can get just high enough that you can hover over.
The third mission of Pianta Village, "The Goopy Inferno". The entire village is covered in flaming goop, and worse, Shadow Mario swipes FLUDD as you enter. You do get it back... right before you get the Shine Sprite. Even worse, the slightest touch of the goop wrecks the controls to the point of almost certain death. There are a number of different ways of dealing with the situation, all of which have their difficulties. The intended solution involves taking a long roundabout route underneath the village; however, it's really easy to lose your bearings trying to navigate through the maze of platforms, and those catwalks are really easy to fall from. A quicker path is to swim up the river into the pond and then repeatedly jump out of it, splashing water out to clean a path to the mayor's house. However, while you're trying to do this, Swoopin' Stus and that bird flying overhead keep trying to splash goop on you, and even if you can clear out enough of a path, you still have to do a perfect spin jump to the right spot to make it count. Finally, you can tiptoe around the left side of the village and climb to the top of the tree and then spin jump to the center of the village. However, this particular route leaves you absolutely no margin for error; slip up just a tiny little bit and you're screwed. (You'll either fall from the tree and plummet to your death, or you'll land smack in the goop and won't have time to extricate yourself before you die.)
To single out yet another Pianta Village mission, there's the Fluff Festival Coin Hunt. It's another "collect the eight Red Coins" mission, but what makes this one so frustrating is that some of the coins are in extreme pain-in-the-ass locations. (Have fun trying to grab that coin on the ledge behind the beehive... or the one on the underground catwalks.) The worst one is the one at the top of the tall tree in the center of the village. You have to climb up the tree platform by platform, then use the Rocket Nozzle to get from the highest platform to the top of the tree. The problem with this is that the top of the tree is so far above you that you can't get to it with a simple Rocket jump; you have to get some extra height via spin-jumping and then rocket to the top of the tree from as high in the air as you can get. And if your jump is a little bit off, you'll likely hit the curved part of the treetop and end up sliding off the tree entirely, forcing you to make your way all the way back up the tree. Oh yeah, and to get Pianta Village's secret Shine, you have to get back to the top of the tree again. Good luck.
Guide Dang It: The platform above the Rocket Nozzle is a horrible red herring. After you get the Rocket Nozzle, go down one platform and get on the swing. There's some clouds positioned to easily get on top of the tree. Of course, you still have to get to the Rocket Nozzle and find all the other coins so it's still not easy.
And after all that, where does the Shine Sprite appear? On a cloud, over a bottomless pit, farther away from the main level than you thought it was possible to go. To get there, you have to — you guessed it — climb the tree and let a dandelion carry you toward the cloud, then jump off at the right time. The cloud is fairly big, but due to the awkward camera angle, it's easy to misjudge where you are and fall to your death.
In "The Watermelon Festival" in Gelato Beach, you have to guide a gigantic watermelon down a cliff and along a beach past a horde of Cataquacks, who, if they get anywhere close, will knock the watermelon into the air, popping it. Oh, and the controls for guiding said watermelon are hellishly awkward. You can squirt the Cataquacks with FLUDD to stun them, but the area is so swarmed with them that for every one you can fend off, there are always two or three more coming at you from the other side.
In "Yoshi's Fruit Adventure", you have to squirt juice onto jumping fish to reach a series of platforms. This one is extremely frustrating because if you're just a tiny fraction off in one of your jumps, Yoshi falls in the water and dissolves, forcing you to go all the way back and get him again, and then cross the platforms again to get back to where you were. One trick which makes this level a lot easier is after you reach the first stationary platform, to jump off to the side onto a ledge and have Yoshi eat a coconut. This will cause his juice to turn the platforms pink and go straight up instead of moving horizontally, basically carrying you the rest of the way to the shine. Surprisingly few players seem to catch onto this trick, however.
The eighth mission on Pinna Island, where you have to ride the same roller coaster you fought Mecha Bowser in and pop all of the balloons (20 in total) before the coaster completes 3 laps. Thanks to the poor, clunky aim, the rockets are very difficult to send off properly, so you'll usually end up having two or three stray balloons taunting you towards the end. You can only shoot most of them within one or two 3-second periods during the entire lap, so if you miss your chance, even if you have half a minute of ride left, you're pretty much boned.
In general, Sirena Beach. The first mission is a fight against That One Boss, followed by a romp through a secret stage, then you've gotta navigate the maze-like hotel, followed by a Luck-Based Mission with wonky physics leading to another secret stage, followed by a luck-based boss fight, followed by a boring clean-the-goop mission, followed by chasing Shadow Mario through said maze-like hotel, and then finishing off with finding 8 red coins in the resident Timed Mission... again in said maze-like hotel.
The Sand Bird. Thought collecting 8 red coins was annoying enough? Try doing it on a moving object with flapping wings which, combined with the game's wonky physics, is very easy to fall off of! And when it turns sideways, good luck getting to a safe location in time.
Don't forget World 8-4. Trying to get that last Star Coin without dying is CRAZY hard due to giant spiders dropping from the top of the screen and use of a Mini Mushroom. The Starman certainly helps, but it is not a free ticket to victory.
Yoshi's Island DS
Stage 5-5, the Cave That Never Ends, is an obnoxiously difficult forced-scrolling stage that very nearly lives up to its name. The level is a constant barrage of challenging platforming sections that are far too complex to make split-second maneuvers practical, yet that's what you have to do... you know, because of the autoscroll and all. There are several spots where you have to clear a path to a coin or flower and then backtrack so you can follow the path, only to find that you can no longer get to it because you didn't stay quite far enough ahead of the scroll. And then once you do finally get to the exit ring, you find out you passed it quite a while ago, but the scrolling wouldn't let you go to it until just now.
Stage 5-7, Super Hard Acrobatics, lives up to its name and then some. Unsurprisingly, it's composed of vicious jumping puzzles and dodging on moving platforms. If this weren't bad enough, unless you specifically set yourself otherwise, you're probably carrying Baby Donkey Kong into the stage,note Getting the preceding stage's baby coin requires using Donkey Kong for the level's final section, and there's no opportunity to switch babies after that. which cripples your speed and aerial ability.
Every single one of the secret levels is this.
"Welcome to Yoshi Tower!" is an Auto-Scrolling Level of Nintendo Hard puzzles and lava. The worst part of it is that there is not one single middle ring in the entire level. This means that not only does one mistake mean you're doing the entire level over, but you'll also have to scramble for every star you can find in the stage if you're trying to max your star count in order to get 100%. (Here's a tip: go into the level with a full supply of red eggs and then nail all those enemies at the beginning for all the stars you can get.)
"Yikes! Boiling Hot!" is a Nintendo Hard level of lava practically making up most of the level. The last section forces you to do a bunch of precision jumping while dodging lava-spitting enemies and an absolutely massive lava monster, who even if you can avoid being killed by him directly, will make things a lot harder by destroying the ground beneath you.
"A Light in the Dark" has very little light/visibility and a hated ski section. Remember how hard the ski section was in "Kamek's Revenge"? This makes that one look like cake.
"Hurry and Throw!" has two ungodly horrible sections. In the first, you have to dodge enemies and spikes while locating and depositing three number balls, all while the stage is auto scrolling. But this one is a looping autoscroll stage which just keeps taking you around and around the room until you find the exit. While this does give you some margin for error, it also gets annoying quick. For the second, you'd better have Peach or Mario, cause you're gonna have to do some master-level platforming. You have to make your way to the goal ring by bouncing off the backs of Paratroopas, all while collecting the usual crap and dodging obstacles like firebars which rotate in the air. Seriously, who designed this place?
