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That One Level / Fighting Game

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Expecting mercy from these levels in fighting games? Too bad!

Be wary also of the dreaded SNK Boss.

  • Kenpachi's Story Mode path in Bleach: Blade of Fate is built around two-on-one battles. Of course, he's the one who's outnumbered, since he's too much of a badass to have a partner. The first match is Byakuya Kuchiki and Renji Abarai. Byakuya can hit you from anywhere on the screen, and Renji has a massive number of distance attacks. Kenpachi? He has nothing that hits at long range. The best you can do is rush in and pray you don't get flanked. The second fight is against Hitsugaya and Hinamori, two of the game's biggest projectile users. Again, you can only rush in and hope you're not flanked.
    • Of course, if its the Japanese version, you are allowed to Teleport all around the map
    • Hanataro's (yes, Hanataro) story mode in Bleach: Shattered Blade, especially the fifth fight against Ikkaku. Forcing you to control a Joke Character whose entire movelist can heal the opponent against a CPU controller character with a hell of a lot more speed and range on his weapon? Boo on you, Sega.
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    • In Bleach: Dark Souls, any level that makes you fight against the Grand Fisher. The son of a bitch cheats! And the first time, you fight him with Kenpachi, who isn't that bad a character but is utterly outmatched by Grand Fisher. A runner-up is the level where you play Orihime (who was needlessly weakened for this game) against generic Hollows, who deal far more damage than they should. It's an Escort Mission where you protect Hanataro, but Orihime is so slow and weak that Hanataro will have to do most of the work!
    • Mission 56 in Heat The Soul 6. Tessai and Captain Kisuke vs. Aizen. Aizen's HP and spirit bar are hidden, Tessai is a brand new character who you have no experience with, and Aizen has a lot of strong moves. And you lose if even one of your characters go down.
      • A few of the Championships in HTS6 are really annoying, as well. There's Mayuri's knockout battle which pits Mayuri and Nemu against, in order, Dordonii, Cirucci/Gantenbain, Uryu/Renji, Szayel and Orihime. You die once, you restart from Dordonii. And Orihime regenerates her health and loves to hide behind the shields she throws up periodically.
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  • In the original Super Smash Bros., the Fighting Polygon Team is That One Level. You're always outnumbered 3 to 1 with each of those 3 being hard to hit and having an easy time outprioritizing you. As if that wasn't bad enough, you have to go through THIRTY enemies. At least the Fighting Wireframe Team in Melee were big targets (making them easy to kill) and there were only 15 of them that you go through quickly as long as you could deal with the low gravity in their case.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee:
    • Icicle Mountain. The random, often high speed, scrolling in both directions is a killer, especially for people that jump badly; it's good for your opponents, but not for you. You can often barely get in a hit either.
    • Cruel Melee is rather infamous for being one of the hardest, if not the hardest, level in the game. The enemies are very powerful and can KO you in one shot, plus they all gang up on you.
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    • The fields Big Blue and Poke Floats are both fast paced and jump heavy; in the case of the former you have to stay on cars - if you touch the ground you'll get swooped away.
    • The "Space Travelers" event. You play as Ness, and you have to fight 5 opponents, with each of them getting progressively more difficult. The first 3 opponents you fight are Samus, Kirby, and Fox, while fighting on Fourside. Samus and Kirby are not that hard to deal with, but Fox can be a little challenging. Since it's Fourside, you can camp here, but if you get knocked down, hope you saved your midair jump. You'll need it. If you survive the first 3, you'll then be teleported to Battlefield, where you'll fight Captain Falcon and Falco. Both of them can hit hard, so if you have high damage coming in here, pray that you can deal with them without taking too much damage. Since this is Battlefield, there is not much to hide. Oh, by the way, you only have ONE STOCK, so good luck.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl:
    • The Subspace Emissary levels:
      • The Great Maze combines small portions of every previous stage into a gigantic area with intertwining paths. The goal is to explore the level and defeat clones of all the characters the player has recruited up until that point (meaning the entire roster except Sonic, Jigglypuff, Toon Link and Wolf) and all previous bosses in addition to the final boss, making for a total of 44 separate fights. The Great Maze alone can easily take up to 2 hours of play time on a first playthrough, and is the only stage in the game to provide save stations so the player can take breaks before clearing it.
