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Author Topic: The hardest NES game.  (Read 3639 times)

realworksuks

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The hardest NES game.
« on: March 07, 2018, 04:01:16 pm »
Curious what opinions are on this?  The two that come to my mind are Ghosts and Goblins and Adventure Island.  I haven't beaten a lot of the games that are considered very hard like Ninja Gaiden 2 and 3 and Silver Surfer etc.
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Spooniest

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 07:50:13 pm »
Clarify what you mean by 'hard.' Some NES games are basically impossible without treating them like learning Flight of the Bumblebee.

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2018, 09:01:37 pm »

SleepyFist

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2018, 01:18:02 am »
I was watching SomeCallmeJohnny playing Dragon Power(Dragon Ball: Shenlong no Nazo) the other day.

It was apparently so bullshit difficult that he couldn't even finish it, despite having the patience and skill to do a complete run of Ghost n' Goblins.

Off the top of my head there's also Ghostbusters which AVGN played, although the entire point of his act is to rip apart games guilty of fake difficulty and bad design, it might not be a bad idea to look for examples on his channel if you don't mind the toilet humor.
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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2018, 03:16:50 am »
Hmmmm..... There were sooo many . . . .

You might want to check out Game Center CX, as it features many "NES hard" games.

My personal list would include:
(This is all back in the day, mind you.)

Destination Earthstar - The flight sim part was easy; it was the horizontal shooting stages that got me.

Mike Tyson's Punchout - I'm just not good at pattern recognition.  I did manage to legitimately reach Tyson, but . . . DAMN!

Metroid - I had to randomly smash in codes till I got decent ones, and even then, beating Mother Brain AND climbing all that way back up got me so angry I punched my TV screen so hard I thought I broke it, my hand, or both!  It took me six months to even THINK of trying again!

Anything Mario - I HATE platformers!!!!! (Though I could make hardcore runs through Contra.  Go figure . . .)

Anything Castlevania - See Mario above.  I did like Symphony of the Night and that GBA one, though.




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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2018, 07:21:17 am »
battletoads?
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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2018, 08:44:36 am »
Adventures Of Captain Comic, Cobra Triangle, Ghost N Goblins are some of the hardest games I've played for the NES. Cobra Triangle is one of my favorite, and I'd love to see a remake for current gen consoles.
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Jorpho

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2018, 09:12:07 am »
There are undoubtedly some very hard games which are hard because they are mostly unplayable and awful.  Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu, maybe.  Or Athena.
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Spooniest

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2018, 09:39:12 am »
So then we are distinguishing between "Legitimate" and "Illegitimate" difficulty of NES games?

Cheetahmen is not a hard game, it is an unplayable game.
Battletoads is not so much a difficult game as an unfair one. Likewise Double Dragon 1-3.
Megaman is not that hard, once you get the feel for everything that you have to do to win.
Super Mario is basically the primer on action games from 1985-Present.
Tetris couldn't be easier to learn, but it is impossible to master, almost.

So...

Is a binary system of determining differences in diffuclty enough? Shouldn't there be more inventive criteria beyond qualitative judgement (good/bad, high/low, fair/unfair)?

realworksuks

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2018, 02:13:44 pm »
So then we are distinguishing between "Legitimate" and "Illegitimate" difficulty of NES games?

Cheetahmen is not a hard game, it is an unplayable game.
Battletoads is not so much a difficult game as an unfair one. Likewise Double Dragon 1-3.
Megaman is not that hard, once you get the feel for everything that you have to do to win.
Super Mario is basically the primer on action games from 1985-Present.
Tetris couldn't be easier to learn, but it is impossible to master, almost.

So...

Is a binary system of determining differences in diffuclty enough? Shouldn't there be more inventive criteria beyond qualitative judgement (good/bad, high/low, fair/unfair)?