Wario's route depends on puzzle-solving ability rather than platforming skills, so if you don't have problems with using a strategy guide, it's not too bad at all.
World 4-7, "Teeth-Chattering Chill Zone". Let's see: You use Bouncies in combination with ice to slide past the crushing rocks, BUT those things fall and rise INCREDIBLY fast, so you're likely to DIE. Then, you have to do a tricky platforming section with lots of Bumpties and Bouncies to avoid, as well as some moving platforms. These Bumpties and Bouncies, combined with it being an ice level, often lead to you falling to your death. This section is so hard, some gamers never even get past this part before giving up in frustration. The final section is a ski jump section, which normally is a Scrappy Mechanic, but here, it's actually the easiest part of the level.
World 5-1, "Rompin' Stompin' Chomps", features three different versions of the Chomp enemy, and they're all nasty. In the first section, you have to dodge huge, fast-moving Chomps which jump up and down in place while trying to collect red coins by throwing eggs really high into the air. Doesn't sound so bad? Did we mention that the screen is AUTO-SCROLLING while you're trying to do this? Yeah, good luck with that. In the second section, you have to hover over gaps while even bigger Chomps are raining down on you from above. And if you can manage to get past that, there's the final section, where one of the "eats everything in its path" Chomps from the first game chases you, and he's much faster than the ones in the original game. If you're going for 100%, be sure not to miss the very inconveniently placed coins and flowers while you're scrambling for your life!
The Baby Mario coin deserves special mention. First off, you need to know it's coming, because if you instinctively jump from the ledge above, you'll overshoot the coin with no way to get back. Then, because it's completely surrounded by breakable material, you have to shoot an egg at exactly the right angle; if you're a tiny bit off, you'll either destroy the ground underneath the coin or you'll leave a barrier blocking your way forward. Once you've cleared a path the coin, you must jump in, grab it, jump out onto a moving platform, and then get through the rest of the level (if you die, you lose the coin). And all of that, while being chased by a Chomp with Rubber Band AI.
Super Mario Galaxy
There's a Daredevil Comet challenge where you have to go through Melty Molten Galaxy, which is covered in lava, without being hit once, leading to furniture being punched in frustration after missing a jump after going through the entire level for the fortieth time. Not to mention the controller-breaking madness of having to climb the huge rock spire at the end while it sinks into the frickin' lava.
When you unlock Luigi, you have to race a Shadow version of yourself in several galaxies who's much, much faster than you are, makes nearly impossible jumps, and will cause you to miss jumps if you happen to occupy the same space as him.
The Ghostly Galaxy's Daredevil Comet pits you up against That One Boss, Bouldergeist, and because of the Daredevil Comet, you cannot get hit even once. The way to beat the boss is to throw three sets of three Boo Bombs at his center, but you have so little control of where the bombs will go off that half the time Bouldergeist's arms will take the hit, lengthening the fight. And since Bouldergeist's main attack is summoning jagged rocks from the ground that are really hard to dodge, you will be playing that level for a while. Best to just skip it unless you want 100% Completion.
Luigi's Purple Coins is just as hard as that one. In this level, there is no lava, only a green slime that is instant death (by contrast, you bounce off lava and lose a bit of health) and all platforms either disappear or start rotating once you step on them. Needless to say, planning your route is required, as any mistakes are immediately fatal. Also, there's a time limit, but since you're much more likely to die by being forced to fall into the green slime by the disappearing/rotating platforms, it may as well not even be there at all. How bad is it? In an interview in Nintendo Power, one of the developers outright said that it was the hardest level in the game. When the developer of the game finds it difficult, you know you've got a hard one.
While not as infuriating as Luigi's Purple Coins, Sling Pod Galaxy is evil. Using the Wii-mote to launch Mario into small targets and time shots around obstacles made for controller breaking notfun. And star bits in excess of nine thousand (not joking) were earned, thanks to the developers always making sure there were enough of them to give you an extra life every time you died.
This one is more like that one mini-game. In the Battlerock galaxy, during the third star mission, you can access a secret area with piles of trash on it and a robot who wants you to clear it up by throwing Bob-Ombs at them. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the 30-SECOND TIME LIMIT, the fact that those Bob-Ombs take FOREVER to explode, and that the only way to really get all of the piles of trash is to throw them on 5 small yellow spots on the ground. Fun. Then, in the Dreadnought Galaxy, you get to do it all over again, only this time there are 6 little yellow spots for which to aim and NO INCREASE IN THE 30-SECOND TIME LIMIT. For added amusement, try playing these levels as the less sure-footed Luigi. GRRRRAH!
It says a lot that the sequel, which virtually had the mission statement of being harder than the original, made trash-destroying significantly easier. This could be Nintendo's way of admitting that the trash-destroying missions in the first game were an example of Fake Difficulty; they wanted the second game to be hard, but they wanted it to be because of real difficulty.
The Battlerock and Dreadnought purple coin missions are very similar — in both missions, you have to travel on a moving platform and collect coins while dodging cannonballs and other obstacles, and in both cases, if you miss a coin, there's no way to go back and get it. It's a toss-up as to which of the two is more difficult. In Battlerock, you have to do insane jumps over super-huge electric fences as well as having to constantly switch between two sides of a moving platform (which, thanks to the weird physics, makes it much, much harder than it sounds). In Dreadnought, the platform you're on goes upwards, sideways, and then completely upside down as you're struggling to collect coins and dodge the cannonballs, which come at you even more relentlessly than the ones in Battlerock. To add to this, since this is 3D, you can easily miss the coins by forgetting that the platform also has depth.
The Ghostly Galaxy purple coin mission. You only have one freakin' minute to collect 100/150 coins that are scattered in a bone pen. And there are meat bones everywhere. Good luck on this.
The Gusty Garden Galaxy one counts as well. It's another "Get 100/150 coins within the time limit" mission, except you're on the puzzle cube of the first mission of that galaxy, and it can be confusing to get to an area you want to. And to add to it, you only have 2:30 to complete this mission. Thank god you don't have to collect them all, because one section is really painful; there is a part of the cube with purple coins on such thin ledges it's extremely easy to fall off, plus the camera goes wonky in that area. And finally, the clock will still tick even after the Star appears, and it's very confusing to get to the area it's found - made even harder because you'll probably only have like 45 seconds left on the clock.
The three trial galaxies are called that for a reason.
The Loopdeswoop Galaxy. Tilt the Wiimote a bit too much, or not quite enough, or speed up in just the wrong place, and it's into the void with you. Over and over again.
The Rolling Gizmo Galaxy, which forces you to cross very thin platforms, dodge Bob-Ombs, and ride moving platforms while rolling on a ball and crossing the void. It's practically a Death Course, which Everything Trying To Send You Over The Edge. Make no mistake — you will die — over and over!
The Bubble Blast Galaxy. Why? You probably know. This is another level with that freaking bubble. And there are electric fences, everywhere. The first objective is to collect five Star Chips within five different areas, all featuring you riding that bubble. And then after you collect them all, you'll be launched to an area where it's pretty much a race against Bullet Bills that home on to you. You've also got those guns that shoot electric balls to worry about, too. Woe is you.
