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* The Genesis ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog'' games are somewhat schizophrenic in their difficulty curves. In ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog Sonic 1]]'', Star Light Zone, the fifth zone, is easier than the previous three zones. Chemical Plant Zone, despite only being the second zone in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'', has a second act that's more difficult than anything you face until Mystic Cave, the sixth zone. ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic 3]]'''s Ice Cap Zone, as with the first game's Star Light Zone, is easier than the three before it. For obvious reasons, combining ''Sonic 3'' and ''Sonic & Knuckles'' creates a two-hump difficulty curve. ''Sonic & Knuckles'' alone does, however, have a sensible difficulty curve.

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* The Genesis ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog'' games are somewhat schizophrenic in their difficulty curves. In ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog1 Sonic 1]]'', Star Light Zone, the fifth zone, is easier than the previous three zones. Chemical Plant Zone, despite only being the second zone in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'', has a second act that's more difficult than anything you face until Mystic Cave, the sixth zone. ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic 3]]'''s Ice Cap Zone, as with the first game's Star Light Zone, is easier than the three before it. For obvious reasons, combining ''Sonic 3'' and ''Sonic & Knuckles'' creates a two-hump difficulty curve. ''Sonic & Knuckles'' alone does, however, have a sensible difficulty curve.



* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioMaker''[='=]s 100 Mario Challenge in Expert mode is SturgeonsLaw in full effect, due to the game's reliance on user-generated content. You frequently run into courses filled with FakeDifficulty, tight reaction times, haphazard enemy placement, etc. You can skip these courses, but you need to actually clear a course in order to truly progress. Fortunately for those striving for HundredPercentCompletion, the majority of the 30 Mystery Mushroom costumes randomly rewarded for beating this mode can be alternatively unlocked through Toys/{{amiibo}}[[labelnote:specifics]]Bowser, [[ChromeChampion Mario (Silver), Mario (Gold)]], [[VideoGame/YoshisWoollyWorld Mega Yarn Yoshi]], [[Franchise/{{Kirby}} King Dedede]], [[VideoGame/{{Metroid}} Zero Suit Samus]], [[VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening Lucina, Robin]], [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Lucario, Greninja]], [[VideoGame/{{Pikmin}} Captain Olimar]], [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]], [[VideoGame/{{MOTHER3}} Lucas]], [[VideoGame/{{Splatoon}} Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl]], [[VideoGame/AnimalCrossing Tom Nook, Rover, Kapp'n, Isabelle (Winter Outfit), Reese, Lottie]], [[UsefulNotes/GameAndWatch Mr. Game & Watch]], Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog, VideoGame/PacMan, [[VideoGame/PunchOut Little Mac]], [[VideoGame/StarFox Fox McCloud, and Falco Lombardi]][[/labelnote]], so at best you need three mandatory playthoughs to get the [[VideoGame/MarioBros Sidestepper, Shellcreeper, and Mario]] costumes.

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* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioMaker''[='=]s 100 Mario Challenge in Expert mode is SturgeonsLaw in full effect, due to the game's reliance on user-generated content. You frequently run into courses filled with FakeDifficulty, tight reaction times, haphazard enemy placement, etc. You can skip these courses, but you need to actually clear a course in order to truly progress. Fortunately for those striving for HundredPercentCompletion, the majority of the 30 Mystery Mushroom costumes randomly rewarded for beating this mode can be alternatively unlocked through Toys/{{amiibo}}[[labelnote:specifics]]Bowser, [[ChromeChampion Mario (Silver), Mario (Gold)]], [[VideoGame/YoshisWoollyWorld Mega Yarn Yoshi]], [[Franchise/{{Kirby}} King Dedede]], [[VideoGame/{{Metroid}} Zero Suit Samus]], [[VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening Lucina, Robin]], [[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Lucario, Greninja]], [[VideoGame/{{Pikmin}} Captain Olimar]], [[Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda Zelda]], [[VideoGame/{{MOTHER3}} Lucas]], [[VideoGame/{{Splatoon}} Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl]], [[VideoGame/AnimalCrossing Tom Nook, Rover, Kapp'n, Isabelle (Winter Outfit), Reese, Lottie]], [[UsefulNotes/GameAndWatch Mr. Game & Watch]], Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog, VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog, VideoGame/PacMan, [[VideoGame/PunchOut Little Mac]], [[VideoGame/StarFox Fox McCloud, and Falco Lombardi]][[/labelnote]], so at best you need three mandatory playthoughs to get the [[VideoGame/MarioBros Sidestepper, Shellcreeper, and Mario]] costumes.


* ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' also gets criticised often on this aspect, with Death Mountain (an early-game area) is seen as ludicrously difficult, even by the game's standard.

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* ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' also gets criticised criticized often on this aspect, with Death Mountain (an early-game area) is seen as ludicrously difficult, even by the game's standard.



* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosUltimate'' has this with the World of Light. There are an assortments of Spirits that have varying power levels based on their rarity; 1* and 2* Spirits are reasonable and copious, but 3* Spirits tend to serve as {{Beef Gate}}s to force the player to go around them, while 4* Spirits are often relegated to BonusBoss material. This means you should utilize the Gym and Spirit Board to get what you need for 100% completion while grinding through the chaff.

