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That One Level / First-Person Shooter

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Hope you've saved up enough're gonna need them for these particularly aggravating first-person shooter levels.

Games and series with their own pages

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    Bungie/ 343 Industries 
  • The original Halo: Combat Evolved had the infamous level "The Library". Lots of tough enemies, you are by yourself (except for 343 Guilty Spark and maybe a co-op buddy), not much ammunition, and the level just keeps on going and going and going and going and going and going. And even with 343 Guilty Spark leading the way, it's also very easy to just get plain lost.
    • Two Betrayals, because it has the same enemy type that The Library does. Two words: Rocket Flood.
  • Halo 2:
    • "The Oracle" on Legendary. There's the infamous Elevator of Doom infested with Demonic Spiders of the Flood type spawning from Mook Makers, and the level is also home to That One Boss, Mr. Heretic Leader. The elevator section makes the above Library look easy.
    • "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" in "Metropolis". Two words: Sniper arena.
    • The courtyard sequence on "Outskirts" is much worse than the Sniper Alley, as the Jackal Snipers appear much further away and are thus harder to see, in random locations at random checkpoints.
    • The "Nothing but Jackal" sublevel of "Delta Halo", which consists of a canyon followed by a waterfront area, infested with Drone swarms and Jackal Snipers, both of which are Demonic Spiders on Legendary, and little prospects for cover, particularly from the Drones, since they tend to flank you out of your cover. Although you do get a Beam Rifle immediately at the beginning from an easily-assassinated Jackal Sniper - small favor when the act of acquiring said rifle alerts every other one in the canyon to your presence.
    • "Gravemind". This is not only the hardest Legendary level in the game, but the hardest Heroic level as well. Lack of checkpoints, lack of ammo for good weapons, long battles with large numbers of enemies at a time, lack of cover, frequent Mêlée à Trois events, culminating in the big Multi-Mook Melee in the Mausoleum. At least it doesn't have the Flood, which "High Charity" adds in.
    • Speaking of "High Charity"... There's a reason Flood don't use sniper rifles in Halo 3.
    • There seems to be a rule that levels involving Libraries on Halo installations must always be That One Level. "The Sacred Icon" is the tenth campaign level and it sees the Arbiter travel through a claustrophobic set of hallways and tubes, all while being harassed by the Flood, who are using shotguns and assault rifles galore.
    • The lift segment of "Quarantine Zone" manages to be even worse than the Elevator of Doom described above, as the Flood come at you in even larger numbers with deadlier weapons. If you don't kill them as soon as they enter, it's very easy to get overwhelmed by sheer numbers. And that's without factoring in the combat forms wielding shotguns, which can be a One-Hit Kill on as low as Normal, creating a segment that punishes one second of inattentiveness with immediate death.
  • Halo 3:
    • The level "Cortana" should have been subtitled "Master Chief's Happy Funtime Adventures In The Ninth Sub-Basement Of Hell." To put it in layman's terms, imagine the Library level from Combat Evolved. Now add even more Flood. If there's anything worse than Flood rushes plus endless needle death spamming your shields from Flood turrets beyond easy range of your weapons plus the walls being full of Infection Form pods that will pop open at a single stray shot, and thus re-animate all the Flood you've already killed behind you...
    • The real reason "Cortana" is hell: When you are playing the level, both Cortana and Gravemind like to have moments, where everything slows down as you hear them talk. The dialogue just turns the entire level into one giant Mind Screw.
    • Tsavo Highway Legendary, the part after the broken bridge where the two dropships followed by a Wraith attack you. Plus the entire part after walking over the bridge; after having to fight through a few Grunts and a Brute Captain, you're immediately tasked with defending yourself, your Marines, and some additional half-dozen Marines in a bunker against more Grunts and at least 8 Jump Pack Brutes led by a Fuel Rod Gun-toting War Chieftain. After THAT comes the Phantom pair and the Wraith. At least they give you a Sniper Rifle and a Machine Gun Turret...
  • "Kikowani Station" and to a lesser extent "Data Hive" in ODST. The former is a mission consisting of half Glass Cannon Vehicle action, 25% Overshielded brutes shooting at you and 25% getting smashed in the face with a Hammer. Data Hive is filled with Drone Majors and a variety of other enemies in close quarters. The final level is also by far the hardest in SLASO due to its protracted Escort Mission and constant assault by Ghosts.
  • Halo: Reach:
    • The Mass Driver sequence at the end of the level "The Pillar of Autumn", when playing on Legendary. The combination of a slow-turning gun that takes a full second to charge before firing and is controlled by you in an open top isn't too bad on Normal, but combined with Legendary mode's easy-you-die-ness, it's positively infuriating. Be prepared to die at least a dozen times, and get used to hearing Captain Keyes give you the same orders and words over and over and over and...
      • And to get From Bad to Worse, on Mythic, the cruiser's health is increased thanks to the Iron skull, so now it take TWO shots from the mass driver to defeat it. The MOST GRIZZLED of veteran Mythic gamers have said this challenge is all luck-based!
      • And just before that, you had to survive through waves of every single variety of Brutes, followed up with having to make your way to the Mass Driver, where you face half a dozen Elite Zealots and a pack of Ultra Grunts, ending off with a fight against a Field Marshall and his One-Hit Kill Fuel Rod Gun and Energy Sword.
      • Easy Level Trick: The Covenant will begin maneuvering once you get close enough to the mass driver, regardless of what you do. Just keep yourself alive by using the mass driver for cover until the cruiser is in its final position, and then just hop into the mass driver to finish off that son of a bitch with one shot.
    • "Tip of the Spear", HOLY CHRIST. Especially when you go to destroy that second Anti Air Turret; A pair of Hunters guard the door, and by this time it's INCREDIBLY likely that you're running low on ammo, and the only things the nearby grunts have are Needlers and Plasma Pistols. That's right, you're very likely to have to kill Hunters using small arms weapons. God help you if you wasted the plasma launcher from earlier.
    • Good God, "Exodus". There are Brutes and Jackals with Needle and Concussion Rifles, as well as at least one Fuel Rod Gun, sitting behind cover in a labyrinthine building. And then there are several ghosts just running around, waiting to kill you. Even if you take the rocket launcher, good luck hitting them.
    • "New Alexandria". FOUR HUNTERS. Four rockets. Endless pain.
  • The Broadsword trench run in Halo 4. Unless you have great patience, concentration, or the reflexes of God's second cousin, you will either crash and burn, or be shot down several times, especially on higher difficulties.
Other Bungie Games
  • The Marathon trilogy features a few. Most are in the first game, as the level designers gained experience...
    • G4 Sunbathing is one of the few vacuum levels in the series, where your oxygen is constantly draining and only two of your guns work. This level was long considered the only "un-viddable" level, i.e., unbeaten when starting with just the pistol.
    • By far the most widely loathed level is Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap!, infamous for a "puzzle" in which several platforms must be raised and lowered by switches into an approximately stairway-like configurations. The problem is that each switch is in a different room far away from each other, and the platforms are a ways away from each other, making it difficult to judge whether they're at the correct height. Oh, and Marathon has no jump key, so you either get the platforms exactly right or you grenade jump.
      • The level designer also created the final level for Marathon 2, which he calls an "apology" for Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap!
      • The fan remake initially altered the puzzle so the platforms automatically go to the correct position, and the computer terminal which used to provide hints for the puzzle would net a message from the developers and a boatload of heavy weaponry. Unfortunately, the puzzle was eventually restored in Aleph One, in the name of game accuracy and classic authenticity.
    • Neither High Nor Low is one of the worst examples in video game history, due to the crippling lack of save points, the complete lack of recharge stations, and the traps from hell. If you start this level with a full shield (preferably a double shield), you might have a chance.
    • There is a hidden shield recharger at one point in that level. Worse is Pfhoraphobia, which has neither shield rechargers nor pattern buffers.
    • Ingue Ferroque, the final level of the original game. Three circular corridors with hordes of Troopers, little ammo, and if you run out of grenades or fusion batteries, the level is unwinnable, as you have to shoot several switches to proceed.
    • Marathon Infinity features two vacuum levels in a row, Acme Station and Post Naval Trauma, with few opportunities to recharge your Oxygen. Acme station is generally regarded as the hardest level in the entire series. Only eleven people have ever completed the Vidmaster's Challenge for that level (note that these films will only work on the original Macintosh version of the game).
      • If you're used to low difficulty, the rate at which you use Oxygen on the highest difficulty level is shocking, to say the least.
      • There are also a number of "dream" levels and secret levels which connect you to alternate timelines. If you make a wrong turn, you'll end up on an earlier level, and Acme Station is one of the possible destinations. One of the secret levels is Carrol Street Station, a vacuum version of the final level in the game, with a wrong turn that will connect you to Acme Station for three back-to-back vacuum levels. Ooh.

    Rare/Free Radical 
  • There are several such levels in GoldenEye, Aztec probably being the most notable.
    • Aztec, the first bonus level and penultimate one of the entire game. Tellingly, it's harder than Egyptian, the final level of the game, whose only real difficulty is figuring out the safe path in the Golden Gun room. Even the official Player's Guide says this is a Luck-Based Mission. Aztec is hard even on the easiest difficulty, but set the difficulty to 00 Agent, and let's count the ways:
    1. The very start is a deathtrap with three guards with AR-33's (a gun that doesn't even appear until the final third of the campaign) and grenades against your pistol. If one throws a grenade, it's a question of whether you decide to hit restart or just die. Your survival is entirely based on what they decide to do.
    2. The level is a hive of respawn points for enemies with more high-damage AR-33's or even higher damage hitscan lasers with crippling knockback. You will succeed or fail based on where they are spawned, not on the basis of your skills. Speaking of skills, the enemies here have the most unreasonably superhuman aim, reaction time and damage in the game. It takes three laser hits to end your attempt and about four assault rifle hits.
    3. The vent screens, which you cannot see through but your enemies can, making it very hard to next to impossible to get through the level with the health that you need to survive the final part of the level mentioned below.
    4. There are multiple drone guns (six in all) which you must destroy without being sighted by them, sometimes by firing blindly. If you get hit, they will do massive damage. Health Note 
    5. The centerpiece of the level is a gargantuan fuck you trap, with the shuttle bay doors closing and forcing you to open them in order to complete the mission. Climbing the ladder up to them borders on impossible, and beating the mission can only be done by closing the doors yourself because the final script switches state without checking if they're open or closed. Yes, you can only win by exploiting a programming oversight.
    6. Part of the mission involves reprogramming the shuttle. To do this, you must do battle with Jaws, who totes double assault rifles (but whom you can kill by getting so close that he can't use them against you). This is while the infinite guards come to kill you (fortunately, the guards are finite until you kill Jaws). You must then retreat to the control room, and then fight your way back to the central room, so that you can launch the shuttle, where the above ladder comes into play.
    • Surface 2, considering you can't see a thing, it's not obvious where the mission-failing cameras are pointing or what they can see, the objectives are very far from each other, and it constantly spawns enemies homing in on you. And your primary weapon is the Klobb.
    • Control. You have to protect Natalya as she tries to reprogram the guidance system of the titular EMP weapon so it does a reentry into Earth's atmosphere instead of KOing London's electrical security systems (thus allowing Trevelyan to steal all the money from the London banks unhindered). This involves trying to keep her alive while hordes of enemies come and try to shoot her, and she just stands there where she can easily be shot (which to be fair, she kinda has to do in order to reprogram the damned thing). She dies in only two or three hits, and to make things worse, the desks and computers near the console Natalya's working on, like everything else in the game, are Made of Explodium, and are close enough to kill her (or you) if they're destroyed during the shootout. Of course, you fail the mission if she dies.
      • Destroy the consoles before you even reach her; this has the extra benefit of allowing you to weave and dodge around the place in the firefight. Also, it helps to recognise that the guards who make their way down the stairs are programmed to kill you, while the ones who breach the windows will only go for her. You have more defensive capability that her, as you'd expect.
    • Facility - but only in the case of speedrunning it on 00 Agent to unlock the awesome Invincibility cheat. What makes it so bad? Well, you have a ridiculously short time (2:05) to complete the mission, forcing you to do it in a way that requires you to take damage constantly and leave most guards alive to fire at you for the remainder of the mission. Then there's the luck-based aspects: whether a guard will have an on day and get a headshot; the spawn location of a required NPC; the actions of another NPC (Alec can and will get stuck in the containers you're required to blow up); random guard actions can mess up the run badly (such as a kneeling guard when you're quickly aiming that headshot - while running), and so on. Even the best players have trouble beating the level to get the cheat.
    • The Archives cheat is almost as bad, since it gives you a paltry amount of time to get it. Even strafe-running through the level and not stopping to fight anyone, it's rare to beat it with more than a couple of seconds left on the clock.
    • Train is pretty damned hard on 00 Agent, since you begin the level armed with a pistol and have to engage in a shootout in a cramped boxcar with only (explosive) crates for cover. Well, cover for the guards, anyway, since you can't see through them even after they've been blown up but the AI can. Not to mention the guards who can see you through the distance fog. Getting through most of the level is pretty easy with the careful use of cover, but it becomes much more difficult near the end when guards wielding dual ZMGs appear - and then you have a goddamn hostage situation which leaves you with about 4 seconds to escape. Even for experienced players, it can easily go wrong.
    • Caverns on 00 Agent is pretty hard for a number of reasons: it's incredibly long (easily 20-30 minutes) with no body armor pickups, all the guards have excellent weapons (and many have armour), there are three drone guns you have to destroy, you can't kill any of the scientists by mistake, and then at the end waves of troops wielding shotguns and RC-P90s appear to kill your ass if you're not fast enough. Getting to the final hallway and dying there after all that work just makes it so much better.
  • Perfect Dark has Maian SOS, which on Perfect Agent is the worst level ever programmed for the GoldenEye engine. Why?
    1. It's an environment you've already played three times, and it really wasn't that interesting in the first place.
    2. You're Elvis, which means you have to aim much higher than you're used to in order to get headshots.
    3. It's grotesquely unforgiving. You start with half health. There is no way to get more health (shields are not available on Perfect Agent). Everyone is armed with fully automatic hitscan weapons that can kill you with a handful of shots. At any point in a mission that can easily take fifteen to twenty minutes a try, you can be killed by a single enemy before you even realise they're there.
    4. There's a guy with two instakill weapons. You need to hit him with the Psychosis Gun and then follow him closely so that he won't despawn, because you have to pick up his weapons when he dies. Converting him to your side does confer an advantage, but only as long as you can keep him alive, and he won't make it to the end even if you do (he can't fit through a small gap). When you infect him, better aim for his chest, as a limb shot will hobble him and enemies will almost certainly gun him down after that.
    5. Didn't pick up his weapons? Oh dear, you'll almost certainly run out of ammo trying to chew through the Maian saucer's unholy number of hitpoints. You don't even get to play around with them on anything else, either, because when you pick them up off of him they've invariably got only one bullet left.
    6. And after all that, you're rewarded with the sight of Elvis being shot ONCE with a tranquilizer, which should be a minor inconvenience at most, and keeling over unconscious. And the Psychosis Gun, a deeply useless gimmick weapon on any level other than Maian SOS, since the other levels don't tend to have a single enemy with vastly more offensive power than all the others or a total lack of ammo requiring you to let someone else kill everything for you.
