I have compiled a list of the Top 5 Hardest Video Games I Have Ever Played. It is obvious to me that I have never been really good at Video Games, but still love and enjoy playing them ever since I was a little kid. In this article I will go through each of the top 5 and give a bit of background and my experience with the games. Player vs player games have been left off this list because the difficulty is determined by your opponent and not by difficulty of the game.
5. Devil May Cry 3 on PlayStation 2
To start off the Top 5 Hardest Video Games I Have Ever Played, I remember the commercial leading up to the release of Devil May Cry 1. It was so different, funny and unique. I stayed home from school on release day and played it for days on end. It was such a different genre of game that I have never seen before. You could switch between a sword and guns! What more could you ask for in a video game? As time went by the release of Devil May Cry 3 was getting closer and I was getting more excited by the day. I made sure to preorder it, picked it up and once I got home and popped it into my PlayStation 2. Soon I would be getting a nice dose of reality shortly after.
After Selecting Normal difficulty and was ready for another fun experience. What I did not know at the time was that the English release had a difficulty error. In the English release of the game, English Easy was Japanese Normal and English Normal was Japanese Hard.
Frustrating does not even being to describe as I played through the whole game on hard. Dying over and over while carefully managing my vital and devil stars. Vital and Devil stars became a currency and I had to spend them carefully. I barely defeated each boss and if I used too many stars I just restarted the level. It seemed like I was never doing enough damage and everything took many hits to die. I questioned if there was some type of trick on newer enemies that I encountered to defeat. The Trickster Style was my only saving grace. I was relying heavily on dodging everything I encountered to survive.
However, eventually I did beat the game and it was an incredibly rewarding feeling. I learned years later when they released the special edition of Devil May Cry 3 they said they fixed the difficulty error. That was also the first time I learned I beat Devil May Cry 3 on Hard.
4. Contra on Nintendo Entertainment System
Contra on the Nintendo Entertainment System is always brought up when the topic of Hardest Video Game is mentioned and for good reason. When I first played the game, the first level seemed easy enough. Maybe you lose a life on a silly mistake, but you quickly complete it. You think to yourself, that is not so bad.
The game starts ramping up and each level after that seems to be getting more difficult. This game does not ease you in or have you learned things gradually. You just get thrown tons of projectiles to dodge, pits to avoid, and charging enemies to jump over.
I remember I would watch my friend die over and over while he was playing and tried to memorize the pattern of enemies. I figured I would stand a fighting chance once it was my turn. The controls are not the tightest and a simple mess up could make you lose one of your 3 valuable lives. Once you get a good weapon upgrade, then the pressure is really on. You worked so hard to finally get half way through a level and obtained a spread or laser gun. Now you are hyper focused on not dying. Dodging all the projectiles, jumping over all the pits, hands are sweating but you are feeling confident. Then, out of nowhere an enemy’s spawns and charges you, and you are back to the basic starting gun.
At this point you’re questioning if you should restart the game and maybe the next run will be better. However, you know it will probably end up he same way. The reason the Konami code was made famous is because it is pretty much a necessity while playing Contra. Only the very skilled and patient players were able to beat this game without the Konami code, which I was not one of.
3. Demon’s Souls on Playstation 3
With the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System era of games we saw games had been built mainly to simulate arcades at the time. They would eat up coins and they made them incredibly hard so you would die often. Then you have to spend more money to keep playing. However, it seemed as video games became more mainstream and accessible this changed. They became more about fun and adventure rather than being punishingly hard. Demon’s Souls on the Playstation 3 was brutal reminder to me that video games can still be punishingly hard.
Demon’s Souls was the first game since childhood that reminded me, you’re going to die and a lot. There is nothing you can do about it. Demon’s Souls completely blindsided me. I died to a boss and became so frustrated that all I wanted to do was get back to him and fight him again. The problem with that is when you get tilted like that and rush back to the boss, you get punished by the standard enemies. This will tilt you even more. A vicious cycle. You could be getting hit by numerous enemies draining your life, fall into a pit or off the map. Then you just lost all the souls that were waiting for you in the boss area. Once you make it to the boss, you have to meticulously dodge and attack hoping not to get one shot.
There were also a lot of very unique yet cruel tactics deployed in this game. Enemies hiding behind turns? Check! Boulders rolling down stairs as you are running up them? Check! Dragons breathing fire on a bridge as there is nowhere to hide? Check! Releasing a prisoner from a jailcell and then he goes back to your nexus and kills all your NPCS? YOU BET! CHECK!
