Why are you picking on me?
We all expect some level of challenge from our games. What's the point if you can just waltz straight to the end credits without even trying? But, while challenging games like Dark Souls are brilliant, sometimes you just want to play a game without the threat of death lurking around every corner. Sometimes, you just want a walk in the park as opposed to a frenetic sprint through button-hammering hell. And sometimes, developers can be real dicks about letting you play that way.
Yes, many games have an easy mode for less-experienced players, but it takes a special kind of jerkface to openly mock and berate those players, either by yanking the rest of the game right out from under them, completing it for them, or altering the experience in such a way that you're constantly belittled just because you want a less difficult ride. Watch the video below to see some of the biggest slaps in the face dished out to those who opted for "Easy mode."
Metal Gear Solid 5
Staying hidden in stealth games can be pretty difficult, especially in something like Metal Gear Solid 5 where you never quite know if that bush is concealing all of your shootable bits and the complex in the distance seems to given all of their employees genetically enhanced eyes. Lets face, were all going to be spotted and killed eventually. Probably repeatedly.
However, if you die enough times in MGS5 give you a Chicken hat that helps make you harder to spot. Handy, right? Theres just one problem - if you wear it the game punishes you by giving you a penalty to your mission score And youll look like an idiot the entire time youre playing. No suave James Bond Roleplay for you!
Ninja Gaiden Black
Ninja Gaiden games are notoriously difficult, and the 2004 series reboot (simply called Ninja Gaiden) is no exception. Habitual shades-wearer Tomonobu Itagaki wanted to bring the soul-crushingly difficult series back in full force--and he did--leaving everyone who played it to complain that perhaps Ninja Gaiden was a bit too unforgiving.
To appease his critics, Itagaki-san and Team Ninja re-released the game as Ninja Gaiden Black a year later. It includes a bevy of fresh enemies and unlockables, and two new difficulty modes: a much harder Master Ninja mode, and a much easier Ninja Dog mode. Rather than just making the game easier on players, though, Itagaki wanted to make sure you knew you were playing the lesser game. In Ninja Dog mode, badass ninja Hayabusa sports a long, flowing, permanently-affixed purple ribbon on his arm, and sidekick Ayane constantly makes fun of him for the entire game. You know what? I think I can deal with that.
Mickey Mouse: Castle of Illusion
Easy modes are supposed to be there to let less experienced players enjoy that incredibly expensive game they just bought, but sometimes they become a sick joke in themselves by removing huge chunks of gameplay, then encouraging players to take on a harder mode. Mickey Mouse: Castle of Illusion is by far the worst offender.
Normally, each world of Castle of Illusion contains a handful of individual levels, each world capped by a boss at the end. If you choose "Practice" mode, you get to play a total of three of those levels, and you don't even get to fight any bosses. Once you finish them, you simply walk right past the final boss and rescue Minnie Mouse, the game proclaiming that you should now try a harder difficulty to enjoy the full experience. Worst of all, each level is a total cakewalk, and doesn't even prepare you for the challenges you'd actually face on normal. At this point, why even bother?
The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile
Many games will unlock an easier mode if you die too many times in a row: God of War, Devil May Cry, Shin Megami Tensei 4, and so on. Few seem to be as insulting as The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile, though, which takes the mockery to a whole new level. Yes, if you bite the dirt way too often, the game will ask you if you want to start again in a new Pretty Princess Difficulty. Yikes.
On this mode, enemies barely pose a threat to you, and when you hit them, they bleed hearts instead of blood. Oh, and giant pink hearts appear all over each level. In case you've never played The Dishwasher, the game is drawn entirely in black-and-white, and features very gothic, demonic looking art throughout--so yeah, it's essentially a constant reminder of your own shortcomings. Thanks.
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
There's nothing worse than getting roadblocked by a tricky puzzle, but half of the fun in playing adventure games revolves around slowly figuring out some obtuse bit of logic. So an easy mode that solves many of those puzzles for you would seem to defeat the whole purpose, right? Well, Monkey Island 2 not only has "Lite" option available, it is particularly insulting to a certain group within the games industry.
The back of Monkey Island 2's box (in between boasting "256-color scanned art" and a warning that it's "Void where prohibited") specifically calls out its "Lite" mode as being for "beginners and magazine reviewers." Yep, that's a dig against game journalists. To add insult to injury, the in-game option reads, "I've never played an adventure game before, I'm scared." Ease up, guys, these games aren't exactly walks in the park, and reviewing under a deadline is tricky work and I'd like to see them try to I'm taking this too personally. Time to move on.
