I've been thinking about this one. I tweeted it earlier today. "What is your vote for the three hardest (but enjoyable) Computer and/or Console games? Any era or type. I'll share my answers in a bit." I had three rough answers in mind (two of them remained) but I have edited it, slightly. Two were practically the same genre, or at least very comparable. I guess two of them are, again, of a similar genre. Different enough.
Before I give mine, here are some of the responses that I got back: Megaman, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Einhander, MarioKart 64, Mario 64, Ocarino of Time, Rad Racer, and Gran Turismo 2. Megaman was going to be one of mine. It's a hard game. Sure, if you cheat, it's not too bad; but you have eight bosses and each one has a special weapon that can damage him. In order to beat the game the easiest (not that easy) you have to find the right order. All of this has to occur in three men or so. You can play a dozen times before you start cracking "The Megaman Code". The later games added various things that made them more tolerable (namely: passwords to not have to replay the whole thing). It's a rough game.
In it's place, I am going to nominate the original Sonic. Awesome game. Lot's of fun. It will make you kill someone in frustration. There are two ways to play Sonic (true of most of the franchise's games). You can run really fast and, with a little luck, beat it without getting very much; or, you can explore for a bit and get free men and lots of rings and such. The former way will screw you in later stages when you get to the watery stage and the space age stage after it, because you have to spend so much time backtracking and waiting. The latter only postpones your death (and gets you stuck in a few places) and so adds to the frustration. What's more, once you get to the end, you have to figure out the proper way to beat the boss with whatever men you have left. No continues. Sit down for this next bit. I got to Eggman three (maybe four times) before I beat him. Remember, no continues. I plan to never play that game again.
Second up is Shadowgate. A visual attempt at Interactive Fiction. You find a key and a book and a secret torch (just one like it and God help you if your burn it early) and all that crap, and wander back and forth and die in 800 different ways. You would use a potion, nothing would seem to happen, and oh it's a slow poison or some crap. Beating it was a series of "try everythings" and you had to reload alot since about 2/3s of everything was deadly. I have beaten it. It is kind of cool up until the lightning rod stage. After that, you get a lot of annoying bits and it ends up with a craptastic ending after you die a dozen times trying to get the right combination.
And, for the hardest, yet enjoyable, game: Zork. Technically a trilogy which was technically one game (literally, Zork was a larger game than most home computers could play, so it was split into three parts that are direct and immediate sequels to each other. The first one has only a couple of annoying puzzles (though you will die once or twice, no doubt). The second part includes both the diamond puzzle (good luck solving that crap) and that stupid bank puzzle (pretty much the same thing, but it was more doable) and at least one puzzle that requires, if I remember correctly, dying once in order to get a glimpse of something while dead (please note, the chances of not dying once are pretty slim, so this might not be a complaint). The third part includes the royal puzzle, at least one timed event that will prevent you from winning the game, and a puzzle towards the end that makes almost no sense except that you go back and forth and there are some colors and forty-five degree angles or something (that's what guessing is for!). What's more, the third one includes one puzzle that is solved by a seemingly throwaway clue from the first one. Toss in a lamp that runs down (and you die), numerous one use items that you can destroy and have to go back to an earlier save point, a few red herrings, a few nonsequitors, a couple of really weird bends of the map, and you have a slice of gaming heaven. I have also beaten Zork, though I don't remember much. I think I blacked out form excitement.
I had thought about putting one of the old 8-bit RPGs, but I beat Dragon Quest with something like three levels below the suggested amount, and I have whipped Final Fantasy with all black mages and all red mages and a few other sundry "challenge" parties (never all white mages, that would be silly). If any old school RPG gets on this list, it is Wizardry. Why? Play that bitch and you tell me. Not only can a) leveling up actually reduce your stats, b) your party randomly change alignment based on actions and end up refusing to work together, and c) you can fall down trap doors or encounter warps that puts you in very bad spots; but d) it saves everything automatically. One drop down a trap door and you are toast. Make a new party, start over. For reals. The reason it did not make the list? I have never beaten it. Part of me wants to go again, part of me knows that is stupid.
Si Vales, Valeo
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Written by Doug Bolden
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