The four Cosmic Comet missions are all pretty unforgiving; you race a clone of yourself to the star, which is harder than it sounds because the clone is faster than you, doesn't make mistakes, and in the case of Luigi's clone, takes shortcuts. The most difficult of all of them is Sea Slide Galaxy's "Underwater cosmic race", where there is simply no margin for error. No matter how many times you've beaten this game, this level still strikes fear.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
9-7, even by World 9 standards, is flatly unbelievable. To explain, the entire level past the start point is basically made out of ice blocks. Ice blocks melt when hit by fireballs. There are Fire Piranha Plants popping out of every pipe, in clusters, throwing fire that will burn away your platforms. Oh, and if the platforms aren't positioned over bottomless pits, they're covering invincible chomping plants. Cue Unwinnable situations happening if you mess up.
If you're going for Star Coins, you're pretty much screwed. To make it achievable through anything other than luck or unholy skill, you must have a Fire Flower at a certain point. You have to run right (on ice), stop (again, on ice), turn around (once again, on ice), throw a fireball to the left, jump down and grab the Star Coin, jump back up, and then run forward before the Fire Piranha Plants melt all the ice blocks in front of you. See the image at the top of the page? That's what happens 99.99% of the time you go for the second Star Coin.
If you're willing to wait a while, though, it's possible to goad one of the Fire Traps into melting the ice above the second Star Coin by waiting above the pipe to its left. As an added bonus, until you make the run for the Coin, you won't get close enough to the hanging Fire Traps for them to start firing at you.
And the third one, yarrrgh. Eventually the rest of the level becomes a cakewalk because your thumbs have learned how to get you there on autopilot and you just. Keep. Dying.
9-4 is no walk in the park, if only because it's an Auto-Scrolling Level and, if you're going for the star coins, the hardest one to get is at the end. The second one is also difficult unless you can freeze a Bob-Omb and throw it at the coin; otherwise, the platform has to be at just the right height and then you have to jump off of it and then make a perfectly timed wall jump so that you'll get to the coin and make it back to the platform safely - all while the level continues autoscrolling.
World 5 could qualify too, especially the acid river in 5-4, and especially if you're a moderately talented first-timer who found the secret exit in 1-3 and decided to skip ahead...
2-2 isn't so hard if you're just playing through, but if you're trying to get the Star Coins... all of those freaking Spikes...
2-1 is similar in that respect. The third Star Coin in particular can really be a pain to get, especially if you're not very good at timing a throw of a shell.
Ludwig's Fortress too, in single player. It's clearly a stage designed with groups of people in mind, since it is hell trying to juggle tons and tons of Bob-ombs raining down on you by yourself while you slowly rise left and right.
7-6, in addition to being relatively hard to find, is an auto-scroller that has you jumping on the heads of large Para-Buzzies for the entire level. There's rarely any solid ground, and most of the Para-Buzzies aren't that big, so one slip will usually send you back to the beginning. Oh! And no midway flag. Enjoy.
3-4 is also known to be difficult, since it takes place mostly on giant moving blocks of ice. One wrong slip and you'll be crushed or fall into a bottomless pit. And because of a thing the developers did with the secret exits, you're forced to play through it twice. Thankfully the second run is much easier than the first.
2-4, also known as the level with that wretched sandstorm. A good chunk of the level will be spent pinned down against a wall, waiting for the wind to stop blowing. Just getting through the level is a pain, but getting all the Star Coins and the secret exit as well is...an exercise in patience, considering how easy it is to slip up and die, ruin your chances of getting them, or both. It doesn't help that the secret exit is at the end of the level.
The final fight with Bowser. We know he's the final boss and all, but the battle has two absolutely HUGE surprises that makes the battle so much harder than it has to be.
One, when you get to the final door, you have to run through this huge, completely empty hallway. It's really long and boring, so you're tempted to just throw caution to the wind and blindly rush through it to get to the boss room. Here's the surprise: It's a trick to get you to a lower power level. If you just run down the hallway without caution, then one of Bowser's randomly-spawning giant fireballs will hit you.
This is probably around ten times harder if you're doing this with a partner or a party, because you know that at least one member of your team will be jumping the entire way there to show off or something, which will predictably result in bouncing off the top of someone's head and right into a fireball. Thankfully, there's a few shallow holes where you can take cover in.
Once you move past the hallway and into Bowser's lair, the initialnote Notice the "Initial" battle itself is incredibly easy, almost an Anti-Climax Boss, but then Kamek comes out of nowhere and revives him, turning him into a giant and turning the level into an autoscroller. Basically, you need to run through the remainder of Bowser's castle, which is, at this point, a Lethal Lava Landunto itself!
This wouldn't be that bad if everything wasn't trying to kill you. You need to jump from stone platform to stone platform, which you will totally screw yourself on if you try to collect coins. And if that wasn't bad enough, you have random goombas, koopas and paratroopas moving around while you have to jump on these platforms.
Also, Giant!Bowser spits out giant, though almost painfully slow-moving fireballs. These fireballs can destroy platforms, which, if they hit a crucial platform at just the right moment, will either trap you or cause you to fall into the lava.
The one saving grace of this part is that there are a couple of power-ups at the very beginning of this part. It's just that they're trapped inside a prison of stone platforms, which have to be hit with Bowser's fireballs to get to, and even if you get them, you might not come out of the stone prison fast enough and get lagged to death because it's y'know... an autoscroller.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Cloudy Court Galaxy is an easy level on its own, but how about the secret mission, Silver Stars In The Purple Pond? You go to a massive bowl filled with dark matter (?) with a system of clouds floating over it. To make matters worse, a Cosmic Clone spawns behind you for each star you get, so that will mean that you will have up to FOUR clones chasing you. So, in other words, you have to get the stars without taking a single hit OR retracing your steps. If you take a hit, you fall through the clouds, and into the insta-kill dark matter Mario goes. If you turn around, the clones will get you.
If you didn't hate the Cosmic Clones enough already, "Cosmic Clones in the Chompworks" will make you curse them to your very soul. In that level, you have to race around a course holding down platforms to try to guide a Golden Chomp to the end of the course where it will release the Star. Not only is it hard to stand and wait on the platforms the right amount of time while the clones are chasing you, but the layout of the level makes you retrace your steps quite a bit — which, of course, means running smack through where all the clones are running around. Once you eventually succeed, the sight of all the clones instantly disintegrating and turning into Star Bits is extremely cathartic.
And if you thought they were through with you after that, try "Cosmic Clones Wall Jumpers" in the Flip-Out Galaxy. It's pretty much you having to wall-jump and spin with precision up alternating red and blue walls that slide in and out while those sadistic clones chase you down. And since there's hardly any room for you to wall jump without colliding with them if you get knocked back down, getting hit once pretty much costs you a life.
Clockwork Ruins Galaxy has you traversing a series of giant rotating cogs. This wouldn't be so bad, but gravity does not keep you in place, so you have to keep moving around the edges of the platforms in order to stay in a position where you don't fall to your death, and at the same time, keep moving forward so you can proceed through the level. And as if that weren't enough, you later have to go through it again to collect purple coins. While there's a timer on the level. Ouch.
The Special World. For starters, there are stages based off of the "Luigi's Purple Coins" mission and the platforming levels from Sunshine. Also, the Stone Cyclone Galaxy features enemies that go at ludicrously fast speeds. And to top it all off, there's the Boss Blitz Galaxy. Sure, fighting Dino Piranha, King Kaliente, Major Burrows, Bouldergeist, and Fiery Dino Piranha is simple enough, but then the Comet mission slaps you with a 5-minute time limit!