    • The second hardest mission in the game, Carrington Institute: Defense, which has not only enemies that have shields but also armed with K7 Avengers that could kill you (or at least significantly lower your health) in one burst. Then at the end, you have to send a bomb-ship flying out of the Institute before it destroys the place by using the Decoder on it, which is pretty tedious considering you have to stand there not fighting the infinitely respawning enemies for about 5-10 seconds. Be sure to dodge manically around the perimeter of the ship, and a human Co-Op partner will be able to assist to a degree.
    • In general, almost every level becomes That One Level when you're doing speedruns to unlock the cheats, especially since sometimes the limit is so strict that you have to do objectives in a certain order. Other times, you have to do parts of objectives in order!
      • Area 51: Rescue has you grabbing a disguise to help you complete one objective, but doing something else entirely before going to the area for which you need the disguise. And a time limit appears as soon as you grab the disguise, so going to waste your time doing anything else is a Violation of Common Sense.
      • Another instance in the G5 Building is an exploit of a Good Bad Bug, and is thus is a huge Guide Dang It! moment. Who else would think to send the CamSpy to trigger a cutscene while the safe-cracking sets off the alarm that would otherwise call the meeting in that cutscene off?
    • Chicago: Stealth is not an overly complicated level, but it does leave you with very little time on Perfect Agent to place the tracer bug on the taxi before it flies away. Messing up this single objective fails the entire mission. There's also the issue of unarmed CIA agents that will cause you to fail the mission if you kill any of them - and, naturally, the issue of one CIA agent whose AI bugs out in such a way that he will always stand right in the middle of a group of enemies as they're trying to shoot you.
    • Other fun candidates for worst level in Perfect Dark include:
      • Air Force One: Antiterrorism. You begin the level running around punching armed guards, since you're not allowed to kill them as they're not in on the conspiracy against the President - particularly, there's two members of the regular staff you absolutely need to knock out without letting them see you, as them just saying "hello" to you will trigger an alarm and cause the guards to shoot you on-sight. Next you have to run halfway across the level to get to the President, whom you have to protect from waves of shielded troops carrying assault rifles. After you've rescued him, you've still got to run all over the place completing another couple of objectives before it ends, and you can easily be shot once and die at any time. About all you can do to ease things up on yourself a little is heading to the cockpit and killing the enemies there right away, letting the pilots complete the last objective for you if they're still alive.
      • Crash Site: Confrontation. It's a huge level (by far the largest in the game) and a veritable maze of twisting passages and tunnels. Not only that, but it's at dusk so you can't see a damn thing, and there's always the risk of falling off a cliff to your death. It's also jam-packed full of enemies with scoped weapons, and its objectives require you to backtrack all over the level, risking getting shot the entire time. Also? Yet another Escort Mission. Best to do that part first then.
      • Deep Sea: Nullify Threat. Let's see, it's pitch black for most of the level, and you have to fight your way through a bunch of cloaked guards running all over the place while you have only a shotgun. Next you have to protect Elvis while you two disable the Cetan weapon. After that, you have to fight off endless waves of little Skedar, Mr. Blondes and still more of those damned red-uniformed guards before the ending sequence, which gives you one minute to escape the ship before it explodes.
      • Attack Ship: Covert Assault on Perfect Agent. You begin the level facing two Skedar with Maulers. With a knife. Run out of ammo for the Mauler? Great, now you don't have that or your knife either. Back to Good Old Fisticuffs - oh wait, they're incredibly strong aliens who can kill you in one or two swipes. Now if you're somehow still alive after all that, you have to fight your way through the ship battling about, oh, let's say two dozen more of them until you get to the end and capture the bridge - after fighting off a Zerg Rush of another half dozen of them.
      • WAR! is nearly impossible on Perfect Agent. The hordes of Skedar never stop coming, so your only hope is to straferun as fast as you can and hope you don't get hit too many times. The three Skedar Kings that you have to kill all have weapons that can wipe out you and/or your buddies in less than a second, so you'd better hope you nail them in the head before they get a chance to attack. Compounding the problem is the many bottlenecks in the level where you have to bypass a set of Slow Doors, thus wasting crucial seconds waiting for them to open before the enemies pile up in front of you. The only saving grace is that, while technically another Escort Mission (you fail if the leader of your group dies), it's not an issue for once (the leader never leaves the starting point and enemies will never come for him unless you lure them back to him).
  • Perfect Dark Zero has some pretty tough levels too, the worst one being the Temple level. The difficulty ramps up when you have to cross a long bridge full of enemies; by the time you get through it, you probably won't have much health left. The worst is yet to come however, as after that you have to deal with Demonic Spiders in the form of elite female guards who can turn invisible and carry plasma rifles which will most likely kill you in two hits. And the game is rather unforgiving about checkpoints, so if you die here, you have to start over from the bridge again. Even on Agent mode this is tough, but it's completely fucking insane on Dark Agent.
  • While several levels in the original TimeSplitters could be ridiculously hard, special mention goes to 'Mansion'. Two-thirds of the enemies carry shotguns which can kill you from halfway across the house in one shot in Hard Mode, as well as the fact that enemies can literally appear out of thin air, and there are no checkpoints. Seeing as the timed secret can be unlocked in at least eleven minutes, the people at Free Radical were aware of what they had created.
  • Most of Time Splitters 2 is straightforward arcade-style action, and that's part of the reason why the "NeoTokyo" level is so utterly loathed. The first half of the stage involves following a baddie back to her gang's hideout without her or any of the numerous security cameras noticing you. It doesn't help that she strolls along at a snail's pace, and that getting noticed for even a second means starting the whole damn level over again.
    • You want a level that is really hard in that game? Two words: "Atom Smasher". Playing this level is equal to playing "Mansion" in TimeSplitters on Hard, except even worse. There are snipers everywhere, hardly any health or armor, henchmen wielding Soviet S47s and silenced pistols that can chew through your armor (if you have any), checkpoints that are few and far between, sentry guns with cameras (on one occasion you have to destroy one up close), and short detonation timesnote  means you'll be bald after completing the level after so many damn times. The BGM for this level means "You are screwed."
    • "Aztec Temple" is a long, frustrating level with enemies around nearly every corner. While the first section is doable if challenging, the latter half of the level when you enter the eponymous temple is a mess of several utterly infuriating puzzles, the hardest of which involves you luring a group of unkillable Stone Golems into trapdoors (which are very easy to fall in yourself). Then you have to play target-shooting with a group of stone masks that hit you for a large amount of damage if you don't have near-perfect reflexes. And if that wasn't bad enough, you have to escape from a boulder Indiana Jones style... which leaves you trapped in a tiny room with three Stone Golems. Hope you found that Grenade Launcher earlier!
    • The game's penultimate level "Robot Factory" is the absolute nadir of TimeSplitters 2's Nintendo Hard difficulty and is easily the hardest level in the entire series. It doesn't put as much pressure on the player since there's no time limit, but it makes up for it with one thing: SentryBots. Eleven-foot-tall robots that resemble a cross between Modern Robocop and a Super Battle Droid, each of them a Boss in Mook Clothing that can soak up your Plasma Autorifle ammo like rainforests. The level just loves to throw these guys at you in groups (and sometimes arming them with rocket launchers for good measure). They're also the only reliable source of ammo for all your decent weapons, since regular pickups are nearly impossible to find, and the hordes of ChassisBots only use useless Sci-Fi Handguns that fire shots which ricochet off the walls, carrying with them a risk of accidental suicide in the level's dark cramped hallways. This isn't even mentioning all the other enemies the level has to offer, like Spiderbots, automatic rail-turrets, and annoying insect robots that home in on you and explode in your face. On top of all that, the level is incredibly long with a grand total of two checkpoints, one of which is right before the fight with The Machinist at the very end. In particular, the final room before said boss is nearly Unwinnable unless you lure the half-dozen SentryBots present back to the controllable turret halfway through the level. This is all on Normal, by the way. Only an absolute masochist need apply for Hard.
  • TimeSplitters: Future Perfect has the "The Hooded Man" level. In the last part, you must protect your past/future/whatever self from 'Splitters till he gets inside a base. This is during the middle of a firefight. You have the high ground to rain death on them. Sound easy? They cloak on and off Predator-style and zig zag. When they get close to him, they do high damage jumping slashes. You'll notice one coming and mow it down, only to then see 2 tearing him a new asshole. On hard difficulty, this part is infuriating.
    • As well as the enemies being cloaked for a lot of the time, they're a similar colour to the environment anyway, and on the last part of the level they're very far away even with the sniper scope zoomed in.
    • Future Perfect also has "Machine Wars". Your enemies are the robots. Those robots have plasma autorifles, rocket launchers, and a ridiculous amount of health. You have a laser handgun that does little damage. If you don't want to waste ammo, you'll have to aim for the robot's 'heads'. The problem is, it's hard to tell if you're hitting them in the head or not, and they'll be firing rockets at you. Finally, constantly hearing "We are legion", "Surrender or be destroyed", and "Robots are superior" will annoy the hell out of any player unfortunate enough to play through this level on 'medium' difficulty. Let's not talk about Hard.
    • The level immediately afterwords, Something to Crow About, is almost undeniably worse. You are still facing heavily armed robots, only now many of those robots have shields that can only be removed by switching to the electrotool, then back to a different weapon because the electrotool is too weak to be effective otherwise, all the while taking numerous potshots from the robots because most of the level is too narrow to allow efficient dodging. What lies at the end of this madness? Creature Crow.

  • Crysis has several That One Levels of the polarizing variety:
    • "Onslaught," the game's middle level, is loved by some for its intensity and size—it was designed as a tank battle so the map is immense and the North Koreans put up savage resistance—and hated by others for the tanks' vulnerability to the hordes of distant, concealed North Korean rocket emplacements and for the fact that the level takes an extremely long time to traverse if you try to complete it on foot.
    • "Core," where Nomad enters the ruined alien ship is variously viewed as the game's high point, or else as its absolute nadir. Its admirers consider it to be an innovative, daring exercise in level design that sets Crysis apart from common-or-garden scifi military shooters. To its detractors, it is a confusingly laid out mess whose cramped passageways neglect the Cryengine's strengths, whose enemies are dull to fight, and which suffers from Fake Difficulty due to its sudden scarcity of ammo.
  • The final level of Far Cry, most notably the penultimate fight in the volcano's rim. Locked into a wide open area with hordes of rocket-spamming mutants, ninja snipers that can shoot you from beyond the draw distance, and a lone healthkit, on the far, far side of the arena. How do you win? By cheating and piling crap on the airlock door, so it won't lock behind you. Even then, you get sniped to death 9 times out of 10. And after that? If the designers didn't prove they hate you yet, as you round a corner, you get insta-killed by hidden guards with rocket launchers.
    • The second level, on the derelict carrier, can be a nasty wake up call level. At the end, you have to fight a helicopter and several mooks on the flight deck of the carrier. For a new player, it can be problematic.

    ID Software 
  • Seawall Battery from Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was a level in which the Allied team must stage an uphill assault along two possible fronts, infiltrate the Axis bunker, and plant dynamite at the final objective in order to win the map. The problem? One front was a virtual murder hole in which the Axis team could toss airstrikes down onto the beach and murder the entire Allied team, while one forward and exposed MG nest could blanket half the beach, while a lower altitude, and partially occluded nest provided cover from blind spot grenades. The other front featured a back door as an only entrance that could only be accessed should the Allied covert operative posses a uniform that would allow him to open the door. The problem? The passage to the back door featured an up hill climb into a funnel-like valley that was probably the worst choke point in the entire game, beneath which, land mines could be planted. If the Allied team managed to prevent Axis from constructing their forward spawn post (which professional teams would ignore in fear of providing the Allied team with a uniform for the back door) they were faced with an MG nest, and the pleasant opportunity to camp the back door in hopes of access to the final objective. Should an engineer sneak in alone or with the help of a covert ops, the player still had to manage to make it to the bomb site, plant the bomb, and defend it for 30 seconds while much of the enemy team hunted them down and disarmed it. A broken level, but one of the most rewarding to play on offense.
    • While the level does clearly favor Axis, the Allied team does have one advantage. The final objective is far from Axis spawns and other populated areas, meaning if you manage to somehow sneak in and plant the dynamite, chances are you'll win unless some sneaky Engineer guards the objective.
  • Episode four of The Ultimate Doom - entitled Thy Flesh Consumed - was produced a year after the original release of the game, and was much harder. In fact it began with the two hardest levels in the original stock Doom, more difficult even than the episode-ending boss battles. E4M2: Perfect Hatred trapped the player in a small underground cavern packed with monsters, with most of the accessible area suspended above a damaging lava floor. There is hardly any room to maneuver, and there are many tough enemies all coming for you. On Ultra-Violence, it's nearly unwinnable if you don't come with more than just the starting pistol and 50 rounds. The previous level, E4M1: Hell Beneath, was no slouch either, with only token quantities of health and ammo while being packed full of imps, shotgunners, and even a couple Barons of Hell. On higher difficulties, there is not enough ammo to kill many of the enemies, so you have to conserve your ammo or else you'll be completely out of luck. The player would frequently have to begin E4M2 half-dead and out of bullets, before quickly become full-dead courtesy of the Doom equivalent of a Zerg Rush.
  • Refueling Base from Doom II has a huge number of enemies - close to 300 on Ultra-Violence and Nightmare difficulties - and a good chunk of them are former humans, which are easy to kill but have hitscan weapons, which means you'll find yourself taking lots of damage.
  • The TNT: Evilution half of Final Doom has Habitat, everyone's favourite level to skip past. Why is this? Because despite its name, the majority of the map is a maze of tunnels which have to be negotiated in a certain manner to open 50% of the levels secrets. There are also triple-layer doors to open that close in front of your face if you don't trip them correctly. They are so frustrating that even Lightning Bolt Forever, the most mild-mannered LPer you could ever meet, launched a Precision F-Strike at them during his playthrough. For a true hair-pulling experience, though, speedrunning it on UV respawn and NM100S takes the cake. Because of the moving platform limit that results from the respawning zombies in the tunnels, this caused the level to crash on the original DOS executable.
    • Then, five maps later you get Mount Pain, which not only has the second highest monster count in the WAD but it's also large. This wouldn't normally be a problem if not for the fact that your healing options are largely in the form of stimpacks (which give you 10% health), and your armor is limited to three pickups total, two green vests and only one of the stronger blue vests.
  • Final Doom, The Plutonia Experiment: the secret MAP32 "Go 2 It." For those who can't tell from the rather frantic pace of the video (finding a non-speedrun of the level is nigh impossible), it's packed to the gills with 13 Cyberdemons, which if you recall are end-mission bosses by themselves that haven't lost any power since then. If that wasn't enough, you also have 17 Arch-Viles, all individually capable of both heaping on the damage on their own and resurrecting everything in the level that isn't another Arch-Vile, Cyberdemon, or Spider Mastermind. And, like many WADs did in the Doom days, their numbers double if you're playing co-op. If you're intending to clear a path through the monsters in order to survive, as opposed to having Jedi-like reflexes, expect to clear the level (if you can) with a kill rate of somewhere around 1000%. Yes, one thousand. Meaning you would have killed each individual enemy ten times over.
