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That One Level / Rhythm Game

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Rhythm League Notes
That... could have been better.
Try Again
Rhythm Heaven Fever, when failing a Remix

Just when you thought it was safe to rock out, these tracks come along and can ruin your groove like no other.

Guitar Hero
  • "Raining Blood" in Guitar Hero III represents a sudden difficulty spike in the very final set, making it a Scrappy song for more than a few players, irrespective of whether one likes the actual music or not.
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  • "Through the Fire and Flames" is easily regarded as the hardest song in III. At least that song is OPTIONAL.
  • Also from III is a rock remaster of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", and it serves as the Final Boss song. If it's not "Through the Fire and Flames" being regarded as the hardest song in III, it's this song.
  • "Before I Forget" is considered one of the most annoying due to a large amount of Fake Difficulty that doesn't properly represent how the song is actually played on a real guitar. The chorus is a mess of three-note chords that probably shouldn't have been charted like that, but the highlight is the bridge, which is a long series of green + yellow, red + blue, and yellow + orange chords that can quickly cause severe hand cramps. Notably, the song is also in Rock Band 3 where the chart is vastly different, using single notes and two-note chords for the chorus, and single notes in the bridge, making it much less physically painful to play.
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  • Guitar Hero 2 had similar songs, like "Freya," which was a repetitive hand-cramping chordfest, or "Psychobilly Freakout," which was very quick and random and could confuse the heck out of inexperienced players (or even veteran ones). And let's not even talk about "Hangar 18"...
  • Guitar Hero 2 had "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies on Expert. This song was a nightmare simply because there are vicious guitar solos over the verses, all of which change in speed while you're playing them. The song itself actually does not have a normal speed that it settles on, the song widely fluctuates whenever it feels like it and it does it to a more insane and unpredictable degree than even "Psychobilly Freakout."
  • "No One Knows" has an odd triplet rhythm combined with some very awkward chords, just before a solo. Usually not a problem with the assistance of star power, but due to it happening two or three times, it took constant repetition.
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  • Have fun trying to beat "Hot For Teacher" on drums in Guitar Hero World Tour.
  • "Satch Boogie" is the final song World Tour, and for a good reason. The song is loaded with crazy guitar solos that zig-zag all over the place, including a very fast set of trills that require good tapping skills to hit.
  • Guitar Hero Metallica has lots of difficult stuff here and there, but nothing in that game stands out as much as Slayer's "War Ensemble" on drums. That song throws EVERYTHING at you: fast bass hits that may or may not require double bass to keep up with even on normal Expert, relentless tiring beats, and to top it all off, lots of crazy fills that will require double sticking to master. One of THE hardest on-disc FCs in ANY Guitar Hero or Rock Band game ever. As of this time, it only has four documented FCs that I am aware of (five if you count that one of the people who FC'd it FC'd it a second time, which I have to mention because of its insane difficulty). And don't even get me STARTED on Expert+.
  • "Dyer's Eve" on bass also deserves special mention. While this song does give the guitarist short breaks in the verses, the bass line never lets up from its insanely fast pace, and the verses all have different rhythms with an abundance of open notes, constantly switching things up and keeping you on your toes. This song is a true testament to Jason Newsted's wasted talent on the "...And Justice For All" album, and your strumming arm will hurt at the end of it all if you manage to survive.
  • At least these songs, if you're required to do them, are at or near the end of the songlist. Not so Rocks The 80's with Because It's Midnite, which is the encore song of the second venue. Actually, it's pretty managable...on Hard. On Expert, however, the solo has over a hundred notes crammed into the middle section, meaning that unless you have extremely fast fingers, you're going to see the meter plunge in a hurry. Worse, it's so long that even a full star power meter (which I most definitely recommend) might not be enough to save you. If you can get past this monstrosity, I guarantee that nothing in the next TWO venues will come close to threatening you.
  • Warriors of Rock has "Sudden Death", a song that was intentionally created to be as difficult as possible. Basically, Activision approached Megadeth and told them "We want you to make a song for our new Guitar Hero game, and we want it to be as fast and complex as you can make it."
  • Speaking of Megadeth and Warriors of Rock, "This Day We Fight!" is also ridiculous on guitar with insane solos all over the place and a main riff that will cause all but the best players to fail on their first try.
  • "Fury of the Storm": Think of it as "Through the Fire and Flames" turned Up to Eleven. If you can beat this song, then you can surely beat anything else in the entire series.
  • "If You Want Peace... Prepare for War" isn't too bad on guitar. That is, if you survive the insanely fast HO/PO runs that are thrown at you during the first 20 seconds of the song.
  • "Speeding" also has a ridiculously fast intro. At least in the intro to this song, the notes can be tapped.
  • "Black Widow of LaPorte" can easily be summed up as seven and a half minutes of nonstop shredding. It's so hard that you even get an achievement for beating the song on expert, which is appropriately called "Hand Mutilator".
  • Of course, for those of us who've played On Tour for the DS, there was "I Don't Wanna Stop". If you thought a normal Ozzy chart was a good challenge, it's a nightmare with only 4 buttons & touch controls. This combined with a solo that is so long & hectic that not even Star Power will save you makes for quite the intro to the final venue.
  • "Twilight of the Thunder God" on Expert+ drums is nearly filled to the brim with bass notes that go so fast that you will need two bass pedals to even stand a chance. And Thor help you if you even try to FC this chart.