The Boss Blitz Galaxy Comet wouldn't be so frustrating if it weren't for Bouldergeist. Anyone who has played the first one knows that he is a tough boss to beat, and as shown in the sequel, he's even worse under a time limit. While the first half is easy enough, he then grows hands and the frustration starts. Most of the time, he's either punching, pounding the ground, throwing rocks and Bomb Boos, or creating stalagmites on the ground. Even when you get a Bomb Boo, good luck trying to hit him. The three other attacks almost always create obstructions that cost you precious seconds on the timer if the Bomb Boo you're currently holding hits these obstructions. If you do actually beat him, more often than not, most of the time you only have a few seconds left to beat the subsequent boss. Which just so happens to be Fiery Dino Piranha. It's enought to give the most hardened gamer a mental breakdown. What were the level designers thinking?
The Stone Cyclone Galaxy. It's the result of taking the third mission of Beach Bowl Galaxy from the first game, making the Cyclone Stone the only planet, making everything on it move five times faster, and putting Silver Stars on it. That means no checkpoints. Of all levels to reincorporate the time-slow gimmick on, they chose THIS. That's why it's so fast; you're expected to slow everything down. It's pretty bad when the hardest galaxy in the game is a level from the first game,which wasn't that hard to begin with. And then there's Green Star 1...
The speed run comet gets rid of the time switches. So you have to go through the level at normal speed. While timed. You're at least able to take some shortcuts in this one, however, since you don't have to collect any Silver Stars, just get to the end of the level.
"Luigi's Purple Coin Chaos" takes a contender for the hardest mission in the original game and manages to make it even more annoying. On top of the purple coins to collect, the vanishing green platformsnote The rotating platforms are gone, but that's only a consolation, and Cosmic Clones which begin spawning the instant you get the first coin, you have to do it all in two minutes. If you plan to do this level, bring a friend; Co-Star Luma can keep the vanishing platforms there for you. In the previous game, there were more purple coins than you needed; this time, you need every last one.
The Grandmaster Galaxy by itself is merely tough. Its comet star, however, transforms it into a platform hell incarnate nightmare. There are multiple sections to this galaxy, and you must pass all of them with only a single hit point. The first section involves riding Yoshi to swing across a field littered with mines, hovering spiked mole-things, and a few homing Bullet Bill launchers, which forces you to rethink a mechanic that you've been using since the start of the game in order to get through. The next portion has you activating a grid of tiles by walking on them while sadistic robots each fire a long range laser at you when you get close to them. After this, you must move across an electric-fence field by creating cloud platforms that are forced to sidescroll to the right. Then comes hopping across a road made entirely of either green tiles that begin to disappear if you land on them or red-blue tiles that flip whenever you spin; meanwhile, there are spike-topped giant-laser-halo emitters and octopi that shoot fireballs scattered across the road. Then you navigate through cruelly-placed moving electric lines with pull-stars while avoiding the flying Goombas. And finally comes platforms littered with a merciless gauntlet of Hammer Bros. plus a trio of Boomerang Bros. at the end that you must get rid of. So to conclude: Insane course, one hitpoint, and no checkpoints at all, thus meaning that one hit will send you all the way back to the start. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. note It pays to learn how far Yoshi can grab in section 1, as quite a few flowers can be skipped. Finishing section 1 with a well-timed flutter jump will let you keep Yoshi, which is useful for getting section 2 done a little quicker and moving on. In section 3 you need to leave Yoshi but you can preserve two or even all three clouds at the end, which can be used at any point. But, the very next section has platforms that encourage you to spin, which uses the clouds. In section 5, the toughest part can be bypassed with a skillful long-jump + pull combination (which seems to be a deliberate alternative). Section 6, good luck.
Fleet Glide Galaxy. You thought Fluzzard was hard enough to control? Now you have to use him again. There's just one problem; you die whenever you touch a wall. And there's lava everywhere. God help you if you miss the Life Mushroom, as that's the only thing that keeps you alive.
The Comet Medal is even worse. You have to pass through five rings, including one far off the path to the left in the second section which requires God like controls to make it back to the main route in time, and then collect the medal which flies at you in mid air at high speed.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 contains one incredibly difficult comet mission in the Rolling Coaster Galaxy: you have to collect purple coins while riding on an extremely hard to control ball, with no way to backtrack. Oh, and did we mention that you have to complete it in under two minutes?! Some of the coins are scattered about on the platforms in between slide sections, and if you aren't ultra-precise in rolling over them, you will either run out of time or be forced to leave them behind and possibly fall short of 100.
The Beat Block Galaxy, by itself, isn't hard: a set of yellow blocks and a set of green blocks alternate being solid, and you just have to listen for the musical cue for each switch, which happens every eight beats. The comet mission has you repeat the mission in double-time... except, actually, it's quadruple-time, with the blocks alternating every two beats (which is pretty much every second). It's a good idea not to jump toward any block that is solid, as it most likely won't be anymore by the time you reach it. As if this wasn't enough, whereas in the normal mission you only have to collect five Silver Stars on what is a single side of a pyramid with alternating green/yellow blocks, the comet mission has a full pyramid to go around, with the Silver Stars scattered all around it. You do get Yoshi to "help" you out, although an ill-timed flutter jump can send you falling to your doom as well.
Green Stars in general are a pain, as some range from just waiting on a platform to dissipate from beneath you, to overcoming odd camera angles and controls thanks to gravity so you can leap to your death. That said, some individual Green Stars are worth singling out.
The first Green Star of Stone Cyclone Galaxy is nearly impossible to get without cheating. For starters, they positioned the star so high that it's impossible to get even with your highest jumps. To make things worse, they also positioned it in the route of the impossibly fast Tox Boxes, so even if you get close to the star, it wouldn't matter, because you'll be squashed. The only way to get it requires precise timing, by first turning on the time slow switch, and try to jump on the Tox Box. If you mess that up, you have to cross the platforms back to the switch, which is made needlessly difficult by the speed of them, and try the strategy again, which, more often than not, squishes you flatter than a pancake. (Worth noting that you can get the Green Star with a well-timed triple jump from the elevated part of the platform. You still have to time your movements around the Tox Box's path, though, so it's still a pain in the ass to get.)
The first Green Star in the Boo Moon Galaxy. You have to ride an extremely fast moving platform going at running speed, then long jump off to the star in a split second, hopefully not hitting the instant kill poison underneath.
The Flipsville final Green Star. You have to fall into it from the wrong side of the platform. It's not above land, so there's no shadow to judge your fall, and if you miss, Mario is instantly killed by flying off into space. The Camera Screw for this star is so bad that it currently gives the image for this Wiki's Fake Difficulty page.
The final Green Star in Shiverburn Galaxy. The star is located on the third planet, and you have to use the Cloud Flower to reach it. The problem? The Cloud Flower is only found on the first planet. You have to get the Cloud Flower and make it all the way to the third planet without taking a hit or spinning more than twice, since spinning uses up one of your three clouds, and you need at least one cloud to get the star on the third planet. And the second planet is really hard to get through under these restrictions, since it takes place on shifting platforms over lava while a bunch of rock-spitting enemies are trying to kill you. If you mess up at this point, you have no way to refresh your clouds, so you have to do the whole thing over again.
The final Green Star in Melty Monster Galaxy is pretty sadistic as well. Rolling through an extremely lengthy passage with the Stone Mushroom, unable to slow down or stop, having to move in a line that's as straight as possible or you'll end up falling into a hole, or crashing into a wall and bounce off it, and then, at the very end of the course, you have to fall off the platforms and collide with a star suspended in mid-air. You have to be moving in a very precise direction and fall off at exactly the right spot to catch it, and it's almost impossible to accurately guess where you have to fall off, and even harder to control it well enough to actually get it right.
