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That One Level
aka: Scrappy Level

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Why did I quit playing this game aga-? Oh. Right...note 

Sivert Fjeldstad Madsen: Since you've made every game... Did you actually beat Battletoads?
Lord of Games: I assume you mean that tunnel level with the hoverbike. I, er... well, of course I beat it. It's not as if I or anyone else would release a game that couldn't be finished with standard human reaction times.

There are times in video games where, instead of a boss becoming infamous for being frustrating and/or difficult, a level does. It could be that it is infested with Goddamned Bats or Demonic Spiders, is really long, lacks items or checkpoints, is home to That One Boss, is home to That One Puzzle (or at least one with a Guide Dang It!), has you trying to outrun an Advancing Wall of Doom or otherwise sticks you with auto scrolling, tasks you with keeping a NPC without any basic survival instincts alive, has a different mechanic in play (often from a level-specific Unexpected Gameplay Change, such as a Stealth-Based Mission or Action-Based Mission), or is The Maze level. If you experience frustration and anger at a level that may have one or more of these things, congratulations: you're playing That One Level.

Sometimes, these levels are polarizing; a portion of players find it infuriatingly hard, while others don't have much of a problem with it. This can be a matter of general skill, familiarity with a particular control scheme or just plain luck, depending on the level. Game forums are literally packed with examples of this, which often results in discussions about said levels turning into flame wars.

Although it isn't a necessary requirement, it should be noted that many of these levels are hard on all difficulty settings. If a level is difficult on the highest difficult setting, it's to be expected. Chances are that one level is almost as infuriating on easy as it is on Harder Than Hard.

These levels might not always have a sign at the start that says "Welcome to Hell!," but they might as well.

Escort Missions, Slippy Slidey Ice Worlds, Under the Sea and Down the Drain-esque stages tend be more receptive to becoming these levels. For an optional level that is intentionally difficult, see Brutal Bonus Level.

See also That One Boss, That One Sidequest and That One Component. Compare Ridiculously Difficult Route. Often contains the Last Lousy Point. If the level is difficult because of the enemies being in the way rather than them being a threat, you have a Level of Tedious Enemies. Contrast Breather Level.

Please note that there is an emphasis on the "One" in "That One Level". If all or most levels in the game are difficult, then you have Nintendo Hard. The level has to stand out in difficulty compared to the other ones in the game to qualify as an example.

Example subpages:

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Other examples:

    Card Game 
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes had the infamous mission 20, called "A Shadow Falls". It is all because of an unfair special "rule" named Power to the Plants! note , so the opposing heroes can easily just play plants to overwhelm your weaker zombies. Green Shadow, a plant hero that relies on boosting plants, has many ways to hit you hard. Captain Combustible also can grow his allies huger thanks to the rule. However, Solar Flare, on the other hand, is a complete try hard with the rule. She simply rushes with weak plants, and thanks to the rule, they are now going to become a very large threat. The former boss mission even had Green Shadow with a complete advantage. She would've started with 3 Torchwoods and +15 health. What do you start with? Nothing. The fact that all lanes are heights as well makes it impossible to play a few ground lane cards and environments and makes Amphibous zombies more prone to being destroyed. It was too hard that even PopCap had to nerf the level to the point where the rule only affected the current turn and the Green Shadow boss now just starts with 6 cards.

    Digging Game 
  • Dig Dug Arrangement (1996):
    • Round 39 (Area 6-9) is a level that spells out "TIME UP". Why? The given time before the "Hurry Up!" signal is set at exactly one second. The fact that Taizo is slow as molasses does not help, either.
    • Round 49 (Area 6-18) is probably the single most painful stage in the entire game. It starts out deceptively simple, with it being a big open area with energy crates and two small crevices that, during the "Ready!" text, only have Taizo doppelgangers and Dodongadons. Then the doppelgangers start digging, and reveal that there's an army of Pookas along with the aforementioned enemies, which are already a pain as-is! If the dopplegangers don't kill you, the Dodongadons will. If they don't kill you, the Blue Pookas will. And if those don't kill you, the Ghost Pooka will come and mow you down, as despite how stressful the stage is, you're given only 25 seconds to beat it! Making matters worse is the fact that this is right before the final boss stage of the game, where you'll want as many lives as possible. If you're aiming for a 1-credit clear, your run likely ends here. Your only hope is to dig straight up and hope one of the Taizo doppelgangers drops a rock on themselves.