Rock Band

  • "Let There Be Rock" in Rock Band 2:
    • On guitar, the solo requires you to strum extremely fast for extended periods of time, which can actually cause strong physical pain and require you to pause several times. The live version on the AC/DC Track Pack is not only longer and faster, but also throws trills as fast as Satch Boogie mentioned above at the beginning of the final guitar solo.
    • On drums, the song has a simple drum beat that's boring, but easy enough. The live version from the AC/DC Track Pack, however, is much faster on top of the song being longer, meaning that not only is it boring, it'll kill your arm.
  • "Green Grass And High Tides" by the Outlaws, from the first Rock Band. Oh, a 10 minute long songs. Only it doesn't even get hard until the second solo where it gets ridiculous.
  • "Give It Away" is a somewhat lengthy song that contains no pitches until the very end, making it easy to be caught off guard and blow your 100% on the final phrase.
  • "Caprici di Diablo" on Expert Guitar is a nightmare for even veteran RB players. Good luck trying to pass it on your first several dozen runs let alone shooting for higher than 3 Stars.
  • "Yellow Submarine" Expert Bass in The Beatles: Rock Band is far more difficult than it should be, especially when trying to full-combo or five-star it. There aren't many notes, leaving almost zero margin for error, and in order to get a halfway-decent score you more or less have to whammy every single overdrive note which could take away from your concentration from reading the note chart.
  • When it comes to Drums in The Beatles Rock Band, there is no beating the unholy duo of "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "What Goes On." The two songs have some of the fastest right-hand work in the entire series. How fast? Well, it's almost impossible to get all the way though "I Wanna Be Your Man" without needing a break. The song is 2 MINUTES LONG.
  • "We Are the Nightmare" is a challenging song overall, but it's widely regarded as having the most challenging drum work in Rock Band Network.
  • "Your Treachery Will Die With You" is known as one of the hardest drum FCs in the entire series, let alone in RBN. 95% of the song, while very difficult, isn't ridiculous - if you're good at blasting, double bass, and double-stroke fills, it's very manageable. There isn't anything unreasonable from a technical standpoint, it's just goddamn fast and will tire you out. The end is why it's such a bitch; the final 10 or so seconds of the song features gravity blasts. These aren't particularly hard on real drums with a bit of practice, but on a plastic Rock Band kit with no real rim that would allow you to do them properly coupled with a need for precision (which is tricky with gravity blasts even on real drums), the song is virtually impossible to completely nail and the amount of FCs can be measured in the low single digits.
  • Rock Band 3 gives us "Antibodies" on guitar. Just watch the beginning, and know that it's gonna stay that way for the whole first half of the song. Then skip to 2:43, and watch all your worst nightmares come true. Oh yeah, two things to keep in mind: (1) The Rock Band guitar SUCKS at strum-fests like this, and (2) This is tier TWO!!! (We'll never know why...)
    • There's also the keyboard chart, which Harmonix actually had the good sense to rate a six... but it's only a bitch for the first half. Well, unless you're playing with a guitar controller.
    • The tier-six bass part is just as frustrating, with the last minute-plus filled with hand-cramping arpeggios.
  • "Roundabout" on normal or pro keys—it's considered the hardest non-RBN song on keys to date. If the fills don't get you, the long, grueling, arpeggio-laden interlude will. And two-handing it is not at all guaranteed to help.
  • "Dreamchaser" is commonly cited as one of the single hardest RBN songs on Keys, all because of the second solo. For the average player, a full bar of Overdrive is required to pass it, and even that's not guaranteed. The guitar chart is no slouch either, with three brutal solos.
  • Rock Band 4 presents the new king of scrappy songs. Take "Visions" from RB 2, get rid of the slow section in the middle and make the whole thing twice as long, and you've got "Dream Genie". At least the guitar gets a break with solos that are just sustains... but the drums, on the other hand...
  • "Dead Black (Heart of Ice)" is slow and easy for the first two minutes until, out of nowhere, it throws fast blasts at you which can drain your health bar instantly if you're not prepared. It's even worse about four minutes in, when you go from dead silence directly into a long blast section at a new tempo... and if you ever lose the beat, it's back to four minutes of boringness to try again.

beatmania and Dance Dance Revolution

  • "Holic" from beatmania IIDX and Dance Dance Revolution. The song (for the most part) does not follow the standard 4/4 time signature of most music, which trips up many first-timers, and in beatmania IIDX, its Another chart has one of the series' first examples of Difficulty Spike—at the very end of the song, you're greeted with a clusterfuck of 250 or so notes, which are enough to make you fail easily. This has resulted in many players getting as high as an AAA on the song...but having 2-10% less life than needed for a clear.
  • Also, many of the later boss charts in the DDR series are particularly scrappy. The American PS2 Challenge chart for "Horatio" is pretty much known for being an example in bad charting. The Shock Arrows used throughout the song, when hit, not only break your combo, but also lower your life AND make the arrows temporarily invisible for a split second. This was simplified in both the arcade and the Japanese versions of the game, fortunately.
