Some games are tough, some are easy. And then we have those games that just absolutely make you want to wrap that controller cord into a noose and end your suffering the manly way. But even games that are otherwise more than playable can sneakily incorporate sections that pack a megaton of tough.
Get ready to hear bone-chilling tales of woe. These are the moments in gaming that made our seasoned gamers turn into honest-to-goodness, rage-quitting, blubbering babies. These are our most frustrating moments in gaming!
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5. Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Boss Battles
Though not enough to detract from the overall experience, there seems to be little debate amongst Human Revolution fans that the game’s forced boss battles were not only completely out of place, but totally out of touch with the Deus Ex design ethic. The fantastically designed freeform world of a dystopian 2027 suddenly bottlenecked into tiresome, unavoidable boss arenas which put poorly augmented or stealthy players at a major disadvantage, and not in a fun or challenging way.
4. Stuntman – The Entire Game
Maybe I’m looking back on Stuntman unfairly. After all, I must have been twelve or thirteen years old when I played this infamously hard PlayStation 2 racing oddity, and therefore rather rubbish at playing video games. Forcing mathematical precision in overtaking, ramping, braking and swerving with merciless punishment for failure, I suppose there is a game in there for those in possession of Zen-like patience, but I wouldn’t know: I only got to the second level before I crushed my controller in misty-eyed teenage angst.
3. Dragon Age: Origins – Fighting the Archdemon
It was when I reached the castle-top final stage of Dragon Age: Origins that I realised all my previous battle victories had been a series of unexplainable flukes; pitted against a gigantic, evil dragon – the Archdemon – and a cohort of his minions with only a party of massively incompetent warriors and mages, I realised that I had absolutely no idea how to play an RPG properly. Specialisation? Roles? Tactics? Foreign languages to me, dear boy! So miserable did I become from tripping at this final hurdle with my team of jack-of-trades imbeciles, I took a six-month Dragon Age hiatus, started a new game and discovered the ballistae. (Worked like a charm.)
2. Halo 3 – The Flood Ship
Where Stuntman and Dragon Age: Origins rewarded players with, y’know, skill, Halo 3’s penultimate chapter aboard a Flood-infested ship was nothing short of abysmal level design. With little to no cover and ubiquitous copy-pasted corridors, the hungry torrent of disgusting alien parasites forced almost constant, disorienting retreat to earlier parts of the level to recoup ammunition, shields and my sanity; the best tactic proved to be a mad sprint for the checkpoints. And just when you thought it was over, you were forced to hightail it all the way back to the start.
1. Rayman: Raving Rabbids – The Entire Abortion of a Game
No words. No words describe my time with this absolute atrocity. Filled with the most unfunny, ker-azy characters ever vomited from the hellish, schizophrenic minds of Ubisoft, Wii Rayman spin-off Raving Rabbids was not only the definition of abrasive, but also one of the most broken games I have ever played. Utilising the motion controls of the Wii remote so poorly that I almost cudgelled my neighbours with it in a blind bloodlust, Raving Rabbids’ coma-like unresponsiveness has probably shaved a decade off my lifespan.
5. Call of Duty – Any of Them
I play CoD online quite a lot. Do I need to reiterate this? Nevermind. I have become one of those people that will literally scream at the screen if I die. I have been known to throw a controller at a wall, kick my shoes off at somebody, and even punch my plasma TV. Thankfully, a large enough quantity of duct tape will fix any problem.
4. Left 4 Dead 2 – Hard Rain
Sssh, I hear a witch. And another. And another… And so goes the short level in which you navigate an abandoned sugar mill in the Hard Rain campaign. There are witches everywhere; it’s raining, so visibility is poor at best; and it’s at times quite a labyrinth. Now take everything I just said, and combine it with realism mode enabled on literally any difficulty. Frequently getting sent back to the start of the level: this is the definition of frustration.
3. Dragon Age: Origins – Seriously, That Archdemon Was Tough
I am so very much with Dec on his choice here. Dragon Age: Origins is probably one of my all-time favourite games, but I found it hard to download any of the DLC or even buy the sequel, because I felt that the game wrapped up well with the chronic boss battle at the end. I must have tried it six or seven times, every time finding some different way to be brutally killed by the darkspawn. And then, like Dec, I finally found those naughty ballistae. And everything was good again.