    • A lot of the Nintendo Hard megawads have plenty of very hard levels with high monster counts, but some of those levels stand head and shoulders over the rest.
      • MAP24 of Hell Revealed, Post Mortem, the hardest map in the entire megawad as stated by the authors themselves, not only has 579 enemies at the highest difficulty settings (there are 2 Cyberdemons in the exit room alone!), but there is also virtually no cover without improvising. The biggest reason that this level is so brutal is not only its gargantuan enemy population, but in the original vanilla DOS version of Doom II, trying to save on this level on the highest difficulty settings will crash the game because of too many active monsters being loaded into memory at once, forcing a No Death Run through the entire ordeal. And yes, the authors were fully aware of this, to the point where they recommend playing on an easier difficulty level and/or using a shortcut involving an arch-vile jump to quickly reach the end.
      • A Post Mortem-style map, Hard Target of the Kama Sutra megawad. This one has over 1,700 monsters in the map along with the aforementioned lack of cover. Have fun beating that.
      • Hell Revealed 2's MAP32 has over 1,600 monsters, a lot of them being of the heavyweight variety. Good luck beating this one without reloading.
      • Speed of Doom has MAP28 and MAP30, having over 2,800 monsters and exactly 2,010 monsters each, respectively... Those two levels alone make the first Deus Vult look easy.
      • Plutonia 2's Go 4 It. Not nearly as tough as the rest of the levels on this list, but it's certainly a fitting successor to Go 2 It.
      • Pretty much the entire Sunder wad can fall under this trope, but the worst offender has to be Map 5: "Precarious." Imagine "The Chasm" from Doom II with absolutely no safety net and hundreds of monsters attacking you trying to knock you off.
      • The top prize though surely has to go to Holy Hell Map 5, The Waste Tunnels. Just under 20,000 monsters fill this massive map. It's so big a UV Max run took nearly three hours. See it here. To put this in perspective, maps 1-4 of the WAD are actually that map split up, because at its release in 2006 most computers couldn't run a 14-year-old game with that many monsters.
      • Scythe's map 28, "Run From It". The level is on a timer, and you have 30 seconds to complete it, then you die. Check out the world speedrun records on that map - they are all about 30 seconds, which means that you must perform a speedrun at a world champion level to complete this!
      • And then comes the insanity that is "Fire and Ice". The crowning glory of Episode 3, 747 monsters fill this large map which dwarfs every other map in the wad. Even the easy skill levels aren't for the faint of heart-the monster count being reduced to a mere 718
      • Hellbound has several of these, the worst offenders being map 14, Doom District (Up until then, the wad it's challenging but manageable. This one is an all out urban warfare slaughter with more than 500 monsters, including several Spider Masterminds), map 31, Diabolus ex Machina (Hope you like facing hordes of Revenants and Cyberdemon, here you'll find those by the buckets), map 16, City Bounds (Like map 14, but WORSE. the open highway area throws a veritable horde of mid to high tier baddies at you, and you'll probably be limping from the other massive encounters you've faced before that), map 27, Crimsom Abyss (The very first enemy you fight in the level is a Cyberdemon. That's just a taste of horrors to come), map 29, Ascension (A marathonian ascent up a demonic mountain, with more than ONE THOUSAND enemies. Good luck, you're gonna need it) and map30, Worlds Collide (To put it very mildly, your probabilies of making it to the Icon of Sin are... slim).
      • Eviternity has level 19, "Dehydration"—the most disliked level of all, for two reasons: it's a surprisingly long, complex and tiresome Marathon Level (its par time is 40 minutes, in a mod where most maps have par times no longer than 5 minutes), and it feels quite unfairly hard in spots.
  • Doom 3 has Alpha Labs, which is pain incarnate on the higher difficulties due the hordes of zombie soldiers with hitscan machine guns that can tear your health apart in a few seconds. Unless you found the optional early Chaingun, prepare to die numerous times.
    • The EnPro plant goes on for an eternity, is very dark and cramped, and is filled with Cherubs and Ticks that just love ambushing you from dark corners.
  • DOOM (2016) has the last fight of the penultimate campaign level, Vega Central Processing. You're pitted against more than 10 fast moving, projectile spamming sub-boss monsters at once. Explosive projectile weapons work best, if you can manage not to blow yourself up on all the paper-thin cover across a mostly open arena where it's somehow still incredibly easy to get pinned down. You'll probably still die from the random projectile volley crossing your twitchy dash around the room. Oh, and the bottom floor is electrified. Not only that, but on PC in particular, this level is a massive performance hog and often reduces your frame rate by up to 45%, making the final fight even harder.
    • The UAC on Ultra-Nightmare. Yes, the very first level. Given the density of helmet markersnote , a whole lot of people are intimately familiar with the first level by now. Just be glad it doesn't show every death, otherwise you'd be knee-deep in the helmets.
    • Kadingir Sanctum, mostly because it's so freaking long and is filled with combat arenas that lock you in for mandatory slugfests against demons like Barons that were rather uncommon until that point in the game.
  • Taras Nabad in Doom Eternal features not one, but two Marauder fights, and introduces the infamous Archvile not once, but twice. And an encounter with not one, but two Cyber Mancubuses where the resources you need for the Blood Punch to break their armor (Mooks to Glory Kill) are in short supply, among other nefariously designed situations. Like crowds of demons in tight corridors.
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein has two stealth levels. The first is an infiltration mission, where you have to sneak into a Nazi base by following a supply truck to a compound in the middle of a forest. This takes place after you mow down enemies in the few levels preceding this level. Now here is the hard part. You have to ensure no alarms are set off in order to infiltrate the base, which can be done by smashing them. The fun part? It's rather easy to get detected while stalking the supply truck because there are sniper towers strewn throughout, as well as guards patrolling about. The same thing can also happen once you get into the compound, because there is a chance a Nazi guard may be around, and there is a sniper post inside the compound. The next stealth level is an assassination mission. You're pitted into a village, and your objective is to kill off five important Nazi officers inside the village. The same conditions as the previous stealth level apply to this one: Ensure that no alarms are set off. The hard part? It's easier to get detected in the village than in the forest, and there are always going to be at least a guard or more walking about. Heck, there can also be a few guards patrolling around certain areas of the village, and the paths in the village are linear.
  • Wolfenstein 3D has E6M1. Imagine a level made up mostly of long hallways, with perpendicular niches. Now imagine that nearly all of those niches contain an "Officer" who will likely step out and block your path (likely shooting you for massive damage if you are reckless) unless you take a perfectly straight line through the halls, dead-center and just run for it. Have fun beating it if you're into hundred percent completion. Not a super-hard level but just so uninspired. Also, the music may drive you nuts; See and hear for yourself.
    • That level is nothing compared to the labyrinthine hell that is E6M7. Then again, the entirety of Episode 2 could also count because of those fucking mutants.
    • Levels 16 and 18 of Spear of Destiny put anything in the original game to shame. The Game Mod Spear Resurrection ups the ante even further with its level 13, The Great Escape, which would have already been an extremely long and difficult level but gives you the additional problem of not having weapons in the early part of the map.
  • Quake III: Arena (and by extension, Quake Live) have space stages like The Longest Yard and Space Chamber. You will lose a point if you fall off or are knocked off the stage by another player.
    • There is also Apocalypse Void. It's a space level made up of a bunch of floating platforms that move up and down. It's extremely easy for a railgunner to knock you into the void while you're in airborne (as when using jump pads), plus there is nowhere to hide.
    • In the original Quake, Hell's Atrium, The Pain Maze and Azure Agony are all extremely difficult (the last three before the final boss). All have dozens of enemies, numerous environmental traps and limited ammo. The last hidden level, The Nameless City is even worse.

  • Team Fortress 2 has its own page.
  • Half-Life 1 has Xen. The whole crux of it. You just went through going through Black Mesa, fighting for your life against an alien invasion and a military clean up battalion. What are you treated with? Platformer hell. It's so widely disliked that the fan remake Black Mesa released without the Xen chapters, with the aim of making them more bearable before releasing them later on - it took them over five years to release their vision of Xen, which is roughly 70% brand-new content.
    • "Residue Processing" - a long, tedious and frustrating level that you start with no weapons or ammunition because you're forced to blunder into a trap set for you by the military at the end of the previous level. Something of a Platformer Hell (except that the platforms in this instance comprise moving conveyor belts for the most part), and full of locked doors that can only be unlocked once you reach the other side of them via an alternative route (thereby rendering the act of unlocking them more or less pointless). There's little spare ammunition available for the replacement weapons you're given during the level, while the level is considerably more generous with ammunition for weapons you don't re-acquire until later levels.
    • "Lambda Core" can have the feeling of the Ending Fatigue starting to creep in. This is especially true once you reach the teleporter maze, and need to guess which random portal takes you to the final room of the chapter. At least there's pulse-pounding hordes of enemies plus the newly-introduced Gluon Gun to help mow them down.
    • "On A Rail" is an extremely difficult chapter since there are many hiding spots for enemies and plenty of times where you will get ambushed. What makes it even more difficult is that health and ammo are sparse around the level.
    • "Surface Tension" is no walk in the park either. For a good chunk of the level, you are ruthlessly pursued by a military helicopter, all the while dealing with soldiers, headcrabs, and even landmines. Later in the level, you are somehow expected to be able to parkour with the crazy-sensitive controls.
  • Half-Life 2 has some notable contenders.
    • Route Kanal: Manhacks. Everywhere.
    • Highway 17: Used to be fine, aside from the Tau Cannon being fun but still a major step down from the airboat's rapid-fire machine gun, but an attempt to update the game to the Orange Box version of the Source engine made the jeep handle like crap and be far too slow for certain events (various jumps are made extremely difficult and playing chicken with the train is damn near impossible).
    • Anticitizen One: Mainly just the very cramped apartment buildings, which are very maze-y and narrow. Coupled with slow moving rebels with fat hitboxes you can't walk through turns the indoor areas into claustrophobe hell.
    • The first ~85% of Sandtraps, where hordes of Antlions spawn at you if you walk on the sand. There isn't enough to jump on to avoid them easily, and they're not too hard to kill with your weapons, so they're neither weak enough to ignore nor strong enough to actually be a threat. Attempting to not summon them endlessly by walking on the sand means slowly moving forward picking up and placing chunks of sheet metal like you're playing "the floor is lava" in a mansion, so 99% of players just end up sprinting to the thumper at the end. Compensated for by allowing you to control them later and use them as machine gun bait.
    • Breaking into Nova Prospekt on harder levels. One gunship alone on hard is tricky enough, but here you're up against two plus a surplus of goons.
    • Nova Prospekt's defense level, where Gordon needs to Hold the Line against a swarm of Combine soldiers. Playing fairly is damn hard, and as such most players use "alternate" strategies involving bringing more turrets or just plain hiding. This level has since broken, and now spawns about half the soldiers it used to. Before, attempting to complete it without exploits was probably the hardest thing in the game.
    • Many players have an extreme dislike for Episode One's elevator part. It's not as hard now because the developers patched it to be easier.
    • Defending White Forest from the striders in Episode Two should be party central. You get a new, unique weapon that blows this once-formidable enemy into fun-sized candy bars, plentiful supplies, and even radar to tell you where you're needed. The hunters, however, make this level tougher than getting your ass beat in front of the girl you like. Each strider comes with 1-3 hunters (which fire on you constantly), and if even one of them is within firing range when you take out your fun new bomb it dissolves into spare parts. You can kill them in one hit by running them over, but they can sidestep it somewhat easily. As such, White Forest has the distinction of being Best Level Ever for half the people who play it and That One Level for the other half.
  • Left 4 Dead 2:
    • Dark Carnival: The Barns. The final part of the map is a short sprint to the saferoom. A short sprint with an endless crescendo in a narrow path where you will constantly be slowed down by the horde and special infected. Players without melee weapons and/or adrenaline are pretty much screwed. If you're "lucky", you may even find a Tank waiting for you at the very end.
    • Though The Barns throws a tsunami of infected at you near the end, Dead Center: The Mall can be hell all the way through because of the game's tendency, despite the Director's quasi-randomization, to make the Mall level a special infected orgy; it's unlikely you'll get through the mall without being assailed by a near-constant stream of special infected. Not to mention it's one of the longer stages in the game and the horde-summoning event is rather ruthless. The survivors end up having to break through the front windows of a store, setting off a shoplifting alarm, and must fight their way through a horde along with special infected summoned by that alarm to reach an office and shut it off. It's already bad enough that the office is on the top floor of a multi-story area of the mall where your starting point is randomized (inevitably having to climb at least one flight of stairs to get to it) and there's a lot of thin walkways, wide gaps, and the only stairs to move up and down floors at extreme opposite ends of the area - it's easy to get separated, either by the special infected or through simply not being able to concentrate on where your teammates are through the hordes of infected, and easy to get incapacitated in a way that the team simply can't get to you in time. Add on to this that as you get closer to the office, the infected can spawn from it and the hallway just beyond - and they will, as soon as you get close enough. Even if you manage to breeze through them in the wider area, your progress will be brought down to damn near a standstill as a veritable flood of Infected spawn out of the office to block your path - hope you brought a melee weapon with a wide reach.
    • Hard Rain, especially the second half of the campaign which takes place in a storm so fierce that it often reduces your visibility to nothing farther than what's right in front of your face, and blots out much of the telltale sounds that could have saved your ass to hear ahead of time. But the real nasty part is the beginning of level 3 of the campaign, Mill Escape: to begin with, you have to maneuver back through the sugar cane field you just went through, except this time, the storm comes and washes away whatever visibility and strategy you did have planned. Bear in mind that seeing through the field is difficult even without the storm. In a series based around knowing your environment, sticking together and being cautious and aware, this segment borders on Fake Difficulty. Adding to this, the storm kicking up also reduces the volume of the in game voice chat, meaning you can barely hear your teammates screaming for help or shouting clues that would have helped normally (though this can easily be mitigated by using the Steam overlay voice chat or any 3rd party chat client in general, if you're not just using the in-game text chat).
      • The Sugar Mill just before this. Thanks to a glitch that Valve decided they liked, a ridiculous number of Witches wander through the entire level like a swarm of angry bees. Keep in mind that Witches are game-changers because of how powerful they are - even for the wandering variations, which are noticeably harder to anger, just hearing their crying instantly turns the game from Doom (running at full speed, shooting everything that breathes until it stops moving of its own volition) to Ghost Recon (slow movement, carefully picking your shots so you don't accidentally alert the Witch) - but the level, with multiple stories for them to be on, lots of foliage for them to wander behind and disappear until a hapless teammate runs right into them, and lots of holes in the walls for you to accidentally shoot through and anger a Witch you didn't even get to yet, is as unfriendly on that front as can be. The kicker is that there's an achievement where you can't kill any of the Witches, which if you don't want teammates dying at any point (because the only way to save a teammate from an angry Witch is to... guess) means not alerting any of them either. Have fun surviving on Expert.
      • And god help you if you play Hard Rain in Realism mode; no glowing halo around your teammates to tell you where they are at a glance, they don't respawn in closets if they die, Witches kill you in a single strike (normally you just get incapacitated, and they need to keep ripping into you for a few seconds to actually kill you), and common infected have more resistance to anything except the Magnum pistol unless you shoot their head. Combine Realism's rules with the hurricane effects and the huge amount of Witches in the sugar mill, you will have the ultimately hardest official maps in the entire series. Pray that your teammates are smart enough to hunker down and stay close to you when the storm kicks up.