  • Would you believe that an easy song can also qualify as scrappy? In the PS2 port of beatmania IIDX 3rd Style, there are any number of songs whose timing is off, many of which are easier songs. The result: easy clears, but horribly low scores. The most infamous example of such a song is "Gambol," which came to (in)fame when it was revived on 9th Style...but didn't have its timing fixed. Konami acknowledged this and gave its Normal chart fixed timing in IIDX 12, but left the Hyper chart as is. Finally, in the PS2 port of IIDX 11, Konami decided to take Gambol's bad timing a step further: it gets a new, Another chart (unlocked from Expert Mode) with the exact same notes as its Normal and Hyper charts...but the timing is rigged such that you can only get Just Greats, the extremely rare Great, and Bads, with anything more than 1 frame outside of the timing window for a Just Great resulting in a Bad. For additional fun, play this chart with the Hard modifier, which swaps out the Groove Gauge for a more traditional Life Meter in which running out of life will instantly eject you from the song.
    • As of IIDX 15 for the PS2 and IIDX 16 in the arcade, cheat codes allow you to apply Gambol Hyper/Another timing to every song in the game
  • The song "gigadelic" is another major offender in the end-of-song Difficulty Spike department. It's particularly annoying because Konami LOVES to use it as the last song in the 8th Dan course, meaning you're likely to fail in the last 5 seconds of an 8-minute course.
    • Speaking of difficulty spikes, there's Healing-D-Vision that throws a massive 8th note stream at you at 360 BPM.
  • Pluto. Just... friggin Pluto. Count how many times the arrows randomly stop and start without warning. In fact, somebody at Konami decided that they loved this song so much that they thought it would be a good idea to carry it over to IIDX as well, where BPM antics like these are far harder for the player to deal with. This song is a Scrappy Level incarnate.
    • Just wait til you try Pluto The First. Random tempo changes and stops up the wazoo that make the original Pluto look like a cute little puppy. And while Hottest Party 3 was lucky to miss out on the Shock Arrows, the Boss Song stage makes the arrows REAL hard at the 440 BPM sections to see if you have them set to "Rainbow" or "Note". Hell, it's so bright, they're hard to see at all, no matter your arrow color. Shame the stage is so beautiful by itself.
    • Fascination MAXX is another major offender in IIDX's BPM antics department.
  • MAX 300 is That One Level in IIDX for the wrong reasons. It starts off at 50 BPM for no real reason before shooting up to its actual BPM of 300. This causes problems for players who use the "Green Number" (a number showing how long notes are visible for, influenced by the Hi-Speed and Sudden+ settings) feature since the Green Number is based on the song's starting BPM. So players have to mess with their Hi-Speed and Sudden settings at the beginning just for this song. Fascination MAXX also has this problem, but at least that song actually starts at 100 BPM.
  • Overcrush: it's your typical Boss Rush, except it's condensed into one song. Let this video speak for itself.
  • In DDR Universe 1, some of the missions qualify as this. One such example is the Vanity Angel mission. Triple speed, boosted arrows, a low health bar that doesn't recover, and a mission that requires you to break a combo if you're about to hit the same note twice. The game itself is infamous for its bad timing, so have fun. That isn't the only bad mission, though; the Brightness Darkness mission is also insanely hard; Shuffled arrows, the arrows scroll from top to bottom (as opposed to bottom to top), you can't see the bar that you have to hit the arrows with, and the chart's timing is off by a half a beat. That last alteration is a LOT harder to get used to than it sounds. The mission? Full combo on the last third of the song. The chart is a 9 out of 10 difficulty wise, and for good reason too. Enjoy.
  • Some of the shit Universe 3's Quest Mode puts you through. The 3rd challenge on Pictor Street is Concertino In Blue on Oni, with the arrows sped up 2-and-a-half times and shuffled arrows. Your job is to get 4/5 of the chart perfect. Thank GOD it's only 6 measures. Club Tucana has you getting all Marvelouses on the last two measures of Absolute, slowdown included, with the Dark modifier. And then there's the Club Pyxis challenge. Kimochi Expert. Full combo, get NG for freezes, and you can't hit 8th notes or the same note twice. That doesn't sound hard, but here's the catch; A modifier is in place so that you can't tell the timing of the notes apart. Oof.
  • DDR X2's Dice Master mode is chock-full of missions that require you to be an expert at the game, but the last area is full of Scrappies. Jenny's mission is genuinely impossible, and Ruby's is almost as bad. Julio's mission requires you to do Pluto The First with a speed mod, and let me tell you about the final mission. Roppongi Evolved. SEVEN. TIMES. IN. A. ROW. That is all.
    • That mission in Yuni's area that requires an MFC on Love Is Orange, or Louis' last (solo) mission that requires you to clear Sacred Oath with a fucked-up arrow placement with Boost turned on that only gives you a few chances to miss. For that matter, any mission whose requirement is "Get X Marvelous" and involves playing on Basic difficulty or lower is going to be impossible unless you're a robot, because of how few steps you're allowed to get less than Marvelous on.
  • DDR Universe 2's Challenge Mode has several Scrappies, exhibit A being Catastrophic 4. Synergy, Expert difficulty, on Hidden. You start with low health. In addition, start with anything that isn't perfect and you fail instantly, which segues into its first requirement; your Perfect total must ALWAYS be higher than your total of Great, Good and Almost combined. To add insult to injury, your second objective requires you to have 60 Perfects, 60 Greats, AND 60 Goods. The only requirement that isn't borderline impossible is to end with low health.
    • Apocalyptic 5. That is all. Eternus on Expert. With a few poison arrows (that you're not allowed to hit). Can't get a combo greater than 10 or step on the same direction twice. The kicker? Whilst dodging all this, you have to step 80% of the song perfectly. But wait, there's more! IT'S NOT RUNNING THE RIGHT CHART! It's running the Expert chart for Dead End instead, which is an even harder and faster song!