2. Assassin’s Creed – Most of It
Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely adored this game and its subsequent sequels, but the tireless repetitiveness of the campaign ground on me after a while. What’s this? Go and kill a target in much the same way you have three times before? Well, okay, but afterwards you’re going to have to explain to me why I’m doing this… I think that the following games did well to avoid the same format of find and kill, find and kill. Not that it wasn’t entertaining, but it did become noticeably repetitive. Oh, and you can’t swim. You can jump up buildings and dive into bales of hay from dizzying heights, but a simple doggy paddle is out of the question. What?!
1. Pokemon Yellow – Rock Tunnel
Pokemon Yellow was my first attempt at trying to catch ’em all, and despite several moments where I wasn’t quite sure what to do or where to go, or why I couldn’t catch anything more than Ratattas or Pidgeys early on in the game, it was quite a smooth ride. Except for when I tried to go through Rock Tunnel. If you’ll cast your mind back to that moment in the game, you probably had the HM for Flash. I didn’t. I didn’t even realise it existed. So I traversed the entire tunnel in the dark, confused, and losing several Pokemon in the process. Needless to say that when I got out eventually, before I had a chance to save, I lost power and had to do the whole thing again. Without Flash. Again. That was a very hard time in my life, let alone my gaming life.
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5. Gran Turismo 5 – Challenges
I know for a fact that no matter how difficult a challenge might be in this game, it can be beaten. But some of the special challenges, such as the races on the Top Gear Test Track, are absolutely crazy. Some of these races are literally won by a hair. Without cutting the track in some locations, getting first place is painfully difficult.
4. Fallout: New Vegas – Deathclaws
For some reason, these guys got pumped up with steroids between Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. There is more than one type, and the only thing worse than attempting to kill one is taking on a bunch of them. With Yao Guai in Fallout 3, you just had to wait until they got close and then shoot them for a guaranteed kill, but these Deathclaws…it’s almost like they’re wearing armor instead of skin. In fact, it’s like firing a paper bullet into a brick wall and expecting it to make a dent.
3. Demon’s Souls – All of it
Hey, I heard you like being frustrated, so I made your character walk the ramparts of a castle while being chased by a dragon who is hell-bent on burning you and whatever else may be on those ramparts. But wait, THERE’S MORE! Another rampart appears and you have to get across it because the alternative route consists of dogs that will attack until your defenses are broken and then keep attacking until your character is dead. Anyway, that rampart has – you guessed it – another dragon waiting on you to cross it to start giving your character the gift of fire, and that is only in the beginning of the game. Grr…
2. Call of Duty – Multiplayer
Unlike Tom, I feel like it is okay if I die, but what is really frustrating is the fact that every match I am involved in usually feels like it is a one-sided game with my side not getting a chance to even come back to mount an offensive. There is that once-in-a-blue-moon feeling where I get a good killing streak and my team wins, but that is rare. This might be me being somewhat decent in FPS games, but overall, it really gets on my nerves.
1. Any Game That Involves Escort Missions
The pinnacle of my anger lies in these stupid missions. Your character is freaking amazing and has awesome skills and you are reduced to escort some weak person who, for some stupid reason, is crucial to your mission. What is worse is that they cannot even fight back if attacked. I mean, come on! Show some aggression for once. Help me out here! Escortees are slow, weak and an unnecessary damper on my gaming experience.
5. The Bouncer – Dauragon
This was the first game I bought with my PS2 when it first came out. This is what I had to play. And nothing else. (But hey, it was Square, right?) So I played through it multiple times. The final boss, Dauragon, had two forms to beat, and he was a challenging sumbitch, but eventually I managed. Surprise, surprise – after you’ve beaten the game a few times, Dauragon decides to add a third, even tougher form to his boss fight. And now you have to beat three in a row, without recovering health in between battles. Nice!
4. Final Fantasy VIII – Not Having the Right Summon
Originally, I was going to write about that damn Fanatics’ Tower in FFVI, but my experience in FFVIII far beat that hell-hole of a place. According to my hazy recollection, after getting all the way to the boss of the game, Ultimecia, and not being able to beat her even after spending up to an hour on a single battle, curing and restoring myself continuously, I got fed up and looked up a FAQ for it. Turns out that a specific Guardian Force that I didn’t have, Doomtrain, was extremely useful in the battle. Of course, the place where you got Doomtrain was blocked off after finishing Disc 3, and due to my awesome saving, I had no game save file from before this to return to. So it was back to start the game over for me. Yay!