I guess I'm mostly interested in games that are fair.  I think Battletoads is fair, it just required a lot of memorization.  But once you have it memorized the controls are so good and few parts are unfair.  There is at least one part that I can think of in Battletoads that is pretty random and unfair, though.
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KingMike

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2018, 02:31:57 pm »
I've heard the Rat Race level requires almost kaizo-level precision and the unicycle level is practically impossible, at least on the NA version (within that level of precision that reportedly makes it impossible to play with lag on newer TVs, as with Tyson in Punch-Out). Reportedly it was toned down in the PAL and Japanese versions.
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realworksuks

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2018, 03:06:17 pm »
I've heard the Rat Race level requires almost kaizo-level precision and the unicycle level is practically impossible, at least on the NA version (within that level of precision that reportedly makes it impossible to play with lag on newer TVs, as with Tyson in Punch-Out). Reportedly it was toned down in the PAL and Japanese versions.

The rat race took me a long time to master, however there is more room for error than you may think.  When I played it recently I think I messed up a few times actually and still passed it.  Don't get me wrong, it definitely requires precision and is not easy.

I still use a tube TV for old games, but I can attest that Battletoads is not fair if you are playing on an HDTV.  I can't beat the clinger winger level on the Rare Replay Xbox game using my HDTV - even with game mode on due to the input lag.  However, when the game came out in 1991, Rare wasn't thinking about HDTV's of course. 
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Spooniest

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2018, 03:16:16 pm »
So excluding games that are unfairly difficult and in no particular order except when I thought of them...

Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link

Fair enough for its time. Nintendo had not made a side scrolling action game where you could swing a sword before, and it kind of shows. The penalty for failure is very high (start back at Hyrule Castle), and death is quite easy to come by. Enemies that you just encounter randomly can be mini bosses in themselves if you are sloppy with the controls, and learning how and when to use magic is quite a brain teaser.

Mega Man

The later games toned down the difficulty somewhat, but the first game in the series kind of has it in for you. Still, with some practice and quick reflexes, you can beat this game... it's just gonna be... well, let's say stressful.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Ok, so it is quite unfair to simply lose a Turtle when they run out of life, and enemies have really funky collision detection rules and take about twice as much damage to eliminate as they should. But once you practice it enough, this is a game that can at least be called sort of fair, and it isn't too long either. By the end they basically are just trying to intimidate you into quitting, but the journey there is a nail biter for sure. You really need to know how the subweapons work and pay attention to how you stock up on them, while keeping all 4 Turtles healthy more or less. Still, beatable.

Maniac Mansion

I can hear it now... "Spoony, you're a goony, Maniac Mansion is just a point click adventure. How is that hard?"

You could say this is simply a matter of memorizing procedure, and you would be correct...that's the whole game. But to be honest, there is a lot of crap to remember in this game, and a lot of clunky control issues that make things a little ...well, precise. You forget one little detail of what you're supposed to do, and basically the game becomes an exercise in frustration. Plus, if you've never played it before, there are a lot of things that you can do that will basically either kill the character you're playing as, and/or end the game prematurely, which you wouldn't necessarily see coming. Giving your own recording contract to the Green Tentacle is a really big mistake, for instance.

Final Fantasy III

Similar to the above entry, you can say that preparation basically solves the problems that occur in this game's 'challenge.' But having the patience and mental focus to do that preparation properly and then execute it is the challenge...not keeping your HP away from 0. FFIII was where the series took on the complexities that its battle system would become known for, as opposed to the first two games basically being experiments that played with what Dragon Quest was doing. FF2 is unfair; FF3, while pretty frustrating at the end of things, can't really be called quite so unfair as that.

Mighty Final Fight

Coming late in the NES's lifespan was a good thing for this game. RPG elements were beginning to crop up in action games, and an RPG-style beat em up was bound to happen (River City Ransom deserves its own thread, tbh). However, limits on the number of possible continues keep things fresh here, a method often used by arcade beat-em-up games that get home conversions. It will be some time before you become fast and judicious enough to defeat this game without losing all your continues.