  • DDR Supernova's "Boss Rush episode IV". As if ten-footers weren't bad enough on their own (especially the ones in Supernova), try doing SIX OF THEM in a row! To make matters worse, the really hard ones are right at the end, when you're exhausted... AND your health bar becomes MUCH more sensitive to misses! For anyone insane enough to try this, here's what you're up against:
    • 1. MAX 300 (Super-Max-Me Mix) — Expert. While not too bad for a ten-footer, the fact that it's the opener is basically a final warning that there is no way in hell you will make it through this course alive.
    • 2. Chaos — Expert. Again, not too bad... assuming that you've memorized all FORTY-TWO times when the song stops and starts again for no reason other than to piss you off.
    • 3. Fascination MAXX — Expert. The purpose of this one is to tire you out, so the second half of the course is just that much more brutal.
    • 4. Xepher — Challenge. Wait, what? Isn't this that pathetic excuse for a ten-footer? Yeah, but it's still tiring, especially since you just got done with FaXX.
    • 5. Healing-D-Vision — Challenge. You just KNEW this one was coming. This song teases you with a steppable, but off the beat, first half... then all hell breaks loose when you launch into 360 BPM and are faced with relentless 8th note runs. And about that last one... hoo boy. To full combo it, you have to perform insanely fast crossovers, requiring you to turn your body a full 180 degrees THREE TIMES A SECOND without falling on your face. If you don't have a handbar, you're screwed.
    • 6. Fascination (eternal love mix) — Challenge. By this point, you will be close to passing out, and the final song's relatively tame intro (featuring steps with a maximum density of 400 per minute) will feel like a chore, but since HDV just did a hell of a number on your health meter, you'll NEED to hit every step to avoid failure. After the Chaos-esque middle section, it's all downhill, because you'll be faced with quarter-note streams at 400 BPM with jumps thrown EVERYWHERE. In the final stretch you'll be rapidly alternating between jumping three times in a row and complicated 8th-note patterns at 400 BPM. As you hear the end of the song starting, you get more and more anxious and afraid to screw up as you push yourself through those brutal jumps and onto that final freeze-jump, and... you forgot that there's a stop at the very end, so you get an NG and lose your last ounce of health.
    • Oh yeah, and if you somehow manage to make it through all of that, try it on Challenge mode, which means you can't miss more than three steps per song... or the arcade version, which gives you a slightly easier song list (the first song is only a nine-footer, albeit a high-end nine), but the three-miss requirement goes for the WHOLE COURSE, not each individual song.

Rhythm Heaven

  • The fireworks stage of Rhythm Tengoku is unpopular with fans of the game for many reasons: the music isn't that great, there are no quirky characters or strange scenes, and the timing is rather difficult.
  • The Bon Odori stage is equally unpopular with many of those playing the game on an emulator. In fact, the Bon Odori gets worse with its revisit, the Bon Dance. The clap patterns are much more complex and the beat is generally faster.
  • The DS sequel's Scrappy seems to be Fillbots, which requires precise timing and, in the second version, lasts for nearly three minutes.
  • Rhythm Rally is the same ordeal. The first is just generally hard, but the revisit, Rhythm Rally 2, is faster, has a new queue that's basically one fast swing after another, and a Camera Screw.
  • Moai Doo Wop 2. Along with the screwy detection, you have barely any patterns. In rhythm games, you kinda need patterns.
  • The Dazzles also has its share of hate, mostly because it requires very precise timing to get a "Superb", as in getting everything isn't enough, you also need to be precise.
  • Rockers 1 & 2: In a game defined by memorizing and following regimented patterns, this one is so freeform it will trip you up. And the second game adds in a Scrappy Mechanic in which you have to use the R button in addition having harder patterns.
    • Even worse are the Guitar Lessons, which are just Rockers performing to other Rhythm Heaven songs. These songs require fast flick-hold combos that don't follow the same notes as the original games, plus the more insulting fact that Guitar Lessons (and its spin-off, Battle Of The Bands) take up about a third of the unlockable content, meaning if you don't like Rockers, there's not much motivation to get all the Medals.
  • Lockstep is incredibly tricky because it constantly switches between the on-beat and off-beat. As it goes on, it becomes much harder to determine timing visually. For those with poor sense of the beat, this can be a brick wall.
  • In Fever, both Love Rap games will trip up many a player with its extremely odd timings, such that trying to play it by ear frequently yields worse results than trying to figure out some kind of visual cue.
  • "Monkey Watch" in Fever is a a stopping point for anyone new. Not only is there a TON of inputs, but you're constantly losing the beat because of the offbeat pink-monkey patterns. Of note is that this is the 9th stage in the game out of 50, so if you can't overcome this, most of the game will be locked off from you. Megamix seems to have acknowledged its out-of-place difficulty, as "Monkey Watch" is the very last Rhythm Heaven Fever stage.
  • "Tap Troupe" has a very weird triplet pattern and brutal beat changes which will prove a major hazard to any new players.
  • "Shrimp Shuffle"'s tight timing and nasty pauses in the rhythm (1, 2, 3! 3, 2.....1!) can prove irritating, especially since the game counts it out for you. And the 2 offbeat patterns in the game trip up even veterans of the series.
