Top 10 Hardest NES Games

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Top 10 Hardest NES Games

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Script written by Kurt Hvorup

The NES was home to many a challenging game, with some going the extra mile in terms of difficulty. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Hardest NES Games.

For this list, we're taking a look at the Nintendo Entertainment System titles that were difficult because of legitimate challenge, rather than broken game design. This means hard yet broken games like “Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde” won't be discussed.

Special Thanks to our users "Josh Krendel" "SoloDoloLopez" for suggesting this topic on our Interactive Suggestion tool at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest
Transcript
Script written by Kurt Hvorup

Top 10 Hardest NES Games


The NES was home to many a challenging game, with some going the extra mile in terms of difficulty. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Hardest NES Games.

For this list, we're taking a look at the Nintendo Entertainment System titles that were difficult because of legitimate challenge, rather than broken game design. This means hard yet broken games like “Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde” won't be discussed.

#10: “Top Gun” (1987)

It's a highway to the danger zone indeed. Released eighteen months after the film “Top Gun”, this flight simulation game bases itself on the film's flight sequences to offer legitimate, if notably tough, challenge. Players take the role of Maverick, flying a F-14 Tomcat, in four missions with escalating objectives – from destroying an aircraft carrier, to bringing down a space shuttle. However, the real difficulty lies in landing the Tomcat after a mission, as it requires attention to speed and angle of descent. Probably best to take things nice and easy.

#9: “Zelda II: The Adventure of Link” (1988)

Sometimes a shift in genre is what it takes to shake up the difficulty curve. Such is the case with this sequel to the landmark action-adventure game “The Legend of Zelda”, in which boy hero Link sets out to awaken Princess Zelda from her magically-induced slumber. The core conceit of “Zelda II” is how it moves away from the top-down exploration of the original into a blend of overworld traversal and side-scrolling action. This gameplay shift is made tougher for gamers by a general lack of direct information about the world, meaning trial-and-error and educated guesses are key.

#8: “Castlevania” (1987)

Crack that whip and prepare for a nightmarish onslaught. The original “Castlevania” made an impact for many reasons: its groundbreaking visuals, its clever use of classic horror iconography... and its steep learning curve. While demon slayer Simon Belmont utilizes a variety of assist items in addition to his famed whip, his efforts are balanced out by constantly respawning foes and difficult-to-traverse levels. On top of that, Simon's combat and platforming abilities are by design limited in nature, demanding a cautious and strategic approach to play.

#7: “Contra” (1988)

Nothing like a classic side-scroller to take us back. “Contra”, ported to the NES in 1988, made itself known for quick-moving, screen-filling run-and-gun action. Though the game occasionally shifted into psuedo-3D and fixed screen segments, its main attraction was having the player blast their way from left to right. The challenge lay in surviving long enough to reach level's end; enemies always fired from a number of different directions, and one hit meant instant death for the player. Though having the default weapon carry infinite ammo certainly helped matters.

#6: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1989)

Pray for these heroes-in-a-half-shell. Loosely based on the 1987 animated series of the same name, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is infamous for its level of difficulty. Switching between each of the four Turtles, the player is tasked with exploring an overworld map, which transitions into side-scrolling levels in sewers, buildings and THAT Dam level. As you venture through each area, an array of increasingly difficult foes – from Foot Ninjas, to Mouser robots, and more – show up to cause trouble. Coupled with the limited nature of jumping, it's easy to see how this game gets its reputation.

#5: “Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels” (1986)

A conversion of “Doki Doki Panic”, this is not. Initially released only in Japan, Super Mario Bros. 2 or “The Lost Levels” as it was known here in the west, was developed as a direct follow-up to the original “Super Mario Bros”. What resulted, however, is something of legend: packing in hazards such as poison mushrooms and mid-air wind gusts, “The Lost Levels” became notorious for its escalation in challenge. In fact, its perceived difficulty was so great that it would not be sold in North America until 1993, as part of the “Super Mario All-Stars” compilation.

#4: “Ghosts 'n Goblins” (1986)

A knight's tale unlike any other... for good or ill. Developed by Capcom, “Ghosts 'n Goblins” has a simple setup: the noble knight Arthur embarking on a quest to save Princess Prin Prin from Satan. This is easier said than done, though; the game features a wide array of damage-resistant monsters and a timer for level completion lest Arthur risk losing a life. On top of this, the game requires a second playthrough on a higher difficulty setting in order to achieve the true ending.

#3: “Ninja Gaiden” (1989)

Noble quests demand intense challenge, apparently. At least, that's our reasoning for the design of “Ninja Gaiden”, a game split into six acts that chronicles the ninja Ryu Hayabusa's mission to avenge his father. What makes this action-platformer particularly noteworthy is its embrace of respawning enemies, numerous level hazards and bosses that demand a patient yet adaptable playstyle. Factor in the escalating difficulty and the need to comprehend mechanics such as wall-jumping, and thus players have a NES title for the ages. Also: Those eagles.

#2: “Silver Surfer” (1990)

Developed by Software Creations, this... fascinating title doesn't pull its punches. At its most basic, “Silver Surfer” is a shoot 'em up in which players take the role of the eponymous Marvel Comics superhero, flying around in side-scrolling and overhead segments. However, complications arise from its challenge-centric design: the Silver Surfer's foes are relentless, the Surfer himself has a large hit box and he can die in one hit. As a result, gameplay becomes as much about edging forward to safety as it is about combating interstellar adversaries. Seriously why is Silver Surfer so fragile in this game? He has THE POWER COSMIC.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Mega Man” (1987)
“Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!” (1987)
“Fester's Quest” (1989)
“Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight” (1990)

#1: “Battletoads” (1991)

Ah, the days when Rare stood tall and made us quietly weep. 1991's “Battletoads”, praised in its day for its hardware-pushing graphics and varied gameplay, also didn't lack for player-challenging obstacles. From its fast-paced Turbo Tunnel level to the onslaught of enemies and obstacles in its beat-em-up stages, “Battletoads” was built to push gamers to their limits. It toyed with elements of different genres, ensuring that players didn't know what to expect with each new level. The sheer brutality of its design is at once remarkable and terrifying.

Do you agree with our list? What NES games do you feel are hard? For more challenging Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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