Demonic Spiders: The Temple Guards. Many times, the Temple Guards took the first player out one room away from the artifact, ruining their chances since the second player almost never had enough time to retrace the path. If the team had 1 or 1 1/2 pendants, they had to be lucky enough to avoid at least one of the Temple Guards, otherwise they were screwed from the get-go. Even if the team had 2 pendants, the guards could still screw them over in multiple ways.
"The Discarded Seal of Ivan the Terrible" had the absolute worst Temple Guard placement. All three of them were unavoidable (luckily, the team had 2 pendants). The second one came two rooms away from the artifact, forcing the second player to retrace almost the entire path. And then, one room away, with the clock ticking down, the last Temple Guard appeared, wasting just enough time to stop the team from reaching the artifact. Even worse was that the team in that episode was ridiculously fast, having been railroaded through the Tomb of the Headless Kings, the Jester's Court, and the Shrine of the Silver Monkeynote As mentioned elsewhere, all three rooms were considered huge time wasters, breezing through all of them without much trouble. Not only that, when the Pit of the Pendulum opened a second level door upon knocking over the pillar, the player was able to stay on the upper level and get to the door immediately, rather than having to drop down and climb back up, as most teams had to do in the same situation. If that team couldn't do it, no team could do it.
Furthermore, the Temple Guards often waited for the players to complete the task in the room before appearing (occasionally when one was in the center room, the door can actually be seen moving and so the viewer knows that a temple guard will pop out as soon as the puzzle is completed). In some cases, this led to the partner wasting time in that room trying to unlock a door that's already unlocked, for example, pulling on ropes in the Tomb of the Headless Kings.
Fridge Brilliance: Why is the Lucky Pillow of Annie Taylor in Medusa's Lair? Because it was formerly used as the Heart Roomnote In Season One, that room was either the "Heart Room" or "The Room Of The Fallen Columns." While, in Season Two, it could be "Medusa's Lair" or "The Room Of The Mandarin Hand" and the pillow is in the shape of a heart.
Good Bad Bugs: In "The Mask of Shaka Zulu", a lock between what was intended to be a dead-end room and the room with the treasure apparently failed, inadvertently opening up a much straighter, much shorter path to the Temple artifact and the fastest win in the show's history.
"You could bring mention of how one is always given instructions as to how they might make their way through the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. These might be done in a tone that makes it seem as though whomever is listening has a choice, although if you do, it is important to make these have no second choice. You can also deliver these in a deep voice, with a large Olmec head made of foam. These speeches can be made in a particularly verbose manner, if there is a half-hour timeslot that you wish to fill, but it is vital that you explain every detail. Finally, you must end the speech with your Catchphrase. The choice is yours, and yours alone."
Nightmare Fuel: Temple Guards sometimes hid in trees and grabbed you with their branches, or hid in armor that the player was supposed to press themselves against and grab you with that.
Olmec himself was kind of creepy, too.
The Temple Guards? Giant (to a kid at least), savage-looking monsters that pop out of nowhere when you don't expect it, grab you and take you to who knows where? And the only way to save yourself is to give them a pendant? Imagine being a little kid that scares easily, then thinking that they were going to jump out of your closet or something, and then knowing that you can't save yourself because you don't have a pendant. It's like the Boogeyman, only you've actually SEEN IT.
This review several years after the fact goes into detail about how the Temple Run must have been a frustrating, confusing, and ultimately soul-crushing experience for most of the kids who got that far.
Paranoia Fuel: Those nightmarish Temple Guards could be hiding virtually anywhere in the temple. Many kids screamed in terror upon finding them during the show's run. In one episode, a boy got so terrified by a Guard that he illegally ran out of the Temple, causing him to forfeit. It didn't matter, as he only had a half-Pendant.
The Scrappy: Ask any fan who the worst team was, and most would say the Purple Parrots. Aside from having the worst name, they competed in the Temple far less then the other five teams (only 11 times in 120 episodes; second to last were the Blue Barracudas with 19) and won the least amount of Temple Runs (a mere 3).
That One Puzzle: It's amazing how difficult that Silver Monkey was. Apparently, assembling the Silver Monkey from three parts scattered around one tiny room is really, really hard.
Think about it: you have to grab three parts around the room (large enough parts you can only take one at a time), force them into a base, and then slam the head down hard enough to set off the trigger (some players had to do this several times to get the thing to click). While you're under a rather tight time limit. And you're thirteen or less. And have to make the statue face the camera. And this is if a Temple Guard wasn't in the room
Even worse when the kid drops part of the Monkey. They lose time while some stagehand-er, temple spirit picks it up and tries to throw it back at them.