      • The Canyon and Entrance to Subspace. Both of them are relatively short, however there are no doors to serve as checkpoints, so they each have to be cleared in one shot. Both stages feature Giant Primids teamed with tough enemies and, due to the flat design of the arenas, it's near impossible to outmaneuver them outside of some frame-perfect dodging.
      • The Ruins. Bad enough on Normal, ridiculous on Hard or above. Nearly every single Goddamned Bat makes an appearance somewhere, as do a good proportion of the Demonic Spiders in the game. You've got the auto scrolling section with the mites knocking you back into the autoscrolling screen of death as you try to break down barriers of bricks in the path, a relatively annoying puzzle section with switches, a four battle platform ride where the terrain and enemies become even worse... The battle against Charizard that concludes the level is a breeze compared to the hell leading up to it.
    • Regular stages:
      • Mario Bros. Because of the level's tiered layout, it's very difficult to get a KO except by using the spawning enemies as thrown projectiles. Problem is, the critters have huge knockback on their own and can knock out their targets even at low percents. The match usually devolves to a single player running around collecting enemies and chucking them at their opponents as soon as they walk up to them, racking up points in the process.
      • Hanenbow is seen as one of the most baffling stages, both for its obscurity and its bizarre layout. It's basically a bunch of constantly shifting platforms, spaced just far apart enough to be hard to get to. Most of the things you'd expect to be ledges flat-out aren't, the map is very large while the platforms you fight on are very small, and there's a bunch of water below that (unlike all other water in the game) you sink like a rock in.
      • Rumble Falls is Icicle Mountain from Melee made worse. The vertical autoscrolling is so ridiculously fast it puts characters with poor jumping at a severe disadvantage and changes the focus of the match into pure platforming. There is also a barely visible spike at the start of the level that deals absurd knockback and can lead to cheap KOs.
      • 75m. It's near impossible to fight at the small platforms in the middle of the stage, leaving players to take a risk either at the top right, where they are very close to the blast zone, or in the larger platform with NES Donkey Kong, who attacks them periodically and deals huge knockback.
  • Super Smash Bros. 4:
    • Both versions:
      • Once the fanbase got over their initial excitement and started actually playing the stage, Wily's Castle drew some flack because the Yellow Devil shows up too frequently, has attacks that are too difficult to dodge (even compared to the source material), and takes up too much of the stage, leaving very little room for people to actually play. Worse, while the stage looks just fine visually, the actual layout is a bit lackluster compared to some of the more dynamic stages.
      • Classic mode has the 2-on-2 battles. On higher difficulties, the odds are stacked so far against you that it often becomes a Luck-Based Mission. Your ally may as well be a dead fish, as it frequently does nothing at all, and is handicapped to the point where it can die at 0%. So in actuality, these fights are a 2-on-1, where your opponents both have frame-perfect reflexes as well as buffs that make them individually stronger than you. Your only hope in most cases is to avoid them and wait for an item to spawn next to you - if it spawns anywhere else, the AI will almost certainly grab it first, sometimes on the exact frame it appears in midair. Worse, on the Wii U version, you can have 4-on-4 battles, so it's entirely possible to be a part of 4-on-1 battles (The opponents team vs your "team"), so if that happens, good luck.
      • In All-Star Mode, the 1994-98 segment (third in the WiiU version, fifth in 3DS) will give you major headaches. Shiek is very fast and loves spamming Burst Grenade with unusually good accuracy, Charizard loves to use Flare Blitz at the exact moment you let your guard down (which is almost certainly a KO), and Ganondorf hits like a train, but the worst are the evil trio of Diddy Kong, Ness, and Pikachu. These three will give you hell if you can't KO them very quickly, as they're all fast and small with annoying projectile attacks- but especially Pikachu, who just won't stop spamming Thunder Jolt and Quick Attack to keep you from attacking while Ness and Diddy Kong keep up their assault. It's a nasty, nasty segment, and don't be afraid to use a healing item for this.
      • Ironically, Final Destination gets this treatment in some circles, despite being the blandest and most featureless stage in the series. Points of contention include its memetic overuse among professional and wannabe-professional players, and many arguments from tournament-goers that it's actually not the most balanced stage, as the lack of platforms means that fast characters and projectile users have an advantage that they wouldn't have on, say, Battlefield. The debates only got more heated with the addition of Omega stages in 3DS/Wii U, which renders every single stage (even Battlefield) into a Final Destination clone, and is the only option when playing For Glory online.