In closing, don't forget that challenge of a game is relative. How good is the player, is a question? Some people have beaten Batman 1,000,000 times...I can't pass Stage 3 on a good day.

realworksuks

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2018, 03:47:38 pm »
Very nice list Spoony.  Yeah, I didn't think of Zelda 2, but I hear that gets extremely hard very early on in the game during the death mountain section.  I'm currently playing Zelda II, actually.
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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2018, 05:12:31 pm »
Clearly 'hard' is totally subjective, judging by responses in this thread. :D

People mention Zelda 2 and Metroid... I've completed Metroid several times, the hard part is mostly remembering where to go, plus not falling in the pits that you can't jump out of. Zelda 2 I completed several times on emulation, plus the FDS version, then I beat it plus the 'second quest' (ie just starting the game again after beating it, retaining power-ups). Sure, Death Mountain ain't easy, but still.

TMNT is only really difficult on the Technodrome, most of the rest of the game is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Generally, it's difficult to say what constitutes 'hard'. Personally I have a hard time beating Cobra Command on NES, but that doesn't give you continues or a level select, and beating it in one sitting is no mean feat.

I think I'm in line with Spooniest's thinking: games can be legitimately hard or just unfair. If Cobra Command had continues, for example, I think I'd have an easier time. Gradius taking all your power-ups away when you die is a mean trick. If anyone knows Rick Dangerous, it's like Super Meat Boy if you only had three lives. I dunno, different people find different things hard.

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2018, 08:58:05 pm »
My main gripe with Zelda II is the very short range of the sword requires you to be practically touching the enemies. More like the Toothpick of Time. :P
I wouldn't be opposed to another side-scroller if they'd fix that, and maybe add some of the other Zelda weapons (where's the bombs, arrows, etc.?)
And that the second to last boss requires you to spend half (or more) of your magic to remove its invincibility is kind of cheap. That is where I stopped.

Final Fantasy III, I never beat it because that last dungeon is too long and unforgiving.
Oddly Final Fantasy II I think I had the LEAST problems with of the NES trilogy, at least from my memories of the one time I beat the Demiforce translation. Pretty grindy but by the time I got Aspirs late in the game, I recall that was rather OP and raising that to like level 3 was enough to ensure I'd never run out of MP again. I remember one dungeon forced you to grind magic, so that made my basic attack spells pretty OP and I could plow through the final dungeon.
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Spooniest

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2018, 10:40:53 pm »
People mention Zelda 2 and Metroid... I've completed Metroid several times, the hard part is mostly remembering where to go, plus not falling in the pits that you can't jump out of. Zelda 2 I completed several times on emulation, plus the FDS version, then I beat it plus the 'second quest' (ie just starting the game again after beating it, retaining power-ups). Sure, Death Mountain ain't easy, but still.

Comes back to what I said: don't forget that challenge of a game is relative. How good is the player (you), is a question? Some people have beaten Batman 1,000,000 times...I can't pass Stage 3 on a good day. To be more clear about it, I feel like imagining how a first time player would react to the situation is worth considering in terms of answering the question "How hard is this game?"

...Just because you have a game memorized doesn't make it easy for a first-timer.

TMNT is only really difficult on the Technodrome, most of the rest of the game is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Generally, it's difficult to say what constitutes 'hard'.

Because of the intuition of the player in question, which will always be a variable. Even if I've never played TMNT on NES, perhaps I have played a game like it somewhere that taught me things that are also true for that game...see what I mean? There is no way to fix a constant for player knowledge except to begin at 0.

I think I'm in line with Spooniest's thinking

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March 08, 2018, 10:55:59 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
My main gripe with Zelda II is the very short range of the sword requires you to be practically touching the enemies. More like the Toothpick of Time. :P

You're saying the sword needs to be longer and I agree. Can that be done? Can we make Zelda II where you actually have a sword and not what looks like a rolled up newspaper? We're RHDN right?