3. Ninja Gaiden – The City of Fiends
This is as far as I’ve ever gotten in this hellish game for the original Xbox. This is the first version, before the difficulty was watered down in subsequent releases. And boy, was it tough! Making it through the level alone was a crapshoot, with mobs of two or three ninjas easily able to best you at any given time. But should you actually make it to the final section, you’ll have to survive against three dragon/lizard Fiends before you can even attempt the boss battle. I’ve been able to take out one… at most. Only once did I miraculously make it through all three, only to be immediately slaughtered by the tentacled boss Fiend who comes immediately after. After days of futile trying, I was done.
2. Dragon Age: Origins – Mimic Party
Pah! I poop on your woes with the Archdemon, Tom and Declan. As difficult as this game got at times, never did I have more troubles and rage-inducing frustration than when facing a mirror-image of my party en route to defiling the Urn of Sacred Ashes. Try how I might, I simply couldn’t take them out. The answer, after quitting the game for weeks at a time, was to disable all of my party’s AI scripts, and using trickery and traps to finish two-thirds of the battle on my own. My tank and mage were allowed to jump in at the end to help me deal the finishing blows.
1. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock – Lou
I feel like I’ve gotten pretty damn good at Guitar Hero over the course of several games. So why was it, even after getting through the whole game on Hard, that I could ab-so-lu-tely not beat the final boss fight vs. Lou? I played it for hours, the same damn song over and over again. My conclusion is that only blind luck will let somebody win that one. I’ve moved on to every other Guitar Hero and Rock Band title since then… never had any troubles with any of them… still haven’t beaten Lou. I’m done with it!
5. Prototype – Boss Hunter Chase
So, this mission gets on my nerves because you have to hijack a helicopter, do a couple of mini missions, then you get to attempt to juggle keeping the angry beast’s attention on you without it catching up and using your own limbs to thrash you soundly with clearing out the armed troops on the ground attempting to fill both you and the monster full of high explosives. After the 5th or 6th kick back to the helicopter checkpoint, I was nearly foaming at the mouth.
4. Wizardry: Tales of the Forsaken Land – All of It
Why does this entire game make my list? Because this is the kind of old-school dungeon crawler that hurts so good. From mysterious enemies that are more than pleased to destroy your party, and thus your confidence, to the travails of trapped floors, chests, walls, and then topped off with punishingly difficult boss fights, I can’t count the times I had to run back to town, barely alive, save, and set the controller down while I raged against the whims of the Random Number Generator.
3. Star Ocean; The Last Hope – The “Story” and “Character Development”
This one isn’t a gameplay frustration as the battles were decently paced, challenging without being unfair, and rewarded a bit of practice and creativeness. Instead, I found myself actively dreading and cringing any time the focus switched to a new character joining the party, or each and every scene that showed their deepening relationships. These were worse than the battles were good, and left me unable to even complete the game, which is really the ultimate frustration!
2. Culdcept – Match Lengths
From the first time I played this series, I knew I’d love it. What else could combine Magic and Monopoly into a delightful collectible card game with fun single-player and multi-player? But the frustration arises when the formula that works well for a short match taking under 30 minutes instead is lengthened to 2 or more hours of interminable back and forth until one side develops a crushing advantage. It simply got to the point where unlocking a new stage or hidden enemy wasn’t fun, but was instead an exercise in not falling asleep mashing the button.
1. Pixel Perfect Platforming
Oh, you were exactly one pixel too far from the edge of the platform you were aiming at? Into the bottomless pit it is! While this may have been forgivable in the NES days, where a careful press of the pad would have you practically floating in air, prepared for your leap of faith, its less so now. Especially when I leap, look down, see my shadow firmly on the ledge and then see my leg clip through the side and boom, checkpoint. Tight jumps are also the bane of my gaming existence when they crop up in genres they shouldn’t be in. Half-Life Episode 1, I may be looking at you.
Share Your Thoughts: What are your most aneurism-inducing, heart-palpitating, so-bad-they-cause-you-physical-pain moments of gaming frustration?