    • Nintendo 3DS version:
      • Magicant. The actual stage layout is quite non-threatening and there aren't many hazards. The only problem is the Flying Man. Shortly after the match begins, one will spawn on the far right of the stage and ally with the first player to reach him, giving them a tremendous advantage. The Flying Man has incredibly powerful homing melee attacks that can easily KO a player even at low damage.
      • Mute City, mostly for taking the moving platform design of the first Mute City stage and splitting it into two platforms that drift apart and together seemingly at random. There are also two cars underneath them that will often zoom offscreen very suddenly and kill anyone unlucky enough to be standing on them. It also doesn't help that the two upper platforms, which are the safest to stand on in the stage, are fall-through, meaning it's very easy to accidentally drop through them and slam into the road while going for a down attack.
      • Spirit Train can be an absolute nightmare, depending on your luck and how long the match takes. For starters there's the train tracks; touching the tracks in front of the train just means getting knocked against the train, while touching the tracks behind it means getting dragged almost instantly off the screen to your death - and given how low the back end of the train is, it's very easy to get knocked onto them. Then there's all the obnoxious Camera Screw where the view pans far to the left, obscuring the right side of the stage so a new section can be loaded. But the worst part by far is when a bomb drops onto the train. When it explodes, roughly 75% percent of the stage detaches and flies away, killing anyone who was standing on it. The only part that doesn't fly away is the front of the train, which happens to be the part that the bomb lands right next to. A player who doesn't know this is obviously going to get as far away from the bomb as possible, but in order to survive, most of the time, you have to do the exact opposite.
    • Wii U version:
      • Pyrosphere combines the worst elements of Wily's Castle and Magicant. The layout of the stage is fine, but the problem comes in the form of Ridley. Ridley is huge, even on this relatively large stage, and his attacks can easily clear out the entire battlefield in a few seconds. And then, he'll begin fighting for whoever damages him most, much like Flying Man above, meaning he'll now be laying waste to the entire battlefield except one person. Ridley is the type that can easily decide the outcome of a match by himself.
      • Auto-scrolling stages in general are rarely popular, since they effectively turn the game's format from "fighting game" to "competitive platformer", but the king of this is Pac-Land in the Wii U version. It's a remarkably dead-on recreation of Pac-Land's aesthetics - it's just that those aesthetics happen to be butt-ugly, with the typical comparison being to an MS Paint drawing. The fact that the 3DS's Pac-Man arcade-style stage is a much more standard layout with much nicer design based on a much more popular game doesn't help matters. The reaction to Pac-Land arriving in Ultimate rather than the arcade version provoked quite a bit of confusion.
      • The event matches give us "Kirby's Crazy Appetite". You play as Kirby with a very high damage percentage on The Great Cave Offensive (itself another contender for That One Level) against three tiny King Dededes. The goal is to reduce your damage to 0%, which is easier said than done when all there is to heal is food which spawns in random locations and you have three different enemies trying to knock you into one of the stage's many lava pits which are instant death at over 100% damage. And if you take too long, two more Dededes spawn. Have fun.
      • The event "Unwavering Chivalry" can also count as this if you're getting the reward (Clearing it on Hard difficulty). You play as Meta Knight on the Halberd stage, and your opponents are Peach, Zelda, and Marth. Your objective is to KO Marth, but if you KO any of the girls, you will lose the event. This is easier said than done, because Peach and Zelda have increased knockback and are naturally lightweight characters, so they can easily be KO'd if you're not careful. Not only can they easily be KO'd, but YOU do as well. Marth, on the other hand, has less knockback, so he can tank more attacks. It doesn't help that your opponents can gang up on you when you're left open. Thankfully, you only have two stocks, but cherish those lives if you can.
  • The event "Enough With The Kidnapping" which pits you alone as Peach against Bowser and Jr can also be this. Peach at 87 is much lighter than both of her opponents, and Bowser especially can take you out at low percentages. Furthermore both Boss Galaga and Nabbit can also take you away, hense the kidnapping. About to hit the 155% Bowser with your forward Smash for the win? Na you just got grabbed by Boss Galaga at 60% have fun escaping. Just avoided Boss Galaga? Oh look you are suddenly in Nabbit's bag and he has no intention of letting go. Managed to escape Boss Galaga's grasp? You have two heavy weights in the ground ready for you and you come down very slowly as Peach. Caught in Boss Galaga's beam or Nabbit's bag but an opponent accidentally hit you with an attack that has enough force to get you out? Well you are Peach so watch your 87 weight value Princess butt fly to the blast line.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate:
    • Moray Towers takes everything that people dislike about it in its home games and adapts it to Smash, with a series of vertically zigzagging walkways, making vertical movement quite the chore.