    Edutainment Game 
  • Not really That One Level per se, but the desert you must cross to get to California in Oregon Trail II gets on many people's nerves.
    • Ditto for that game's river rafting minigame, which is much tougher than the original's and requires a lot of trial-and-error and dexterity with the mouse to pass, especially if you choose to shoot the rapids. And the Sublette Cutoff, which is unavoidable if you're a Greenhorn. If you forgot to bring canteens and/or water kegs, your party WILL die of thirst.
  • Brain Age 2:
    • There are unskippable connect-the-dot images and acrostics. And when more than one person is using the same game card, drawing a picture of something the game tells you to. All of the above includes getting upstaged by the game proving it's better than you. Because you are facing a professor.
    • For people with OCD/impatience, the number memorization game within the trademark Brain Age-checking system. Sure, it's supposed to help your memory, but many just restart their DS when they get to it then re-take the test until they get one without it, because it's too frustrating to complete, but too easy to cheat at by writing the numbers down somewhere.
  • JumpStart Adventures 3rd Grade: Mystery Mountain:
    • The biosphere is one of the longest challenges in the game - combine this with awkward tank controls along with 5 multiple-choice questions before you finally get to actually guess where the item is.
    • The observatory minigame is easily the longest, especially when played the intended way. The final portion is a Pixel Hunt where you have to use the sentences to find out which constellation Polly hid the clue in. Fortunately, Botley tells you the answer if you just press enough.
  • JumpStart Adventures 4th Grade: Haunted Island:
    • The toad well, primarily because of the awkward controls, required multitasking, as well as any lack of in-game timer to tell how far you are/have left.
    • The Mummy's tomb is a simple match minigame similar to Mahjong tiles. Unfortunately, there are four tiles of each, and only one way to match them. What's worst is that you hear some very very irritating sounds if you mess up!
  • JumpStart 5th Grade:
    • The Crossword Puzzle. You're supposed to go through the museum to find the answers, but this tends to take forever (And as many have said, it tends to be pretty well-hidden. Made worse by your parents who could have set a time-limit...making it unwinnable), since looking around the museum and reading takes time.
      • Another reason why this is bad is because of the mandatory pixel hunt. For example, the player has to find Lake Eyre in Australia - but it's not visible on the map of the world and is only around a very small portion of Australia. Hogarth's painting is also very very hard to find.
    • The locks. Sometimes it's addition and subtraction. But the other half of the time? It's multiplication and division... long division. (Meaning you can't just brute force it with a calculator - since you have to give the game remainders.)
  • The line of Junior Arcades by Humongous Entertainment typically had at least one instance.
    • Freddi Fish & Luther's Maze Madness gave us Level 24, an incredibly long and tedious level composed of three rooms. One of the rooms in particular is filled with opening and closing leaves, that will only let you through when they feel like. This makes the level drag out for as long as possible.
    • SPY Fox in Cheese Chase includes Level 75, "Carnival of Clouds." You navigate through narrow passages of rollercoasters, all of which are one hit kills. If you do so much as touch the corner of one of the tracks, it's over. This is often the one level where people use the "Go slower" junior helper.
    • Spy Fox in Hold the Mustard has the passageway levels. Compared to the rest of the game which gives you a sky to fly around, the passageways are narrow tubes, and thanks to the lack of Mercy Invincibility, walls are almost always one hit kills, unless you get lucky and somehow manage to escape before your health drains (and even if you do, you'll still probably have only one hit left). The microscopic enemies certainly don't help matters, considering they also knock you far back, commonly into the walls. This is all bad enough; the fact that there are sixteen of these in succession instead of the usual eight, it's one heck of a ride. Sure, you can break up the action a bit by going to the secret Atlantis levels midway through, but they aren't much better.
    • Putt-Putt & Pep's Balloon-o-Rama has Level 108, which has balloons encased in a line of pinwheels and bumpers. For those who don't know, it plays like Breakout, except there is gravity thrown into the mix. The bumpers will be sure to keep you out of there though, and the pinwheels are supposed to send you in a random direction, but more often than not they just act like the bumpers. This makes getting the balloons they are blocking dang near impossible. You will be playing this level for a loooong time before you finish it.
    • Putt-Putt & Pep's Dog on a Stick has a level toward the end where you are traveling along one-square wide paths, with four hedgehogs in your way. This is a Q*Bert styled game, and the hedgehogs are the fastest enemies in the game, so they are a giant pain to dodge. There are also switches all over the level that add additional squares to help you some, but often the hedgehogs will hog the buttons and just keep switching them on and off as if to taunt you. Getting through this level without the unlimited lives junior helper is a big pain, unless you exploit a glitch that lets you jump through enemies with the proper timing. And even then, it hardly helps because you'll probably just land straight into the inevitable hedgehog that was trailing it.
  • The ClueFinders:
    • In The ClueFinders 3rd Grade Adventures: The Mystery of Mathra, the Rings of Fire. You must add, subtract, multiply, or divide the two numbers given to you, then fire your sneezeberries at the numbers in a grid similar to Battleship. The problem is that on challenge difficulty, you will not only not be told which function you should do, but all four possible solutions will appear. Fortunately, since the correct answers will always be adjacent to one another and spell out a word, you can cheese it by simply firing at "spaces" that are adjacent to a correct answer. the game will even acknowledge this and has dialogue for it.
    • The ClueFinders Reading Adventures Ages 9–12: Mystery of the Missing Amulet gives the Gates of Mount Valdrok. You must guess the password based upon being told how many correct letters are in the right place or correct but in the wrong place. It's not as easy as it sounds - unlike Wordle, you don't get to see which letters are correct, only guess.
    • Search and Solve: The Vending Machine game - you have to figure out which shape and colour coordinates to which column or row. It's randomised every time - meaning sometimes you can be unlucky and waste all your guesses on the wrong row/column combinations. You also have fewer guesses at higher difficulty levels.
    • Math 9-12: The great hall minigame is very time-consuming and gives almost no indication as to your progress - whereas most other minigames are essentially only one question.