The mission this Green Star is found in, the second mission, is quite hard as it is. The passage you're trying to control Rock Mario down is a twisty (and oftentimes narrow) path with gaps, and as if Rock Mario is not easy to control, towards the end you have to bounce off two boxing ring ropes... With an easy-to-reach 1-up early on and crystals with Star Bits all along the path, extra lives will come readily to you, which is good, because you will die a lot.
Super Paper Mario
3-3 has those damned Crayzee Dayzees in a rather annoying jump-centric level. They hit you when you're in the middle of a jump, and there's a good chance you will start back at the bottom of the tree. And when you finally make it out of there and deal with this level's miniboss, you still have quite a bit of jumping to do...and it's possibly made worse by having a few Lakitus roam the sky.
If you don't just hop on GameFAQs, Chapter 2-3 is the ultimate in Scrappy levels. To wit - you have to play out extremely long, unbearably boring minigames to run up 1,000,000 Rubees to pay for a vase. Even though you really only need about 10,000 (the rest can be found once you've got that), it takes forever and a year just to get that much, and if a player does not talk to people much, then it is theoretically possible to go for the full million. Thankfully, every bit of that minigame work can be skipped over if you just hop on the Internet and figure out how to get the hidden stash of them without worrying about paying NPCs to tell you.
Super Mario 3 D Land
SW8-Crown. First off, there's no checkpoint. The first half of the level consists mostly of narrow used coin blocks you must jump across. It's practically impossible to get across that part without a Tanooki Suit, and even with it, you're still gonna die a few times. Or more. If you survive that part, you're pitted against Boom Boom and Pom Pom at the same time. Then you go through one of those green roller coaster stages with bombs and complicated jumps galore. Then you're thrown onto a block where you must run to the other side while dodging fire, lasers, enemies, and a Giant Cosmic Mario who won't let you stop and take a breath. If you didn't have a mushroom or other item on you at that part, you're most likely dead. THEN... you get to ride across the rest of the level while watching the green floor unfold, spelling out "THANK YOU!!"
It's possible to mistake the unfolding green floor for the proper path if you're expecting the brutal level design to continue. This would be a mistake.
S8-3. It's a rehash of 5-Castle. 5-Castle wasn't so bad, huh? Well, S8-3 is. You start out with only 30 seconds on the clock, and you can't stop or turn around because a Giant Cosmic Mario is chasing you. Not to mention the star coins (and time bonuses, to a lesser extent) are VERY inconveniently placed, more enemies are added, and all item blocks are no more. You're gonna cry.
S7-1. It's basically 3-4. Wasn't so bad, right? Well, this level may not have any previous obstacles or enemies, but they are replaced with Boomerang Bros. throwing boomerangs at you when you are on a tightrope with little space to dodge, and with only 30 SECONDS. Oh, and you'll have to kill enemies to get time, and waste some getting Star Medals, since they are NOT on your path. And those Roulette Blocks over there? You're probably gonna get a mushroom. Admit it, you want to cry now.
S7-5. Especially the first coin. All you have to do to get it is hit a block, jump onto it, and get it. In theory it's pretty much nothing, but in practice it's a lot tougher then it looks. It's an Auto-Scrolling Level, so you get maybe half the time you need to do it. If you actually got it, you have to get ahead VERY quickly before the screen kills you, which is much easier said then done.
S8-2 is just bluntly a nightmare without the Tanooki Suit, and even with it, it's still a pretty big pain in the ass. Those rollers have a tendency of making Mario's motions borderline random.
S7-castle is INSANLY hard with timers, a cosmic clone and don't even mention the star coins!
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Getting a high score in 4-3 is the most infuriating thing about the first Mario vs Donkey Kong.Nothing comes close to the level of bullshit that is this level, and whoever designed it is a sadist. Given the way the first half of the stage functions, you have to have almost perfect timing at certain sections, especially in the second half, if you want to just barely beat the default high score by just one or, if you're lucky/good enough, two hundred points (Every second left on the clock is multiplied by one hundred and added to your score). Experience has shown that it is still possible to get the Star (which is needed to help unlock the Expert levels) by matching the default high score. Just don't expect the game to acknowledge it by highlighting your score, because you didn't actually beat the old score.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!
Just try to 100% complete S-1 in plus mode. Almost the entire level is made of girders.
The Expert levels are no walk in the park, either, especially X-6, complete with those Thwomps out of stone. Worse: the goal is on top of one of those removable blocks. Just try to complete it, especially in Plus mode.
World 7, Cannon Cove is a nice breather level after the hell that was world 6, even in plus mode. That is, however, until you hit the nasty brick wall of 7-7 with a hellish puzzle with capture kongs and an almost guarantee of getting your minis in the door out of order. That level is by far the hardest level in the game outside the Brutal Bonus Level set, and even then, it's harder than most of the Nintendo Hard bonus levels.
New Super Mario Bros. 2
The Dash Mario (cannon) levels are extremely difficult (albeit a bit short) on-the-fly high-speed madness. You have to make extremely precise jumps across platforms through lines of enemies without being able to stop and take a moment to plan your maneuvers because Mario can't stop running. The worst of the bunch is World Flower-Cannon, where you have to time a bunch of jumps off parachuting Bob-ombs which sway from left to right as they fall, not to mention all the rotating Amps you have to deal with. If you time your jumps off the Bob-ombs correctly, you'll dodge the Amps automatically, but it's extremely difficult because there is absolutely no margin for error.
World Star-4. You have almost every moon coin and you see that you missed the middle moon coin. What is so hard about it? The middle moon coin is in a tiny Mario pipe, that means you have to survive a BIG cheep cheep, Koopas, and an Auto-Scrolling Level. If that is not hard enough for you, you have to get the middle moon coin as Mini Mario, which makes you a One-Hit-Point Wonder. You will cry.
Not so bad if you just carry a Mini Mushroom in your inventory while you play through most of the stage as Fire Mario. When you get to the small warp pipe, just zap the stupid pufferfish then activate your Mini Mushroom and jump into the pipe before it can respawn.
World Star-Castle. Sounds easy? Trying watching your ass from the Koopalings, who can turn you into stone like Medusa. Only the brown background walls will protect you from turning into stone. And after all that... Dry Bowser...
The Downloadable Content Nerve-Wrack Pack of the Coin Rush mode is basically this. No wonder it's rated five out of five stars in terms of difficulty. Each of the levels (the pack has three fixed levels) have a certain gimmick to it that makes the level a lot harder than it looks like.
The first level is basically a level full of P-Switches that you have to press in order to continue. The P-Switch turns the nearby coins into platforms for you to run onto the next switch, so you have to press the switch quick and then go to the next switch before time runs out. And not only that, if you intend to go as Gold Mario to create some shortcuts to collect more coins, be careful of not destroying the only platforms that you can run on. If you intend to collect the Star Coins, hope that you have good reflexes!
The second level is basically a volcano level full of Paratroopas and Podoboos. The main way to traverse across the level is to jump on the Paratroopas to go to the next part. The thing is, the Podoboos may be in your way, and that once you jump on the Paratroopa, it's basically finished, so you can only jump on each Paratroopa once. Make one wrong move and you'll be jumping straight into the lava. Oh, and there is a time limit of 100 seconds. So you better make a move quickly or else you're done for good.
The last level is a Dash Mario level where the entire level consists of jumping on Bullet Bills. It's a very good way to get coins if you're Gold Mario, and if you thought the level was a bit too easy and short, go to the left of the first cannon and you'll find a secret route to another Dash Mario cannon. This is the harder version of the normal Dash Mario level, and it's the only way to get all 3 Star Coins.
