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

David Meikleham
Google AMP Stories Editor

David has worked for Future under many guises, including for GamesRadar+ and the Official Xbox Magazine. He is currently the Google Stories Editor for GamesRadar and PC Gamer, which sees him making daily video Stories content for both websites. David also regularly writes features, guides, and reviews for both brands too.