  • Catch Of The Day. Timing never got so precise. Interface Screw was never so frequent.
  • Working Dough is not only repetitive and with precise timing, but it is LONG. Despite being just a simple follow-the-leader game, its length, timing, and speedy patterns make most people hate it.
    • And don't forget its sequel, which trades off the fast patterns for unforgiving offbeat patterns and music that constantly quiets and sometimes even disappears. Did we mention that both Working Doughs came back in Megamix?
  • Drummer Duel is hated by most. It's blazing fast, has a miniscule margin of error, and it is VERY hard to get a superb on.
  • "Love Lizards" tends to get a lot of flack not only because it's one of the most repetitive and monotonous games in the series, but the touch detection is extremely wonky, meaning it either won't register your slide at all, or it'll register a minute movement at the end of your last slide as another slide. Thankfully, outside of its own tier's Remix and Remix 10, it doesn't show up anywhere else in the game.
  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix introduces a Challenge Mode, in which you must complete a set of stages with additional conditions on top. Some of the most complained-about are:
    • "Copycats"note  has you play Rhythm Tweezers, First Contact, and Working Dough, along with their sequels, without missing at all (you get 1 miss on Working Dough). You'll have tempo up to deal with too. All these games have a lot of inputs, particularly Working Dough, so this one can be a pain to complete.
    • "Round-Object Fan Club": One of the conditions is to clear Flipper-Flop 2 with 3 or fewer missed inputs. There are 230 inputs in Flipper-Flop 2, and it is one of the most demanding stages with timing. It's also sped up. It's not as grueling as "Lockstep Lockdown," but it is located much earlier in the challenge list.
    • "Extreme Sports"note : Despite its location at roughly the middle of the game's set of challenges, this is one of the hardest challenges in the entire game. Playing Air Rally at double speed is insane enough, but there's Exhibition Match at the end. It's set under Monster conditions, meaning the stage slowly shrinks until it's small enough for the monster to eat (which is an automatic failure), but getting perfect timing on an input increases the size of the screen. Exhibition Match has the second fewest inputs of any stage in the gamenote , and so you have the fewest chances to prevent the monster from eating the stage. "Extreme Sports" is also seven stages longnote , so it's a huge uphill climb just to get to Exhibition Match.
    • "Lockstep Lockdown"note : See the description for Lockstep above? Try playing it four times in a row, and you only get to miss a beat 3 times total before you're eliminated. Also, each iteration of Lockstep is sped up more than the previous one.
    • "Rhythm Safari": At seven stages longnote , this is one of the longer challenges. But what elevates this one to That One Stage status is that it is entirely at double speed and contains stages that are already incredibly up-tempo and have short cues at normal speed, rendering some of them, like Bunny Hop and Rat Race, near-unplayable.
    • "Hello, Ladies...": At eight stages in a rownote , all of them at double speed, it requires incredible consistency and accuracy to clear in spite of being the longest challenge in the entire game. They also have stricter requirements than normal for their types of goals, such as fewer allowed missed inputs or a higher minimum score in order to pass.


  • Space Channel 5 Part 2. Report 4. In the Core, besides the game's usual cruel timing, you're subjected to a 'let's play in reverse' mini 'if you get this wrong you're dead meat'. That, and, if you played averagely on the other sections of the report, you have only four lives. Let's not even mention the 'Escape' part, which has odd beats and the robot-shooting is pure hell.
    • The game treats you to ANOTHER one of these in Extra Report 6. The report itself is hard enough normally, but now? You only get TWO, count em' TWO lives for the part before the finale. This makes Purge the Great hellish now, especially when he throws you off with ".....down!" The game was kind enough to give you three lives for the finale.
  • Elite Beat Agents, another rhythm game, requires you to tap on-screen symbols in time to the beat. Except on Canned Heat, where this is nigh-impossible due to the fact that the song as a swing feel and the notes are only displayed when you almost have to tap the note. It's impossible on harder difficulty settings without memorizing the patterns.
    • There's also Let's Dance, which doesn't have an unintuitive beatmap or punishing timing. What it does have (on hard mode) is the first life bar that drops so quickly that you can hit every beat and still fail the level if your timing isn't spot-on. And pairs it with some very long pauses in the action where the bar ''will' drop because there are no beats to hit and restore it.
    • Jumping Jack Flash, which is bad enough as it is, but in the harder difficulties you practically have to get every beat perfect, just to keep the darn meter in the 'Yes' zone.
      • The tougher difficulties are also fond of switching between Spinners and the regular beat markers very rapidly, and repeating this trick several times.
  • The second Ouendan game has the 12th stage, "Believe", which is pretty much impossible on higher difficulties unless you get almost only perfects, since it's a rather slow song where the meter drops quickly. People have put up videos of themselves S-ranking the song and failing every cutscene.
    • It only gets worse from there.... "Zoku", the game's 13th stage, is decently hard on normal, with the notes feeling very offbeat, so you can imagine what the hard and insane versions are like. Lots of quick double taps which are hard to do consistently, insane reverse sliders, and notes placed on awkward spots on the screen. Good luck trying to do a no-miss run, let alone S-ranking it.
    • The original OTO gave us "Koi no Dance Site", which on higher difficulties puts markers all over the place and gives you very little time to keep up with them.
    • "Neraiuchi" gets flak for having a lot of spinners, and occasionally throws in beat sequences right after a long one.