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* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosUltimate'' has this with the World of Light. There are an assortments of Spirits that have varying power levels based on their rarity; 1* one-star and 2* two-star Spirits are reasonable and copious, but 3* three-star Spirits tend to serve as {{Beef Gate}}s to force the player to go around them, while 4* four-star Spirits are often relegated to BonusBoss material. This means you should utilize the Gym and Spirit Board to get what you need for 100% completion while grinding through the chaff.


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* ''VideoGame/BorderlandsThePreSequel'' has a bit of a rough difficulty curve. After an easy tutorial level on Helios, you get sent down to Elpis and very quickly face Deadlift, who straddles the line between WakeUpCallBoss and ThatOneBoss. Things settle back down again immediately, and they pretty much stay that way until you prepare to shut down the Eye of Helios. All of a sudden, the main quest's level spikes as sidequests become scarce and/or inconvenient, you start facing particularly nasty enemy varieties, and enemies and bosses start cranking out a ton of elemental damage. Push through the final boss to discover that the post-game raid boss is... an ever-so-slightly stronger version of the final boss.

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* Playthroughs of ''VideoGame/MegaMan'' games often start out fairly tricky, then get progressively easier as the player accumulates more E-Tanks, Robot Master weapons, and tricks like Rush or Beat - even moreso due to the fact that the games are nonlinear, meaning every stage is meant to be about the same in terms of difficulty (though they often aren't). Then you reach the Wily Fortress stages, which have to assume that the player has the aforementioned tricks, and range from a complete cakewalk to a grueling gauntlet. ''VideoGame/MegaMan3'' is a particularly odd one, in that it starts with the aforementioned "starts hard, gets easier" route, then drops in the very difficult Doc Robot stages and bosses, and finishes off with one of the easiest Wily Fortresses in the series.

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* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosUltimate'' has this with the World of Light. There are an assortments of Spirits that have varying power levels based on their rarity; 1* and 2* Spirits are reasonable and copious, but 3* Spirits tend to serve as {{Beef Gate}}s to force the player to go around them, while 4* Spirits are often relegated to BonusBoss material. This means you should utilize the Gym and Spirit Board to get what you need for 100% completion while grinding through the chaff.


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* The ''Xenoblade'' games have some of this, but the worst offender is ''VideoGame/XenobladeChroniclesX'', which is as open-world as the games get and is absolutely lousy with enemy placement. Nowhere than the very start of the game is this made clear; Elma herself informs you that you really should take the upper route to New Los Angeles, as while the fall to the lower level won't kill you, the high-level indigens certainly ''will''. Even then, you will spend much of the early game stealthing your way around high-level threats by exploiting the terrain, because trying to brute-force your way past them will only end in you getting wasted in record time.


* ''Franchise/DevilMayCry 3'' is a fairly classic example using {{Difficulty Spike}}s. Cerberus and the Twins are incredibly difficult bosses, and yet Cerberus is the second boss you face and the twins are not much further along. While the game itself doesn't get easier per se after that point, the difficulty of those bosses is so ridiculously high that once you develop the skill to beat the bosses (likely by dying on them a dozen times each), you have become good enough at the game that nothing ends up challenging you nearly as much - they aren't the hardest bosses in the game, but they're the hardest bosses for the skill level you're at when you first face them, so nothing else seems nearly as bad.

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* ''Franchise/DevilMayCry ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 3'' is a fairly classic example using {{Difficulty Spike}}s. Cerberus and the Twins are incredibly difficult bosses, and yet Cerberus is the second boss you face and the twins are not much further along. While the game itself doesn't get easier per se after that point, the difficulty of those bosses is so ridiculously high that once you develop the skill to beat the bosses (likely by dying on them a dozen times each), you have become good enough at the game that nothing ends up challenging you nearly as much - they aren't the hardest bosses in the game, but they're the hardest bosses for the skill level you're at when you first face them, so nothing else seems nearly as bad.


* The ''Franchise/ProfessorLayton'' games have an amazingly twisted difficulty curve, which of course varies from person to person, seeing as they're puzzle games (and people might have done some before). But some levels *coughchocolatecodecough* are consistently frustrating.

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* The ''Franchise/ProfessorLayton'' ''VideoGame/ProfessorLayton'' games have an amazingly twisted difficulty curve, which of course varies from person to person, seeing as they're puzzle games (and people might have done some before). But some levels *coughchocolatecodecough* are consistently frustrating.


* ''VideoGame/TheLionKing'' was of average difficulty, which equated to being relatively hard for a Disney game. Apart from certain levels, the most infamous being the second. How many people just stopped playing through the rest of the game just because of the ostrich ride? The gorilla sub-boss caused a lot of angst as well, yet there were full bosses who collapsed after one hit.

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* ''VideoGame/TheLionKing'' was of average difficulty, which equated intentionally invoked this trope, alternating difficult levels with easy levels to being relatively hard for a Disney game. Apart from certain levels, give the most infamous being player a [[BreatherLevel breather.]] However, there's an extreme DifficultySpike in the second. How many people just stopped playing through the rest of second level, intentionally inserted into the game just because of to prevent people from beating the ostrich ride? The gorilla sub-boss caused a lot of angst as well, yet there were full bosses who collapsed after one hit.game while renting it.


* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', {{Boss Battle}}s in a Genocide Run fall into one of two categories: bosses that will automatically [[OneHitKill die from ludicrous damage in one hit]] and [[ThatOneBoss bosses that will put you through hell]].

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* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', {{Boss Battle}}s in a the Genocide Run fall into run is [[InvokedTrope purposefully designed this way]]. Once you've cleared the Ruins, all enemies will die in either one of or two categories: hits, and four[[note]]Toriel, Papyrus, Mettaton, Asgore[[/note]] out of the six bosses that will automatically [[OneHitKill you encounter die from ludicrous in one shot as you deal a ridiculous amount of damage in one hit]] to them. The other two bosses are ''insanely'' difficult, as [[spoiler: Undyne]] goes full OneWingedAngel and [[spoiler: [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass Sans]]]] starts [[SNKBoss bending or outright]] ''[[SNKBoss breaking]]'' [[SNKBoss the rules]] of both this game and turn-based RPG's in general to sucker-punch you into next week.
** However, in ''Undertale'', this trope is both [[InvokedTrope invoked]] and [[JustifiedTrope justified]]. The reason why the difficulty is so weird in this run is because the game is balanced for a LowLevelRun, to enforce the idea that [[KillEmAll killing absolutely everything]] ''shouldn't'' be fun or rewarding. So, while Pacifist and Neutral runs are fun experiences, Genocide will have you flipping between [[PurposelyOverpowered bored out of your mind]] and [[RageQuit pulling your hair out]]
[[ThatOneBoss bosses that will put you through hell]].in frustration]].


** The first boss in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'' isn't that bad. His successor is MUCH harder, due to the unique ailment he can inflict on you which makes the target weak to ''every single affinity''. The boss after that isn't quite as bad, but he's followed by one with a ludicrous amount of health. She's followed by a boss consisting of a wave of mooks, who in turn is followed by a boss that can be ''very'' dangerous if you don't figure out her gimmick fast enough... and then there's [[spoiler:Masayoshi Samael Shido]], who has ''five'' forms. Most bosses in this series get ''two'', including final bosses. The FinalBoss spikes it even higher, as he has an attack consisting of a SadisticChoice ''and'' can deal multiple special ailments which can't be healed by normal means... [[ChekovsGun including the one that the second boss had]]. Needless to say, it can get a bit frustrating.

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** The first boss in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'' isn't that bad. His successor is MUCH harder, due to the unique ailment he can inflict on you which makes the target weak to ''every single affinity''. The boss after that isn't quite as bad, but he's followed by one with a ludicrous amount of health. She's followed by a boss consisting of a wave of mooks, who in turn is followed by a boss that can be ''very'' dangerous if you don't figure out her gimmick fast enough... and then there's [[spoiler:Masayoshi Samael Shido]], who has ''five'' forms. Most bosses in this series get ''two'', including final bosses. The FinalBoss spikes it even higher, as he has an attack consisting of a SadisticChoice ''and'' can deal multiple special ailments which can't be healed by normal means... [[ChekovsGun [[ChekhovsGun including the one that the second boss had]]. Needless to say, it can get a bit frustrating.

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* ''VideoGame/Splatoon2'': The stages in the ''Octo Expansion'' DLC are fairly flexible in terms of the order you can do them, meaning that some of the most frustratingly difficult levels can be sandwiched by comparably simple ones.


* ''Videogame/NiGHTSJourneyOfDreams'' has Fluffy Catch, the third stage in the game, as a stopping point for people because the player has to keep Nightopians from drifting upwards into a vortex, requiring the player to scramble back and forth and keep a sharp eye at a point when the game's unusual mechanics are not yet clear (especially if the player has never played the first game). After that, the stages themselves vary a bunch, with the mid-game Crystal Castle levels being pretty hard overall because of the high obstacle density, cramped space, branching paths, and mirror puzzles; and its follow-up, Memory Forest, being relatively empty, open, and straightforward, allowing you to see any enemies and other setbacks far in advance.

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* ''Videogame/NiGHTSJourneyOfDreams'' ''VideoGame/NiGHTSJourneyOfDreams'' has Fluffy Catch, the third stage in the game, as a stopping point for people because the player has to keep Nightopians from drifting upwards into a vortex, requiring the player to scramble back and forth and keep a sharp eye at a point when the game's unusual mechanics are not yet clear (especially if the player has never played the first game). After that, the stages themselves vary a bunch, with the mid-game Crystal Castle levels being pretty hard overall because of the high obstacle density, cramped space, branching paths, and mirror puzzles; and its follow-up, Memory Forest, being relatively empty, open, and straightforward, allowing you to see any enemies and other setbacks far in advance.



* ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}} 2'' has a point around Stage 5 where the difficult level suddenly hikes, especially if you are fighting against Law. Afer this, it usually isn't too difficult. This is because the fifth level forms the mid-boss, even though at this stage it wasn't mentioned.

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* ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}} 2'' has a point around Stage 5 where the difficult level suddenly hikes, especially if you are fighting against Law. Afer After this, it usually isn't too difficult. This is because the fifth level forms the mid-boss, even though at this stage it wasn't mentioned.