    • The bloody roller coaster in Dark Carnival. You have to set a roller coaster running and go along the tracks while being endlessly swarmed by zombies for the entire trip. And God help you if you fall off, because in most cases you then have to go right back to the start to get back on. There's also a bit on a building site where you have to run a zig-zagging queue-rail type gauntlet with lots of insurmountable chicken-wire fence to get to the button to turn the alarm off. Insurmountable to you, that is. Zombies can surmount it without any trouble whatsoever. And there are millions of them, and they infinitely respawn - even actually turning off the alarm seems pointless because they still keep coming for a full damned minute afterwards regardless. Thanks, Director. Have fun.
    • The endgame of The Parish. A long, long run across a bridge from Hell, with never-ending waves of zombies, a Tank that has plenty of cars to throw at you, and just when you can see the helicopter and the Director starts throwing more waves of zombies at you... you learn you have to navigate a somewhat-confusing path of concrete barriers. Especially painful in that if you're playing with CPU teammates, a) they can't carry pipe bombs or Molotovs that will distract or block the majority of the Horde that's headed your way and b) they tend to like to patch themselves up without realizing there's a Tank right behind them! Ugh.
      • The Parish also has an impound car lot in the 3rd map that is filled with cars with activated alarms. Naturally, your aim has to be spot on if you plan to shoot any infected or risk hitting a car, and you have to watch your step so you don't touch the cars either. If you wind up triggering a car alarm here, it is likely during the fight, your bullets will hit another car and summon another horde after the one before it and it can get a lot worse if your teammates are trigger happy, bad shots, or panic easily (luckily survivor AI can't trigger alarms at all, even if they end up tap-dancing on top of one). This can lead to a huge chain reaction of several hordes bearing down on you. Smokers can yank you to an alarmed car (especially on the bridge above you where you can't see them), Jockeys can ride you into a car, and Chargers can ram you into a car. If a Tank shows up? Better hope you can dodge flying cars!
    • For some players, Swamp Fever as a whole is That One Level - not because of the difficulty, but because of the grungy, homogeneous environment (an endless stream of puke-green tempered only with shit-brown, as opposed to the colourful other campaigns which at least have some attempt at different color schemes for the ground, sky, and buildings) and the abundance of watery regions slowing down movement on top of A) regular Infected, as typical, not being affected by it in the slightest, and B) the campaign's uncommon variety being able to hide in the water as they swarm you and then cloud your vision with mud every time they hit you. But then there's the last part of Plantation, simply because the Director throws two Tanks at you. At once. On as low as Normal. Not fun. And because each map is very lengthy, suffering a restart means having to slog through the long map all over again. Even if your team is good, completion time can reach close to an hour whereas other campaigns can take up to 40 minutes on average.
    • Setting off the alarm from the crashed airliner in Swamp Fever by throwing off its emergency-exit door is a particular game-stopper. Either you hole up in the extremely cramped airliner and get swarmed, you hole up on the wing of the airliner and get picked off by Smokers and Hunters, or you try to rush ahead through the movement-slowing water and get surrounded by the unhindered infected. The best part? There's an achievement for beating this section without taking damage.
    • The finale of The Passing is a total bitch to tackle. Zoey, Francis, and Louis provide cover to you in the main intersection but once you start heading to the back street and back alleys, they won't be able to see you so they can't help and that's where all the trouble starts. The gas cans are spread so far apart from each other that every trip is a big risk for being pounced and just like in Swamp Fever's finale, there will also be two Tanks to fight after the first Tank.
    • Death Toll and Dead Air, campaigns from the original Left 4 Dead, had sections reworked for the port to Left 4 Dead 2. More specifically, each of them had a "hold the line" section which was reworked into a mad dash for the saferoom through an endless swarm of infected ripping your face off. Death Toll, in particular, has a winding gauntlet about twice as long as the one in Barns. You can bet your bottom dollar that This Is Gonna Suck, even if you have a melee weapon.
  • The Sacrifice finale in the first Left 4 Dead is a total pain, mainly in the actual sacrificing part. As 3 Tanks rush in to kill everyone, someone has to jump off the bridge and restart the generator. 9 times out of 10, a Smoker will yank the would be hero, usually to a place where their teammates can't see the Smoker, leaving the player to die. The tenth time will usually have the Tank spawn right between you and the generator, where by virtue of being the only one on the ground for it to chase after, you simply can't get around it without running straight into one of the other two Tanks, leaving you to be juggled to death against the nearest wall. Not only bots will never sacrifice themselves, but if three survivors are killed (or all incapacitated on the bridge), it counts as a Non Standard Game Over for the last survivor alive. The same finale in the sequel is significantly easier due to the addition of melee weapons and bile bombs to make it easier to cut through or distract the swarm of regular infected, and more special infected types meaning there won't necessarily be a Smoker in play to stop you.
  • The Voltigore tunnels in Opposing Force. It's a series of sewer tunnels filled with Voltigores. The tunnels are pitch black, requiring you to use night vision, which only shows about ten feet in front of you; naturally, there's voltigores that will shoot at you from beyond the range of your night vision. Said voltigores can take disproportionate amounts of ammo to kill, have devastating electrical attacks, and self-destruct upon death. As you can probably guess, there's almost no ammo or health in the tunnels. If you have the ammo to spare, your best bet is the Displacer Cannon (which One-Hit Kills them on any difficulty) or the SAW; snarks will do quite a bit of damage too, but they're exceedingly rare in Opposing Force. Thankfully, there's an easy A.I. Breaker once you get to the second set of tunnels; the voltigores aren't programmed to leave the tunnel, so you can just take out the Shock Roach and cherry tap them to death while dodging their attacks. It's better than wasting your ammo, because immediately upon leaving you're hit with a horde of Shock Troopers, backed up by a few more goddamned voltigores.
    • Crush Depth and Vicarious Reality are probably the first really difficult chapters in the game. After being teleported to Xen briefly and then returning to Earth, Shepard finds himself in an underwater laboratory long fallen to the Race X enemies, with the occasional classic Xen alien here and there. The Race X aliens are far deadlier than their Xen counterparts, and with the Black Ops taking an absence in these chapters, supplies are scarce. It is also home to a number of platforming puzzles and labyrinthine levels that can overwhelm a newcomer.
  • The large, underground areas in the mid-game of Portal 2 tend to raise some hackles, if only because there's rarely clear evidence of what the exit point or goal is, compared with the normal test chambers before and after this. Instead it becomes an exercise in looking for that one splash of white paint on a distance surface that you can throw a portal to, and then trying to find one more splash of white paint on another distant surface in about one second after exiting that portal.

    Star Wars 
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces had Anoat City (the third mission). It's going through a maze of sewers, and it's a real sewer, with real sewage. So if that thought alone doesn't make you want to leave, there's those dang Dianogas (the trash compactor creature from A New Hope), it's dark, and well, did I mention it was a maze?
  • Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast has Nar Shaddaa, all of it. The previous mission, you just got back your lightsaber and force powers. So, does the game provide you with plenty of stormtroopers to cut loose on? Nope! Instead, you get a non-stop diet of snipers (the one non-explosive weapon in the game that you can't block with the lightsaber) and grenade-throwers! And a lot of jumping puzzles, too, because Nar Shaddaa means lots of places to fall a very long way.
    • Nar Shaddaa is no friendlier in the original Dark Forces. Just as many grenade-throwing Grans and about twice as many enemies armed with the Concussion Rifle - imagine a gun whose shots are like grenades... but if you're caught anywhere in its blast radius, even at the very edge, you take full damage as if it had hit you right between the eyes. This very factor makes the weapon nearly useless to you, as you'll do more damage to yourself than your opponent if, unlike the Trandoshans, you don't happen to be standing way up on out-of-the-way platforms. And, again, there are also areas where it's easy to fall eternally into space.
  • If you want sheer unadulterated hell, you want Outcast, before you get your lightsaber. These stormtroopers aren't The Goomba like in most Star Wars games - they are unstoppable gods of destruction. They're smart, they sneak up on you, two will go one way and two will go another to surround you, their aim is just splendid, and other enemies are just as bad. If that's not bad enough (trust us, it is), you will get next to no health, you will get next to no shields, and you will get next to no ammo. You'll find yourself reloading from your last save because an enemy you really needed to go down in two shots took you three and that means there's no surviving the next room. You will virtually be spending most of the time as a One-Hit Point Wonder with about five shots in your gun. Prepare for areas that would be nothing in any other game to take you days to beat. But that really brings home how badass Jedi are, when even on the higher difficulties and in encounters where the game sends a dozen of them after you at a time, once you have your lightsaber and Force powers again stormtroopers suddenly go from death incarnate to beneath notice.
  • Some will agree that there is one truly bad level in Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy: the one where a giant worm bursts forth and insta-kills you if you step on the sand for too long. Luckily, you are allowed to skip one mission in each of the three segments of the game, and this and the other (slightly less, but still) annoying missions are roughly evenly distributed across the three segments. Other much-maligned levels include the one with the invincible Boba Fett and the ones with the almost-invincible rancorsnote .
    • The level where you lose your lightsaber is pretty bad - not quite as bad as Outcast's opening, since this one comes halfway through the game where you have your core powers at their second level and a decent selection of other powers, but still pretty bad. Considering the game discourages you from using anything but your lightsaber except in rare cases (enemy Jedi always dodge guns, and regular enemies are much easier to just cut down while deflecting their attacks with the saber), it's such an abruptly annoying change in gameplay. About all that makes it tolerable is that, if you're doing all of the missions in descending order, by the point you get here (if you don't skip it, since it's the last mission of its segment) you should have at least one good offensive Force power to quickly clear rooms with and one good defensive power to reduce or undo what damage the enemy deals. Prepare to go From Bad to Worse at the end, as naturally, That One Level can only end with That One Boss. If you survive this far, expect to face a Nigh-Invulnerable enemy wielding that Concussion Rifle you loved so much way back on Nar Shaddaa (slightly less overpowered in this game, but overpowered enough when in the enemy's hands). Somehow, what sure looks like an unprotected human who could stand to lose a few pounds will shrug off all manner of gunfire and grenades, and will be right back up and shooting again immediately even if you send him plummeting from the highest point in the room.
  • The first Star Wars: Battlefront is just chock full of fun multiplayer levels plagued with horrible AI.
    • Bespin. Not only is the enemy AI accurate to a range of 10 football fields with shotguns, they spam grenades into the tunnel that your teammates are loafing around in to reduce your reinforcement counter - you can go 20 kills with no deaths and still lose due to all of your teammates getting 20 deaths and very few, if any, kills.
    • The Rhen Var Ruins was horribly unbalanced. Basically it was set up as a small but multi-layered map. Doesn't sound so bad until you realize that Imperial Dark Troopers and Clone Jet Troopers can simply use their jet packs to take over most of the map before the other side can even get there.
      • Rhen Var Harbor for the Alliance or Separatists. The map is big enough that the Imperials and Republic get their heavy AT-AT and AT-TE walkers, but not wide enough that the Rebellion get T-47 airspeeders, their only efficient defense against the AT-AT; they, and the Separatists in general, only get light vehicles, which are destroyed in one hit by the walkers' main weapons. Worse is that they function as mobile spawn points as well, which can pop out anti-vehicle troops to hit anything the AT-AT and AT-TE can't, and which respawn after a minute or so even if the opposing side somehow manages to destroy it.
    • If you want torture, try playing the Dune Sea as the Rebels or CIS. In theory, it's a three-faction map: Rebels/CIS, Empire/Republic, and Tusken Raiders who are hostile to everyone. The problem is that the Rebel and CIS spawn points are located between those of the other two, meaning that rather than it being Rebels/CIS Vs Empire/Republic Vs Tuskens, it ends up as Rebels/CIS Vs The Entire World in a war of extermination while Imperial/Republic vs. Tusken combat plays out as minor skirmishes.
    • Levels that do not have vehicles are downright hellish for the Republic, since destroyer droids with their shields up are nightmarishly hard to deal with. Geonosis in particular heavily favors the CIS team, and victory pretty much entirely revolves around the Republic team keeping their vehicles alive.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
    • "Hoth - Our Finest Hour", the final mission of the campaign, is a nightmare. There are four different points to capture, requiring that you fight through hordes of Rebels by yourself (the Rebels, as typical, have infinite reinforcements; you don't) for each one, because, again as usual, your allies are less than useless. The first two are separated by vast open areas that provide no cover from the absurdly accurate snipers, and not even Darth Friggin' Vader helps with capturing the final one, as those same snipers will eat through his health in only a few shots. Then you have to place a bomb under a transport protected by more Rebel swarms and about a dozen autoturrets, then defend it for a minute so it isn't destroyed (and if it is you have to do the entire mission again).
      • The Tantive IV mission. The corridor battle is a hell made of grenades, the AI is unable to recognize that it's safer not to join Vader's attack, and on top of all this the commander makes an extremely big deal about how you need Leia alive and lucid for her to be of any use - leading first-time players to believe there's some trick to beating her, only to realize after failing and having to do the entire mission over again that you just need to shoot her until she dies. That's not even getting into the fact that, if you play on Windows 7, Leia doesn't even spawn, so you can't beat the level. To top it all off, in an ironic reversal from the situation in the movie, your Imperial reinforcements are extremely limited while the Rebels are free to pull an endless Zerg Rush. Enjoy.
      • "Yavin 4 — Revenge of the Empire" is almost as bad. The Yavin 4 map isn't well liked anyway, with a comically easy to defend final point for Rebels/CIS and, like Naboo, a bloodbath zone in the centre where your allies go to die, but this mission adds infinite enemy respawns, rocket-spamming tanks, and requiring that you defend the aforementioned bloodbath zone for two minutes.
  • Shadows of the Empire has Ord Mantell. First off, you have to jump from train to train; if you miss a train, you lose a life. If you fall off, you lose a life. If you don't jump over or crouch under various bars across the tracks, you take so much damage that it's effectively another life lost. This is made worse by three facts: First, you've only played one first-person shooter level to this point, secondly, it wasn't the last one, and lastly hello, realistic jumping physics!!
    • And then next is Gall Spaceport. Once again, there are way too many chances to fall to your death just because there's No OSHA Compliance at any of the numerous Imperial installations. Of course, similar to Jedi Outcast, it and the rest of the game generally experience a jump in quality (and fun) once you find the jetpack.
    • Mos Eisley and Beggar's Canyon, if only for the challenge points. On its own it's relatively simple: flying through the streets of the city on a swoop bike, trying to make the other 20 or so ahead of you crash before they can get to the end (or even just reaching the end of the canyon before any of them do), with the only real difficulty being in trying to avoid hitting anything except another speeder bike at any appreciable speed to prevent blowing yourself up. The game even inverts Rubber-Band A.I., as the bad guys will actively slow down to let you keep up with them if you're lagging behind. Going for the challenge points makes it hell, though, as a lot of them are beyond jumps that will kill you if you don't get them with pixel-perfect precision and frame-perfect speed control, and most of the others being in places that are completely counter-intuitive and will waste precious seconds getting. Most players going for them here choose to destroy all the enemy swoop bikes and then go back to get the points at their leisure, and even then the ones beyond jumps are likely to rob you of at least as many lives as you're rewarded at the end for getting them all.
