Top 5 Most Challenging Nintendo Games
A lot of games that we play today, as exciting and aesthetically pleasing as they are, have long abandoned the recipe for hard, skillful work. You know what I’m talking about, the days of Mario, Battletoads, Double Dragon, Ninja Gaiden, etc. They aren’t the prettiest games known to man but that isn’t what they were known for either. (Unless you grew up with them, in which case, they were the neatest use of creativity yet!). So I did some memory searching and a little bit of googling (Urban Dictionary re-enforces my ability to use made-up but awesome words) as well to compile a short list of five “Nintendo Hard” games that frustrated gamers all over the world. Now you too can share in their pain!
5.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Released By: Konami / Ultra
Released Date: June 1989
Japanese Name: Gekikame Ninja Den (Fierce Turtle Ninja Legend!)
When it comes to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, It would be nearly impossible to find someone who didn’t know anything at all about them. They were all over cereal boxes, posters, bedding, bracelets, T.V., even pajamas during the late 80′s, early 90′s. They were the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles (or just Ninja Turtles as Michael Bay sees it) that everyone fell in love with! Even today they still show now and then on T-shirts or gummy snacks! Check out this old Commercial!
As if being a Mutated Turtle wasn’t awkward enough!
I give this game props in the sense that it had clean movement and better hit boxes than most of the games that came before it, but that doesn’t make up for …the rest of the game. The levels were designed rather poorly with various unneeded obstacles that generally got you killed in one way or another. One major “turn off” found thoroughly implemented through-out every portion of this game is the crazy illogical enemy spawning. They utilized a faulty system (same one in Mega Man 2) where if you killed an enemy, then walked the opposite direction, as soon as the screen scrolled past that enemy, he would automatically spawn. So if you had to retreat back even a single step because of getting overloaded or what not… your previous foe would be afoot ready to seek his revenge… in most cases… for the 200th revenge. (Poor guy never learns!) Just to add some more humor for the game, seeing as mutated turtles weren’t enough, they added several “strange” creatures to the enemy forces. Most of these creatures can’t even be justified with a proper description! Seems like the “beginning” foundation for Silent Hill or Dead Space!
In terms of multi-player, the true fight among the team was, “Who gets Donatello?”. Now, when it comes to most games that offer a selection of characters, it’s usually safe to assume that each character specializes in something that offers them both a strength here and a weakness there. A concept that usually allows a team to function more effectively. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did offer you four characters, but there truly was an obvious imbalance. Donatello had the best range on the team in addition with slow animation and a fair amount of attack power, so he’d do quite the number on mini-bosses and enemies who were ambitious enough to go near him. An even bigger plus, his staff would go through obstacles and even floors! Just for reference, Raphael was the most “expendable” character on the team and you usually wouldn’t think twice as to save him. You’d constantly get ambushed due to the side scrolling fluke while you scavenged around to get health (Pizza…of course). The pizza was almost not even worthy of the trouble because you’d have to fight through a hoard of enemies just to get to it, causing more harm then good. With the awkward team comp, effectiveness was a rare feat to achieve unless your strategy was protect Donatello with your life, in which case, you did good! The bosses were sometimes more difficult then you’d expect because of the power they would throw at you. I believe one of the bosses even spawns an army of fire-y legs to attack you. This game was a preliminary start to the what is now called, “Rage Quit”. Now when you add all the flaws I mentioned together, you get a infamous recipe for both difficult and frustrating!
Released By: Tecmo
Released Date: December 1988
Japanese Name: Ninja Ryūkenden (“Legend of the Ninja Dragon Sword”)
Ninja Gaiden follows a skilled Ninja named Ryu Hayabusa and his journey to America to avenge his father’s death. Once he makes it there, he catches wind of a diabolical plot to take over the world by using an ancient demon through the power contained in two special statues. Ryu quickly sets off to save the world from destruction!