I wouldn't be opposed to another side-scroller if they'd fix that, and maybe add some of the other Zelda weapons (where's the bombs, arrows, etc.?)

As long as there's no Water Temple.

And that the second to last boss requires you to spend half (or more) of your magic to remove its invincibility is kind of cheap. That is where I stopped.

F--- him, I hate Thunderbird. Shadow Link is likewise anticlimactic. I said it was a fairly hard game but some of the things about it are kind of stupid, too.

Final Fantasy III, I never beat it because that last dungeon is too long and unforgiving.

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Oddly Final Fantasy II I think I had the LEAST problems with of the NES trilogy, at least from my memories of the one time I beat the Demiforce translation. Pretty grindy but by the time I got Aspirs late in the game, I recall that was rather OP and raising that to like level 3 was enough to ensure I'd never run out of MP again. I remember one dungeon forced you to grind magic, so that made my basic attack spells pretty OP and I could plow through the final dungeon.

FF2 is ridiculously tedious for a first time player. Empty rooms everywhere. Come on. Direct me towards the right path please? I feel like I'm having the devs play "peek a boo" with me. It's insultingly bad game design. That's why it's a hard game...not because of any fair or pleasant challenge. It's hard because it's ANNOYING.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 10:55:59 pm by Spooniest »

Orochi Kusanagi

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2018, 11:23:19 pm »
Holy Diver would probably be my pick for one of the hardest NES games.

Jorpho

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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2018, 11:34:42 pm »
As long as we're naming Rare games, how about Snake Rattle & Roll?  That's pretty obnoxious, isn't it?

I also forgot Solomon's Key, whose 100% completion sounds pretty stupid unless you have a walkthrough telling you exactly how to proceed.  Milon's Secret Castle might fall in that category too.
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Re: The hardest NES game.
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2018, 12:32:56 am »
Mystery Quest is hard for a very unpleasant reason: its Player Character (Hao I believe) is too inept at what he does for the game to take on much of a vibe beyond "cartoon villain repeatedly unfairly punished," akin to watching Wile E. Coyote fall off a cliff repeatedly trying to eat the Road Runner. However, it is possible somehow to defeat it, it seems from having played through ...maybe 3/4 of it? Once? A really long time ago.

Now, on the flip side, a fair difficult game again...?

Hm... Mario 3 isn't exactly simple to defeat in Worlds 7 and 8, you know. But then, Mario isn't known for being too punishingly difficult as games go. Hard to say if Mario 3 counts.

Castlevania's too easy an answer and we've talked Dracula to death, I think... which is saying something cuz he's dead, right?

As balls to the wall hard as it was, I managed to beat Gyruss as a kid. Most of the difficulty comes from realizing which way your ship is facing and memorizing when to reverse the controls (fighting games on a 2-D plane make you do the same thing, but horizontally, not in a circle). But if you just get quick about blowing up the enemies, and collect the twinshot when it appears (and get lucky enough not to be F'd out of a life due to drifting focus), you can build up enough photon shots to blast directly through the end of the game, really. Lots of ways to get extra guys too, more than you'd think for a shooter. Good music (Tchaikovsky, dang).

Kid Icarus is hard in ways you wouldn't get unless you read up about it. The best ending is actually for 100%-ing the game, getting all powerups and items, etc., not like Metroid where only playtime is measured. If you get to Palutena and don't have much at all, she thinks you must be just some joker who got lucky. If you took the time to get everything, you've proven your worth, apparently. I'm really not sure but that's what I read...somewhere. :| Also, throw all the Reapers and Reapettes in a volcano, please. No other enemy changes the music just to irritate you. I hate those things.

Being honest, 2nd quest of Zelda 1 is no slouch at all. It can get weird before it's over, especially if you only happen to be familiar with the first quest.