    • Lots of the Spirit Battles can be considered this, so they have their own page.
  • The 20th Floor of the Tower of Lost Souls in SoulCalibur IV easily qualifies with enemies that are equipped with auto guard impact S, auto negate throw (one of them has S rank) and one of them healing after guard impacts. The only way to win is to spam unblockable moves (best way is with auto unblockable).
    • Floors 30-32. You get one character. You cannot heal between fights. You have ELEVEN opponents in total to defeat. The last opponent has 200% health. Good luck.
    • The second to last group of floors includes groups of A.I.s that seem better than the highest difficulty available in vs mode. They also switch back and forth in the middle of combos to produce super combos. When you finally beat these three levels of hell, the Final Boss of the Ascension almost seems like the developers wanted to see just how impossible they could make a fight.
    • Level 71 in Soul Calibur II Weapon Master. Taki. Fucking Taki. Unless you're willing to cheat with a guard-ignoring weapon, you will run out of time.
      • The first mission in Thuban where you have to land a certain amount of hits on either Voldo or Taki within the time limit. Only problem is, they are both really damn fast. It's possible to cheat it and just ring out your opponent, but you have to give up any gold you would have won.
  • The Omega forms of Ultimecia's Castle and Pandemonium are a pain to play in, especially against the computer. The former, because of the lack of solid ground and the computer is obsessed with going up and down the rails in the middle, meaning there's battles where you'll be standing there waiting for them to stop playing around so you can just finish the fight; and when it goes into Time Compression, half the solid ground will turn deadly with the gears. The latter because compared to every other level (except Chaos's arena), it's very cramped with many corridors, meaning there's both little room to dodge, and the camera will screw you up; and this one's twist is that the Stage Bravery is only increased when the red-ground spikes hit a character. Of course, the computer's reflexes are not going to let it get nailed, which means practically the only way to get the Stage Bravery high is when it hits you.
    • The Phantom Train stage introduced in the sequel might also qualify, as it is even more cramped than Pandemonium, consisting of a single, rather long train car. It's difficult to move around and, while the camera has been improved, it's still rather prone to swinging to bad angles where you might not see your enemy about to hit you.
    • In the storyline, the Ultimecia boss battle with Firion in Dissidia 012. The Bonus Line tells you to set Firion to Level 8. Ultimecia is Level 20, so she gets a huge boost to her Bravery. Firion is a ground-based Mighty Glacier with short-ranged attacks, while Ultimecia is an aerial-based Squishy Wizard with long-range attacks. Furthermore she has accessories that give her a huge boost to her damage output when she's far away from Firion and stays in the air long enough. All in all, Firion will struggle to get in hits while Ultimecia flies around the stage bombarding him with Knight's Blade and Knight's Arrow.
  • Three-medaling some of the Challenge stages is exceptionally difficult in Batman: Arkham Asylum, but the Extreme version (i.e. more enemies to fight, more special enemies) of Shock and Awe takes the cake, biscuit and whatever else it can lay it's hands on. You fight in a room where the floor is electrified - it's not active, but after a time limit, it switches on and you automatically lose. You face knife-wielders from the first round, baton-wielders from the second, both in the third and both with lots of regular mooks in the last. The regular mooks can also run to a gun cabinet on another level of the room. And you have to rack up 30000 points.
    • The difficulty only really ramps up in the second stage of the challenge, as that's when the normal mooks run to the gun cabinet, ruining your combos and forcing you to jump up while being attacked. The solution? Jump up onto the right-side platform at the start of each stage, and Ultra-Batclaw pull the mooks as they come up. You'll disarm any baton-wielders and it doesn't count against your combo status, allowing you to pull off the 30k score easy. Just make sure you use Takedown on the knife guys whenever you get the chance.
    • In Story Mode, later in the game when you have to re-enter the building in which you started, things will be much hairier the second time you get to the room with gargoyles. For one, you can only stay on a gargoyle for around three seconds before it blows up - and all six Mooks will be carrying a firearm, which means that a) you must disable all of them while on foot; and b) if you get found out, they'll pile on you and most likely kill you in seconds. The area's increased difficulty stands out in that, at least in Normal difficulty, no other area features such a spike in difficulty.