The Impossible DLC Pack is basically the Nerve-Wrack Pack turned Up to Eleven. Heck, it's even rated as DANGER! They're so hard that even doing them with White Racoon Mario will give you trouble (all three levels have short time limits, and WR Mario can't get the clocks and can only get more time from the half-way point flag, leaving much you with much less time to spare). Here's a quick rundown on all 3 of them.
First level has you using a spinning platform to get through a sky section while dodging ravens and lakitu, not too hard but annoying, then you get to a water section crawling with Chain Chomps and Hammer Bros which require pitch perfect timing to get past.
Second level has several sections where you have to traverse up rotating platforms surrounded by podaboos at akward angles while dodging spinys, these sections require perfectly timed jumps and have very little room for error.
The Third level has poisonous water (which can kill even White Racoon Mario) rising and falling for the whole stage, and in your path are conveyor belts, gears, and flame jets and you have pretty much zero room for error with your jumps.
The secret exit of World 3-Tower. You have to Mini Mario to access it, and that's CRAZY hard, because of all the bone-fishes and spiked pillars in the area. After you get in the secret mini pipe? Dodge more spiked pillars and bone-fish. And it's all but required to access the cannon that launches you to World Flower. HOLY CRAP.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
1-5 is a fairly moderate level, but trying to get past the Lakitu throwing Spinies everywhere can be frustrating for some gamers because you're more than likely to end up touching one; and you can't jump on them, since they have spikes. They also deal 5 damage a hit, when the most health you can have at this point is 25 HP. Hope you've saved non-jumping stickers up for these moments.
4-3 (The Enigmansion), no doubt. You have to defeat 100 Boos in order to complete the level. Fortunately, some are fought together as a group... but they're hard to defeat. The hardest Boos to defeat are the five that battle you disco-style, and the sheets of 82 Boos combined together (you find two conveniently-located Flashy Infinijumps in the level, for good reason). It's a large level, and it can get extremely frustrating try to find that Last Lousy Boo. Once you've gotten all 100 Boos, you're done with this level, right? Wrong. Now you have to put the book away in the basement. But then Kamek appears and turns all 100 Boos into one giant Big Boo, who only has one attack: jumping onto you and grabbing you. Sounds easy at first, but then the lights come on and you can't directly attack it. Hope you have lots of Spike Helmets or the Vacuum for this battle; you'll need either one of them. What a long, frustrating mess it is.
5-6, which is the home of the World 5 boss, Petey Piranha. It seems to be easy at first, but then when you get to the bridge, Petey Piranha appears and eats Kersti. Without Kersti, you can't paperize (so attaching the secret door of this level to its rightful place can't be done until Kersti is rescued). Then you cross half the level, and it's easy until you reach the Chain Chomp you have to battle. It can't take damage no matter WHAT item you use. You have to use a Baahammer to put it to sleep and then run off. Then you have to battle it again. You have to use useless items before it wakes up. Once it does, it goes ramming across the screen (you HAVE to have more then 10 HP here, since the Chain Chomp runs into you with no stopping, and you lose 10 HP for that). Then finally, you reach the boss, Petey Piranha. He has 300 HP. It's pretty much hard. But what makes it worse is that you can't use the Battle Spinner, because you need Kersti to operate that, and Kersti is in Petey's body. And with the royal sticker on his head, your stickers do little damage to him. Your only bet on beating him is to use Infinijumps stickers. At least you get Kersti back at the end of this level...
You can use a sticker that gushes a lot of water, like the faucet, on Petey, and then you use shoe stickers to attack him in a manner similiar to how you defeat him in Mario Sunshine. However, nothing in the game hints to this, and you may not even think of attacking him in this way unless you have played Sunshine. Kersti would likely give you a hint towards that, if, well, she wasn't eaten...
4-5. Not too bad at the start, but the ski lift part is really annoying. First off, there are so many enemies (mainly Paragoombas and Fuzzies), and to avoid them, you have to sway left and right, but swaying your ride only lasts for a few seconds. Also, to collect coins or hearts, you have to press the A button when the top of your ride is under that item. Not to mention the ski lift part is really long.
5-3. You've got an annoying Cheep-Chomp trying to eat your raft. If it eats all five logs of the raft, it's game over. If you're swallowed whole, it's game over. And yes, the name of the level is right (Long Fall Falls), the level is long. Worse yet, to access the secret exit of this level, you have to face the Cheep-Chomp AGAIN.
Not to mention that if you get the secret exit before the normal one, or if you get both and still have stuff to get in the level, the fish's AI improves, making the level even harder.
Getting the Toad from 1-4 back to Decalburg counts as this. If you fall off the ledge, start all over again. If you touch an enemy, START ALL OVER AGAIN. HOLY CRAP. And the Toad won't jump over the enemies either. You have to fight them to get the Toad back to Decalburg. You'll have an easier time at the World 1 boss than this crap.
World 3. The world is so long that it's not much of an exaggeration to say it's longer than the previous two worlds combined.note The first world had 6 levels, while the second world had 5. World 3? 12. And the levels are looooong. Most of the entire world is spent backtracking and trying to find the four pieces of a Wiggler, all of which run away and try to fight you at one point, and love to dodge your attacks (though, at only 15 HP apiece, they aren't that bad). Also, nearly every single level in the world is covered in poison, which hurts you to step in it (and if you battle while in it, expect to randomly take damage and screw up your perfect bonus), and infested with Ninji. The creepy music starts to get old after a short time.
To summarize the worst levels: Leaflitter Path is pretty much a Blackout Basement because of how dark and foggy the place is, which makes it easy to walk into poison. The Bafflewood is The Maze (though you can set markers for the first few path branches). In Rustle Burrow, you lose your hammer, Kersti, and your stickers. All of them. And the local Scuttlebugs are all over the place, and the miniboss of that world can't be hurt except by destroying its web, and each attempt will be responded with an unblockable 8 damage. Gauntlet Pond is also really long, and has segments with jumping on swinging logs across a huge poison lake. Then in Whitecap Beach you have to fight Gooper Blooper, who, like all the bosses in this game, is ludicrous without abusing its weakness. Yeesh.
World 2-3, Sandshifter Ruins. The level is a large, confusing mess of paths and chambers that mostly relies on trial and error. Go down the wrong route, and you're shot all the way above the ruins and you have to start all over. To make matters worse, it's the only level in its world that has multiple exits, and both of them are mandatory.
New Super Mario Bros. U
Frosted Glacier-Ghost House/Swaying Ghost House, just for the sheer Guide Dang It factor. The door to proceed is hidden behind a false wall—with no indication that said wall is anything but a wall, especially considering it feels perfectly solid if you don't have a P-Switch activated—in not one but two rooms, although the second at least gives you a hint...hidden behind another wall. The secret exit is even worse: the room it's in requires being fairly fast just to get to the regular door, and getting to the secret door allows you only a very small margin of error...even if you figure out that this time, the door is hidden behind the ceiling.
Soda Jungle-Tower/Snake Block Tower. "Snake block" levels are nothing new, but this time, you have two sets of blocks to keep track of, one normal-sized and one giant, and they move around lots and lots of Amps and Ball 'n' Chains, some of them in configurations that are nearly impossible to dodge. And the Star Coins? Easy enough to find, but good luck getting them all without taking a hit.