    • The final stages of either Ouendan game combine long complex sequences of beats with a rapidly draining lifebar. "Ready Steady Go" from the first game is infamous for its third segment that has three spinners followed by rapid tapping sequences after you've tired out. "Sekai wa Sore wo Ai to Yobundaze" from the second game trips players up in its final segment, tossing in double-beats during the final chorus. Miss a few beats and chances are the damage is too much to recover from.
  • If you thought any of the above stages was hard, try some of the beatmaps in the freeware PC game based on the series, osu!!. You've got some of the Insane/Expert beatmaps that users have made. To play in an advanced level, the time you take to move the cursor from one corner of the screen to the other shouldn't be more than about 200 milliseconds, and you should have total control of it to play on the beat. Also, some maps require aiming complex patterns rather quickly (for example, a 5-point star that covers the whole screen, with each circle about 125ms apart from each other; and then doing the same star but backwards and at an angle) . Also, maps where you have to press about 800 circles per minute are rather common, with some maps with 20-second parts that require pressing about 18.67 times per second. Needless to say, the only people who even have a chance of beating these types of levels are those with special (and usually extremely pricy) equipment, which is exactly why osu! is not for everyone.
  • Guitar Hero emulator Clone Hero has pretty much made anyone capable of making this kind of level, but the one most infamous is Soulless 4. How hard is it? It was released in 2015 and it was only Full Comboed for the first time in January 2019!
  • Many mission in DJMAX Portable Black Square, starting at the Rocker Rocker club in Area 5. Missions include getting a lot of points on a song while trying to chain together upwards of 7 or 8 Fevers and high accuracy on very hard songs.
    • "Area 7" in DJMAX Technika has many repeat notes that follow a rhythm that is very awkward and irregular unless you are familiar with the song.
    • "Color" in Technika, on all difficulties. On Popular and Technical, the chart is rated a 5. That rating is a lie. Halfway through the song on all difficulties, you start facing annoying fast repeat notes reminiscent of "jackhammer" notes from beatmania IIDX, and on Technical, there's another set near the end, which can easily cause you to have a last-second Game Over.
  • Sticking with DJMAX creator's tradition of making players suffer, Superbeat:Xonic offers the 6 Eleven mission, which requires you to beat five of the hardest songs in the game, all while gaining at least 95% overall judgement (which means that not only you have to hit your notes, but also nail them perfectly).
  • Stage 5 in Parappa The Rapper is generally agreed to be the most loathed in the game, where the protagonist, his intestines nearly ready to burst, has to out-rap all his previous senseis to get ahead of them in line before he wets himself. Some brutally difficult note patterns, combined with the game's weird take on timing, particularly during the Cheep Cheep part, has caused many players to give up hope on ever reaching the sixth and final stage.
    • Stage 4 is agreed to be the second most loathed in the game, where PaRappa has to make a seafood cake at Cheep Cheep's cooking show because Joe Chin, who has a very tall cake for the party, pushes the protagonist, making him fall and ruining the cheapest cake he could afford. While the note patterns aren't as bad as the following stage, the timing is really off, causing the player to do awfully, even if he pressed all the buttons on time.
    • The spinoff, Um Jammer Lammy, also has a scrappy level as its sixth and, again, penultimate level, where the player character slips on a banana peel, breaks her skull and is sent to Hell, where she has to perform on-stage in a concert if she hopes to return to the realm of the living. This song features some tricky button patterns as well, even moreso than in the previous example, but its crippling flaw is how awful the level's background music is in comparison to that of the rest of the game.
  • In Frequency, Tony Trippi's Motomatic, Orbital's Weekend Ravers Mix, anything made by Komputer Kontroller or Symbion Project, and finally the last song, Robotkid vs. Intersekt with a punishing synth track that only masters could attempt.
  • Many a Cluster F-Bomb resulted from the desert level in Patapon. To get through, players must work up to Fever and summon a rain miracle to cool the sand in front of you; if you don't, your army melts to oblivion in a matter of seconds. The kicker is that, until the sequel came along, there was no timer on your miracles, so the best hope of getting through without a sudden lava geyser eradicating your troops was to just redo the juju every time you hit Fever, which took forever. And good luck if you mess up the beat.
    • And one reason Meden isn't too popular is that she gets kidnapped in each game...and to save her, you have to chase her carriage across the aforementioned deserts.
  • The Sanbone Trio level on Master mode in Gitaroo Man. Sweet Jesus. You start the level with very low health, are forced to watch a rather lengthy scene, and are given a very complex guard phase before you can start hurting them. Additionally, the game randomly gives you a different version of some parts of the song every time you play it, and one of the versions of said guard phase is much more difficult than the other.
    • The first encounter with BEN-K is infamous among fans of the game for consisting entirely of a guard phase, being extremely fast, and only being the FOURTH stage in the game (and of course, it's even harder in Master mode). Thankfully, the two levels that follow are very much-welcomed Breather Levels.
  • "Bee" in Pump It Up. They managed to condense every awkward, painful pattern they could think of into a minute thirty.
  • Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA has the near impossible "The Dissapearance of Hatsune Miku." The second game took it to a whole new level with "The Passion of Hatsune Miku".
    • Extend makes Passion even more hell. Instead of simple four note spams when Miku starts singing at impossible speeds, the spam lasts the entire time she's doing it. And yes, there are note changes during the spam. And yes, it does get faster when she starts singing faster. Look at this. Just look.