** ''Left 4 Dead 2'''s Campaign 3, Dark Carnival, has the longest maps, with 3 of them having punishing crescendo events at the very end that are easy to fail on more than once if you don't know exactly what you're doing. Campaigns 4 and 5 - Swamp Fever and Hard Rain - settle the difficulty briefly, but the former has one of the toughest finales with a long trek from the safe room to try again, and the latter has the polar opposite - a short finale that takes place right next to the safe room. After all these ups and downs, the final campaign, The Parish, re-settles back on being a very fair and balanced difficulty despite a gimmicky moment here and there. At least until you hit the final stretch to reach the escape helo, then all hell breaks loose.

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** ''Left 4 Dead 2'''s Campaign 3, Dark Carnival, has the longest maps, with 3 of them having punishing crescendo events at the very end that are easy to fail on more than once if you don't know exactly what you're doing. Campaigns 4 and 5 - Swamp Fever and Hard Rain - settle the difficulty briefly, but the former has one of the toughest finales with a long trek from the safe room to try again, and the latter has the polar opposite - a short finale that takes place right next to the safe room. After all these ups and downs, the final campaign, The Parish, re-settles back on being a very fair and balanced difficulty despite a gimmicky moment here and there. At least until you hit the final stretch to reach the escape helo, heli, then all hell breaks loose.



* ''VideoGame/{{Frogger}}'' IS this trope. At least the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}} version anyway. Early on, the difficulty levels change gradually from warmup level 1, slightly less easy warmup level 2, easy but noticably harder level 3, and then a sudden difficulty spike with moderately hard level 4. Then level 5 is easier. Then level 6 is legitimately hard. Then level 7 is a piece of cake, easier than level 3, only thing that makes it harder than rather than equal to level 2 is the fast-moving snake on the log (which can be fairly easily avoided), then level 8 takes NintendoHard UpToEleven with the close but slow moving traffic and fast moving water hazards. Then level 9 is a bit easier but still not cake. It goes on like this all game long.

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* ''VideoGame/{{Frogger}}'' IS this trope. At least the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}} version anyway. Early on, the difficulty levels change gradually from warmup level 1, slightly less easy warmup level 2, easy but noticably noticeably harder level 3, and then a sudden difficulty spike with moderately hard level 4. Then level 5 is easier. Then level 6 is legitimately hard. Then level 7 is a piece of cake, easier than level 3, only thing that makes it harder than rather than equal to level 2 is the fast-moving snake on the log (which can be fairly easily avoided), then level 8 takes NintendoHard UpToEleven with the close but slow moving traffic and fast moving water hazards. Then level 9 is a bit easier but still not cake. It goes on like this all game long.



* ''ProfessorLayton'' had an amazingly twisted difficulty curve, which of course varies from person to person, seeing as it's a puzzle game (and people might have done some before). But some levels *coughchocolatecodecough* are consistently frustrating.

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* ''ProfessorLayton'' had The ''Franchise/ProfessorLayton'' games have an amazingly twisted difficulty curve, which of course varies from person to person, seeing as it's a they're puzzle game games (and people might have done some before). But some levels *coughchocolatecodecough* are consistently frustrating.



** The campaign of ''Dawn of War II'' fluctuates up and down for its entirety, along with a huge spike with the Argus Gate mission, a huge ''drop'' after acquiring [[PurposelyOverpowered the Dreadnought]] and a sufficiently levelled [[DifficultButAwesome Cyrus]], a spike into the stratosphere with the two {{Bonus Boss}}es, and another drop with the relatively easy final mission complete with AnticlimaxBoss. ''Chaos Rising'', however, is far more consistent in its difficulty curve.
* In ''VideoGame/AmericanConquest'' the historical campaigns set during the initial phase of conquista are insanely hard. You start with what would be an inadequate army in any kind of situation (often their historical numbers), during said campaigns you have no means to replenish your troops and going against enemies few times stronger and more numerous than you. On top of that, you usually can't gather resources either, so you will eventually run out of ammo (rendering your only asset - firearms - useless) or, what is much worse, food - after which your army will simply starve to death. Your units are also without any upgrades, so they aren't even half as mediocre as they could be.// On the other hand, the exactly same campaings played as natives are laughtably easy to beat. The sole fact that you can heal your units would be enough, but you can always produce more and upgrade them all without much fuss. Combine this with ability to freely gather resources and to build new fortifications and suddenly stopping Europeans is just a matter of time.

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** The campaign of ''Dawn of War II'' fluctuates up and down for its entirety, along with a huge spike with the Argus Gate mission, a huge ''drop'' after acquiring [[PurposelyOverpowered the Dreadnought]] and a sufficiently levelled leveled [[DifficultButAwesome Cyrus]], a spike into the stratosphere with the two {{Bonus Boss}}es, and another drop with the relatively easy final mission complete with AnticlimaxBoss. ''Chaos Rising'', however, is far more consistent in its difficulty curve.
* In ''VideoGame/AmericanConquest'' the historical campaigns set during the initial phase of conquista are insanely hard. You start with what would be an inadequate army in any kind of situation (often their historical numbers), during said campaigns you have no means to replenish your troops and going against enemies few times stronger and more numerous than you. On top of that, you usually can't gather resources either, so you will eventually run out of ammo (rendering your only asset - firearms - useless) or, what is much worse, food - after which your army will simply starve to death. Your units are also without any upgrades, so they aren't even half as mediocre as they could be.// On the other hand, the exactly same campaings campaigns played as natives are laughtably laughably easy to beat. The sole fact that you can heal your units would be enough, but you can always produce more and upgrade them all without much fuss. Combine this with ability to freely gather resources and to build new fortifications and suddenly stopping Europeans is just a matter of time.