  • The Prosecutor in Star Wars: Republic Commando is brutal the first time through, since most encounters begin with the Trandoshans ambushing you with their shotguns, which if you don't react in time can two-shot you even in the best of circumstances. And when they're not doing that, they're attacking you in packs of 4 or 5 guys along with a Scavenger Droid or two supporting them. Said droids drain your shields and health ridiculously fast and kamikaze your ass as soon they've been hit. This combined with the fact that for a good half of this mission you're completely alone (which means Game Over if you go down) and ammunition for your main weapons is sparse, forcing you to use the ACP Array Gun or your useless recharging blaster pistol if you want to save ammo.

     Call of Duty 
  • The original Call of Duty's car ride level. An Unexpected Shmup Level where you can only duck in and out of the car, with no way to dodge enemy fire, so your survival is dependent on the accuracy of your enemies, especially on Veteran, where they kill in as little as one hit. Modern Warfare 1 and 3 had similar levels in the form of "Game Over" and "Bag n' Drag", respectively, though the former at least gives you the option to actually hide and regenerate your health, as well as not restricting your point of aim to such an extent that you cannot shoot more than half of the enemies hitting you like "Bag n' Drag".
    • The Eder Dam level in the British campaign is particularly infamous. Here we have a game priding itself on teamwork; an important part of the advertising was that "in war, no one fights alone". This is reflected in the entirety of the American campaign so far - even when you're sent in alone against impossible odds (the aforementioned car ride level), it's still a team effort (you have two guys with you), it's only because that's as many men as can be spared for the operation, and not going through with it isn't an option. When you first get to the British campaign you're expecting more of the same (the game even rehashes the first two American levels, tasking you with taking an enemy bridge at night and then defending it the next morning) - and then the game suddenly decides it wants to be Return to Castle Wolfenstein, completely eschewing the teamwork angle and sending you to clear an entire hydroelectric dam with nothing more than a sniper rifle that you can barely use indoors, a submachine gun you can't replenish your ammo for, and a massive kick to the balls in terms of difficulty. It's basically the game's take on the obligatory Stealth-Based Mission every other game was shoehorning in around the same time, minus the stealth but with all the hair-pulling difficulty.
  • There is a Russian mission in Call of Duty 2 which pits you against three German tanks, with no rocket launchers, meaning you have to literally touch them and plant an explosive charge. And the tanks ignore all of your allies and only shoot at you. And they are always looking at you. Always. You can't sneak up on them because they can see through walls. Even worse is that, unlike everything else you have to use explosive charges on in the entire series, they're not stuck in one place and can in fact move faster than you can. They can and will run away before you can plant the explosives, and then they can and will run you over when you're trying to hide from all the other Germans constantly ventilating you.
    • The Silo. Six or so buildings that you have to capture, infinite snipers in the windows of said buildings, lack of cover, and you have to Hold the Line against mortar crews from the top of the silo.
  • "Mile High Club," The Stinger level in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, is a Timed Mission set on an airliner. There is not enough room to move, the Mooks outnumber you, the rest of your team won't move up until you clear the area, and if you're going for the "Mile High Club" achievement for completing it on Veteran, you die in four hits and only have one minute to reach the hostage, who you must rescue with a headshot; if you go for a kneecap, the level ends with the message "Veterans only get headshots." If you make one false move, you'll either die or fail anyway because you wasted time. It's the kind of level where you don't need a walkthrough so much as choreography.
    • Where do you begin with the defense of the Ferris Wheel at the end of "One Shot, One Kill"? To set it out for those who haven't played this level; You and your injured superior have to fight off at least a hundred respawning enemies all armed with fully automatic rifles for 6 minutes while waiting for a helicopter to arrive. You have 5 to 10 Claymore mines and a few C4 packs to defend your ally with, and if he dies, game over. Luckily, most of the enemies go after you, instead of him. If you stay behind the Ferris wheel, which makes very good cover, attack dogs spawn in packs, which instant kill you unless you press a button in a 0.1 second window of opportunity. If you stay almost anywhere else, you get a rain of grenades. It gets even worse if you're trying to collect the intel for that part. The last intel of the level is behind a door that you can't open, so you have to run out into the mass of enemies to manipulate their spawn points and force one to spawn behind that door and open it for you, so you can then try to rush further into the mob of enemies and grab it before they all kill you (the only upside being that if you do get to it and grab it, it's still yours even if you die before getting another checkpoint). That said, if you're not going for the intel there's an Easy Level Trick if you go prone and hide in the little kiosk booth, keeping as far inside the stand as possible, and simply shooting whoever crosses your line of sight. The grenade indicator will go off constantly as always, but you will be protected from most of the grenades by the sheet metal. When it's time to go, spring out and grab MacMillan - you're almost invulnerable while carrying him in this mission, so take advantage of that and just sprint to the helo right away, and you're done.
    • While not exactly that one level for the most part the level Hunted in Modern Warfare makes up for the rest of the level in one 'short' part involving a helicopter. During this one part you have to take out a bunch of people and then get into a barn to be able to advance, which overall really isn't all that hard, even on Veteran. But what makes it hard is they give the helicopter a door gunner. To put it lightly, the helicopter is a bitch. On Veteran it will kill you in about a second if you are not constantly in cover. Now if this still sounds easy, think again, since the helicopter will move to make sure that you never have very good cover. Even killing the door gunner buys you only a few seconds, as they always have someone to replace him. And then there is the part where you have to leave cover to get to the barn, which you can't just charge into because there's at least three guys inside ready to kill you as soon as you run in. So you have to patiently sit outside the barn while the helicopter kills you and you do the whole thing all over again. It comes down to whether the helicopter decides to be stupid and move behind the barn.
      • One last factor that deserves a mention here is the hilarity of finally making it safely into the barn just to get plugged in the face by the three shotgun-wielding enemies inside who up until now had been hiding out of sight. Enjoy starting over. Again.
    • To clarify this further: The helicopter may look in another direction, but the instant it has line of sight on you, it will flick its gun around instantaneously and begin shooting you. It shoots no one else.
    • The beginning of "Shock and Awe" had you manning the helicopter's mounted Mark 19 grenade launcher while you approach the city. A minute into the mission you come to the bridge with enemy infantry and anti-aircraft gun nests a little farther on. Having a very limited angle at which you can turn the weapon as well as the necessity of watching an overheat meter while shooting in rapid succession, you will realize you die repeatedly exactly at the same moment simply because you can not aim at the hostiles who are just a hair outside the gun's operating area even if you try (and try you will). While during other strenuous missions you are able to switch tactics, in this assignment you are either bound to succeed with the one tactic the game allows or taking a cold shower. On Veteran this quickly comes down to being infuriated at seeing the same scripted stretch of desert as you approach the same spot again. And again. And again. The hint? Pray for enemies to miss the helicopter right away and try to shoot the nearby vehicles in hopes of catching the infantry within the blast radius or at least giving you time to get within the cannon's range.
    • While "All Ghillied Up" is overall an awesome mission, there's one part that's hell. It's the part where you go prone in an open field while a convoy passes right next to you. There's one soldier in the convoy that almost acts as if he is programmed specifically to head right for you and discover you. If you lay down behind MacMillan in any position other than basically hugging his left thigh, the soldier drifts to your left, discovers you, and you die instantly in a hail of bullets.
    • "No Fighting in the War Room" on Veteran. Namely the part where you have to go through a silo on either the left or right side; as you walk past you near-instantly get shot-up from both sides, the worse part is how blatantly the AI in the side areas is boosted; you can kill everything down the middle without too much trouble at all with a little care, yet the enemies in the side areas instantly mow you down with about 90% accuracy at any range. Pretty much the only half-way reliable way to survive is spamming assault rifle grenades down the corridors; hope you didn't waste too many earlier!
    • Ah, "Charlie Don't Surf". An easy, well-lit, fun Breather Level following the dark, tense action of "Crew Expendable", "The Coup", and "Blackout". Plenty of cover, plenty of ammo, funny lines from allies, an unambiguously heroic goal, and easy-to-spot intel. Should be easy, right? Indeed it is, until two-thirds of the way through the level, when you waltz into a room of the suspected TV Station filled with computer monitors and desks – otherwise known as a little spot of pure, distilled hell. Totally-not-the-Taliban jump out of nowhere and converge on your position, sneaking behind desks, sniping you from upper balconies, tossing grenades with skill that would make an Olympic shot-putter proud, and running around corners with instakill shotguns and SMGs with a fire rate so high that you'll be dead before your screen can even fully turn red. Oh, and until you reach a certain point, they respawn. The worst part, though, is that all the cover is penetrable. Plywood, drywall, glass – every single bit of cover offers no more protection than tissue paper. You'll be shot through windows. You'll be shot through walls. You'll be outflanked and shot in the back through doors. You'll be shot from the balcony as you try to advance. By the end of it, you'll probably feel like shooting your TV.
    • Oh god. "Heat." Starts like a normal hold the line type of mission, starting at the middle of a long incline. You take out hordes of enemies, slowly losing ground, until you get to a barn that's supposed to be your extraction point. You hold out there for a minute or two, and then you are told that your extraction is at the bottom of the hill, the one that's now completely overrun with Ultranationalists. This is where the real trouble starts. The endlessly respawning horde lays down a solid wall of fire that means staring at another death quote on the screen if you stick out your head from cover for half a second. The limited airstrikes you get aren't even as effective as you might think, since they respawn so quickly. The area you're in has little cover ahead of you, other than a shallow trench, a few unreliable bales of hay, and a small shack. Stick to one piece of cover for too long, and you'll be grenade spammed. There's plenty of visual cover in the form of smoke and vegetation, but as always, the computer can see through it, meaning that you'll be shot at by enemies you can't even see. And you have to advance through this bullshit. Your only chance is to call multiple airstrikes at once and maybe toss a smoke grenade in front of the next piece of cover, wait until the endless gunfire gets quieter, then sprint. And possibly pray for a checkpoint. Thankfully once you get past the open field into the village, you're mostly home free if you sprint ahead of the spawns. Despite this, when in the barn, you might have noticed a small building, if you go through its back, there are nearly no enemies, making a mad dash to the extraction points possible without taking too many risks.
  • In the followup game, Call of Duty: World at War, the level "Heart of the Reich" is now infamous among players on Veteran mode for its insanely overdone difficulty, unfair gameplay and sheer luck required to complete it. Grenade spamming, endlessly respawning enemies, enemies that can shoot you through large amounts of rubble, all you need for your controller breaking rage.
    • The fourth mission, 'Vendetta'. One spot in the opening, an Enemy at the Gates ripoff, brings the entire game to a screeching halt in Veteran mode and racks up several dozen deaths on your part: the duel with the German sniper. The sniper who can kill you with one shot, no matter where you are (unless you're behind cover) or where it hits you, whose bullet seems to fly just slightly less than the speed of light as it hits you as soon as you see the muzzle flash, making your own chances of aiming near impossible, whereas he can absorb three full shots anywhere on his body (as Reznov claims "you just grazed him!" so you will probably not figure out on your own that's what is happening) and remain not only alive, but able to shoot with the same inhuman speed and precision. Not to mention, he will occasionally try to trick you by seeming to expose himself... he's actually just presenting a helmet on a stick, and if you fall for the trap, he will spring up and shoot you dead before you have a chance to duck behind cover; he does this more often the higher the difficulty. This segment is also compounded for American players by Reznov calling his spotting by European floor numbering, so he'll call "second floor" and then you'll get shot from the third.
    • "Blood and Iron". Unlike every other tank mission in the series, which were incredibly awesome, this one just manages to be endlessly infuriating. Infinitely-respawning enemy soldiers launching Panzerfausts nonstop. And unlike the usual for this series, they're really infinitely-respawning - even when you destroy the radio tower they're trying to defend they still keep coming, constantly shooting you with Panzerfausts, preventing you from focusing on anything else, preventing you from regenerating your health, preventing you from completing the goddamn mission.
  • For Modern Warfare 2 there's "Takedown," with enemy gunmen coming at you from every angle imaginable, from behind, windows, rooftops, everywhere. The complete lack of anything providing half-way decent cover makes this an absolute hellhole.
    • And having to do it solo, too, as both operators accompanying you are scripted to be killed in the first section. Part of the frustration of "Takedown" is that it's not that linear and very easy to get lost in near the end. Worse yet, you go through all of this, and your reward? You get to the end just in time to see Soap take down Rojas, not you.
    • Or "The Hornet's Nest," which picks up almost immediately after "Takedown." While it's more linear because you at least have your team accompanying you (except for the last part) and the early portions are fine because they take place at longer ranges with clear lines of fire, the close-quarters fighting in the market stalls is hell, with enemies coming at you around corners, or it being difficult to find targets through all the miscellaneous stuff strewn around the place. Can you believe that the omnipresent danger/being fired at from everywhere was supposed to be a selling point for these levels?
    • "Second Sun" solely for the office cubicle fight on any difficulty. First things went to hell fast at the beginning of the level. Then your optics don't work throughout the level — the Red Dot and Holographic Sights have no aiming dot, and not even the ACOG Sight has a crosshair (well, you get the lines, but not an illuminated dot). Night vision goggles, as unhelpful as they usually are due to the lack of light-sensitivity adjustment? Right when it's dark enough that that wouldn't be a problem (from lights pointing your way washing out the picture), the NVGs are down too. And that's all before you're forced into an extremely-close-quarters shootout in a cramped office space with only starlight and muzzle flashes for illumination, with both frag grenades and flashbangs (aka "complete screen whiteout and ringing in your ears" for a few seconds) going both ways, and both your lines of fire and movement being interrupted by the fact that you have little office cubicles and mini-partitions all over, with the sides of the room pretty much forcing you to go straight forward or backward other than through the partitions or a few side compartments on the left...
      • Although with judicious use of the grenade launcher, you can breeze through the entire level in less than ten minutes, the cubicle section taking less than sixty seconds.
    • "Loose Ends" is the definitive That One Level on veteran, the defense of the house itself turns out to be pretty easy if you find the right position to camp (although it's easily this if you don't), but the true nightmare comes when you have to escape; there are tons of enemies from every angle, and they spawn when you are out in the open (so there's very little chance to thin their numbers). So, in the end, pretty much all you can do is keep running and using flashbangs it until you hit the point where the scripted sequence that ends the level starts. That everything after the house defense was all for naught just makes it worse.
    • The Gulag. Good luck getting bullets from the front (mercenaries), from the sides (the same mercenaries), from above (damn mercenaries shooting you from the upper passages) and from the ground (Last Stand enemies). And that's before you find the riot shield soldiers in the middle. Add to that the flying grenades from both sides, the fact that riot shield users get to shoot and protect themselves with the shield (which you CANNOT do), M1014s for close-quarters combat, their ungodly aim, and full friendly fire damage from you (meaning you can easily kill your teammates if you can't focus enough among all this to tell the difference between the two nearly-identically-dressed factions) and you have a level that'll make you pull your hair even on Recruit.