Peach's Castle-1/Meteor Moat. The level in and of itself isn't that bad, until you get past the checkpoint. After that, you start getting bombarded by the meteors, while at the same time dealing with rising tides of lava and a crap load of Dry Beetles. It gets worse if you're going for the star coins, especially the third. But if you're trying to get at the secret exit, good luck not raging.
Peach's Castle-Castle 1/Red-Hot Elevator Ride. The entire level takes place on a rising platform that can be controlled by tilting the Game Pad or Wii Remote, but this one stops moving if more than one thing is on it. Goombas, Bob-ombs, even coins can bring it to a halt until they are disposed of if they land on it. This wouldn't be so bad, but you must also contend with constantly rising lava below, meaning that if the platform stops rising for too long, Mario will instantly die from the lava. And like Snake Block Tower, the Star Coins are in plain sight but very difficult to get and remain unscathed. The level has no midway point either, so if you die from the lava, a bolt of electricity, a wayward Bob-omb, etc., enjoy starting the level over from the beginning and losing any Star Coins you happened to collect.
Superstar Road-3/Swim For Your Life!. Arguably the most evil level in franchise history. Granted, it shouldn't come as completely unexpected, considering all of the SSR bonus levels crank the difficulty level up, but this one is insane. You're chased for the entire level by Cheep-Chomp trying to suck you up (instant death). Along the way, you have lots and lots and LOTS of spike enemies floating around in the water, fish swimming by, and pipes shooting jets of water in every direction that you have to weave your way through without touching anything. In water? Yes, you're swimming, significantly slower and more clumsily, of course, than all the killer aquatic creatures that populate this underwater hellhole. There are places in which, without a fire flower powerup, you actually have to stop and lure the giant fish chasing you close enough to where you can just barely dodge its lunge, which will carry it into enemy obstacles in your path that you would otherwise be unable to pass. Oh, and good luck trying to collect those three star coins while you're at it. This level can be made slightly easier by having a Baby Yoshi with for the level as carrying him not only makes you swim faster, but can also eat most of the enemies blocking your way.
Superstar Road-2/Run for It might also qualify. It's a P-switch run with a total of seven switches throughout. The first few sections, even including Star Coins, aren't so bad once you've been through them a couple times...and then you get to the sixth switch. You have VERY little time to waste getting to the next one, and slowing Mario's fall by spinning in mid-air is all but required because unlike the rest of the level, you're standing on platforms that rapidly move back and forth and you can't afford to wait for them to be in a better position.
Superstar Road-8/Pendulum Castle, which is possibly intended to be the hardest level in the game, even for the Superstar Road. The level is absolutely full to the brim with Donut Lifts and swinging Ball 'n' Chains that are only avoidable in precise locations, usually in tandem. And just like the other Superstar Road levels, there's no midway point. At least this one seems somewhat more of a fair challenge than most of the levels listed here.
The Coin Collection challenge, Don't. Touch. Anything. As the name implies, you can't touch anything but the ground itself. No stomping on enemies, no hitting ? Blocks, not even touching any coins. And here's the fun part, most jumps are made deliberately so Small Mario/Luigi/etc. can get through, you have to hold that jump button just right to avoid getting those coins. Oh, and good luck with the Lakitu who chases you halfway through the level. And God help you if you're going for gold.
The two Special challenges that are featured in Peach's Castle-Castle 1/Red-Hot Elevator Ride:
The first one (Elevator Out of Service) features you as P-Wing Mario, thus making the object to reach the top of the castle without the elevator. This wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for those damn Bowser Amps. Yeah, it's that's bad.
And then there's the second one. You can ride the elevator this time, but you can't let ANY enemies OR coins land on the elevator. If even one of those touch the elevator, it's game over. It's too bad there are TOO many enemies and coins in this mission. The only thing that prevents from being impossible is that you get to be Ice Mario for the entire time - but unfortunately, it's also game over if you lose the ability to shoot ice balls.
Boost Mode Challenges in general become this to players that have families that don't play video games that much. Especially if you play with people who don't play the game that much, and god help you if you go for gold on timer-ranked levels OR if you try to play these successfully with a younger sibling. It gets worse and worse depending on your family's experience. An example: A young brother that is mostly available because your parents are mostly busy and/or someone doesn't care, take a sister for the second one. The baby brother can't place platforms for his life, resulting in the Platform Hell trap with the Coin Block over a pit happening. And also, you have no real life friends, or you can't have them come over. Even if you can multitask, you are FORCED for two players or must have godly reflexes. Especially for going for gold on some levels like "Icicle Falls". God HELP you if you go for gold under ALL of these conditions. Even a 1 star difficulty level becomes this under these conditions. Thank you, Nintendo.
New Super Luigi U
Shish-Kebab Tower is almost impossible to complete as anyone but Nabbit. The pillars move in and out at insane speeds. This, combined with the time limit, Luigi's high jump, and slippery physics, can easily end your game.
Super Mario 3 D World
World Castle-3 (Red-Hot Run). This level consists of boost panels that speed you up during the level. Sounds fun, right? Nope. Big problem here, the ledges are somewhat thin, and it's very easy to lose control and accidentally fall off the path at no fault of your own, leaving only a small margin for error. It may be merely hard on its own, but getting 100% completion on this level (meaning getting all 3 Green Stars and the Stamp) is an absolute recipe for disaster, as they are located in the easiest areas to fall off. You also only have 100 seconds, meaning that the margin for error may become smaller at any point. And, of course, there are obstacles here as well that can hinder you drastically. Also, there's no checkpoint.
5-6 (Cakewalk Flip) isn't so hard if you're just playing through. If you're going for the collectibles (especially the stamp and third Green Star), on the other hand...those bleeping Ring Burners in conjunction with flipping platforms... and that's with one player. Any more than one player, and the level becomes unmitigated chaos, with the platforms flipping every time anybody jumps.
The same goes for 6-Castle (Bowser's Bob-omb Brigade). You will need to know where to throw bombs and how to do it quickly if you want most of the items here.
8-7 (Grumblump Inferno) is the lava equivalent to Guts Man's lifts. This level is the last regular level in the main game, and it lives up to the position. The gimmick of the level is large rectangular blocks in lava that tumble end over end and force you to keep running to the next side. They tumble rather quickly, and you must be pretty careful with your positioning and timing when running; too far forward or back, and say hello to the lava. The cubical blocks are bad enough, but some of them are rectangular, so the distance you need to move isn't always the same. And they don't just move in straight lines but go along twisty paths that make frequent 90-degree turns. And because Nintendo just loves you, you will have to do all this while dodging Hammer Bros. and Venus Fire Traps in some places. The only mercies you're given are that the level at least gives you a Tanuki Suit and all the items are easy to find ... and the music is great. It says something when the final castle (boss included) is substantially easier than this insanity. And whatever you do, do not ground pound the blocks, even out of frustration—if you do, they get angry faces and move faster.
Mushroom-7 is a bit on the nasty side. It's a revamp of 7-4. 7-4 wasn't so bad, was it? Well, in this level, most of those rising arrow platforms are gone. As a result, the stage has a number of jumps that are all but impossible to make if you don't have a Tanuki Suit or a character with good jumping abilities. There is one in particular a couple platforms after the midway point where if you're using Mario or Toad, you don't have a powerup, and you don't know about the spin jump, well...
World Crown. If you manage to get absolutely everything else, World Crown will open up, and it contains the last three stages of the game: one platforming level, one Captain Toad level, and one Mystery House. You can do them in any order, but all three are brutal.
