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