* ''VideoGame/GuitarHero World Tour''. The setlists are made so that, instead of a linear progression like in previous games, you have a handful of setlists you can choose at any time. Fair enough, but that's not where the crazy difficulty comes in. The setlists themselves seem to have been spastically arranged. A fairly easy setlist with Spiderwebs and Eye of the Tiger has a fairly crazy Zakk Wylde Battle which ends with Stillborn (which is fairly challenging, but not as hard as the aformentioned battle), and another setlist has Sweet Home Alabama (Live), which has a ridiculously hard solo, sandwiched between the far easier Are You Gonna Go My Way and Assassin. Also, most band games are unavoidably like this when playing in a group. Even if the songs are ordered properly by band difficulty, one is probably going to be harder on guitar and another harder on drums, etc.

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* ''VideoGame/GuitarHero World Tour''. The setlists are made so that, instead of a linear progression like in previous games, you have a handful of setlists you can choose at any time. Fair enough, but that's not where the crazy difficulty comes in. The setlists themselves seem to have been spastically arranged. A fairly easy setlist with Spiderwebs and Eye of the Tiger has a fairly crazy Zakk Wylde Battle which ends with Stillborn (which is fairly challenging, but not as hard as the aformentioned aforementioned battle), and another setlist has Sweet Home Alabama (Live), which has a ridiculously hard solo, sandwiched between the far easier Are You Gonna Go My Way and Assassin. Also, most band games are unavoidably like this when playing in a group. Even if the songs are ordered properly by band difficulty, one is probably going to be harder on guitar and another harder on drums, etc.



* ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' jumps all over the place through most of the game. The frist two Gym Leaders, the [[WakeUpCallBoss Striaton Triplets]] and [[NonElemental Lenora]], are generally considered [[ThatOneBoss among the hardest in the game]]. The next, [[BigCreepyCrawlies Burgh]], is much easier due to his team's major Fire and Flying weaknesses, two types that can be found in the areas around his city. The ''next'' two Gym Leaders, [[ShockAndAwe Elesa]] and [[DishingOutDirt Clay]], spike the difficulty right back up again, while [[BlowYouAway Skyla]], [[AnIcePerson Brycen]] and [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Drayden/Iris]] are a lot easier. And then you get to the tough Elite Four, followed by the fights against [[spoiler: N and Ghetsis]], which are ''brutal.''

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* ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' jumps all over the place through most of the game. The frist first two Gym Leaders, the [[WakeUpCallBoss Striaton Triplets]] and [[NonElemental Lenora]], are generally considered [[ThatOneBoss among the hardest in the game]]. The next, [[BigCreepyCrawlies Burgh]], is much easier due to his team's major Fire and Flying weaknesses, two types that can be found in the areas around his city. The ''next'' two Gym Leaders, [[ShockAndAwe Elesa]] and [[DishingOutDirt Clay]], spike the difficulty right back up again, while [[BlowYouAway Skyla]], [[AnIcePerson Brycen]] and [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Drayden/Iris]] are a lot easier. And then you get to the tough Elite Four, followed by the fights against [[spoiler: N and Ghetsis]], which are ''brutal.''



* From Jahara to Giruvegan storywise, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' is all over the place. Ozmone Plain is typically used as a PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling, and with good reason-while the enemies are strong, few have area attacks, and the ones that do are weaker. Then Golmore Jungle starts throwing lots of status ailments at you, and you can't get Esuna til you reach Eruyt Village. Henne Mines settles for cranking enemy combat strength up. Then it's back to Golmore where the game will [[WakeUpCallBoss force you to use everything you've learned about status ailments]]. The difficulty then plummets for Paramina Rift, then spikes again for the Stilshrine of Miriam. After that, you have to fight through the Mosphoran Highwaste (fairly easy), the Salikawood (upgraded Golmore, meaning loads of status effects), the Phon Coast (easy again), the Tchita Highlands (also easy), the Sochen Palace (difficulty spike) before ever reaching Arcadia. The Draklor Laboratory features lots of Imperials, and a difficult boss fight. Difficulty remains at a very high level until the end game-Giruvegan is particularly unfair with loads of gimmick bosses. Then comes the even harder Pharos, a dungeon that would qualify for VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon status in any other FF game. Sky Fortress Bahamut comes after Pharos and is probably far easier-the enemies are just high level Imperials and there are no gimmick bosses to deal with.