Now, if you take a step back, learn the patters and be patient you can overcome this grueling game. The whole journey is still unbelievably tough and frustrating but to truly master the game, you have to accept that you will not breeze through this one. This game was revolutionary for the time and it created a whole new genre, Soulslike. The genre seems to be gaining more and more steam every release. There are tons of people out there who genuinely enjoy the punishingly hard difficulty of these games and that seems to be a big reason why people keep coming back to them.. These types of games however are definitely not for everyone.
2. Heart of Darkness on Playstation 1
When I was making the list of the Top 5 Hardest Video Games I Have Ever Played, Heart of Darkness on Playstation 1 completely slipped my mind. I had to bump Ikaruga on Dreamcast off the list because of it. This game doesn’t really get mentioned a lot, and it is either forgotten or a hidden gem to most people. Regardless it is brutally hard. It gives off a friendly innocent Claymation vibe from the cover. This game is anything but that.
The Claymation looking graphics were beautiful and the atmosphere is very engaging and immersive. This has to be one of the best-looking games on the PlayStation. The main character felt like he had weight and moved like a cartoon. It was really something to behold on the PlayStation.
Now the fun really begins. Everything in Heart of Darkness can kill you. The game has an extremely creepy feel. There are so many death animations in this game, because that’s what you’re going to be doing most of the time. The animations are super gruesome for an ESRB rating of E. I still to this day have no idea how it snuck by with an E. The only thing scarier than the atmosphere and enemies were that this game was 2 discs long. That was a huge deal back on the PlayStation as you knew you were in for a long journey.
The controls were very awkward, everything was a leap or a giant step. It was a 2D platformer, but a little clunky like an odd world game. It required perfect jumps and grabs. When you got chased by something, it was just a dreadful feeling. You know it would be impossible to ever get away from whatever was chasing you. If anything as much touched you, you were dead. There was no life bar or hit points, it was just one touch and you died. You were walking over a ledge and a shadow figure grabbed your leg, you were dead.
The laser gun you get was nice but didn’t seem to do much of anything to help fend off the shadows. There would be 7 or 8 of them after you at a given time. It was also a side scroller where you move screen to screen, so you never knew what the next screen would hold, usually resulting in death. To add to the madness, the shadows chased you between screens as well.
I wanted so bad to enjoy this game but the difficulty was just too much for me. I would absolutely love if they were to remake this game in the present day.
1. The Lion King on Super Nintendo
The Lion King on Super Nintendo will top the list of the Top 5 Hardest Video Games I Have Ever Played. It did not care that I was 6 years old and in kindergarten, it hated me and wanted me to be miserable. Behind this game appearance of a “kids’ game” it is down right one of the most unforgiving, unapologetic, brutal and cruel games you will ever play. When I would mention this to my friends later on in life, they always thought I was joking. They would ask me I’m I am serious. I tell them I am and they don’t believe me because “it’s a game for kids”. I can say that anyone who has ever played this game can agree this game is brutally hard.
Why was this game so hard you may ask? Well, every enemy had different and unpredictable hitboxes. Some enemies you had to jump on. Others you had to roll into. New enemies you had to jump on the center of their back. The next enemies you had to hit closer to their tail. Every enemy was trial and error.
You were never given direction of where to go next or what to do. The puzzles never gave hints or were explained and you had to trial and error your way through. In the second level, you had to jump onto a rhinoceros horn’s and monkeys would juggle you around. You had to growl at the monkeys to change their direction. If I hadn’t have done it by accident, I probably would never have beat the second level.
There were also many segments which changed up gameplay, that you had to learn on the fly. One level is a side scroller, then you jump on an ostrich and it becomes an auto-scroller. The next level is then a side-to-side game where you have to dodge incoming Wildebeests. Later in the game you have to do a weird 1 on 1 fight with enemies and so many more examples. The cherry on top was when you die, you have to start at the beginning of the game.
The only way I was able to play past level 2 was the cheat code BARRY that I still remember to this day. If you press B A R R Y on the Super Nintendo Controller in the options menu, then you could get to level select. I returned to play this game recently thinking it was hard just because I was a kid, but no, this is really just a hard game. If you really want to test your patience with video games and to see if you truly are great at games, do not skip this one.
What are the hardest games you have played?
There you have it, the Top 5 Hardest Video Games I Have Ever Played. Writing this article reminded me just how frustrating games can be, especially the Lion King. Do not forget to add the hardest games you own to your own collection through The Vault and I would love to hear what the hardest games you have ever played was.