    Full-Motion Video 
  • Brain Dead 13:
    • Moose's entire scenario. It starts when you enter Moose's room and, immediately on entering it, you notice a stone football getting thrown into your mouth if you don't avoid it. Once you get past that football, you have to dodge another football, along with Moose's grabs, shoulder charges, baseball bat attacks, being flung by a basketball net as a catapult, and the grab from below his head, all in the first quarter of this scenario (followed by a lot of Deadly Dodging of the lightning rods in the second quarter; finding a way to destroy Moose in the third quarter; and dodging Fritz as usual in the final quarter)! Failure to avoid any of these attacks in the first quarter of this scenario will send you all the way back to where you entered the room in the split-second that the same stone football is getting thrown into your mouth again!
    • The Maze (which has many of these literal dead ends if you don't go in the right direction, accompanied by deadly mushrooms, snakes, man-eating frogs, spike traps, and deadly vines); and the giant statue at the end of it, which can require a whole lot of situations where you can't just "press X to not die", but you LITERALLY have to make it more like a BIG "Mash the X Buttons a Whole Lot of Times to Not Fall or Get Doused in or Sprayed by Acid, Impaled, or Squashed Flat" situation.
    • If you end up in Vivi's Salon and have the misfortune of accidentally picking 'manicure' for the treatment option you have to endure a very long minigame of having to avoid getting your hand lopped off by a meat cleaver. The tell for where Vivi is going to chop is unbelievably subtle and only appears for a split second. If you fail you watch as Lance's hand gets cut off and he collapses on the table from the shock.

    Match Three Game 
  • In level 152 of Snoopy's Sugar Drop: The Search for Belle, there are five strawberries (which must fall through the bottom of the playfield), five eggs (which must not fall through the bottom) and five clovers (which may be moved freely, usually beneath an egg, but cannot fall through the bottom). The level starts with the strawberries above the clovers, and the clovers above the eggs. The object is to collect all five strawberries, but the level is lost if an egg falls through the bottom, no matter how many moves you have left.

    Maze Game 
  • Monster Hunter (PC), with over 200 levels, tends to have these:
    • "Hopping Mad!", a stage which contains several witches (enemies who can Teleport Spam) and two Frankenstein's monsters, who needs two torches to kill and can recharge their lives by touching their spawner. Said level also drops giant frogs into the arena at random patterns, with the dropping frequency making them difficult to dodge.
    • Literally any levels containing three or more mummy enemies - they are Boss in Mook Clothing monsters who requires two zaps from a magic scepter to kill, where the first hit turns them into a fast-moving skeleton that chases you down. Add the fact that each weapon is good for single-use, you'll need to run like crazy to obtain another scepter while fleeing.
    • "Attack of the B-Movies" combines Blackout Basement with Deliberately Monochrome. Your vision is limited, there are five different monster types onscreen (at least one which is a vampire, Elite Mooks who can Flash Step from your stake) and the monochrome filter makes locating a monster's regenerator before it recreates them a challenge.
    • "Nightmare!", a level fought before the Count, lives up to it's name being a Wolfpack Boss battle against the King Mook versions of a Lagoon creature, werewolf, ghost and Frankenstein's monster. While the first two are not much of a challenge, the ghost is already a Demonic Spiders-type enemy who can phase through walls (and now needs three doses of Holy Water to kill!) while the upgraded Frankenstein's monster, as mentioned above, can regenerate it's health by touching it's spawner.