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* From Jahara to Giruvegan storywise, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' is all over the place. Ozmone Plain is typically used as a PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling, and with good reason-while the enemies are strong, few have area attacks, and the ones that do are weaker. Then Golmore Jungle starts throwing lots of status ailments at you, and you can't get Esuna til till you reach Eruyt Village. Henne Mines settles for cranking enemy combat strength up. Then it's back to Golmore where the game will [[WakeUpCallBoss force you to use everything you've learned about status ailments]]. The difficulty then plummets for Paramina Rift, then spikes again for the Stilshrine of Miriam. After that, you have to fight through the Mosphoran Highwaste (fairly easy), the Salikawood (upgraded Golmore, meaning loads of status effects), the Phon Coast (easy again), the Tchita Highlands (also easy), the Sochen Palace (difficulty spike) before ever reaching Arcadia. The Draklor Laboratory features lots of Imperials, and a difficult boss fight. Difficulty remains at a very high level until the end game-Giruvegan is particularly unfair with loads of gimmick bosses. Then comes the even harder Pharos, a dungeon that would qualify for VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon status in any other FF game. Sky Fortress Bahamut comes after Pharos and is probably far easier-the enemies are just high level Imperials and there are no gimmick bosses to deal with.



* Several missions in the "Rise of the Empire" campaign of ''[[VideoGame/StarWarsBattlefront Star Wars Battlefront II]]''. In general, the campaign isn't very difficult, but some missions (A Line in the Sand, Knightfall, Tying Up Loose Ends, etc.) are unusually difficult, others are fairly easy, and in short, no two levels have the same diffiulty.

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* Several missions in the "Rise of the Empire" campaign of ''[[VideoGame/StarWarsBattlefront Star Wars Battlefront II]]''. In general, the campaign isn't very difficult, but some missions (A Line in the Sand, Knightfall, Tying Up Loose Ends, etc.) are unusually difficult, others are fairly easy, and in short, no two levels have the same diffiulty.difficulty.



* While otherwise a very good game, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' suffered from this. The first few battles are easy (though the second battle can be hard if you opt for the more difficult win condition), the 4th battle is extremely hard, the 5th battle is easy, the 6th and 7th battles are somewhat challenging, the 8th battle is easy, the end chapter battle is hard if you don't figure out a specific strategy, then the first half of chapter 2 is easy, mixed with a few randomly hard battles. Chapter 3 throws out battles of varying difficulties though easier than the hardest battles in chapter 2, then suddenly has a sequence of 4 battles, 2 easy, 2 of some of the most obnoxious levels in any videogame ever (a 1 on 1 fight against ThatOneBoss and an Escort Misson, with the weakest, stupidest, most suicidal escort EVER). Chapter 4 starts likes Chapter 3 but a bit easier, then gives you a really good character who kills the remaining difficulty of the game.

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* While otherwise a very good game, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' suffered from this. The first few battles are easy (though the second battle can be hard if you opt for the more difficult win condition), the 4th battle is extremely hard, the 5th battle is easy, the 6th and 7th battles are somewhat challenging, the 8th battle is easy, the end chapter battle is hard if you don't figure out a specific strategy, then the first half of chapter 2 is easy, mixed with a few randomly hard battles. Chapter 3 throws out battles of varying difficulties though easier than the hardest battles in chapter 2, then suddenly has a sequence of 4 battles, 2 easy, 2 of some of the most obnoxious levels in any videogame video game ever (a 1 on 1 fight against ThatOneBoss and an Escort Misson, with the weakest, stupidest, most suicidal escort EVER). Chapter 4 starts likes Chapter 3 but a bit easier, then gives you a really good character who kills the remaining difficulty of the game.



** The level/powers systems in most of the Tactics games create this in general. The game can be unforgiving at the beginning when you lack ressurection, movement, reaction, and tactical powers. Once you start unlocking powerful and even game-breaking combinations the game becomes much easier, even as the enemy becomes stronger and the AI becomes smarter.
* ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn]]'' (10) starts with a particularly RagtagBunchOfMisfits trying to sneak their way past the forces of the most powerful army in the game, making it significantly harder than later parts where the threats are still great, but the player is controlling stronger armies. This is more jarring for players who didn't play the preceding game, ''Path Of Radiance'', which, unlike ''Dawn'', has a learning curve. Also, the end of most ''Fire Emblem'' games (especially ''Dawn'') can range from "not too bad" to "basically impossible" based on how well the best fighters and items were managed leading up to it.
** The end of [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]] is only as hard as you want it, which is what makes it so jarring. You've spent the game raising up ''[[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters almost 70 different characters]]'', and you're only allowed...what, ''18'' or so? What's more, you're given a crapton of extremely good units that could solo the ENTIRE Endgame ''by themselves'', plus two units that can, in exchange for extreme efficiency sacrifice and LOTS of LevelGrinding and patience, make the 3rd part of the Endgame, considered by many to be pretty much the hardest chapter of the endgame, into an ABSOLUTE joke. Oh, if you trained and used [[SquishyWizard Micaiah]], you'll find she can attack the FinalBoss without retaliation, but you probably [[GuideDangIt won't know this]] because you'll be afraid your [[WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou "Lord" character will die]] from the Boss's ridiculous magic, even if Micaiah is a mage. The same goes if you did ThatOneSidequest to unlock [[spoiler:Lehran]], who comes with the most powerful staff in the game (which heals every single one of your units in the field), but only joins for the LAST level, but can use ALL staves, Light and Dark Magic, can double attack the final boss (something which is very hard to achieve), and ALSO won't face retaliation.