Ninja Gaiden is an ongoing series that still has yet to officially end. The latest one in the series is called Ninja Gaiden 3 and is for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U. Unfortunately, many fans wish the series had ended a while back as to keep the series with the respect it once had. The latest sequels have been filled with more hack n’ slash, cheap thrill killing on defenseless, easy characters instead of actual difficult game play that was once immersed in a rich story.
I have to restart where?!
I seriously considered not including this game, but then I remembered how I broke my first Nintendo controller…
Ninja Gaiden isn’t too hard to start off with. The first 4-5 levels are not too bad. So long as you hone in on your reflex skills, you might as well be walking in the park. But there is the catch! Once you hit 6-1… It feels like you’ve pissed off the gods as they swarm you with more enemies, more obstacles, and take your odds of survival from 80% down to about 40%. I’m not kidding either, just ask the gaming community! Assuming you do manage to oust the hoard, and get to the various bosses found in 6-2,3,and 4, you’ll be dancing like there’s no tomorrow! The bosses are usually faster than the minions and do quite a bit more damage. However, that isn’t the frustrating part. If you die to ANY of the bosses found in level 6… you have to restart at 6-1 and fight your way back to them. Thus, the broken controller. It’s no easy task and actually turned off a lot of gamers. The difficulty factor was actually one of Ninja Gaiden’s calling card. With that being said, once you manage to actually beat it (usually a task done over a period of DAYS), you’ll jump out of your chair with pumping excitement! Yes, this achievement is worthy of an Epic Win moment.
Overall, though difficult in the later levels, I’d highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of challenging platformer-based games. Especially for those who enjoy a good storyline to carry them about their way. I do suggest having a back-up controller on hand… Only once you get to 6-1 will you understand how truthful I am on the matter.
3.Contra (without using the Konami Code)
Released By: Konami
Release Date: February 20, 1987
Japanese name: Kontora
Contra, depending on if you play the Japanese or English version, can have one of two stories. For the Japanese release, Contra is about two military commandos, Mad dog and Scorpion (Bill Rizer and Lance Bean), who are sent to neutralize a terrorist organization called Red Falcon, a group that’s trying to take over Earth. The game takes place in the fictional Galuga archipelago near New Zealand in the futuristic year of 2633, The English version however takes place in an unnamed South American island (how…un-creative) and also changes Red Falcon into an alien entity instead of a Terrorist Organization…wait..what?
That Konami Code is looking good right about now…
Contra, known for making the Konami Code popular in the United States, was a great multi-player game that offered difficult levels with the opportunity of weapon upgrades and etc. The huge downfall of the game that caused a lot of people to either quit… or use the Konami code is the simple fact that a single hit would kill you no matter what. That became an issue REALLY quickly when you realized you only had three lives before you had to start the entire stage over again! About that time after you’ve redone the same level like ten times… that Konami Code starts to look reaaaaal friendly. But wait.. what does the Konami Code do? Is it God Mode? Weapon upgrades? a giant level nuke attack? Actually, the Konami Code, when used in Contra, would give the players 30 extra lives. Essentially, more chances to actually beat a stage. That was enough for a lot of people to beat the game with ease. The real challenge though is to beat it without that code, even more so if you avoid weapon upgrades.
Overall, the game wasn’t challenging in the aspect of actual enemy and boss difficulty. It’s place on this list is based around the issue with how quickly one can die if not coordinated enough. Naturally, your chances of beating the game increase if you have a partner with you seeing as one of you can die and the other wait for your return instead of starting the stage over again. IGN labeled this game as #1 toughest game for the NES. Even though I am throwing this one in my list, I don’t agree to that at all. Though this game has rather difficult levels that depend entirely on the players level of maneuverability, it wasn’t so ‘tough” that you would lose sleep over it. I mean honestly, I beat it when I was eight years old with no Konami Code. It’s not exactly impossible.
Released by: Rare
Released Date: June 1991
Purpose: To rival the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series
WM: Hello this is Quanisha at your local 24-hour Walmart no we do not have Battletoads how may I help you?