    • Even better, Project Diva X has a medley of 5 of the hardest songs in the series; only one of them is not a full 10/10 difficulty on its own, and it's a 9.5/10. Oh, and both of the above songs are included. "Virtuoso" medley, indeed.
    • Sadistic Music Factory in f and Future Tone is the very defenition of the word sadistic. f starts out fairly easy, but it gets hard when you reach the second technical zone, where you press the buttons in a circle around the controller. If you aren't fast enough, chances are, you're going to mess up. the chance time makes it even harder by adding more spams, and by the last roughly ten seconds, it's following her singing almost exactly. Future Tone took it Up to Eleven by throwing everything but the kitchen sink at you right from the get-go. Right away, you're getting hit with two button spams, spams that change to a different button halfway through, and sections where you have to alternate between spamming and double notes. One section even has triple notes. Near the end of the song, you have to do a double note spam, as in you alternate between hitting square and triangle then x and circle. Not to mention that, prior to that, the song slows down to an odd speed about halfway through, so if you haven't messed up by then, you're most likely going to now. The song's final spam is a x + circle-square double that changes x to triangle halfway through. Thank God the song doesn't have an Ex Ex chart.
  • Just Dance 4 has unlockable extreme versions of various songs. One of these, an extreme version of the One direction hit, "You Don't Know You're Beautiful" is particularly cruel, even if you like the song. It requires rapid move transitions the pictograms don't make readily apparent, as well as a great deal of technical skill. it also likes to pop up in the otherwise simple Just Sweat mode.
  • BIT.TRIP RUNNER's 1-11 Odyssey, the final level before the first zone's boss, is notorious for being significantly more difficult and frustrating than the majority of the entire second zone, due to it being literally the longest level in the game (and by a fairly large margin). Simply completing the level earns a Steam Achievement. Check the stats page for the game and note how few people have that achievement.
    • While on the subject, 3-11 Rusty Warren is the stuff of nightmares. Two gauntlets (small hallways with alternating duck/jump antics and two dozen bouncing squares), and at least three stairs that one must duck as they go down. Unlike the sequel, there's no midpoint restart, and the very end throws some red blocks that you DON'T jump for.
  • The US version of Donkey Konga 2 has "Pieces" by Hoobastank, which featured a huge departure in handling claps. It gained infamy in DK Vine's "The Slush Fun'd" due to Slush getting stuck on the song for nine months (during which he slowly lost his drive to actually play the game) until finally moving on to completing the rest of the songs before returning to "Pieces". The European and Japanese versions include the classical "William Tell Overture", with the first half of the song with constant relentless triple drum rolls that eventually slows down for the last hundred notes.
    • The European version has one song harder: "Mansize Rooster" has the highest note count for any song in the Donkey Konga series at just over 450 notes, and after a slow intro it starts to get insane, with 5 drum barrages at a faster speed than the William Tell triple rolls. It stays the same for the rest of the song, but the second chorus contains a 13-note yellow note drum roll (and if you're using a controller, expect to lose your combo if you're using the joystick) before finally slowing down for the outro. Passing this song on Gorilla difficulty is considered one of the biggest achievements in the game.
  • In Cytus, the condition to clear a song is fairly lenient—get 700,000 points out of 1 million, and there's no Life Meter—but some songs still stand out because it's hard to get good scores on them:
    • The "L" series by ICE in Chapter VII:
      • "L" and both parts of "L2" are the only three songs in the game to be rated level 9, the highest difficulty rating in the game, on Easy.
      • "L" features 16th-note "roll" sectons and large numbers of drag notes that can be compared to ice skating with your fingers.
      • "L2: Act 1" on Hard combines fast piano sections with an extremely slow scroll speed.
      • "L2: Act 2" on Easy in particular is the only Easy chart with over 1,000 notes, although to be fair, the song is 3 minutes long.
    • "Freedom Dive" has the fastest scroll speed in the game, at 222.22 BPM, and features the infamous "diamond" formation that requires hitting drag notes and tap notes at once.
      • Then there's its hidden charts, called "Freedom D↓ve"—yes, with a down arrow. Its Hard chart has 2,000 notes over a mere 2 minutes and 26 seconds. General consensus of the Hard chart is "Rayark, what the HELL is wrong with you?!"
    • "Vanessa" from Cytus Alive isn't necessarily difficult by level 9 standards, but it is the longest song in the entire game outside of Chapter L at seven minutes.
    • Chapter L may as well be called That One Chapter. Every song is at least 4 minutes and 30 seconds long, and is rated 9 on both difficulties. The Easy charts are typical of level 9 standards, but the Hard charts just outright go beyond anything else seen in the entire game and to make matters worse, use very slow scanline speeds making them hard to read. And unlike the other DLC chapters, which are 4.99 USD, this costs 9.99 USD. Only truly dedicated Cytus players need apply.
  • Groove Coaster:
    • "Good bye my earth" is rated an 8 on the iOS version and while it's not particularly note-dense, the chart scrolls very fast and due to the odd camera angles, many of the notes are only visible for brief moments, often for even less time than needed to be able to react. The charts practically require Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
    • "Spring to mind". While it's not remarkably difficult to clear on any level, it stands out for those trying to aim for a Full Chain, which requires hitting every note in the chart, including the hidden Ad-Lib notes. You could "cheat" and use the Visible item, but if you're trying to Full Chain the "honest" way, most of the Ad-Libs seem to have no audio cues in the music whatsoever, forcing you to tap everywhere to find Ad-Libs you haven't uncovered yet.
