The Top 7... Stupidest Puzzles


The Game: Resident Evil 4

The Problem: Trapped in the dark and labyrinthine depths of a haunted castle, elite government agent Leon Kennedy stops at a locked gate. Er, make that yet another locked gate. With no key in sight, an army of flesh-nibbling monks at his back and a super annoying sidekick to unload, the dude is kinda in a hurry.


The Logical Solutions: 

• Kick the rusty thing down like you did with 99% of the other doors in this place.
• Blast the lock off with any of the dozen high caliber weapons sitting in your inventory.
• Um, don’t you get a rocket launcher in this game?
Think that might work, genius?
• Seeing as how you’re only going to encounter more enemies in the room beyond, maybe you should avoid opening the gate altogether.
Just sayin’...

The Stupid Solution: You shoot a switch which, as expected, opens the gate immediately. So where’s the stupid?

Everywhere. First, the switch is... a bottle of wine. Second, you don’t push or pull the switch so much as you explode it from across the room with a sniper rifle. Third, the bottle of wine is camouflaged in the middle of a two-dimensional painting. Fourth, you have to ring a goddamn desk bell to even get the painting to appear. Fifth, the clues you need to piece all this nonsense together were left behind in snatches of poetry written on the walls around you. My, how convenient and believable.


We knew the parasitically-controlled “zombies” of Resident Evil 4 were supposed to be smarter than in previous games, but did they also manage to earn degrees in English, Art History and Engineering at some point? Way to reach for the stars, fellas.



The Game: Escape from Monkey Island

The Problem: Guybrush Threepwood, the world’s worst named pirate, has bumbled his way into a predicament. A wacky predicament. Caught in the middle of a bank robbery, he must prove to the town’s police that the real culprit isn’t Guybrush Threepwood, but an imposter masquerading as Guybrush Threepwood. Before hilarity can ensue, however, he needs to get inside the bank to gather evidence.


The Logical Solutions: 

• Walk through the entrance in front.
• Climb through the window in front.
• Shimmy through the other window in front.
• Ask the bank manager. Guess where he’s standing?


The Stupid Solution: Sure, the approaches above would prove incredibly simple and straightforward, but then how would Guybrush get to use any of his zany novelty items?! The man has a live duck in his pocket, for chrissakes!

More importantly, he has a swath of artificial skin he recently picked up at the local prosthetics store. And we’re sorry to report that you did, indeed, read the preceding sentence correctly. In addition to a live duck, the man owns a human hide. And the town has a shop selling nothing but body parts. No way the developers are gonna make that kind of shit up for no reason. Well, here it is:


There you go. Guybrush’s sword pries off the nearby manhole. Stretching the skin across said manhole creates a trampoline. Jumping on said trampoline results in admission to the bank through an open upstairs window.

So easy. So obvious. And you wanted to enter through the front door...
Feel pretty silly now, don’t you?


Top 7


  • D0CCON - October 23, 2011 11:38 a.m.

    Wow with the last one, he makes a fake mustache to impersonate somebody who doesn't have a mustache.
  • Draijan - August 9, 2011 11:40 p.m.

    It took me forever to figure out the guybrush one, had that game for soo long, im surprised you didn't add just about every puzzle in that game to this list.
  • Gkicker2 - October 21, 2010 6:28 p.m.

    My only issue with this list is I couldn't relate to any of the games... because I played none of them.
  • FanofSaiyan - January 30, 2010 1:56 a.m.

    When it comes to tricky puzzles, Wild Arms can't be beat. The game had at least 5 different moments where I was completely dumbfounded, and I'm pretty good at solving puzzles. I literally just beat the 1st game last year. I GOT THE GAME IN 2003!!!
  • noofer7 - October 19, 2008 2:03 a.m.

  • dweller - October 5, 2008 4:25 a.m.