    Mecha Game 
  • The first mission of the MechWarrior 3 fourth campaign. This is the only Timed Mission, in which you have to fight through a couple of enemy patrols and catch up a train. By this time, there is a good chance you have discarded the lighter Mechs in favor of the slow 100-tonners, the timing is very tight, and the enemy patrols have guns which can knock down even the heaviest Mech.
  • Brigador has JOY BUS/HELL RIDE. Your mission: destroy a single ultraheavy tank located very near where you spawn in. The problem? You spawn without any ammo, the entire level is crawling with Action Bomb enemies that WILL one-hit-kill you, and the nearest ammo depots are across the entire map, past barriers that need to be demolished for you to get past, giving the aforementioned suicide enemies ample chances to kill you. To add insult to injury, you are not given any special weapon (active camo, EMP, smoke, cone-of-death) to give you any way to fight back or help you evade the enemies prior to getting ammo. Expect to retry this stage a LOT.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arena 
  • Heroes of the Storm: There are a handful of maps which are divisive in the community, but no map has as much unified hatred as the original version of Hanamura. It was a two-lane map with the unique gimmick that the cores couldn't be attacked, only damaged by escorting a payload or defeating the boss in map's center. The concept was okay, but the execution was horribly imbalanced.
    • Both teams had a payload and it could never be destroyed, only delayed by the opposing team. This meant players had to constantly divide their attention between pushing their cart, stopping the enemy cart, stopping forts from falling (which gave a damage bonus to the other team), and checking the boss and other mercenaries. There was also no way to deny objectives since they were up forever, so turning in your payload when you're behind didn't slow the enemy down at all. This made the game very snowbally, since once one team got a payload in, they could commit their full force to delaying the other until theirs respawned.
    • The map also alienated many Heroes. The low value of taking towers lowered the power of siege heroes; the drastic distance between lanes and tendency to group up for fights at carts made roamers and gankers less useful; the constant moving of carts made characters that took time to set up fights less useful; and the game being over so fast meant late-game heroes never came into their strength. All of this combined to ensure this map had the lowest roster of viable characters. This could be a bit annoying for a ranked game, but Quick Match is the most played mode and this tendency made it even more hated. Picking any hero that is not built for team fighting was dangerous when there was a chance of being thrown into Hanamura and forced to play a game as The Load.
    • Originally, if a team managed to take both the Fort and Keep of a single lane down, they would get a Sapper minion in place of the usual Catapult. This generally spelled doom for the other team, as now they had to pay attention to their payloads, the enemy's payloads, the boss, and up to two lanes that no longer have any defenses. An update a couple months after the map's release removed the Sappers. While this removed the aspect of adding another thing to pay attention to, it also made it so the only way to win was pushing payloads or defeating the boss. This allowed particularly dickish teams to drag games out indefinitely by refusing to push their own payloads while also preventing the enemy team from pushing.
      • Hanamura was so despised, it was removed from all game modes (except Custom Matches) to receive a major overhaul a mere four months after its inclusion. Fortunately, the reworked version released a year later (cores are no longer protected, the map only spawns one payload for both teams to fight over, and captured payloads damage enemy structures akin to Blackheart's Bay rather than targeting the core directly) was much better received.