    • And if you think "Loose Ends" is bad, immediately after you get "The Enemy of My Enemy." Recap: Soap and Price are sent to Afghanistan to look for Makarov. Shadow Company attacks. You're told to let Makarov's men and Shadow Company fight it out as much as possible, but they're all way too eager to drop the ongoing battle with the guys sent to kill them and start shooting at the unaffiliated Brit in the ghillie suit (read: you). Even if you hang back and let them all kill each other before mopping up the survivors, this takes at least twenty to thirty minutes because the AI is simply not designed for fighting one another. You do get silenced weapons if you want to contribute to thinning the herd without being noticed, but you know how that goes.
    • None of which touch the Spec Ops level "High Explosive." To wit: You, either alone or with a human teammate, fight in the same favelas complained about above against ten Juggernauts. They absolutely earn their name, as they carry M240 machine guns, wear full bomb-disposal body armor, and run only slightly slower than you. You are only give explosive weapons to kill them, which is extremely annoying because, as noted, you are in an all-close quarters level, meaning you are likely to either kill yourself in the explosion (RPG-7) or waste ammo without dealing damage due to minimum arming distance (Thumper). Then, as you get going, they start coming at you two and eventually three at a time.
    • Another pain-in-the-ass spec-ops level is "Homeland Security." Beating it is quite an accomplishment even on Regular, basically you have to defend a small town from FIVE waves of enemies. It's not so bad at first as you have plenty of claymores and auto-firing turrets to help you out, but those will get used up pretty quickly on every wave after the first. Also, starting from the second wave, you have to deal with a motherfucking Predator drone that cannot be shot down and will constantly be bombing the crap out of you every single time you set foot outside a building. And if that wasn't bad enough, later waves also have BTRs and helicopters you have to deal with. You can't just camp out at one location as you'll have to get more RPGs from other buildings to take out the choppers and BTRs, it becomes REAL easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemies and the drone since it's random which building the enemies will spawn from, which makes it nigh impossible to consistently defend one location. So you'll more then end up running between buildings while dodging gunfire from enemy soldiers, choppers, BTR's and those damn Predator missiles. It's a LONG exercise in pain and frustration, especially if you run out of RPGs on on the last wave and have NO way to take down that last BTR. Don't even think about trying to beat it on Veteran unless you're a real masochist. The helicopters can be taken down with LMG's and small arms, so save your heavier ordnance for the BTR's. Stay in the corner of the diner, prone at the end of the long line of booths.
      • Although dealing with the vehicles becomes stupidly easy and oddly hilarious when you get noticed by the Predator and it spams missiles all over the area, usually taking out half a dozen soldiers and a vehicle with each burst.
      • You can deal with the Veteran level safely by staying in the diner near the gas station. Though it might sound stupid that this means that you will stay mostly inside that restaurant, and not switch locations like most do, you have a good hiding at the counter inside and there's an ammo cache at the front of the building. At each completion of a wave you can switch weapons with the given time to prepare for the next wave with the weapons laid on a mat outside, at the gas station. If you ran out of ammo, you can always go to the ammo cache in front of the restaurant. Remember that it doubles as a shield so you can refill ammo while being stationed behind there (but only on the first wave; afterwards, the damn Predator shows up, so the player must refill his ammo and run back inside the restaurant quickly).
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops gives us Rebirth. The first part of Hudson's portion (where you ride in the BTR) isn't that bad, but when the BTR is knocked out and the Nova 6 gas hits, be prepared to die. A lot. Your suit can only take so much damage, it doesn't repair after a while unlike regular bullet damage, and if your suit breaks, you die instantly. To top it off, the fog of Nova 6 gas obstructs about 90 percent of your view, so you constantly have to rely on using your Infrared Scope to shoot enemies, and by the time you've spotted them they already will have put about twenty-nine holes in your face. Trying to beat this part of the level alone can be straight-up insane, but if you're going for the Achievement for making it through this part of the level without dying, it will most likely make you want to tear your hair out. And did we mention that after Hudson clears the gas, there was an undiscovered crash bug that would even give your Xbox a Blue Screen of Death? Or that there was a bug where the limited health from the hazmat-suit portion would apply across the entire mission, even Mason's half?
    • The BTR section isn't too bad on Recruit, Regular, or even on Hardened. On Veteran it's a nightmare. The enemies can kill you before you can even line up a shot (since your gun turret turns slower than hell and you have to compensate for the BTR's movement) and your only weapons are a machine gun that overheats pretty fast and a grenade launcher that requires you to arc your shots (exactly where you have to aim is hard to figure out when you can't survive long enough to see where your shots are landing). The last stretch pits you against enemies in all directions (most of whom have machine guns, which are already bad. But a few have rocket launchers) meaning that, most times, you'll get torn up before you can even fight back. You know a level's bad when most help threads about it on GameFAQs advise you to "hope luck is on your side this time".
    • The mission Excutive Order is this. The 1st part of the level goes by ok, but then you get to a part where you have to go into some tunnels. Tunnels with bad guys that spawn forever, almost no checkpoints, and you die in about a second. Have fun.
      • And what's worse is that your two invincible buddies with unlimited ammo barely do anything to help. There are times where you may purposely die because you just spent all your ammo and still can't move up.
      • Because of the way the level's laid out (lots of cover and respawning enemies) you'll need your GP-25, frag grenades, and Willy Pete smoke grenades to advance at all. Guess what you run out of before you're two-thirds of the way through the battle.
    • The mission SOG also gets an honorable mention for throwing the NVA at you. The entire NVA. It's relatively easy until you reach the downhill segment, whereupon an endless wave of NVA will shoot at you from about seven different positions (including the armory on your right) and won't stop respawning until you reach the checkpoint at the base of the hill. In order to do that, you have to use two barrels of kerosene with claymores taped to them to cut off their advance. The game doesn't give any obvious hints to use the barrels except a subtle and barely-audible audio cue from Woods. The subsequent uphill fight through a burned forest is almost a breather.
    • And shortly after SOG comes Numbers, where you're chased by Spetsnaz over the roofs of Kowloon, getting shot at from literally every direction you can possibly be shot at from at any given time. About the only good part of the mission is its music, and even that could wear thin when you have to play the same segment 15 times in a row.
      • Numbers gets even worse if you're trying to get the achievement for only using dual-wield guns. Sure there are plenty of them available, but they are inaccurate and there are several segments that pit you up against enemies who are well out of the effective range of your handguns/machine pistols.
  • The final section of Odysseus in Black Ops II is a pain — you're stuck on a slowly ascending elevator on the deck of an aircraft carrier, while mercs spawn in at the top faster than you can shoot them down. Once you're actually on the deck, you have to deal with MORE infinitely-parachuting mercs who have a nasty tendency to magically end up directly on the other side of whatever cover you're trying to use, as well as respawning in the exact same spot as ones you just killed and shooting you in the back as you try to advance. There IS a way to make things slightly easier, though — you can use the Access Kit on a blocked control booth to the left of the elevator, allowing you the use of a CLAW drone that can be directed to attack enemies as you make your way to the escape VTOL. Finding it is very much a Guide Dang It! moment, though, seeing as you'll likely be in a hurry to get out of the area.
    • Mason taking the controls of an F/A-38 in "Cordis Die" is ok for a bit, the plane in VTOL mode handles just like the drones you've piloted several times in the campaign and the helos in the original's Multiplayer. Then the game has the audacity to put you into flight mode, completely change the control scheme in the middle of a level without explaining a thing, and task you with shooting down the drones attacking the convoy. This of course requires you to fly down the streets of downtown Los Angeles without hitting a skyscraper and if you try to fly over them, you run the real risk of flying right off the map and failing the mission before you can recover. And, if you're trying to complete challenges to unlock the excellent Ammo Pickup campaign perk, it can be a real heartbreaker when you're one challenge away, remember that there's a challenge for killing multiple enemies with one Skybuster missile, and the game responds by denying you access to them because you didn't meet one of the never-explained-anywhere requirements to activate them.
    • The very first Strike Force mission is the hardest of them all. You have to defend a position from constant, endless waves of SDC troops who are supported by a constant wave of quad-rotors and UGVs. You only have two gun turrets and a single CLAW, both of which are likely to bite it in the first minute, to back up your very squishy infantrymen. And unlike other Strike Force missions where you can end it immediately by completing the objectives, you have to hold out for the entire ten long, looooooong minutes.
      • The entire set of Strike Force missions would be much more fun if the allied AI wasn't suicidally stupidnote . It's as if the developers just took the already-terrible Combat Training AI from multiplayer and dropped it into singleplayer without any sort of playtesting. If they're not ignoring enemies and letting themselves get shot to death, then they're ignoring your orders and forcing you to go up against the entire SDC on your own; the final Strike Force mission gets a very close second for the most difficult thanks to both almost no appreciable cover near the area you need to hold out at for a minute and the rest of your squad refusing to move up with you to at the very least distract the endless tide of hostiles.
    • "Suffer With Me" is brought to a near-screeching halt when, after a scripted event, a strobe grenade is dropped at your feet and you have to run down a tunnel as a helicopter gunship fires on you. Note that, as above, the scripted event is over - you need to start running immediately, and you are actually being shot at during it. At the end of the tunnel you have to make a running jump from it to a balcony - and the main problem here is that when you are sprinting, getting shot slows you down for a second before you can start sprinting again. Even on the off chance that the gunship doesn't get a lucky shot and just kill you halfway, nine times out of ten you will jump or stop sprinting too early and promptly fall to your death. And that's not counting in the fact that an otherwise-passable run of that section can end with you dying anyway because Noriega got in your way and messed up your jump.
  • The mission "Brave New World" in Ghosts has a point where you must use a laser-guided missile to shoot down a chopper. Unfortunately this isn't "set-and-forget" like a Stinger. Rather you must track the chopper until the rocket knows where to go, meaning you have to expose yourself and run around, trying to avoid getting blown up by the chopper's Vulcan cannons, all while carefully pointing at it with a laser (and it takes more than two shots to down, meaning you need to reload the rockets at least once to finally get rid of it, and those things don't reload quick). Even hanging out behind the armored vehicle near the steel doors doesn't provide nearly as much cover as you would really require to pull this off. Your squadmates aren't that helpful in shooting the foot soldiers on the bridge while you're busy with the chopper either.
  • "Bio-Lab" in Advanced Warfare is easy enough...until you're forced into a tank at the very end. Not only does it lack regenerating health and come with wonky controls (the tank's various weapons are all mapped to the same buttons, forcing you to cycle between the different weapon sets by pressing other buttons depending on the threat), enemy tanks, choppers, and infantry are scripted to spawn in front of you at certain points no matter what, even if you've taken pains to destroy everything in your field of vision before advancing.

  • Magic Carpet, level 49 of 50 features a realm in which the player must do battle with a hundred fire vomiting wyverns, and just as many lightning breathing griffins, as well as the pissed off and already maxed-out wizard, Vodor. Until you figure out the appropriate, and convoluted strategy, this level is nearly impossible as the wyverns will level your castle before you gain the appropriate spells to battle them. You gain spells by filling your castle with mana, which you do by killing enemies and possessing their souls. Unfortunately for you, the wyverns spread out at the start of the map, and eventually wander into your hometown and burn it to the ground, allowing your rival to relieve you of your mana as it explodes from your shattered, burning windows. The last level is easy by comparison.
  • Medal of Honor
    • Frontline, the "The Golden Lion" level on Hard. Lots of snipers and enemy ambushes, alarms triggering more such ambushes, Rail Shooter truck ride sequences where it's hard to aim at enemies, health items are few and far between, the lack of in-level save points and Demonic Spiders-type behavior of many enemies on Hard exacerbates things.
    • Nijmegen Bridge, too. Snipers on top of the bridge girders, endlessly respawning waves of enemies, lots of enemy hiding places, machine gun nests, all made harder to see by the fog.
    • In Allied Assault, Sniper's Last Stand, aka Snipertown. A town full of extremely well-hidden insta-hit snipers that take off massive amounts of health per hit. If you thought that was bad, it gets worse in the second part, where you have to escort a squad of suicidal chipmunks through the whole mess.
    • The Command Post has unavoidable alarms that continually "teleport in" enemies behind you, and respawning guard dogs during your escape. This is where the game hits a brick wall on hard difficulty.
    • The Breakthrough expansion for Allied Assault has the final part of the Gela level, where you're tasked with holding off an Italian tank attack with just a bazooka with only a limited number of rounds and a very inaccurate mortar. Needless to say, those tanks can and will kill and or overrun your position quite easily.
  • BioShock
    • BioShock
      • The Proving Grounds. It was a fairly unique shooter up until this point, and then the producers go and throw an annoying Escort Mission at us... an Escort Mission that is unique in the depth of guilt trip it lays on the player. You could fail this repeatedly without gameplay consequence, but watching a little girl die while a mournful motherly voice underscores the tragedy of it feels worse than restarting it from the beginning.
    • Everything post-Central Command could really count. The slums and the Little Sister facility are both compelling and scary, but the big emotional climax of the game is gone, and the levels just drag on and on...
    • Siren Alley in BioShock 2. A sudden spike in difficulty (especially if you're playing on Hard) combined with being totally fucking creepy makes for one fun level. Why is it creepy? Dead strippers, a peekaboo wall revealing a woman being dragged away to be raped, some nasty atmospheric music and a church service with dead people in the pews to start...
    • The final level in Bioshock Infinite is universally despised by fans, since it essentially boils down to a Tower Defense mission by trying to prevent enemies from destroying your airship's engine. Unfortunately, unlike other scripted battle sequences, there are no vending machines or major supply caches to help you prepare for the fight. You'll be stuck with whatever weapons you have on hand, can find lying around the map, or whatever the enemies drop.
  • In First Encounter Assault Recon, we have several.
    • The last level at Armacham. The entire Armacham mission arc is more or less made up of nothing but a series of those one levels for various reasons, such as having scarce resources, high numbers of enemies, labyrinthine design and no map, or having to face many walker units. The last one is unique pain because you are already weakend from the previous missions, but you still have to press on. There isn't much health or ammunition, and to top it all off, you face a rather long section full of nothing except for flying robotic drones which are small, hard to hit, have flawless accuracy, do a good amount of damage, take a fair amount to kill, and don't give you anything back.
    • One of the levels where you are in the streets is pretty damn tough. You have to kill multiple walkers, vans full of enemies, and some extremely mind-fuckey Alma hallucination sequences that are dark so that you can't see much while you have to kill swarms of enemies.
    • The tenements are a dark, cramped area with loads of enemies and several annoying sniper duel sections. In particular, the part where you have to fight an Armacham mech in close quarters without heavy weapons is the worst part.
    • Pretty much all of the underground Armacham bunker levels are this trope, due to their confusing layout and the Replicas with repeating cannons.
    • Project Origin has its own fair share. As a rule, anything on Hard once you get to Wade Elementary School. However, certain levels stand out on their own regardless.
      • The Nurse's Office mission is hard, but all the sections once you reach Halford count.
      • The subway+/sewer levels definitely hard. They feature rather frequent appearances by mooks with heavy weapons and upgraded durability. Your best saving grace is that ammo for the semiautomatic shotgun is common here.
      • The train level starts off with you being on a train and having to deal with repeated attacks by the best Elite Mooks in the game. They're intelligent, skilled, and work in squads. There isn't much cover available, nor are there many helpful items like armor or medkits. And while this is going on, you occasionally have to run around the train and stop it from derailing. Then after that comes a nice segment where all you have to worry about are ninjas who are in a dark, confined environment this time. So after you've cleared through them, you get not one, but two fights with snipers! You have to kill a small group of snipers in order to access a switch, and then you have to kill a much bigger group of snipers in order to get onto the second tram. There are at least 20 snipers in all and they're pretty good at their jobs. Now that this nightmare is over, take a breather, listen to some exposition, and face sexual assault from Alma, who decides to jumble up the map, making you have to work a maze.