    • The Hard chart for "Thrash Beat" is very visually dense and demands intimate familiarity with the track to clear, let alone score well on.
  • As a general rule, any sufficiently long song is this. Did you fail, or screw up a full combo or perfect score attempt at the 9'50" mark on a 10-minute song? Time to start the entire 10-minute song all over again! It's one reason why many rhythm games, particularly those by Eastern developers, prefer to use songs around the 2-minute mark, so that there's just enough time for song and chart substance but not so much time that every repetition of the song is like doing chores.note 
  • CROSS×BEATS and crossbeats REV.:
    • "Satellite System ft. Diana Chiaki" in crossbeats REV. is infamous for its extremely awkward rhythms, and its Master chart served as the final stage of the Class V course in Challenge Mode until crossbeats REV. SUNRISE got new Challenge Mode courses. Most players generally give up trying to learn the song naturally and just study videos of players clearing it instead.
    • The Master chart of "EMERALD♡KISS" is rated an 85, making it one of hardest songs on the default songlist. It doesn't look too bad at first, and then it starts throwing out polyphonic patterns that will surely drain out the meters of many players who haven't mastered them yet.
    • "DAZZLING♡SEASON"'s charts often reuse guidelines to trip up players with repeat notes, forcing one to learn the charts by heart.
    • Almost any song with dramatic changes in tempo, due to scroll speed being dependent on BPM * speed multiplier. "Amateras" and "Power" have slowdowns partway through, while "QLWA" and "Pursuit ~ Last Promotion Version (crossbeats REV. Arrange)" speed up near the end. Granted, you can change scroll speed in mid-song, but you have to consciously tap the speed indicator and adjust the slider in the middle of the chart.
    • Groove Coaster collaboration event song "LINK LINK FEVER!!!" isn't particularly standout in terms of charts, but the main problem for a certain large gaming demographic is that at 200 combonote , players are treated to a Fanservice illustration of GC mascot Linka and can potentially break their combos as a result.
  • Arcaea:
    • Level 8:
      • "Anokumene" on Future difficulty was originally rated an 8, and many players disagreed with it due to having some surprisingly fast patterns for a level 8 chart. The 1.5 update thankfully changed the difficulty to a 9.
      • "memoryfactory.lzh" is a slow track at 100 BPM and is one of a handful of tracks to limit the maximum scroll speed, making it very difficult to time hits. Many joke that it's even harder than "Grievous Lady".
      • Following "memoryfactory.lzh" from the same composer, "dropdead" chimes in at 50BPM. Past reduces your scroll speed to 10% of your setting, but it only has 44 notes (that's an average density of about one note every two seconds) so it's no big deal. Present is level 9 but at least it has no effect on your speed setting. Future is level 8, so players may walk in expecting an easier chart than Present...only to find that their speed is cut to 25% except during parts where the scroll skyrockets beyond 100%, so the chart is either a slow, unreadable mess or a nightmare of reaction times and nothing in betweem.
    • Level 9:
      • "SOUNDWiTCH" has hard patterns and also very difficult to time, making it hard to score well.
      • "Red and Blue" on Future. The "LEFT=BLUE RED=RIGHT"note  phrase in the chart credit is there for a very good reason: there are many segments where Arcs will start on the oppposite side as expected. You may, for example, reflexively hit a blue Arc that's on the right side with your right hand but now you can't hit that pink Arc that's even further on the right.
      • "Modelista" on Future routinely throws vertical chords and other fast patterns that combine floor and Sky notes, as well as several sections with jackhammers that can easily drain your Recollection Rate, and a speed-up section that can catch unwary players off-guard. Many regard it as one of the hardest level 9 songs in the game, rivaling even level 9+ charts. The developers seem to agree, as it is one of four charts to have a "chart constant" (a hidden chart-specific value that determines Step gain and how playing the chart will affect your Potential) of 10.0, the highest for any level 9 chart, and the 10.0-10.9 range is typically reserved for level 9+ charts.
      • "Yosakura Fubuki" on Future has a lot of fast spiral and diagonal arch patterns that require you to be alert at all times. At the end is a bunch of diagonal Arcs to the left that require you to alternate hands, easily sending a slow player below 70% Recollection Rate at the last second.
  • The SuperStar series
    • SuperStar SMTOWN has "Kick" by f(x), which not only has the most notes out of any normal song in the game at 990, but also is one of the longer songs at almost two minutes. in addition, all of the hidden stages are pretty hard, but "Around" by Hitchhiker X Taeyong is notorious for its difficulty.
    • SuperStar BTS has the Cyphers, all of which are fairly difficult, but "BTS Cypher 4 [SUGA]" takes the cake. Two minutes long and with triplets for days, the song was written off by some players as being so hard it wasn't enjoyable to play. The developers themselves even gifted all of the players 39 headphones two days after the song's release in the game with the message "We know! 'BTS Cypher 4 [SUGA]' is hard as hell! It's crazy! We see SOOOOOOOOOOO many users feel terrible pain to clear this song!"
  • RAVON doesn't have difficulty ratings for its charts, but nonetheless some charts still catch players off-guard. "We Alive" on Core difficulty, for example, has an average note density (the closest to a difficulty rating in the game) of only 3.30 notes/second, which is less than many other high-end charts, but it throws off many players with its tricky note rhythms.


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