The Top 7... toughest opening levels

Handing you your ass in: Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

The following is an easier scenario to get through than Arthur’s outrageously tough opening level: passing an advanced geometry degree. While wearing a blindfold. When you’re drunk. And you’ll probably need that exhaustive understanding of mathematics and special awareness to navigate through pixel perfect jumps in a first stage hit by natural disasters of biblical proportions.

The excruciating equation:

Manage to get through tidal waves and earthquakes - braving most of them in your briefs - and you're tasked with conquering what can only be described as Sesame Street’s finest meets Godzilla. An unashamed bastard of a boss, the massive bird requires quick reflexes, exquisite egg-dodging skills and a shed-load of spears to down. Your reward? A follow up excursion through a pirate ship that makes this level look like a tame tutorial.

Inexplicably harder than: Fighting a boss bigger than God in Shadow of the Colossus.

Above: Considering a stick-thin Japanese lad downed this mountain of a monster - with nothing but a sword no less - we can't see the giant bird having much trouble

Handing you your ass in: Bart VS The Space Mutants

Picture the scene. It’s 1991 and yellow fever has hit the globe like a comedy cartoon pandemic. In the streets, kids proudly sport Bart Simpson tees. Bars everywhere are barraged by a constant stream of Bart-esque prank calls. And thousands of gamers are huddling round their Master Systems/Mega Drives/Amigas to help him conquer nefarious, Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style aliens… and then failing miserably… within the first five minutes… and crying… repeatedly.

The excruciating equation:

Not only was the premise of this shameless Simpsons game thinly tied to the style of the series (you might as well replace the spiky-haired deviant with Samus Aran), but the first level was utterly nails too. After navigating through a massively difficult skateboard section, dodging the most diverse wildlife you’ve ever seen – from dogs one second to one-eyed alien blobs the next – you’re pitted against an inoffensive looking jump over a railing. And that’s it. The game might as well end here. That’s how hard the f*£$ing jump is. There are a few smug gamers who’ve posted speed runs beating this level and the game as a whole. But, for the more chipolata-fingered of us out there, we had to content ourselves with ‘Do the Bartman’. Oh dear.

Inexplicably harder than: Jumping 150 feet between skyscrapers in Crackdown. C’mon, it’s clearly more difficult to lift a plank of wood two feet off the ground.

Above: Sure. You can jump hundreds of feet in the air, punch a Sedan into the Sun and run faster than a fighter jet, but can you jump over a two foot railing on a skateboard? Thought not


  • Flashinthepan - November 19, 2010 6:16 a.m.

    I had no idea I was so good at video games. I thought that the Concrete Man stage, which is not the first level, wasn't all that difficult, as with the Super Ghouls and Ghosts bird boss. For those who have MM9, play Splashwoman first, as she is easier to beat with just the megabuster.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - December 5, 2008 5:03 p.m.

    what about motorstorm's opening level? it took me AGES to finish in the top 3 in that... no joke or am i just rubbish at driving games?
  • zeldagirl64 - November 22, 2008 10:53 p.m.

    Ok... Wierd... Sonic 2 (Game Gear Version) was extremely easy in the first level...
  • xeropanzer - October 24, 2008 5:41 p.m.

    Ninja Gaiden is a Great game but its true if you can beat the first boss the rest are like an after thought, by the time you face a boss with any difficulty you have enough ninpo and weapons that its childs play.
  • FlamingPeasant - October 16, 2008 12:30 p.m.

    The first level of this article, consisting of looking at your mustache, was the hardest thing I have ever faced.
  • noofer7 - October 16, 2008 1:18 a.m.

    never played any of these
  • pilboy - October 15, 2008 12:14 p.m.

    I think it was Tomb Raider III, but the first thing you do is have to slide down a hill while dodging various traps... and it is so tough. I knew some some people who picked up this game due to the Tomb Raider hype, and never got past this point.
  • M-for-Mustache - October 15, 2008 4:23 a.m.

    Ninja Gaiden was a bitch to beat. A small room, a macho bandanna clad bad guy, and a noob at the helm was a recipe for ownage. I swear the devs wanted us to suffer.
  • DisgruntledTable - October 15, 2008 4:02 a.m.

  • Humblemumble - October 15, 2008 3:53 a.m.

    I don't mean to sound arrogant or anything, but I found the opening level in Alien Hominid incredibly easy. Some of those levels did get hard later. Way later. I'm not like an uber player either, I'm basically average at video games.
  • Christrigg1 - October 15, 2008 1:17 a.m.

    lol. driver seems the hardest. i mean cmon! why should we figure out this load of monkey dung ourselves? id rather stick a hot iron ripe in my pants and land on it when jumping off a freaking lit bbq while barefoot!
  • TrippyMan - October 15, 2008 1:04 a.m.

    The ELEPHANTS? I though they were tough but they deserved to be #7, not #1! Maybe I just a Megaman master, but I thought that nunchuck bastard from Ninja Gaiden is hardest on the list.
  • Scott1121 - October 14, 2008 8:08 p.m.

    those elephants in mega man 9 kicked the crap out of me so many time
  • georgeguy - October 14, 2008 7:46 p.m.

    god i got the demo for the mega man and i just get pwned by the fricken elephants... but then again... maybe i just suck
  • noobeater - October 14, 2008 6:39 p.m.

    well iv never played these but 3 gaming moments i just cannot do. 1)cod 4 level in the plane on hardest setting.i did it easy on all other settings but i cannot do it, the closest to completion is 4 secs. done everything else. 2)the last set of missions on blast corps are impossible 3)i love resident evil 4 but i couldnt even get out of the first alleyway on resident evil 2 tho i was only little lol great article
  • NullG7 - October 14, 2008 3:59 p.m.

    What no mario everyone has to have seen that one guy getting pissed at that first ever-changing invisible platform of doom?
  • LionheartAce - October 14, 2008 11:11 a.m.

    Yes! Mega Man 9 make's you it's bitch with those fucking elephants... God.
  • danerdy1 - October 14, 2008 5:54 a.m.

    God knows I agree with Mega Man 9 being #1. That game is the Devil!
  • Rasy2kG - October 14, 2008 4:16 a.m.

    Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts pissed me off back in the day, that's a hard-ass game to beat
  • Defguru7777 - October 14, 2008 2:43 a.m.

    ZOMG!!! They're crushing my spine!!!!!

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