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From the stinging paper cuts delivered by their early Hanafuda cards, to their dual screen scream maker Contra 4, Nintendo have been responsible for a downpour of tricky titles to douse even the most resilient gamer's spirit.
Join us as we descend Jacob's ladder through the circles of hell, into the belly of the Game Over beast.
Circle One: Curved Learning
There are few things crueler than a game that promises easy pickings for the most part, before impaling you on difficulty spikes and leaving you to rot.
Metal Slug 3
With its propensity for lobbing out insta-kill poisoned apples, the final mother brain boss in Metal Slug 3 is a graduate of the same school of evil as the Disney stepmothers.
Naturally, having survived helicopter attacks and close encounters of the bite-your-face-off kind, you'd be foolish for expecting SNK to just let you win at this final hour, but the random patterns of the golden delicious airstrikes make for a violent hike up in deaths.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
The beauty of Monkey Ball is Sega's ability to offer both obvious routes to the finish line and 99% death-guaranteed shortcuts that beckon like sirens.
Not so in world 10-5. With the route coated in a ball rejecting spiked texture, it's down to pure chance whether or not your spherical simian will fall off the edge when you land.
Bad news: there are six jumps between you and your goal. And that's the obvious route.
Super Mario Galaxy
A walk in the most delightful astro-park for 119 stars, there is one particular challenge that almost put an end to our sanity. You probably know the one: Luigi's Purple Coins in the Toy Time Galaxy.
A field of panels stretch out beyond you. Touch one and it'll disappear. The conundrum? How to ooh, ahh, waa-hoo to the scattered 100 coins without destroying your route back to where the star appears. Fast forward to 7:36 in the vid below to see what we mean:
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