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The 21 Hardest Nintendo games ever

Circle Four: DIY Hell

Blunted by all the other titles featuring in our inferno, some souls are left with no choice but to craft their own masochistic titles, in a desperate attempt to wring something, anything, from their desensitized fun synapses.

Super Mario World: Kaizo Edition 
Born in the twisted mind of a Japanese games developer trying to test a pal's hardcore credentials, this Rom hack of Super Mario World is the hardest game on our list.

The platforms have been torn out and reconstructed from bullet bills and pokeys. The Rom lies in wait here. Anyone with any sense will cheat, and watch this guy complete it instead.

Super Impossible Brothers 
No, no, no, this is the hardest game on our list. It's another Rom hack, this time of Super Mario Bros. Platforms are removed in favor of screen-wide leaps of faith, and enemies are deliberately located to create pixel-wide margins of error; trial and error is the only solution.

How is this tougher than Kaizo SMW? Well, because here you're spawned directly over a bottomless pit. If you don't leap for the platform straight away, you're already dead meat. Cripes.

I Wanna Be The Guy 
Wait a second; this is the hardest game on our list. Not a Rom hack but a completely new title, IWBTG may pluck textures and sprites from Super Mario Bros, Mega Man, Tetris and Street Fighter, but the challenge is very much a new breed of evil.



After a solid 30 minutes' play we couldn't get off the first screen. Our only salvation, from an unavoidable spiky wall of death, came from YouTube and the Print Screen key.

Circle Five: Sins of the Fathers

The next level in our cathedral of pain is home to those young tykes that follow in their parents' footsteps to offer a stinging taste of Old Testament in these modern times.

Gradius Galaxies
There's more than a smidgen of guilt in developer Mobile 21's decision to include a hints feature in their GBA take on Konami's space-shooter classic.

By offering exact routes for each section of the game, they were admitting that (as with all Gradius games) you just have to learn the set paths of every bullet in the game - all eight billion of them. While in space no one can hear you scream, sitting on a bus surrounded by old people is a different matter.

Contra 4 
Yes, yes, Contra's hard, blah blah blah. But while craggy oldies insist that Contra III is tougher, we're happy to champion Contra 4.

Contra's calling card has always been the sheer number of fat red projectiles winging their way towards your entirely non-bullet-resistant form.

With that extra DS screen of enemies, the death-potential doubles. The alien lab of the second stage is a particular chore - eye the aliens in the vents above and their chums on the ground will gut you in a second.

Mega Man and Bass
Like Contra, the trickiest Mega Man is open to debate. Victims of the original will claim it the hardest, but only because the experience was so horrible that it prevented them from playing another game since.

Modern times brought a modern enemy: this GBA reworking of Japan-only SNES title Mega Man And Forte, breaking you with both stilted platforming and entirely unfair health regeneration. Feel the GBA crumble like old paper.

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20 comments

  • ShokuaHyuga - December 19, 2010 6:36 a.m.

    I remember Luigi's Purple Coins; it took me like 30 tries.
  • erenelliekush - December 5, 2010 7:15 a.m.

    yay! after 10 years i'm finally to world 5 of SMB Lost Levels! I'm playing GBC version though.
  • gamermatt89 - October 14, 2008 7:29 p.m.

    I actually beat F Zero GX on very hard. I don't know how I did it either but I did... hours upon hours of frustration but in the end sweet victory.
  • midna365 - October 7, 2008 10:30 p.m.

    i want to be the guy is the hardest fing game ever!!!!!!
  • ileowen - September 17, 2008 11 p.m.

    After Cliffs of dover on my Wi, I pee'd the 5 colors for a week! I'm a westerner yet i DO have copy of The lost levels somewhere up in my attic! Dunno a lot about the rest though, sonds like liquid hell.
  • Amnesiac - September 17, 2008 1:31 a.m.

    Megaman and Bass is tougher than the original, IMO.
  • thephntm - December 2, 2008 6:47 p.m.

    i've beat zack and wiki. its not that hard, except for the last level.(i had to print out an ign walkthrough.)
  • noofer7 - October 16, 2008 1:24 a.m.

    hmm never played any of these either... except for 1 Guitar Hero 3 song, Vacation in Cambodia, at a friend's house.
  • crazycrazy83 - October 14, 2008 1:24 a.m.

    yeah i remember the super mario galaxy one. i went through 20 tries tring to plot the "strategic" way to do it. another 5 trying to get back to the star. WHY DONT THEY PUT IT IN FRONT OF YOU! its appearing out of nowhere anyway!
  • Patius - September 22, 2008 12:23 a.m.

    Metroid two was EASY. It wasn't even as open spaced as the others. And like all of the Gameboy Metroids, you didn't really have the ability to go to new places thanks to weapons or such, just cause it opened up. These are all tough, but I think that X3 might have been harder than Megaman and Bass. Just maybe. (unless you get the Z-sabre)
  • Yellowhat17 - September 21, 2008 2 a.m.

    What about Meroid 2? It's not nearly as hard as all the game listed but on the Gameboy color it used to drive me crazy.
  • ileowen - September 17, 2008 11:02 p.m.

    O wait, I did complete f-zero GX just not on very hard. srry for the doublepost xD
  • JoeMasturbaby - September 17, 2008 12:42 a.m.

    the F-Zero GX game IS impossible. i gave up after one try, and im glad i did.
  • Roic13 - February 13, 2009 3:31 a.m.

    I remember F-Zero GX......horrible, regretful, terrible,....expensive times....
  • TheeMaddGod - January 2, 2009 6:26 a.m.

    I got to Mike Tyson on I Wanna Be the Guy....a complete waste of 3 days of my life...I hate that game....
  • musashi1596 - December 31, 2008 7:14 p.m.

    Come on, Black Hole Rising wasn't too much of a challenge...
  • dreamgor - August 18, 2009 9:25 a.m.

    "sees the list and starts crying while shrieking in horror and looking for the closest way to suicide" that's all i can say really they are that tough only the thought of it makes me wanna do that:( especially IWBTG waaa the torture device of doom!! recaptcha: Feldman dowelled
  • FlamingChaos35 - August 15, 2009 12:05 a.m.

    I loved F-Zero GX. Racing at 400 mph is awesome. Nintendo needs to make a sequel
  • gangjute8 - July 29, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    I wanna be the guy... I'm around 200 deaths and can't get past the 7th screen
  • lightsideluc - January 19, 2009 7:52 p.m.

    I never managed to beat the first level of F-Zero GX, ButI HAVE beaten The Lost Levels :D.

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