Streets of Rage 3
Japanese and American gamers have different opinions when it comes to how hard its games are: namely, if a game is brought over from Japan, its "normal" mode becomes our "easy" mode, increasing the difficulty all around for Western audiences. Streets of Rage 3 does this, and normally it'd be no sweat. Just pick "easy," right?
Well, you could, if you don't want to actually finish the game. See, if you beat Robot X at the end of stage five on easy mode, he taunts you, proclaiming that "You play like a beginner." The game then resets, essentially locking you out of the last third of the game. That's right, the game won't let you see the last two stages of the game, simply because you're playing on the original Japanese "normal" difficulty. To add insult to injury, the Japanese version of the game doesn't do this at all, even if you play on easy. There's challenge, and then there's absurd; guess which one this is.
Twisted Metal 2
Back when car combat games were a dime a dozen, Twisted Metal was the king of the road. Its sequel, Twisted Metal 2 improves on the formula in every single way, making it bigger and badder than ever before. It's also a difficult beast of a game, especially if you're playing solo against the computer. Luckily, there's an easy mode, letting beginners acclimatize to the controls and the frantic gameplay
Then, after the first boss, it's all over. Yep, just when you think you're making any headway into the story mode, a giant stop sign appears on screen, shouting "No losers allowed beyond this point." You need to play on medium or hard to get anywhere past the first stage. Oh well, time to get crushed repeatedly until the game just isn't fun any more.
It's one thing to call you names for playing on easy... it's another entirely to compare you to historical failures. But that's exactly what Civilization does if you finish a game on easy mode.
At the end of every game of Civilization, your points are tallied and you're rewarded a ranking based on how well you performed. No matter how well you crush your opponents, if you play on easy, you're going to end up with a rank like "Warren G. Harding." Who is that? Oh, only one of the worst, most ineffectual presidents in American history, whose every single appointee to office ended up involved in some kind of large-scale scandal. Yep, that's a history slam. Ouch.
The '90s saw no shortage of wacky mascot-themed platformers, but at least Earthworm Jim has some solid gameplay chops to back up its kooky premise. That said, its actual insanity is dialed completely to 11, complete with the most ridiculous easy mode taunt ever conceived. At least, if you own the PC CD-ROM version of the game, that is.
Thanks to the storage capacity only a CD could provide at the time, beating Earthworm Jim on easy removes the ending cutscene and replaces it with a ten minute audio file of the game's creator berating you, then filling your noggin full of fake worm facts. No joke. First, he opens with a one-two punch ("What a worm! Playing on practice, eh?"), then, seemingly to placate you, he starts rattling off every single Annelida-related fact he can come up with. Except, they're all just bad jokes. Seriously. Thanks, technology!
You know what would be insane? If easy mode actually made the game you were playing harder. Sounds really dumb, right? Well, apparently, Enix didn't get the memo, and Valkyrie Profile's easy mode does just that.
See, on easy, many of Valkyrie Profile's dungeons won't appear at all and it omits several helpful items. This actually makes the game more difficult to complete because you won't have as many opportunities to strengthen your party as you would on normal or hard (never mind the fact that you won't be able to get the best ending on easy). Furthermore, while characters start at level 30 in easy mode, you won't be able to raise their stats nearly as high as you would if you'd started with them at level one. Apparently, Valkyrie Profile was made on Opposite Day.
50 Cent: Blood in the Sand
Now, playing 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand is its own punishment, but how about getting a zero-point achievement permanently tied to your account for utterly failing in the most basic of ways? Only a game so bad could stoop so low.
If you choose to play on easy mode, then die at any point while playing, you're "rewarded" with the "Not Bulletproof" Achievement. It's a permanent reminder from the G-Unit crew that you not only played a 50 Cent game, but you're so bad at it that the developers want to make sure the whole world knows. Though, I suppose earning any achievement from 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand is its own badge of shame.
Jeez, I guess I'll play on normal next time
Thanks, game developers, for making fun of me because I can't beat your crazy difficult games. You've made a grown man cry today. Are there any other games that gave you a hard time for playing on easy? Let me know in the comments below!
Speaking of video games, be sure to check out this list of 10 things you need to know to understand Destiny's story, or some of gaming's worst AI companions.