Sunday, May 06, 2007

NES Games That Were Hard as Hell to Beat

If you are currently between the ages of 20 and 40, your life was significantly affected by the Nintendo Entertainment System. It just was. The Greatest Generation had WWII. The Baby Boomers had Vietnam and the 70's. We had the NES. It bridged the gap between the Summer of Love and the Internet. And thank goodness too. I don't even want to imagine what existence would have been like without it. We'd probably read a lot more.

Below is the first in a two part homage of sorts to the NES and all it gave us. What follows is Part 1: NES Games That Were Impossible to Beat. Perhaps you too were frustrated enough by these games that you, like Dear Mr. Supercomputer, threw controllers at small felines. These are the toughest games of all time.

The rules: has to be a really tough game. One that you were lucky to even get near the end. There were tough games that could be beat. Those don't count. We're talking about the games that were made before they really knew much about the home video game market and what sort of skill level the average 12 year old could have.

(Ed. note: And none of those damn games that actually couldn't be beat. Like Spy Hunter, Tiger-Heli, or Rampage. That was total bullcrap. How can you make a game just loop like that?! Deep down, I actually still harbor the belief that Spy Hunter can be beat if you're good enough. In fact, I think that was the prevailing urban legend of the day in Anderson Mill.)


Sure it was a cool game. You got to use a whip. Then a chain whip. Then, if you were lucky, a long chain whip. Actually, I learned what a "morning star" was from this game. I also learned about the plight of trying to slay the undead with only three lives. I don't think I ever reached the last level in this one. I never beat Dracula. Thankfully I beat him several times in Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest.

Life Force

Never beat it. Never got close. And I never was really sure what the hell I was doing. I wasn't sure if I was flying through outer space or some guy's organs like in the movie Innerspace. The bosses were some sort of conglomeration between xenophobes and tumors. Either way, it was nearly impossible to kill the thousands of flying things while avoiding touching the damn walls.

Track and Field

To be honest, I don't even know if this game could be beaten. I really don't remember. All I remember was developing carpel tunnel syndrome at the age of 8 trying to push the A and B buttons successively faster than my brothers. I'd say we spent about 20% of our time together trying to press the A and B buttons faster than the other guy. And screw you if you had the NES Turbo controller. Just screw you.

Ikari Warriors

I knew the cheat code to never die (A-B-B-A). AND I STILL COULDN'T BEAT IT! Adrian Klinzeng and I once spend 3-4 hours playing this damn game, continually pressing A-B-B-A determined to just beat it once. Well, apparently, after you put in the cheat code two to three hundred times the game just says, "ok, that's enough. Go outside and play," because it stops letting you reload. Bastards.

Ring King
I think we might have been the only family to have this game. It has much less play and nostalgia value than Mike Tyson's Punchout!. It was cool though because you could punch people out of the ring.

NES Play Action Football

The NES ventured into the four-player football game and it was a disaster. It was also the first and last football game to employ the diagonal playing field. It was a bitch to even throw the damn ball. The ironic thing is that is was supposed to bring video game football a new degree of realism not attained in the extremely-fun Tecmo Bowl series. Instead, this game was a mess. And part of the reason it's on this list is because I don't think any 9 year old has the patience to play a whole game of this. Seriously, it takes like six minutes to run down the field. I mean: it had actual 15 minute quarters!!! Are you kidding me?! We're supposed to spend an hour playing this stupid game?!

Dragon Warrior

It took hours just to get to the point where you could even fight the last boss. I got there once after what must have been weeks playing it. And then the last guy just killed me in about five seconds. I never picked up the game again. Still, that didn't stop me from trying my hand at Dragon Warrior 2 and Dragon Warrior 3 which I never beat as well. Believe me, when I retire, I'm going to go back and find an NES and spend my Golden Years trying to beat these games.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
No, not that TMNT game. That game freaking ruled. This game totally sucked. The level that you see above was a bitch, and it was like the third level. I don't think I ever even got halfway past the game. Still, I would have purchased anything with the Ninja Turtles on it at that time. Bedsheets, pregnancy tests, you name it.
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

I still can't believe I never beat this game, for as much as I played it. I think I got to the last guy once. It's like, your shadow, or something, right? Someone help me out here. Well, I got to that guy once, and like Dragon Warrior, pretty much gave up after I realized there was no way in hell I was going to beat this. I guess I figured I'd just wait until the Internet was invented and just download the final end scene.

Special Category - Games That Were Impossible to Beat, Unless You Cheated; Then They Were Really Easy
This one gets it's own special section. Everyone beat it, but not without the Konami 30 lives code (Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-A-B-Start). I'm not sure if they actually expected us to beat this without it. At any given time you'd have about 700 bullets (or whatever) flying at you. And if you touched one, you were dead. You're supposed to beat that with three lives? Really?
Still though, this game truly rocked. And it gets bonus points because you could steal someone else's lives after you used yours up. And then they in turn could out-jump you on the vertical jumping levels and then kill you. Good times.

So vent your frustration with these games in the comments, or suggest others that I may have missed. Let's put these dormant issues to rest.


Steph said...

New Category: Game That Made Me a Little Bit Dumber Each Time I Played It

Duck Hunt

I think this is where my disdain for guns first began -- that trigger was really hard to punch.

gk said...

It's way easier if you stand right next to the TV.

Adam said...

Ok, here are a couple of the games I hated myself the most for buying because they were ridiculously impossible. I don't think I even played the very much because I hated them and gave up.

- The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

- Section Z

gk said...

I thought about putting the Bart vs. Space Mutants, but I wasn't sure which Simpsons game it was. They had like seven.

How can they make a game based on a cartoon so hard?!

Adam said...

I guess it's just a lesson we need to learn about space mutants - they're tough.