  • The final level in Chronicles of the Sword in SoulCalibur III. Your units can't heal, and if they're KOed, they're taken out of the level entirely. Adding insult to injury, the boss can regain health by attacking you. For someone without a good handle on anti-AI moves (or who doesn't want to use them), that level is an absolute nightmare.
    • Chronicle 10 is pretty bad, too. Recurring Boss Hyle is holed up in the center fortress, and while he was only moderately difficult the two previous times he's fought, here he approaches SNK Boss territory. Your characters' moves are all powered down but his stay the same strength, and he's very difficult to take out in one round. Once he's finally defeated, you then have to deal with the Hellgenoss, eight powerful enemies that descend on the fortress immediately after Hyle dies. Fortunately they don't all arrive at the same time but it can still be rather overwhelming. Then after that, you have to deal with Kierkess and then Chester, who are both formidable bosses.
  • The Arctic Level in Twisted Metal 2. While having huge chunks of the glacier fall away during the battle was a VERY cool idea, playing this level in multiplayer can be a pain. The chunks fall off bit by bit, leaving you and your friends fighting on a tiny bit of glacier. There's no way to set the level to not break away the pieces to give you and your friends a larger multiplayer level to play on.
    • Mean Juggernauts Death Match from the 2012 reboot of the game is the most insane mission of the game. You have to slay two Juggernauts that have been beefed up with higher stats and spawn cars every 60-30 seconds to rip you apart. The enemies are all highly aggressive, and the juggernauts are both exceptionally difficult to find because the level you're in is so damn massive.
  • Stage 7 of the Final Tower from Jump Ultimate Stars. You have to KO more than your opponent, but you have an incompetent AI for a partner, two of your four opponents are Bankai Ichigo and Gintoki, two of the best characters in the game, your opponents have ridiculously powerful supports, and you only have 30 seconds to win. And if you get a tie, there's no tiebreaker; you lose automatically. And you have to clear this stage if you want to unlock the last portion of the game.
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features a few. Most notable is against Kahn's statue. Though to be fair, it is near the end of the game. Arctika can be one as well, particularly if you're looking for the gods' armor.
  • Raiden's chapter in Mortal Kombat 9 is downright brutal. Completely ignoring the fights against Liu Kang and an even stronger Shao Khan, the marathon fight in Netherrealm is enough to make you tear your hair out. If you're not proficient in Raiden (who isn't the easiest to master to begin with), his chapter is, appropriately enough, a living hell.
    • Level 300 in the Challenge Tower counts as well, as it pits the player in an endurance fight against Goro, Kintaro, Mileena and Shao Kahn - with a single lifebar. Have fun.
  • In Mortal Kombat 9 get ready to see your chosen character held upside down by their leg by Kintaro.
  • Anytime your moves are sealed off in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift's story mode. The two worst offenders are fighting Unlimited Hazama as Ragna, whose Drives have been sealed off, and fighting Ragna and Unlimited Tsubaki as Jin, who can use neither his Drives nor his C moves.
  • Similar to the above example, there's a segment in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 where Kakashi is locked out of using Ultimate Jutsu. And he has to fight several SNK Bosses during this time. There's also the battle against Kabuto that requires you to not only win (his health regenerates and his AI is ridiculous, for the record) but land the final blow with your Lv 3 Ultimate.
  • Akatsuki Blitzkampf has an Extra mode known as SUGUROKOU, where the player must complete a sort-of "steps and ladders" game via clearing different stages. Some of the "FIGHT" parts can be really damn annoying, like a "?" one that has Sai, Marilyn Sue and Wei fighting the player character at the same time: Sai is a Badassin A Nice Suit able to give the enemy curses, Marilyn is a very fast and skilled Lady of War, and Wei can use Super Modes to power himself up at will. If a player has the bad luck of getting there with a low lifebar or super bar and doesn't have bonus cards to counter these disadvantages, well...
  • War of the Monsters have two levels, both of them because they are effectively Duel Boss levels due to a serious case of Gang Up on the Human:
    • The Airfield level pits you against two Raptros, in a small enclosed space with a lot of throwable items (which the A.I. in the game love to use) and health pick-ups nearby, which the A.I. is smart enough to immediately dash for if their health drops low enough.
    • Metro City has Preytor and a mecha Congar. Preytor in particular is a Fragile Speedster with Flight, allowing her to zip through the level with ease, meaning she can pick up health quickly and climb on top of buildings to throw weapons at you. As you're dealing with the hard-hitting Congar on the ground, naturally.


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