    Mini-Game Game 
  • Remix II, Stage 1 in NES Remix. The first section is a simple "Enter the cave" scenario from The Legend of Zelda, and is easy to get past even with the blue Lynels and the constant screen blurring and unblurring. After you enter the cave, the second section unexpectedly changes to Donkey Kong, except instead of playing as Mario, you're still playing as Link, who can't jump or use his sword (or the two Hammers in the level). The barrels fall in such erratic patterns that it becomes a Luck-Based Mission to get to the top.
  • Each of the three Lazerblazer games in Super Scope 6 has at least one of these.
    • In level 29 of Intercept, the enemy missiles fly in a high-density formation with clusters of small far-away missiles interspersed with the occasional faster and closer ones above them. You're limited to 3 shots on the screen at once, but there will be more missiles on the screen at one time than that especially near the end. With all the small far-away targets and the 3-shot limit, your base most likely will get hit a few times.
    • Level 28 of Engage has the highest enemy count in the game with 35, as well as a constant neverending barrage of high-speed missiles heading straight for you. Not only that, but almost all of the enemy formations are very far away, leaving more room for a missile to block your shots and requiring more precise aim, and every enemy aircraft that you let escape will fire another missile on top of everything else. It is very likely that you will either run out of fuel trying to gun down all 35 enemies or get your aircraft destroyed by 5 of the 50+ enemy missiles that will bombard you throughout the mission.
    • The foreground is your worst enemy in level 26 of Confront. The enemies love to sneak in from behind the foreground obstacles and pick you off, and there are a lot of them out there.
  • In Rugrats: Royal Ransom, many, many levels on Rugrat Medium & Reptar Tough difficulty quality. Were the developers sadists indulging their fetish by wrapping it up in a licensed game aimed at children?
    • Punting Papayas in Jungle World on Tough is one of the most frustrating levels in the whole game, with the insanely long and hard-to-navigate paths you have to follow, to the point where it's physically painful to play.
    • Monkey Business is basically the same thing, just with papayas swapped out for monkeys.
    • Acrobatty Dash on Medium & Tough is just cruel and inhumane. On Baby Easy you're given a nice, comfortable seven minutes to go through the acrobat course. On Medium & Tough? 3 minutes 30 seconds and two minutes, respectively, even though the level itself is exactly the same. Cue much swearing, ripping of hair, and gnashing of teeth.
    • Meanie Genie on Medium & Tough difficulty is Platform Hell incarnate, with jumps requiring precision presses of the A button, lack of depth perception making it hard to tell if you're gonna land on a platform or in the boiling lava, the fact that it goes on damn near forever, and the background music is annoying to boot.
    • Temple Of The Lamp. On Easy & Medium it's a nice, if boring "collect-the-rubies"-athon. On Tough? An exercise in frustration. For one thing, you have to collect a whopping total of 70 rubies. Yeah, that's right, I said 70. Secondly, those goddamn scarab beetles are all over the place, serving to make your job even harder for no real reason at all. Thirdly, most of the rubies are located high on the buildings, forcing you to make even more perfect A button presses. Thankfully, it's easy to avoid doing this level in favour of other, more fun ones, like Rugrat Rug Race.
    • Moon Buggy Madness is extremely difficult on all difficulty levels, not due to any intention of the programmers, but due to the floaty physics making it almost impossible to get a sense of control.

  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • Cellar-themed levels, as they appear in Chapter 1 and are overrun with spider-themed enemies which are all either Demonic Spiders, Goddamned Bats, Asteroids Monsters, Action Bombs, or any possible combination of those. While these enemies appear throughout the game, the early game is when they are very difficult to fight off as you don't have the health and attack power to deal with their bullshit as they swarm you and drain your health. It's actually common practice for players to reset their run until they roll Basement or Burning Basement instead, especially during Greed Mode.
    • Sheol. A very dark level overrun with every variety of Demonic Spiders and Goddamned Bats, a lot of whom are dark-colored and easily blend into the environment long enough to score a cheap hit. It also happens to be a very large level, has tons of minibosses including The Adversary and his near-unavoidable blood laser and pitch-black-room dash attacks, and has a fierce three-part Marathon Boss at the end. It's actually considered to be considerably harder than Dark Room that comes after, as at least Dark Room provides tons of new powerups and has the much easier boss The Lamb at the end.
  • Tom And Jerry In House Trap, a Tom and Jerry, a "Trap-Em-Up" based on the Spy vs. Spy games, has the penultimate level, "Mechani-cat", widely considered to be the most difficult level in the game. For most of the game, the player plays as Jerry and goes up against Tom, who possesses the same abilities and attacks Jerry does. In "Mechani-cat" however, Tom is replaced with Mechano (from "Push-Button Kitty"), who possesses two incredibly powerful attacks: getting too close to it results in it biting Jerry, while trying to run from it results in it shooting at Jerry with cannonballs. Both attacks will shave off large portions of Jerry's health if they connect, and Mechano also runs faster than Jerry does, meaning it's very difficult to avoid taking damage. The only way to get it to stop chasing Jerry for any period of time is to distract it with mechanical mice, but you wouldn't know to activate them unless you've watched the episode it's based on. It's so difficult that "Oodles for Toodles"note , the actual final level of the game, is considered a Breather Level in comparison.

    Tower Defense Game 
  • Level 20 of Cursed Treasure 2 has two lighthouses (requiring seven cut-outs each to turn from Mook-aider to Mook-bane), two Mook Maker pirate ships (requiring ten cut-outs each to sink), and only two tiles for ultra-powerful crypts (one of which needs the forest removed with cut-out and a nearby sacred stone removed with three cut-outs before you can build on it), and two waterlanes for flying and swimming foes (especially the unfrightenable Iron Guards which you probably won't have enough Mana left to take out with a meteor because of all the cut-outs, unless slain foes dropped a lot of mana potions). And the original version had no mana pool.