Acknowledged on TeenNick's "The '90's are All That" block, where one of the pre-commercial bumpers is a contestant trying to put together the Silver Monkey, with the message "This might take a minute."
That One Room: It seems like the producers built the Temple and tested it with adults, as a lot of things were out of reach for kids.
The Shrine of the Silver Monkey. Practically nobody who entered that room could figure out how to put the damn monkey together, making you wonder if the designers deliberately made it the only room to last the entire run. The pieces were also put in different parts of the room.
In Season 3, the Jester's Court could also qualify, since some kids just couldn't contort their bodies in the way required to hit all the buttons they needed at once. It also didn't help for short kids, too.
The Room of the Secret Password. In theory, it's simple: open cupboard, pick up tablet, read password. However, what made it bad was that 1) The cupboards were overhead of most kids and 2) the contestants had to wear mouth guards in the temple, so it killed time either way (either waste time taking the mouth guard out and in again, or waste time by repeating yourself when they couldn't hear you the first time).
Medusa's Lair, which replaced the completely empty Heart Room. Reaching objects wasn't an issue here, but it was difficult for the players to put the snakes in the Medusa head. One of the first players to attempt it spent a full minute in the room, and because of this the number of snakes was reduced from four to two in later episodes. The room was often used as a dead end or particularly susceptible to a Game-Breaking Bug when the doors refused to open for a while, costing precious time.
The Tomb of the Headless Kings was probably Season 3's answer to Medusa's Lair. The objective was as hard as it sounds, with the players having to pull on ropes to open ceiling compartments filled with bones, then search through the fallen bones in the dark and find the missing skull to place on one of the two kings' necks. It seemed like almost everyone had to go through every rope before the last trapdoor released the skull, and plenty of players stalled by pulling on the same rope over and over. It also seemed to be disproportionately likely to house a Temple Guard whenever it wasn't home to the artifact of the week.
What an Idiot: Some choice offerings of idiocy happened in Olmec's Temple.
In "Blackbeard's Treasure Map", The Girl in the run wasted all of the time in the run without coming close. When she was in the Pit, she failed to press the button that opened the door and never tried the Door to the Room of Harmonic convergence in the Heart Room.
In "The Golden Pepperoni of Catherine de'Medici", the runner managed to solve the Silver Monkey in near-record time, made it to the room with the artifact with just seconds to spare — then headed for the sluggish elevator going down, forgetting all about the artifact before time ran out. That team didn't get to go to the Bahamas.
In "The Broken Trident of Poseidon", a very lucky contestant managed to run almost directly to the artifact without encountering a single Temple Guard. However, when all the doors unlocked, she dropped the artifact in her haste to escape the Temple. She made it back to the Chambers empty-handed and realized her mistake. However, she went down instead of going straight to the exit, thus those kids didn't get to go Roseland Ranch.
In "The Walking Stick of Harriet Tubman", the first contestant went down into the Ledges instead of the Crypt. When the first one was eliminated, the second one went to the Crypt instead of following the partner's path since they only had one and a half pendants. Guess what happened? That's right, the Temple Guard from the Crypt ended up finishing the Temple Run. Just going "what" isn't good enough for this.
"The Golden Cricket Cage of Khan". Both players only entered four rooms and wasted the entire three minutes backtracking and running around in circles. Neither one of them thought to climb the Heart Room ladder and enter the Observatory, the only path that was open.
The second player in "Keys to the Alhambra" might be even worse. Her partner cleared five rooms before the Temple Guard in the fifth room removed him from the temple, but she failed to notice the unlocked door. Normally players could break down the stone wall to proceed, but it wasn't an option here, and the girl ended up backtracking through most of the temple towards the exit, obviously trying to give up.
"The Treasure of Anne Bonny". The second contestant reaches the treasure with 51 seconds left, still has 41 seconds when he makes it into the Observatory...and rather than heading across the Troubled Bridge to exit via the Room of Royal Gongs, he heads back into the room of the Fallen Columns, a room whose only challenge is being physically difficult to navigate, then down into the Throne Room to attempt to exit via the Cave of Sighs, another physically difficult-to-navigate room. Which he never makes it into, because with all of the time it took for him to get through the Room of Fallen Columns, time runs out while he's still climbing the ladder to the Cave of Sighs in the Pit of Despair.