    Yeah! I remember playing all those games except Gabriel Knight 3. I played the first two but just never got around to the third one. It's too bad though, I missed out on cat mustache. As for Space Quest IV, CD-ROM version, I thought the code was the symbols right on the outside of the time machine. Man, I still hate that puzzle in The Longest Journey!
  • lovinmyps3 - October 4, 2008 3:27 a.m.

    re4 was the only one of those i played, and that puzzle was easy y dont they put the puzzle u gotta solve as ashley? that was fukn hard!
  • katwood92 - October 3, 2008 12:14 a.m.

    I should be used to convoluted thought processes (mine can be very so, making things I say seem very random, even though it's not), but those are way out there.
  • soren7550 - October 1, 2008 6:38 p.m.

    That last pic made me laugh. How about the puzzle in Half Life 2:Episode 2 where you have to go through an entire network of a giant bug infested mine (by yourself) so that you can get some bug juice to save Alyx. Oh, you can't kill the giant ass bug that's guarding the stuff, otherwise it won't work. But it can kill you all it wants. Good luck getting that bug juice!
  • gulfcoastfella - September 30, 2008 9:46 p.m.

    Oh SH!T... puzzles in a puzzle game.
  • Scott1121 - September 30, 2008 8:25 p.m.

    OMG! those are terrible puzzles
  • Iffo - September 30, 2008 7:51 a.m.

    You want hard, illogical and often time sensitive puzzles, involving multiple seemingly unrelated actions by several characters? Go get the Gobliins series!! These are just a few extreme examples but the whole genre was based around wacky illogical puzzles. The frustrating thing about many of these games was you had to ask yourself "What did the game designer want me to do here?" instead of "What do I do here?" ... and Sierra is the worst offender. Maybe it had something to do with their help line? Anyway I really loved Lucas Arts and Legend quests back then!
  • gilligan2021 - September 30, 2008 6:39 a.m.

    the largest WTF in the entire article is that little penis that follows you around in Touch Detective. As if that game title didn't arouse enough naughty thoughts...
  • Ravenbom - September 30, 2008 5:37 a.m.

    OMFG! It's been so long that I forgot how bad some point and click games were! @drprofessor, good call! That was one of the most BS puzzles ever! But like many games back then, Nintendo Power ftw. 747 Like StarTropics, I hated the Carmen Sandiego because after me and my parents moved, I had lost the Almanac that came with the game, and even if you knew all the clues and everything, then to advance, the stupid game would ask you to turn to a page in the almanac and type in the first entry or something arbitrary... No problem if you have the Almanac, but it really crushed my young spirit back in the day. I was being punished for actually knowing (having a 30 volume encyclopedia that the family wasn't otherwise using) the answers. Stuff like that was basically a midgame DRM.
  • blankpixelsCG - September 30, 2008 4:09 a.m.

    Man, the weekend drought was killing me! Good too see another Top Seven. Also, thanks for helping me realize that I need to play the last Monkey Island again - I wonder how much that runs for on eBay? Anyway, the skin part was nowhere near as awesome as the insult wrestling (but I suppose that wasn't a stupid puzzle, thus warranting no mention).
  • 1NVAD3R - September 30, 2008 12:19 a.m.

    Another great one Charlie, fantastic article.
  • sourpunch - September 30, 2008 12:05 a.m.

    That was amazing article I was laughing almost the whole time.
  • CandiedJester - September 29, 2008 11:53 p.m.

    LOL you have to put on a fake mustache when the guy your dressing up as doesnt even HAVE a mustache..and then draw one on the passport. That's priceless.
  • Blinder - September 29, 2008 11:20 p.m.

    Hmm... I seem to remember some of the puzzles from Discworld bringing about quite a few WTF, moments. Did you get the number of that donkey cart?
  • gilligan2021 - September 29, 2008 11:15 p.m.

    i don't exactly understand the point of making a fake mustache if the person you are posing as doesn't even have one, and you're just gonna draw one on his passport after the fact... that's not to say that I object..

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