Champion's Road. The final platforming level of the game, it serves at the ultimate test of your skills in the game and more. The first part of the level starts off rather simple, with the player avoiding Octoombas while jumping across pits and fighting Fire Brothers on solid land. However, next up is fighting a group of Charging Chucks over alternating, one-character-wide platforms; a mistimed jump or a Charging Chuck hit into a gap between platforms means death by bottomless pit. Following that is a section of auto-switching blocks like the ones seen in worlds 4-3 and Flower-8, but that switch at a rate even faster than Flower-8, requiring either long jumps or using a Tanuki suit to float over the platforms in order to get across. Your reward for getting past the switching blocks is a fight against three Magikoopas on a platform made of blocks that fall away when the player characters walks on them (though luckily the platforms respawn after a bit to allow the Magikoopas to be killed). Next, the player must traverse through a set of swinging spiked poles set all over another bottomless pit, with those swinging poles guarding moving platforms that allow the player to advance further, and Fuzzies strewn throughout the path just to make your life harder. Following that is a section where the player must combine wall-jumping and jumping off enemies to get to the top of a tower, followed by a section where the player must swim in a moving block of water while avoiding spiked surfaces, including several moving spiked blocks. The final challenge of the level has the player traverse across platforms made of nothing of boost pads, make several jumps while going at full speed and pick up five key tokens to unlock the box to travel to the final part of the level. The catch? That entire path of boost pads has laser-halo emitters parked along every side, including four such emitters guarding the key tokens. Luckily, once the keyblock in the boost pad area is accessed, the level takes it easy on you, with a victory lap across a lengthy invisible pipe that spells out "THANK YOU!" and a flagpole area where the final collectible (the level's Stamp) is there for easy taking. The Green Stars (the other collectibles) are also placed at easily accessible locations at the end of certain areas, ostensibly as a reward for getting past that particular section of the level.There is also no checkpoint at any point in the stage, meaning if you die, you have to run through this gauntlet all over again.
Captain Toad's Fiery Finale. The last Captain Toad level is actually pretty simple on paper. What makes this level so difficult is the rising and falling lava that you have to be really quick with, and platforms will rise and fall with the lava and the game forces long stretches of land between a few of these platforms that you need to run past else you'll hit the lava. In addition, there's a Piranha Plant constantly spitting fireball at you and one of the platforms you need to blow into the controller to move, and this one requires strict timing. Although if you're careful you can tap the Piranha Plant's fireballs to send them back and kill it, making the level just a bit easier.
Mystery House Marathon. The last Mystery House is merely a culmination of previous Mystery Houses and purple blocks, as you need to fulfill ten second challenges to get a Green Star. The catch here is that there are thirty challenges in a row. There aren't any checkpoints, and if you fail only one, you have to start from the beginning. Thankfully, like Champion's Road, the last one is the easiest, with the game simply making you do a very satisfying dash to the last Green Star.
And one final note: To get 100% Completion, Champion's Road and Mystery House Marathon both need to be completed with all five playable characters.
Flower-12, Boss Blitz. Not only do you have to defeat every boss in the game (except Bowser) with sparse power-ups, but you have to do it in the span of eight in-game minutes, most of which is likely to be wasted during the Hisstocrat battle.
Yoshi's New Island
World 4-Secret, "See Poochy Run!". Yes, that Poochy. The Scrappiest of Scrappy Mechanics is back. This one is instant death spikes the entire way; you have to either leap over them or duck under them while Poochy runs beneath you. As bad as he was in the first game, at least there the controls were very precise and Poochy handled relatively smoothly. Not so here. You have to stand on him for a moment to get him to start moving, and once he's moving, his momentum tends to keep him moving forward regardless of which way you're facing. Your timing of your jumps has to be ultra precise, because the dog is extremely unforgiving this time around. Oh, and there are spinning spike balls that you have to deal with as well. And no Middle Rings. Have fun.
World 5-Secret, "Snow Go Mountain". It's a vertical level where you make your way upward to the exit. So what's the problem? You have to "climb" by continually bouncing off the backs of Bullet Bills. The only solid ground is sporadically appearing number platforms that disappear as soon as you step off them. In other words, there is absolutely no margin for error whatsoever, since if baby Mario gets knocked off your back, or you lose progress by falling, there's really no practical way to save yourself, and even if you can manage to avoid dying, you're still pretty much screwed, since with the number platforms probably gone by this point, some of the Bullet Bills will be spaced too far apart to give you a chance to climb back to where you were. And then there's the final section, where you have to jump two or three Bullet Bills at a time without getting hit or losing any progress by falling. It's bad enough just making it to the end, let alone trying to do it while trying to collect everything for 100%. And again, no Middle Rings at all, so one tiny mistake means doing the whole thing all over again.
World 6-Secret, "Leapin' Lava Meltdown". The first half of the level is running and hitting switches to create platforms to move forward. If you don't make it to the next switch in time, you fall into the lava. What makes it so difficult is that the timing is extremely unforgiving. Enjoy speed running? Good, because you have just enough time to reach the next switch and no more. And that's assuming you break your neck getting there, don't miss a single jump, and nail all your egg throws perfectly without having to stop to line up your aim. And speaking of eggs, you have to begin the level by throwing a Metal Eggdozer, which cleans out any eggs you currently have in your inventory, meaning that stopping to pick up more eggs will have to be added to your hectic schedule. And the level is structured so that you have to grab pretty much every egg you come across. Once you get past that, the rest of the level is a Rise to the Challenge sequence where you have to keep moving upward using rotating platforms trying to stay ahead of the rising lava flow. And you gotta keep grabbing those enemies for egg fodder and nailing all those coins and winged clouds if you want to get 100%. And once again, time is extremely tight, so you have to keep moving and grab everything as quickly as you can. Yet again, no margin for error whatsoever. And yet again, there are no Middle Rings, so if you mess up, you're doing it all over again.
Brutal Mario has "Titanic", a Ghost House level with the reappearing Boos, combined with a very strict time limit, makes for one hell of a time.
Boss Bass is the gimmick within Dat Bass and to make it worse, it is immune to fireballs. He's even found in the Switch Palace exit.
Chateau du Vent. The wind tries pushing Mario to the left, which makes moving to the right much more difficult, especially with obstacles in the way.
Hell Ship in the Sky is difficult because of the Homing Pidgit Bills. They're fired by the ship's cannons and they will always aim for Mario's position, no matter what. Later on, Spikitus start throwing them. Another one joins and makes things worse.
Spikitu Castles 1+2 in Something Else are difficult because of the Spikitus. They are immune to Luigi's arsenal of tricks.
S Mario. This hellishly hard hack played by raocow has a few awful levels best mentioned here for their obnoxiousness...
World 3 castle. No going left, no spin jumping (you die instantly if you try), with ice physics, with water physics (in places) and with such 'fun' obstacles as on/off switches and homing Bullet Bills. It's as hard as it sounds, and raocow went from about 99 lives to just one or two by the end of it.
The final castle, which had the frustration of random wind physics. Imagine an already hard level. Now imagine every time you move or jump, you could be pushed left or right at random, and the direction changes every second or so without warning. Not an enjoyable experience.
The final level in Japanese hack Luigi of Shadow. What's worse than a Marathon Level that's ludicrously difficult? How about one which is also The Maze? Yes really. The place is littered with doors, and they go to every single room in the place at what seems like random. Often a room you've been to and completed ten minutes ago, which means a lot of back tracking if you have no save states. Oh, and the game's actually trying to trick you into opening them, with some positioned at points where they look rather like what would normally be the door to the next area...