    Visual Novels 
  • Yes, an example in a visual novel. Specifically, the beginning of Hate Plus Day 3 on *Hyun-ae's route requires you to make a cake, whether it be a proper cake cooked in an oven for tens of minutes, or a cheap 5-minute cake like she offers. And we don't mean a cake in-game, we mean a real-life cake. For those who have the ingredients and equipment on hand, or cook things regularly, this shouldn't be a problem. For those that don't, this becomes a problem because your only other options are to either fake it, causing you to wait around, or admit to not making a cake, which *Hyun-ae will chew you out on. You can Take a Third Option and buy a cake instead of making it, but you don't get to explain this to *Hyun-ae until enough time passes that *Hyun-ae thinks you've been making a cake.
  • Being such a long-standing series, Ace Attorney has a few disliked cases among its many installments.
    • "Turnabout Big Top" from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All is the least liked case in the entire Phoenix trilogy (and possibly the entire series). It barely connects to the main storyline, almost all the witnesses are unhelpful as well as downright rude to Phoenix, and a couple of the testimonies are tough to cross-examine; one witness is extremely chatty, causing Phoenix to be penalized if the witness goes into a random tangent (purely because the witness annoys the Judge), and this witness' last testimony will penalize you with an instant game over if you merely press the witness on the wrong statement, because the Judge is sick and tired of said witness. While there is a tell as to which statements will trigger a penaltynote , it's extremely easy to miss and never made clear for the player. The fact that this case features one of the more convoluted murder methods and doesn't even have a satisfying breakdown animation for the culprit is just icing on the cake.
    • Much like "Turnabout Big Top", "The Adventures of the Clouded Kokoro" from The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures is an equally absurd case. A mostly pointless investigation that only results in 2 pieces of evidence (in a game where you usually have at least 4 going into a trial), coupled with a trial where you spend most of the time frantically trying to come up with a plausible alternative murder method with some Closing Arguments that feel like they're only there to pad out the trial makes most of the case feel pointless. The case also suffers from a mediocre cast, 2 of which being noteworthy for having overly drawn-out animations and also the culprit being highly unlikeable and one of the worst in the series.
    • "Turnabout Serenade" from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is a close contender to "Turnabout Big Top" for worst Ace Attorney case thanks to one glaring flaw in the evidence that nobody in-universe acknowledges: it is physically impossible for a small, slender 14-year-old boy to shoot a grown man with a .45 revolver without breaking both his arms (and that's even if he could land the shot with a gun he's never picked up), made even worse by everyone ignoring that the boy and his associates repeatedly asserting that he's blind, with his relatively long career of being a blind pianist being a matter of public record. Despite this contradiction, the player has to endure the entire case while being forced to ignore that fact, proving the culprit's guilt via far more convoluted means. There's also an unskippable video the player must watch repeatedly throughout the case.
    • From the same game, "Turnabout Succession" is one of the least-liked final cases in the series, along with "Ablaze" below. This is mostly due to the confusing and illogical MASON System gimmick used for its second investigation, requiring you to jump between the past and present... and all your evidence somehow comes with you, resulting in you breaking Psyche Locks in the past with evidence from the present that the character in question wouldn't have found in the point of time these take place in. After that you're taken to a final trial segment, which only has one testimony and a few presents in the middle of a lot of non-interactive dialogue. To add insult to injury, the final blow to the Big Bad is delivered by Phoenix, not your Player Character Apollo, in an on-rails segment, leading to a lot of fans feeling like Apollo was upstaged by Phoenix in his own game.
    • "The Monstrous Turnabout" from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies is one of the least liked cases in the entire second trilogy. It barely has any relevance to the main storyline, only introducing a couple of important characters. The case has absurd logic, such as claiming that the victim woke up after being impaled by a spear so that he could attack the defendant before dying. The murder method isn't much better, being overly convoluted with the culprit's actions not making any sense with his motive in mind (the reasoning behind his motive somehow being even worse). To round things off we have a poor selection of minor characters, most of which get old before the case is over and a rather dully written script which makes the case itself quite monotonous to play through.
    • "Turnabout Ablaze" from Ace Attorney Investigations for having the worst case of That One Boss in the franchise. It takes two full gameplay segments (potentially spanning one to three hours) just to even begin taking down the final suspect through cross-examinations. It is the last case of the game, but it still shouldn't take so long.
    • "Rise from the Ashes", a bonus case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, is known to be the longest case in the game and possibly the entire series. The case uses 3 days of investigations and trials, but unlike previous cases, this one is padded out as long as possible with tons of areas to explore and very long trials. On top of your usual methods of finding clues, you'll also have to deal with finding faded blood splatters and dusting for fingerprints. Not only that, there's a trial segment where you'll instantly get a guilty verdict if you present a certain piece of evidence sooner than you are supposed to. Your defendant in this case also refuses to help you and continues insisting her guilt, even if the facts are staring at her in the face. This is justified by the fact she's also being blackmailed by the Chief of Police to take the fall, so her ratting him out isn't an option.
    • Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney has the Vigilantes' testimony early in the final trial. In the trials in this game, multiple witnesses often testify at once, and you will have to listen to other witnesses' reactions during their testimony. In most cases, there's no more than five witnesses on the stand at the time, but when the Vigilantes testify, there's a whopping ten witnesses, resulting in ten pieces of testimony per cross examination segments, and nine other witnesses who could react to the given witness's testimony at any one time. Compared to that, the later cross-examinations with Darklaw and Kira, and later, Darklaw, Espella and the Storyteller, are relatively simple due to having fewer witnesses.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has Chapter 4. The murder seems to make absolutely no sense since first, you have to figure out what is the secret of the Funhouse in order to be able to even understand how anything could have been done.
    • The fifth trial in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony can easily qualify as the most frustrating trial in the game. The murder victim is unrecognizable, the culprit of the case is stuck in an Exisal and continously alternates between themselves and the victim, and you have to change your opinion on who you think the victim is. Looks like Kokichi got his wish: he orchestrated a nearly-impossible murder case that stumped even Monokuma.