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** The level/powers systems in most of the Tactics games create this in general. The game can be unforgiving at the beginning when you lack ressurection, resurrection, movement, reaction, and tactical powers. Once you start unlocking powerful and even game-breaking combinations the game becomes much easier, even as the enemy becomes stronger and the AI becomes smarter.
* ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn]]'' (10) ''VideoGame/FireEmblemRadiantDawn'' starts with a particularly RagtagBunchOfMisfits trying to sneak their way past the forces of the most powerful army in the game, making it significantly harder than later parts where the threats are still great, but the player is controlling stronger armies. This is more jarring for players who didn't play the preceding game, ''Path Of Radiance'', which, unlike ''Dawn'', has a learning curve. Also, the end of most ''Fire Emblem'' games (especially ''Dawn'') can range from "not too bad" to "basically impossible" based on how well the best fighters and items were managed leading up to it.
** The end of [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Radiant Dawn]] Dawn is only as hard as you want it, which is what makes it so jarring. You've spent the game raising up ''[[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters almost 70 different characters]]'', and you're only allowed...what, ''18'' or so? What's more, you're given a crapton of extremely good units that could solo the ENTIRE Endgame ''by themselves'', plus two units that can, in exchange for extreme efficiency sacrifice and LOTS of LevelGrinding and patience, make the 3rd part of the Endgame, considered by many to be pretty much the hardest chapter of the endgame, into an ABSOLUTE joke. Oh, if you trained and used [[SquishyWizard Micaiah]], you'll find she can attack the FinalBoss without retaliation, but you probably [[GuideDangIt won't know this]] because you'll be afraid your [[WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou "Lord" character will die]] from the Boss's ridiculous magic, even if Micaiah is a mage. The same goes if you did ThatOneSidequest to unlock [[spoiler:Lehran]], who comes with the most powerful staff in the game (which heals every single one of your units in the field), but only joins for the LAST level, but can use ALL staves, Light and Dark Magic, can double attack the final boss (something which is very hard to achieve), and ALSO won't face retaliation.



** Also, depending on how you've been playing, ''any'' sequence that involves a good number of the characters from Part I can become this. They are so experience deprived and fragile to begin with that they can be stuck like that for the reminder of the game. Part IV especially seems out to get them because most players keep them together on the Silver Team with Micaiah. Of course, her team just ''had'' to be the first chapter in Part IV so you are stuck trying to rout the much more powerful and spawning enemies with Micaiah's old Dawn Brigade members that can fall from 1 or 2 battles. Luckily, you are given [[OneManArmy Naesala]] but can also down in one shot by a Crossbow. Then, players move to Ike's team which consists of [[LightningBruiser himself]] and a stage that generally makes protecting more fragile units easy.

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** Also, depending on how you've been playing, ''any'' sequence that involves a good number of the characters from Part I can become this. They are so experience deprived experience-deprived and fragile to begin with that they can be stuck like that for the reminder of the game. Part IV especially seems out to get them because most players keep them together on the Silver Team with Micaiah. Of course, her team just ''had'' to be the first chapter in Part IV so you are stuck trying to rout the much more powerful and spawning enemies with Micaiah's old Dawn Brigade members that can fall from 1 or 2 battles. Luckily, you are given [[OneManArmy Naesala]] but can also down in one shot by a Crossbow. Then, players move to Ike's team which consists of [[LightningBruiser himself]] and a stage that generally makes protecting more fragile units easy.



** [[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe The Binding Blade]] is quite famous for its erratic difficulty. the first 8 chapters, especially Chapter 7 are immensely difficult to the point they have to give you a replacement [[CrutchCharacter crutch character]] due to your first one waning in usefulness. After that is the Western Isle arc that gives you pathetically inaccurate enemies and by the end of it you'll receive a bard/dancer to your team, the best dark magic user Ray, and Milady, who some debate as the best unit in the game at your disposal. if you think its all down hill from here than prepare for some devastating whiplash as the first real chapter of the Etruia arc, chapter 14 is one of the hardest and most cruel levels in the series. [[NonIndicativeName Arcadia]], the ironically named chapter is a Desert [[FogOfWar fog of war]] level with a [[GuideDangit 25 turn time limit where you have to keep Sophia (one of the worst units in the game statistically) alive in order to get one of the legendary weapons needed to get the true ending to the game]] and is flooded with Wyvern Lords and Manaketes. after this torturous ordeal the difficulty mellows out, nothing difficult to the point of hair pulling, but still a challenge that requires skill and planning. After Roy obtains the [[InfinityPlusOneSword Binding Blade]] the game becomes a cake walk after that, regardless if you even use the sword. By this point the enemies will either be mooks you've leveled up enough to handle no problem, or Manaketes at a point in the game where your gonna use the legendary weapons 24/7 and thus ORKO'ing them. Even the final boss can be one shot by Roy or [[CuteMonsterGirl Fae]].

