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Circle Two: Handheld Hellions
Like a confetti egg filled with anthrax, the DS and GBA coo "come play with me," while whispering "...so I may eat your soul." Though rarely the first port of call for full-fat frustration, they've certainly had their moments.
Mooching through the vicious shrubberies of the Yggdrasil Labyrinth is only really perilous for those too impatient to tune up their band of warriors.
Even so, proper progress forces you into a deadly Catch-22 situation: Party-improving weapons require gold, gold is given as reward for completing quests, quests are too hard without party-improving weapons.
Doh! Death comes often and, as if to rub it in, at the hooves of deer.
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising
Aside from Neotank units and a smattering of new terrain features to cower behind, Advance Wars 2 wasn't much of a change.
So how could it destroy even the most experienced COs? Thrown in at the deep end, it was as if the developers saw this as a direct continuation of the original campaign (i.e. starts at the difficulty of that title's last mission and only grows harder).
Black Hole Rising? Asshole rising, more like.
Kuru Kuru Kururin
What does the title mean? It's the sound of your teeth grinding through your chin as yet another spinning stick journey through a don't-touch-the-walls maze ends with another loss.
Sitting in the alcoves waiting to dart down the next twisted corridor is about as tense as GBA gaming gets, and with later levels designed for perfect synchronized timing, it's at moments like these that Nintendo probably regret designing such an easy-to-throw console.
Circle Three: Heart Breaking
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Alas, it takes more than a sunny outlook to craft a game, and so this circle of hell is reserved for those titles that were made all the more difficult by crummy technical flaws.
Super Ghouls and Ghosts
Super Ghouls And Ghosts had to feature somewhere - it is, after all, a genuine hardcore SNES classic that'll happily send you and your heart-dotted boxer shorts to the pearly gates within your first 15 steps.
The GBA version features here for some chug-tastic slowdown that transforms the tricky kneejerk reactions into a task of Sisyphean pointlessness.
If the wolves, skeletons, knights, demons, bats and zombies don't get you, the framerate will.
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
Castlevanias have us wailing through the night. However, we reckon the prize goes to Circle Of The Moon. A GBA launch title, the dark gothic graphics were designed before the GBA's contrast specs were known, leaving gamers with a black screen which only an intense light source could interpret.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow
Along with being complete Bat-tosh, Dark Tomorrow is famous in our office for having baffled everyone, including the PR who was sent to demonstrate it.
Watching our staff members plummet down the same crevice time and time again, the accompanying PR seized the pad only to plunge the caped crusader straight into the gap himself.
Proclaiming it broken, we mentally filed the moment away for a feature just like this one.
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