Sorry, couldn’t resist myself, Battletoads happens to also be a prank callers favorite verbal annoyance!
For my next choice in the series of hard as hell games, I chose Battletoads! The wise already understand my decision where as in the rest… should save themselves from the frustration. Battletoads follows three anthropomorphic toads named after skin conditions (Zitz, Rash, and Pimple). These toads are helping Princess Angelica make it back safely to her home planet where her father awaits. During the toads travels, Pimple decides to take Angelica out for a ride in his Toadster to a nearby “leisure station”. While out, the Dark Queen intercepts the Toadster and captures both Pimple and the Princess. The other toads set out on a mission towards Ragnarok to save both their comrade and the princess.
Now that you know the story… feel free to walk away. No really, I’m serious. Your best bet at beating this game would be to play it on a computer where you can use save state, cheats, and multi-player. Even then, most still won’t get to the end. This game consists of twelve levels which include undodgeable objects, hard to land attacks, hordes of enemies, and even troubling times with maneuverability. If I had to make a guestimate, I’d say the average level where people give up would be about the third level. By this point, you’ve already learned that each level is going to take about a full 2-litter of Pepsi and perhaps a back-up controller. A lot of people would resort to game genies and surprisingly, still end up dying earlier than they wanted. This game, by a lot of gamer opinions, is one of the more, if not most, difficult game on the NES that is beatable…just unlikely to be beaten. Battletoads is worth the checking out though. The attacks have a comical appeal and are just odd to begin with. The enemies… well, just like the TMNT ones…are straight from the prequel to Dead Space. As for another plus before I put this game behind me forever, Battletoads had the most advanced graphics for the Nintendo Entertainment System and was even transferred to both the Sega and the GameBoy.
1. Silver Surfer! (You should have seen this coming!)
Silver Surfer is one of those Marvel Comic book heroes that’s known, but not usually the obvious favorite. This game solidified his ranks among the weaker of heroes unfortunately. I needn’t really tell the story of the Silver Surfer as he has many a comic book to his name, so just read those. Let us just jump right in to why this game made it to #1 of my “Hardest NES games” list. First off, this game may have started the beginning of “Nintendo Hard” with its stupid ridiculous difficulty that just outraged every last cell in your body!
Silver Surfer is known for it’s extreme difficulty and good music. The music associated with the game is well implemented in a fashion that encourages your hero like attempts to save the world even though you’ve died roughly a thousand times already and even resorted to cheats. The difficulty plays out a little like Contra, one hit and it’s over. Which already is odd seeing as the Silver Surfer is supposed to be almighty:
“The Silver Surfer wields the Power Cosmic, granting him superhuman strength, endurance, senses and the ability to absorb and manipulate the universe’s ambient energy for a variety of effects. The Surfer can navigate through interstellar space, dimensional barriers, and hyperspace, which he can enter to exceed the speed of light when flying on his board,and has even proven capable of time travel on several occasions, even able to make others time-travel with him” – Wikipedia on Silver Surfer
Another aspect the game’s difficulty would be the hordes of enemies being thrown at you. In earlier levels, they usually don’t shoot, making it more of a dodging mission (Not something the silver surfer ever mastered apparently) but in the later levels, the enemies seem to be throwing everything they’ve got from plasma beams to shoes at the Silver wonder. The game plays with two different perspectives from side-scroller to a top-down view through-out the game, constantly keeping you on your feet…or board. Overall, the game is bearable… if you listen to the music. If your screen actually works, then this game has already ruined your life and your blood pressure.
Just so that you too can enjoy the experience that is the “Silver Surfer”, here is a YouTube “Lets Hate” video of someone playing through the game while discussing the terrible things this game has to offer aside from the music appeal.
So there you have it, Valid Gaming’s Top 5 Most Challenging Nintendo Games! With these powers combined, you get “Nintendo Hard” and all it’s frustrating glory that is missing from today’s gaming scene! Feel free to send us suggestions for the next article or even to submit your opinions of this one. We’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions!
Game on my friends!