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** [[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe The Binding Blade]] ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheBindingBlade'' is quite famous for its erratic difficulty. the first 8 chapters, especially Chapter 7 7, are immensely difficult to the point they have to give you a replacement [[CrutchCharacter crutch character]] due to your first one waning in usefulness. After that is the Western Isle arc that gives you pathetically inaccurate enemies and by the end of it you'll receive a bard/dancer to your team, the best dark magic user Ray, Raigh, and Milady, Miledy, who some debate as the best unit in the game at your disposal. if you think its all down hill from here than prepare for some devastating whiplash as the first real chapter of the Etruia arc, chapter Chapter 14 is one of the hardest and most cruel levels in the series. [[NonIndicativeName Arcadia]], the ironically named chapter is a Desert desert [[FogOfWar fog of war]] level with a [[GuideDangit 25 turn time limit where you have to keep Sophia (one of the worst units in the game statistically) alive in order to get one of the legendary weapons needed to get the true ending to the game]] and is flooded with Wyvern Lords and Manaketes. after After this torturous ordeal ordeal, the difficulty mellows out, nothing difficult to the point of hair pulling, but still a challenge that requires skill and planning. After Roy obtains the [[InfinityPlusOneSword Binding Blade]] the game becomes a cake walk cakewalk after that, regardless if you even use the sword. By this point the enemies will either be mooks you've leveled up enough to handle no problem, or Manaketes at a point in the game where your gonna use the legendary weapons 24/7 and thus ORKO'ing them. Even the final boss can be one shot by Roy or [[CuteMonsterGirl Fae]].



** [[VideoGame/DeadRising2 The sequel]] is better about this (mostly because your escortees are markedly less stupid), but the psychopath fights are still all over the shop.

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** [[VideoGame/DeadRising2 The sequel]] is better about this (mostly because your escortees escorts are markedly less stupid), but the psychopath fights are still all over the shop.


** The GBA fan translation of ''MOTHER'' includes an "easy ring" that balances out the difficulty a little better.

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** The GBA fan translation Since the story of ''MOTHER'' includes an "easy ring" that balances out ''VideoGame/Mother3'' takes place through the perspective of several different characters, frequently without a full party, the difficulty curve is all over the place. The game starts off easy enough, taking place through the perspective of a little better.character who, despite not getting PSI can still self-buff himself through abilities, then moves to a character who is essentially the previous character that trades self buffing for debuffing enemies, who has to go through a dungeon with enemies that frequently have a move that induces a status that takes away your ability to heal. Near the end of the chapter, you get a party member with PSI to help deal with enemies but it's short lived as the very next chapter forces you to control the single weakest playable character in the game, with what is widely regarded as ThatOneBoss at the end of the chapter. Then you get to the next chapter, where the difficulty eases up thanks to controlling a character who finally get PSI near the start, but then immediately becomes extremely difficult during an upcoming dungeon. It then eases up again as after the dungeon, the player ''finally'' gets to control a full party of four and the difficulty starts to better scale itself from there.


** [[VideoGame/DeadRising2 The sequel]] is better about this (mostly because your escortees are markedly less retarded), but the psychopath fights are still all over the shop.

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** [[VideoGame/DeadRising2 The sequel]] is better about this (mostly because your escortees are markedly less retarded), stupid), but the psychopath fights are still all over the shop.

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** The first boss in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'' isn't that bad. His successor is MUCH harder, due to the unique ailment he can inflict on you which makes the target weak to ''every single affinity''. The boss after that isn't quite as bad, but he's followed by one with a ludicrous amount of health. She's followed by a boss consisting of a wave of mooks, who in turn is followed by a boss that can be ''very'' dangerous if you don't figure out her gimmick fast enough... and then there's [[spoiler:Masayoshi Samael Shido]], who has ''five'' forms. Most bosses in this series get ''two'', including final bosses. The FinalBoss spikes it even higher, as he has an attack consisting of a SadisticChoice ''and'' can deal multiple special ailments which can't be healed by normal means... [[ChekovsGun including the one that the second boss had]]. Needless to say, it can get a bit frustrating.


* ''{{Frogger}}'' IS this trope. At least the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}} version anyway. Early on, the difficulty levels change gradually from warmup level 1, slightly less easy warmup level 2, easy but noticably harder level 3, and then a sudden difficulty spike with moderately hard level 4. Then level 5 is easier. Then level 6 is legitimately hard. Then level 7 is a piece of cake, easier than level 3, only thing that makes it harder than rather than equal to level 2 is the fast-moving snake on the log (which can be fairly easily avoided), then level 8 takes NintendoHard UpToEleven with the close but slow moving traffic and fast moving water hazards. Then level 9 is a bit easier but still not cake. It goes on like this all game long.

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* ''{{Frogger}}'' ''VideoGame/{{Frogger}}'' IS this trope. At least the UsefulNotes/{{Atari 2600}} version anyway. Early on, the difficulty levels change gradually from warmup level 1, slightly less easy warmup level 2, easy but noticably harder level 3, and then a sudden difficulty spike with moderately hard level 4. Then level 5 is easier. Then level 6 is legitimately hard. Then level 7 is a piece of cake, easier than level 3, only thing that makes it harder than rather than equal to level 2 is the fast-moving snake on the log (which can be fairly easily avoided), then level 8 takes NintendoHard UpToEleven with the close but slow moving traffic and fast moving water hazards. Then level 9 is a bit easier but still not cake. It goes on like this all game long.

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