The 21 Hardest Nintendo games ever

Circle Six: Young Pretenders

Difficulty-wise, things ain't what they used to be. Far from seeing the world go to hell in a hand basket, we've seen the hand basket dart from the fiery pit and spill easy games left, right and centre. A few titles, however, do practice the old ways...

Trauma Center (pick either Second Opinion or New Blood)
Both feature the operation that promises to send blood pressure skyrocketing: aneurysms. Sure, chasing after GUILT and STIGMA calls for a dab laser hand, but aneurysms do it for us.

Injecting anti-inflammatory serum, cutting the blood vessel out, draining the blood, reattaching the vein, sewing it all up - it's so drawn out, that when you face four at once your brain is likely to follow suit and explode.

Guitar Hero 3
We can argue about the toughest song until the cows come home - the fact of the matter is Guitar Hero 3 is freakishly hard. 'Through The Fire And The Flames' on Expert is a moving walkway of rainbow tiddly-winks, spilt over a seven minute hell-slog, and Raining Blood has us spitting the stuff.

Zack and Wiki
Descending into our gaming inferno, the uniting factors in most of these games are reaction times and finger dexterity. Not so here. Unlike the frantic experiences of previous pages, Zack and Wiki is all about calmly letting you dig a massive logical pitfall, and serenely watching you fling yourself in.

Using that old thought muscle of yours, you'll burn bridges and hack through second chances without even noticing. Then do it again. And again.

Circle Seven: The Unholy Trinity

And so we enter the belly of the beast, home to those creatures so dark that even the Devil feels a little uncomfortable having them around. "They're stinking up the place with their bad vibes," says the horned one.

The whole descent into hell idea? Pinched from stage two of Battletoads. Not only is the toad's abseiling journey hard in itself - steel ravens can snip your cable in the blink of an eye - but reaching the bottom means facing stage three.

Turbo Tunnel is the stuff of agonizing legend - a journey through the densest network of insta-kill obstacles imaginable. Most galling? Despite the brutality, we still think it's one of NES's most original and underrated titles.

Super Mario Bros 2: The Lost Levels
And not that turnip yanking silliness Nintendo tried to feed the West, either. We're talking the real deal - the Japan-only sequel so hard that Nintendo were allegedly frightened it would collapse puny Western minds.

On the surface it may look like the original Super Mario Bros., but poison 1-up mushrooms, flying bloopers and gusts of wind that suffocate movement offer vast swear-volumes of evidence to the contrary.

F-Zero GX
As the words F-Zero GX left our mouths while conversing with our editor-in-chief, he promptly leapt up, ran forwards and dived out of the window.

Yes, broken bones and a window bill from our corporate overlords is preferable to dealing with the memories of GX's story mode.

Never have eight missions presented such grief - we'll see Rayman made the official Nintendo mascot before we complete the F-Zero Grand Prix story mission on Very Hard.

Mar 10, 2008


  • 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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