    Mobile Games 
  • Ingress: That one portal. The one located in the middle of nowhere. In that one valley where only one cell phone user in 100 is able to get a useful signal. That person is a member of the other faction and visits that one portal every other day to recharge it and to harvest more portal keys. Portal keys they eagerly and freely share with their opposition faction friends who all keep that portal remotely charged and linked with other cross-aligned portals.

Non-video game examples:

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Great British Bake Off: The technical challenge is often this for the bakers, it being the one out of three they aren't allowed to practice for in advance. The subject is often an obscure and/or foreign recipe, pretty much guaranteeing that most of the contestants will have never even heard of it. Even when it's something relatively simple, they're still expected to carry it off on sheer baking knowledge and instincts, so the instructions for the recipes are often deliberately left very vague, e.g. "Make the pancake batter".
    • This proved to be particularly true of Series 7's Rav, who finished bottom in the technical challenge three weeks running and started to openly bemoan his bad fortune; the third time his Bakewell tart was ranked lower than Andrew's, in spite of the fact that Andrew had taken fifteen minutes to notice that his oven wasn't on.
    • Occasionally averted when a contestant turns out to specialise in making the particular recipe—as per James and jam doughnuts in series 3—or, in the memorable case of Chetna during series 5's Bread week, have just made the exact same recipe for the signature challenge. Both easily cruise to victory.
    • At different times during Series 6, all three of the eventual finalists struggled with puff pastry. What's the technical challenge for the final episode? A dessert made with puff pastry. Paul freely admitted that he picked it specifically to see whose puff pastry skills had improved, and the bakers recognized what was going on as well.
    • Oh, how delightful the "Forgotten Bakes" episode of Season 8 was...
  • The most dreaded challenge in Forged in Fire is the first round for its sheer physicality. The Forge is generally quite a bit hotter than most home forges (since it has 4 gas forges going at once), you're hitting metal with a hammer for 3 straight hours, and that's not even considering various alternate locations with their own conditions. If a smith is going to be medically disqualified, it will be in the first round.
  • RuPaul's Drag Race:
    • There are two particular recurring challenges that are dreaded by different sets of queens (those who excel in one usually dread the other). First is the "random scraps" challenge, where the queens are tasked with constructing an outfit out of unconventional materials such as dollar store junk, holiday decorations, organic vegetables, etc. Sometimes it's its own challenge, other times it's part of the larger "____ Ball," where the queens have to present three looks based on a theme with one made of random scraps. Second is "The Snatch Game," a Match Game parody where the queens have to impersonate a celebrity and try their best at improv comedy. Queens whose wheelhouse is fashion and design almost always do well in the random scraps challenge, but are likely to bomb the Snatch Game because it requires lightning-fast comedy reflexes, while the reverse is true for comedic queens focused more on humor than their look. While more than one queen has won the season despite failing one of these challenges, queens who do well in both are almost certain to make it to the finale, as they posses the key skills RuPaul is looking for.note 
    • A more general example is any physically demanding performance challenge, which tends to be despised by viewers and contestants alike. The major standouts are the professional wrestling challenge from Season 4, the cheerleading challenge from Season 9, and the Olympics challenge from Season 11. In all three cases, requiring queens to perform physically intensive routines in styles that are tricky even for professionals led to injuries (in Season 9's case, resulting in a Non-Gameplay Elimination), and the final televised result was underwhelming thanks to very few of the queens being comfortable in their roles. It is no surprise that these kinds of challenges largely vanished after Season 11.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse has the Rook City environment deck. While most environments are fairly neutral, Rook City is overtly player-hostile, with almost all of its cards hampering the heroes in one way or another. While there are two friendly cards that directly help the heroes, the villains or the rest of the deck are almost certain to destroy them before they can be of much use. And just to add some Schmuck Bait to the mix, it comes in the same expansion as The Chairman, and the theme tempts you to play the two together - something that is widely considered one of the hardest setups in the game.