      • The last level is a combination between this and Best Level Ever. On one hand, you get to use the APC's turret to mow down the Replica, who have been making your life miserable since almost the beginning. On the other hand, the final fight is trippy to Eva levels. Oh, and it features an enemy who can multiply exponentially the longer you take to win.
  • The Kamchatka levels in Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix certainly qualify. The enemies have armor-piercing bullets, the grenades they lob come out of nowhere, and many times in the outdoor areas you can't see the bad guys until its too late.
  • The final level of Condemned 2: Bloodshot is just all-around annoying, what with Mooks everywhere, limited health pickups, a frigging helicopter you have to fight and enemies with special powers who cause your screen to go blurry as Ethan (your main character) holds his head in agony as a shrill, irritating noise rings in your ears.
    • In addition, Black Lake Lodge post the bear sequence seems to fit this trope for a lot of gamers, as it abandons the normal horror gameplay for a little while in favor of disarming bombs and busting caps in SWAT guys Tom Clancy-style.
  • Star Trek: Elite Force 2 has an extremely long and complex sequence where the Enterprise-E is assaulted and starts taking boarders — constant shootouts with the threat of being blown to pieces, a sudden control change midway through, and several impossibly timed missions that involve a ridiculous amount of intricacy add up to what is essentially the biggest escort mission ever.
  • The flying levels in Turok: Evolution. The game's controls are awkward and unresponsive at the best of times, but for some reason they're much worse in these levels, the view's Y-axis is inverted and cannot be adjusted, there's an invisible ceiling with variable height that sends you stalling into the wall (and insta-death) if you hit it, clipping glitches, low-res textures that make it difficult to judge distance... and almost half of the game is made up of these terrible levels.
  • The final level of Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, the Grand Cathedral. Despite the undeniable Awesome Music, the level takes the game's War Sequences so far that it becomes positively Nintendo Hard. The Great Pyramid, final level of preceding game in the series Serious Sam: The First Encounter, is slightly less bad on this account. Of course, being subjective and all, some others consider them Crowning Levels Of Awesome.
    • Serious difficulty, especially with extra enemies, can make Metropolis, Alley of the Sphinxes and Karnak to be That One Level in the First Encounter and Great Pyramid is relatively easy compared to them with that difficulty. Metropolis because the first part, there are numerous ambushes at every step you take forward and towards the end you get huge waves of enemies. Alley of the Sphinxes because at the beginning of the level, most of your ammo has taken away and until the final arena, extra ammo is scarce. Karnak gets the biggest difficulty increase because in serious difficulty, very tricky enemy placement occurs with many places being full of arachnoids using their hitscan weapon. A lot of the dangerous fights also take place in a small confined arenas.
  • Red Faction, late on, squares you off against enemies with an instakilling hitscan gun that shoots through walls. Mandatory savescumming, much?
    • What's more annoying is that when you get that same gun, your enemies gain the ability to know when you're lining up a shot at them through the wall and too often step aside just as you fire. And that gun has a very slow reload cycle. And of course you never get any warning that someone's lining up on you with it, but they do.
  • Vietcong has quite possibly the most realistic "sewer" level of all time, take that as you will. There are levels where you're forced to go into underground tunnels to fight Vietcong soldiers, and the tunnels are extremely small and cramped, forcing you to crouch most of the time, your teammates won't follow you in meaning you're constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure an enemy doesn't one-hit-kill you from behind, it's incredibly dark and everything looks the same, there's multiple paths with no indication of which path is the right path meaning you'll often go in circles looking for the exit, and to top it off many of them are filled with one hit kill booby traps which are hard to spot in the dark. What makes matters worse is that there are three of these levels, and each of them are thirty minutes long at least, and one of them has underwater sections where it's quite easy to drown if you don't know what you're doing. But at the very least they're not the stealth missions of the sequel Vietcong Fist Alpha, don't even get me started on those.
  • Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend, the Military Base. Your entire inventory - guns, ammo, and items - is taken away at the start. This happens a few times throughout Postal 2, the only mandatory time being at the Brewery on Wednesday, but in those cases, you can recover your whole inventory on your way out. Here, all that you can find are a few Standard FPS Guns. None of the interesting Postal weapons, save the weak throwing scissors, and a sledgehammer near the very end, which would be nice as it's normally a one-hit kill. However, the vast majority of the enemies are heavily armed and armored soldiers, and their helmets make them immune to the sledgehammer. Add to that the fact that there's very few health pickups and even less armor, on top of this having been one of the most crash-tastic levels in an expansion that already had about a 45% chance of crashing just from trying to quicksave (thankfully, patches - almost a decade after the fact, though - have fixed this part). It's essentially an exercise in saving and reloading until you get lucky enough to survive.
    • From the Eternal Damnation mod, the museum level. Two very large rooms packed to the gills with all the zombie types up to that point with very little health or ammo stashes. Unless you've saved up a considerable amount of ammo at this point or gotten yourself a good melee weapon like the axe, you're going to have a very tough time beating this level; especially against those tall zombies who absorb bullets like nothing else in the game.
  • Rainbow Six: In the Eagle Watch mission pack, there's Lion's Den. Involves rescuing hostages from a clock tower full of snipers that can shoot at you from ridiculous angles where they are nearly impossible to hit, ie they can aim straight up and down, while you can't. And if a certain one notices you, he'll trigger a bomb.
    • The titular finale is even worse. You have to rescue hostages from a an even more heavily sniper-guarded room. As usual, they have near-flawless accuracy, and there's also countless mooks patrolling the hallways, determined to slaughter any AI-controlled teams.
    • Any old school Rainbow Six fan will shutter at the mention of Operation Yellow Knife. The mission is to sneak into a heavily guarded house and bug the phone, and leave no trace of you being there. The bad guys don't even have to kill you, if they even look at you, the mission fails. To make matters worse, you are not permitted to shoot anyone. All three of the original games include at least one similar mission, and while they all frustratingly difficult, Yellow Knife is the most infamous.
    • Operation: Temple Gate in Rogue Spear. Goal: rescue hostages from an opera house swarming with terrorists. Several snipers guard from the theatre balconies, other tangos patrol back and forth, and if any in the theatre see you, they will shoot the hostages dead.
    • It gets worse with Stone Cannon in 3: Raven Shield. Although there are no hostages, it consists of a maze-like series of warehouses, with, in addition to the large number of patrolling tangos, an abundance of alcoves, sniper ledges and windows for them to pick you off from.
    • From Vegas 2, the Nevada Desert level. Even with your teammates being incredibly retarded, at least they were good at attracting bullets otherwise meant for you. Here, you have none of that - your only support is an NSA agent who isn't even physically with you and is entirely useless. Your ability to call in thermal scans to see where enemies are is also inexplicably gone. You cannot stealthily pick them off - kill one and everybody's instantly alert to your presence. And then to top it all off, near the end you're ambushed in a small room where there are no less than five ways for the enemy to flank you from and windows all over every outer wall for other enemies to shoot through. All of the available cover in that area protects you from only one possible route at best, and actively exposes you to the other four at worst.
  • Descent's 6th, 11th, and 19th levels, especially on Insane difficulty. All are composed mainly of tight corridors infested with deadly Demonic Spiders such as Homing Missile Hulks, Vulcan Drillers, Plasma Drillers, and Missile Platforms. Level 19 in particular is considered to be the hardest in the game, with its circular passageways allowing roaming enemies to flank you from any direction. And you don't get to recharge your energy for a long time. It doesn't get any easier at the reactor room, where there's a half-dozen Red Hulks and Heavy Drillers with nowhere to hide (although there's a hard-to-reach Invisibility Cloak).
    • The first game's Level 6, where the deadly Class 1 Drillers are introduced with a vengeance. You're guaranteed to lose at least two lives on the higher difficulties. Not to mention the Teleporting Keycard Squad of six Drillers that attacks you at the red key.
    • The end of Level 16. A large chasm with two Matcens generating Drillers and Hulks, half a dozen Red Hulks, followed by narrow passage to the reactor room that is guarded by two wandering Missile Platforms and two invisibility cloaked hulks. Nigh-impossible on Ace and Insane, unless you go for the invincibility powerup behind the Driller-generating Matcen.
  • 'Fall of Berlin' in Battlefield 2142. Sure, as an online-only game the problem is only as severe as your opposition, but this level is just badly designed. PAC start bottled up a one end of the map and have to either capture an extremely exposed control point or sneak a squad through extremely linear and open streets in order to get behind EU lines and break the ticket drain. And if the EU bring their battlewalker and APC up to the Frontline flag and PAC can't destroy it (very difficult if the drivers know what they're doing) PAC might as well give up immediately. The entire battle will be spent with them being killed without breaing out of their own spawn area.
    • What makes it even worse is that even if PAC do manage to break out and capture some flags, the exceedingly linear design of the map means that both teams spend the rest of the battle running up and down capturing and losing the same few flags, which is hardly the definition of fun.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has the hut defense section of the level "No One Gets Left Behind", simply thanks to the game's decision on what to arm you with. You lose your weapons in the opening cutscene and so have to make do with whatever the game gives you. And, the game decides, for combat at a range that the ACOG-equipped assault rifles do just fine at, you need a .50-caliber bolt-action sniper rifle. Said weapon, the Barrett M95, has an incredibly slow animation for working the bolt and to reload to balance out its power - nearly two seconds minimum between shots, more when factoring in the need to actually aim and even more when enemy shots throw your aim off - thus giving the enemies plenty of time to find cover and fill you full of lead. Remember too that the main gimmick of the Battlefield series from Bad Company onwards has been the ability to destroy walls and buildings and the like - meaning if you take too long, you will soon not have any cover and you will die.
  • GoldenEye Wii has its moments. The Bunker and Cradle levels are probably the worst offenders, difficult to complete even on Operative level. The Bunker is the lesser of two evils compared to Cradle, where the big boss JUST. WON'T. DIE.
  • The Snowy Bridge from Painkiller. Enormously long, full of enemies, and it's the game's snow level on top of that. The nadir is probably the section on the top of the aforementioned bridge (which you have to bunny-hop your way down one of the suspension wires), where the ground beneath you (and just you) is very slippery, and the enemies seem to never stop coming. Let's hope you didn't use your powers before that part. Getting the card of the level makes it even worse as you have to find every secret in the level; for example, one of the secrets is hidden behind one of towers that you have to carefully climb or risk falling to your death and losing that secret and another forces you to backtrack to get to it.
    • Another terribly un-fun level in the game is Docks. Tight alleyways full of fast projectiles that are hard to see and dodge, along with spots you have to take hefty amounts of falling damage from. Not to mention the level has multiple tough foes such as Skulls, who can blow their own heads off to be temporarily invincible along with being immune to the shotgun's freeze attack, something only a few foes are immune to. At least they drop red souls (heals 6 hit points instead of one) and the card condition is fairly easy (morph into a demon 3 times) and something you're bound to try a lot to deal with what you're up against.
    • This is done on purpose in Trauma mode as the penultimate level, Forest, is only unlocked on this difficulty. This is because of the lack of health pickups and the "no black tarot cards" card condition. This means no silver or gold cards, cards that would make an extremely difficult level much less difficult. The plus side is that card you get for subjecting yourself to this torture is "Divine Intervention", a Tarot card that can be placed for free and lets you place other cards for free as well.
  • The second Be More Objective challenge in Brink. Almost every objective is right next to the enemy spawn, so even if you clear the area, you're going to get bumrushed in a couple seconds anyway.
    • Not to mention security day six. Only two real routes to the first objective, both of which can be closed off by rebel engineers, the first objective being tedious, and annoyingly long to repair, and the worst part is when you get to the end, and you are the only one trying to stop the missile from firing.
  • From No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In HARM's Way, the level "The House Where Melvin Used to Live" features infinitely spawning ninjas, and a very finite amount of ammo and healing on the ground. Normally, you'd be able loot supplies from dead enemies, but on this level, they vanish immediately after you kill them.
    • Not to mention the PS2-exclusive stealth centric cat burglar levels from the first game. The main game has plenty of forced stealth sections, but it was incredibly irritating to go from exciting shooting and gadget-based action to pointless flashbacks where you have no weapons and very limited means of actually avoiding detection.
  • Duke Nukem Forever's penultimate level, Blowin' the Dam. It's entirely underwater, so you have to swim from bubble stream to bubble stream. There's several Octobrains, which often appear between streams, forcing you to either kill them extremely quickly or just try to bulldoze past them and kill them later. To top it all off, it ends with the Energy Leech, the Duke Nukem version of Metroid Prime's Boost Guardian: a boss that sounds easy, but is so infuriatingly cheap that you'll want to eat the disc.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy
    • Metroid Prime:
      • The first time you go to the pirate base in Phendrana Drifts. A Difficulty Spike where the amount of combat you face shoots up exponentially from earlier. Secondly, you meet Flying Pirates for the first time, and they are nastier than any standard enemies you've yet faced. Thirdly, once you grab the Thermal Visor, the power goes out and you face yet another new type of enemies, which have the lovely habit of turning invisible. You can circumvent much of this, if you back out once you get the Super Missile, to go fight Thardus (without the Thermal Visor which makes him so much easier), and then go get the Ice Beam, meaning that you can simply walk out the back door instead of grinding back through the back again.
      • The first time you visit the Phazon Mines. You face Checkpoint Starvation, numerous, new, nastier, enemies. A couple Boss in Mook Clothing fights, and scarce ammunition and health pickups.
      • The Impact Crater. Much of the floor is an orange-red super phazon that will go right through your protective suit. All the enemies in the main chamber are are Fission Metroids — Demonic Spiders which are initially vulnerable to any weapon, until you do enough damage to kill a regular metroid once, at which point they split into two metroids, each only vulnerable to a specific beam weapon, and their vulnerabilities are never the same and almost never to your more powerful weapons. The only easy way to kill them is with Power Bombs, which are only ever in very limited supply. The Fission Metroids respawn infinitely, and at a rate that outstrips your ability to kill them with anything besides Power Bombs. You have to climb all the way up this gigantic room by platforming over a damaging floor made of red phazon. Fall once, and it's back to the bottom, and likely into a a world of hurt, in addition to whatever enemy (most likely enemies) followed you down after having rammed you from your perch. The enemies spawn more rapidly the higher you climb. The game gives you an Ammo Station partway through this one room just because of how brutal it is. Then, once you've finally gotten out of that damned chamber of hell, it's just a short stroll over to the final boss. And, no, you do not get any health pickups on the way.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes:
      • Dark Agon Wastes is this during your first excursions. Stronger Ing will be out in greater numbers than at pretty much any other point in the game, and this is the first area after the introduction! You''ll have little health, little ammo, not much in the way of effective weaponry, and being caught outside of a safe zone for any length of time is massively damaging. Fortunately, you'll get better weapons soon, and beating the area boss means that you get the Dark Suit, so the atmosphere becomes much less of a problem. Unfortunately, the Ing presence really rachets down by the end of the area, making this a high point of the game.
      • Torvus Bog has its first undertemple section. Checkpoint Starvation is back, requiring that you do a long puzzle through some tough fights, followed by a difficult miniboss battle before you can save. And since this is a water level, you can't maneuver or see well at all, and the aquatic creatures are decidedly of the tough and vicious variety. And if you die, you have to redo the entire thing from the beginning unless you saved before removing the third lock.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption:
      • The Space Pirate Homeworld. Cramped, dark, constant red-and-black-and-orange color scheme, full of annoying enemies (90% of which will use Hypermode) and bosses, and all topped with an Escort Mission. Then there's the whole acid rain issue, which will drain your health extremely quickly until you find the necessary powerup.
      • Phaaze. Not only is it the Point of No Return where dying outside the final boss requires you to start from before you went there, you're on a time limit until the end of the game. Your Energy Tank count determines how long you have, so if you're low on Energy Tanks you'll have to rush and be careful. Taking damage also reduces the time limit, though some enemies allow you to increase the time limit temporarily. This place is full of several annoying segments like using the short-ranged Hyper Ball to destroy a lot of objects while under constant attack, blasting a monster in the face as fast as possible before it kills you, and killing a small, durable creature you can't lock on to while it swims around in an area filled with obstructions and being assaulted by Metroids. At the very end, you're hit with two bosses in a row. Dark Samus is ridiculously difficult, especially on higher difficulties, while Aurora Unit 313 is perfectly designed to stall and let your timer run out. Oh yeah, and don't forget about all the limited scans! At least you're in constant Hypermode, so you're always powered up, and if you die against either of the final bosses you can start over from Dark Samus.
    • The Oubliette map in Metroid Prime: Hunters when playing it on multiplayer. The map has the Omega Cannon, which creates an explosion that kills anyone caught in the blast instantly. In the event that the map gets picked, everyone will scramble to the top of the map because the weapon only spawns there.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist has, for Easy Difficulty, Heat Street, which will more likely than not result in somebody getting downed a few times the first few times it's done on easy. Most people will then figure out where the best cover is and then it loses it's edge on Normal. Green Bridge, the last mission available on Normal, is Heat Street but much more difficult, requiring you to make a mad dash to one location THROUGH AN ENDLESS ASSAULT to survive. Even on Normal, people can get screwed over by the Luck-Based plane pickup section (If you get it on the first balloon, you are in for a lot of problems.) Both of the two Hard/Overkill missions have already been beaten on Overkill, complete with video proof.
  • In the game XIII, there is a level where you need to defend a cabin from a seemingly never-ending wave of enemies for a certain period of time. Sounds fun, right? Wrong. When you are in the cabin, you cannot leave it under any circumstances unless you want to get ripped to shreds by the helicopters and snipers. Even worse, the enemies can break down the cabin, leaving you with no cover at all from the snipers. You can find the strongest gun in the game in the same cabin beforehand, but you can only supply ammo for it (and all your weapons) two times. As if that weren't bad enough, there's only one health pack in the mission. And if you die at all, you need to start the whole level over again.
  • Metro 2033
    • The first game has a few that qualify for various reasons.
      • While deep in the D6 Missile Silo toward the end of 2033, you and Miller must cross rooms full of Amoebas and the pores that spawn them infinitely. Miller will shoot the Amoebas, but not the pores. The Amoebas explode when you kill them, doing insta-kill amounts of damage if you're too close, and Miller can die if too many detonate near him. The only way to make them more bearable is to snipe the pores from the upper floor – they take exactly eight shots no matter what weapon you shoot them with. It was so bad that Redux nerfed the whole section: Amoebas take less damage to die and explode with less power, the pores are much larger, take less ammo to dispatch and can only spawn one amoeba.
      • Earlier, the levels Bandits and Dry are annoying. The combat in this game is not optimized for fighting against other humans. On lower difficulty levels where Rambo-ing, this is more annoying than anything, but on Hardcore or any of the Ranger difficulties, it makes Call of Duty's Veteran difficulty feel fair. This is because unless you do things very specifically beforehandnote  you have only cruddy weapons, starting equipment, and little ammo, forcing stealth.
      • The Library missions are a massive pain in the ass. You are not told in advance that you are going to be outside for three whole levels. The Librarians are relentless, and they don't die easily, so your options are to stare them down (a slow process that taxes your filter supply), sink a ton of ammo in them, or run (which is dangerous if you don't know the path). At least the last level of the Library can be stealthed through and the air is breathable.
    • Metro: Last Light
      • The very first mission set on the surface, "Echoes", pits you against a Demon and an army of Watchmen when you barely have a fully loaded Bastard and a Duplet, but they're not the real issue, as you have Pavel with you to help you fight; the real challenge is that the level is extremely strict with filters. You'll be lucky if you still have any filter time at all by the time the Theater airlock opens.
      • "Sundown", a slow, brutal slog of a mission that requires a great deal of trial and error to get right. You're tasked with trekking across a swamp to find fuel for an automatic ferry, and the water is teeming with infinite, randomly-spawning Shrimp. Simon advises you to stay out of the water to avoid bothering them, but it's impossible to not step in it at least a few times. The gas you need for the ferry is programmed to always be in the second place you look (the plane or the gas station), and reaching both waypoints requires a great deal of fording across the swamp waters, climbing rubble pieces and walking over logs. It gets worse halfway through, when a circling Demon joins the army of mutants in your path, and it will swoop down and take you for a ride if you spend even a minute out in the open, and despite what it may look like, certain ruins don't count as cover. Finally, once you've gotten the fuel and gassed up the ferry, you'll have to Hold the Line against a seafood platter's worth of Shrimps that include a gigantic Bog Shrimp before the ferry finally reaches the shore. Oh, and just so you know, the whole mission's set on the surface, so watch those filters and try not to break your mask.
  • TRON 2.0: The tank gauntlet on the Antiquated Server. Jet must run through a gauntlet of tanks that Flynn left behind in the system. The tanks are read-only (you can't shut them down) and indestructable (you can't destroy them). So, not only are you having to run and jump through a glitching obstacle course with tanks shooting at you, the tanks will occasionally and randomly shoot out the very ground you stand on.
    • The sniping level can also be a nightmare. You have to hold off waves of ICPs as they try to Zerg Rush a docked Ma3a. The sniper rifle takes up huge amounts of a very limited ammo pool with very little opportunity to refuel. enemies come in from multiple entrances, and if just one Mook reaches her, it's game over. You might actually be better off not using the sniper rifle at all, switching to Sequencer Disc and just going Rinzler on their asses.
    • The Bar Brawl is pretty awful as well; no opportunities to refuel. Thorne spawns an army of Mooks, throwing Ball grenades for plenty of splash damage and corrupting your weapons so they don't work properly, you have to keep interrupting Thorne as he channels a massive damage spell, and make sure to keep Ma3a protected.
    • Shutting down the stabilizers on the Datawraith cruiser isn't much fun, either. You have to hit the target just right and every time you shut one down, it immediately spawns two Wraiths, who snipe at you with continuous bursts of fire fron very high up, and they use their Ninja cloaking and de-cloaking abilities to make themselves horrifically hard to hit back. Repeat four times.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day The Arcade Game has a level where you have to protect John Connor in a pickup truck as he approaches Skynet. You not only have to deal with the terminators running alongside him shooting at you, but the flying H Ks shooting at John, some of which start shooting the instant they appear on the screen. And the truck's destruction results in a Fate Worse than Death - you are sent back to the start of the level (as well as losing half your own energy).
  • There's one level as Billy in Call of Juarez where you have to climb up a rock formation several hundred feet in height to collect a feather for an elderly native American, for no real reason other than the fact that he tells you to. The endless climbing and jumping from a first person perspective is not a lot of fun, and the whole level ends up feeling like something that the game developers threw in to pad things out a bit.
  • The original SWAT 3 campaign has one of these. It's a Sewer Level, of course. Basically, the situation is that domestic terrorists have hidden a series of bombs in the Los Angeles sewer system. Your job is to go in there with the rest of your five-man SWAT team and flush them out while disarming the bombs. It's incredibly frustrating for a number of reasons. First of all, the vast majority of your tools and weaponry are designed around close-quarters, room-to-room combat in an urban environment, whereas the sewer has no doors to breach or much cover at all to speak of. Thus, your grenades, entry tools and shotguns become next to useless right off the bat. Passageways are either claustrophobic and tight-knit, making them great choke points for the terrorists to ambush you in, or long and open, where the AI's well-demonstrated Improbable Aiming Skills take over and you get shot immediately from comically long ranges. It doesn't help that either way, the enemy can pop out from behind walls with a lean and shoot you damn near instantaneously, whereas you need to spend your time reacting to threats and gauging the environment. Not only that, but the sewer is a tightly layered affair, with different tiers crossing over each other in odd places. It's VERY easy to get lost, even if you've played the level several times over. And you will, because there are seven bombs to find, and the mission is on a forty-five minute timer. That might sound generous, but although the bombs are helpful enough to beep as you get closer to them, they're still difficult to find in the murky graphics. Even if you know where most of them are, there's still a pretty low chance that you're going to actually make it to all of them in one go, for all of the above reasons.
    • Its sequel, SWAT 4, kept up the tradition with it's own That One Level: Mission 12, Old Granite Hotel. Spoony had to bring his Let's Play to a halt in order to explain in detail just why it's so ridiculous. In short, domestic terrorists (again) have seized the top floors of a hotel that is currently being renovated. This time, the bastards have only planted 3 bombs. Four, if you count one that you stumble across without effort. However, the other three bombs are in random places on the very top floor, and you have a MUCH tighter time limit (ten minutes) to find them. Once again, this might sound like a lot of time, but the mechanics of the game are working against you. There are a large amount of terrorists roaming the top floor, and they still have Improbable Aiming Skills. New to this game is locational damage, meaning that if you get shot once in a place that's not the torso, you've pretty much failed the mission. A leg shot means you can't move fast enough to disarm the bombs, an arm shot will make you wildly inaccurate, and head shots are of course instant death. You can send in your squadmates ahead of you, but not only do they take a great deal of time to breach a single door by themselves, they're likely to die without your support. But if you concentrate on helping them clear rooms, there's a good chance you won't find all the bombs in time! All this, plus there's an entire other floor to clear. On both floors, the terrorists are all hiding in ambush points with their guns pointed straight at your inevitable entryway, which brings us to the most noticeable issue with this level: The scoring system. While SWAT 3 also had awarded you points for taking in suspects alive and took points away for using deadly force unlawfully, in SWAT 4, you have to get a certain number of points to actually move past a level. This means that you can successfully disarm all the bombs, eliminate the enemy threat, and get sent back to the beginning of the mission because you shot someone with an assault rifle without giving away your position by shouting "Stop, police!" beforehand.
  • PlanetSide
    • In the original PlanetSide the Ancient Vanu Caverns introduced in the game's first Expansion Pack were much maligned. Despite a neat artistic direction and finally departing some from the game's notorious Cut-and-Paste Environments, the Caverns are difficult to navigate owing to their three-dimension design that requires the use of teleporters and ziplines to traverse, with a completely useless 2d minimap as your only guide. Land vehicles had to take annoyingly long diversions to get around an otherwise short distance because of stalagmites or gulleys in the cavern floor. Interlink facilities are popularly known as "Interfarms" as they are massive meatgrinder for attackers to capture, with all entrances to the facility being completely exposed to killing fields from interior balconies.
    • In Planetside 2, Hossin, a Bubblegloop Swamp, quickly became hated. Despite being a 'swamp', it's one of the most mountainous areas in the game, forcing vehicles to go down single paths between bases. Numerous bases on Hossin are horrible meatgrinders because there is only one way to attack the base from any direction, requiring defenders to be either far more numerous or far more competent than the defenders. Additionally, despite being designed to stop the so-called "sky knights" from dominating by having lots of huge trees to block their vision and flight path, the trees only aid pilots by providing cover from flak and lock-on missiles.
    • Planetside 2's Subterranean Nanite Analysis, a small base on Amerish quickly became one of the most hated bases in the game after its introduction. There were two entrances to the underground base, both of which were within clear view of cover favoring the defenders. Beyond that, the attackers would then have had to breach an even more defensible hallway only a few seconds from the defender's spawnroom in order to reach the capture console, which they must then have defended as the defenders would hurl dozens of grenades at them.
  • Borderlands 2 has the Caustic Caverns. The entire thing is filled with pools of acid that will damage you if you step in it, and the place is absolutely lousy with Threshers, Varkids, and Spiderants. It's absolutely massive, making it take forever to get anywhere, and there are very few vending machines, making it very likely you'll run low on ammo. Oh, and there are a lot of side missions that take place there, so you'll probably have to come back several times over the course of the game.
  • Anything involving the AT4 rocket launcher in America's Army: True Soldiers because of the horrible accuracy of the launcher. The sight doesn't do jack diddly, as oftentimes the rocket will end up in a different place than it should. To top it off, you only get enough time for one shot. Miss and you fail the objective and/or mission.
  • Operation Flashpoint:
  • Deep Rock Galactic:
    • Any cavern can become a problem if random level generation isn't kind to you. Be it compressed dirt being hidden (thus ensuring you get lost because you can't find your way to the next room), badly-distributed mission objectives that make them hard to find and impossible to defend or reclaim, any vertical/horizontal distribution that's worst for your particular mobility tool and anything that gets in the way of getting to the Drop Pod at the end, among others, all can turn even the easy biomes into hell.
    • S ince enemy spawns aren't especially static, even good level distributions can be made awful by bad spawning, like Mactera swarms in general, a Dreadnought arriving at the worst time possible, Cave Leeches being hidden by terrain or getting spammed with Bulk Detonators while you're trying to Hold the Line in a Salvage mission.
    • The Magma Core biome is packing massive environmental hazards that will accost dwarves at all turns. The fire geysers you cannot remove without blowing everything up are something that's likely familiar by now. The Magma Rock that will burn you on contact and likely set you on fire, less so; it's absolutely everywhere, and any explosive damage to the terrain (including the local flora, which tends to go off like a grenade when damaged and set off chain reactions since they're close together) risks uncovering even more of it. And there are regular earthquakes, too, that tend to open crevasses and reveal even more Magma Rock on which you can accidentally cook yourself. Any dig run in the Magma Core amounts to a game of "Everything Is Lava".
    • The Glacial Strata take the opposite approach, and may be even worse because of it. Mainly because you will be haunted by the temperature meter unique to the biome at all times. If it goes too low, you freeze on the spot, utterly unable to move. You can free yourself with some effort and in little time, and teammates can just crack the ice open with their picks, but getting immobilized at the very worst of times is a very real possibility that will get you killed, especially since you take extra damage while frozen. Everything in the level, from the unique variants of the usual enemies to the Cold Vents blowing icy wind in your face to the local flora exploding into liquid nitrogen to the random blizzards, will conspire to keep this temperature meter low until you keep freezing at all times. And then there's the crevasses that will open when stepped on, forming large fissures that can cause nasty fall damage and trap you until you can pull yourself out. And the annoyances to finish this all off are the snowy terrain that will slow you down, the slippery ice that will make control hard, and the reflectiveness of the walls that make ores hard to find. At least there's volcanic vents to warm you up if you're too cold, and the reflectiveness makes light carry further than in most biomes.


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