  • Ticket to Ride generally has at least one city on the map that is difficult to reach, increasing the risk that any tickets requiring a connection to that city will be incomplete (scoring negative points instead of positive ones) at the end of the game.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Tomb of Horrors is one of the most infamous D&D modules ever made, having been created for tournament play to see which parties could make it the furthest into the dungeon, but not necessarily beat it. The dungeon is stuffed to the gills with death traps and Schmuck Bait that has just enough leeway to give particularly attentive (or just plain lucky) players a chance to proceed further in, but chances are better that your adventurers will die, and die, and die making the attempt. One particularly infamous example of the dungeon's dangers is the relief of a green devil which contains a sphere of annihilation ready to murder any player foolish enough to try to reach into the relief's gaping maw, which is one of the earliest tribulations waiting for adventurers. It only gets more deadly from there.
    • Tyranny of Dragons has the opening stage in Greenest, said to be one of the hardest parts of the entire campaign, if not the hardest. The roaming packs of kobolds and cultists are all weak enemies, but there's just so many of them that all the damage adds up quickly, since everybody's at level 1 and likely don't have ways to mitigate damage or deal with large groups. The boss encounters with Lennithon the adult blue dragon and Langedrosa Cyanwrath the half-dragon fighter are meant to be Hopeless Boss Fights, but they can still potentially kill the early-game characters with one bad roll of the dice. Things do get better after that in terms of difficulty, but it's a rough way to start. Later modules would be much better balanced in the opening stages by comparison, and many DM guide videos on YouTube about the module suggest toning down how hard it is in some way.
    • Curse of Strahd has an emphasis on roleplay over combat, yet the module regularly throws the party into potentially lethal encounters. Ironically, players used to combat-heavy campaigns are more likely to die, as the module is notoriously unforgiving when it comes to entering combat without need. Strahd himself gets a Final Boss Preview at one point, and fighting him at this stage is not only all but impossible, but it sets the players up for a really rough go of it in Barovia after he's gone should they try and fight him.
    • The Elturel section of Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus is one of the most grueling parts of the entire module. Not only are you now in Avernus, but the amount of enemies you fight jumps considerably, ranging from lower level fiends to a few Boss in Mook Clothing encounters, all while the city is filled with hazards and people needing help. It's easy for players to get exhausted before they can arrive at their destination, which itself has several reasonably difficult encounters as well. Mind you, players are generally around level 5, so they still are on the weaker end.


    Web Videos 
  • TierZoo, a web series that explains biology through gaming terms, has several cases.
    • The African Savannah is consistently referred to as one of the most brutally competitive and dangerous servers thanks to the multitude of excellent builds available— to the point that both the Secretary Bird and the African Wild Dog are S-Tier because they excel at thriving in it.
    • The Arctic Server constantly deals cold damage to everyone in it, and has the Polar Night world event that removes sunlight for photosynthesis and solar heating entirely for months at a time. In addition, very little loot (i.e., plants) spawn there, meaning herbivore players must rely on loot like lichen to survive.
    • The Deep Sea Meta on the Abyssal Server, is stated to have "by far, the most unorthodox, unintuitive, and unforgiving meta in the entire game".
  • Who Is This Git has a series called Worst Levels Ever, where he goes through these.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Scrappy Level


Tree Tops

It's a relatively short level, as if that makes up for anything in it. It's very easy to fall off (being a Floating Continent-type level), has some mildly annoying enemies (the large ones have a somewhat wide-range kick, and the smaller ones throw banana bunch-like projectiles without any sound cues), and to get everything, you're gonna need to pull off some Guide Dang It!-y Super Charge maneuvers. Route is outlined here. Spyro even lampshades this by complaining to the dragon you find doing this route that he "could have found an easier spot to get stuck."

How well does it match the trope?

3.62 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThatOneLevel

Media sources: