So what gives a video game a difficulty curve? Well, the answer: how hard or easy it was designed. Difficulty-wise, most people say Custer's Revenge (Atari 2600) killed the difficulty system by being too easy. However, what about the 10 levels that were very hard-designed? Here are the ten hardest levels ever from video games. Now keep in mind, I'm only doing games I've played, so no stuff like Banjo-Kazooie.

Sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the list!

I bet all you Mario fans saw this one coming. The only way you can get to Corona Mountain is by clearing the 7th episode of all other areas. The problem, though? Well, what makes this level too hard is the boat controls. You have to propel a boat by facing backwards and turning on the spray nozzle. Then, you must navigate through a section of platforms with either retracting spikes or fire. What builds to the difficulty here, however, is the use of the Hover Nozzle. For every fire platform you step on: BE CAREFUL. The fire can only be doused for just a few seconds before it comes back. And the final boss fight is harder than it should be. Sometimes, if you aren't careful, you'll fall through a crack via aerial ground pound (what?) and you must restart the boss fight.

Gradius stands to me as one of the best, yet hardest games I've ever played. It's hard, but innovative as well. Anyways, Stage 6 from Gradius V is the hardest level in the series for a number of reasons, but I'll name a few. Enemies cluster onto the screen too fast, take away your lives quickly (if you aren't quick enough), and some sections have you scrolling backwards. So it's best to equip your Tailgun as necessary. But that isn't even the hardest part of it all. The boss is incredibly difficult as well, due to having 4 phases. On the 4th phase, missiles are flying everywhere, and you must move around a lot to destroy the boss' five cores inside. However, the only reason this level is just at #9 is because you can at least use your force fields.

Some people saw this coming, some didn't. To let me be clear on this, this boss takes 6 hits to defeat (only easy and understandable part). Its weak point is the energy source on its back. But anyways, his boss has multiple phases as well, so I'll explain them below:

Phase 1: The Biolizard will spin its body in a circular motion, which will damage you with its head or tail. When it stops moving, grind the rail on its head and do a homing attack on its energy source.
Phase 2: The Biolizard will fire off dark energy spheres at you. Dodge them with jumps or well-timed rolls. When the opportunity arises, grind the rail again and hit the weak point a second time.
Phase 3: The Biolizard will release purple eggs. Hopefully this is the easiest of them all. Use your Homing Attack to climb them and damage the energy supply on its back.
Phase 4: The Biolizard will release purple eggs that are in antigravity, as well as sending you into antigravity. You then have to weave in between the eggs and homing attack its weak point again, ending it.

The hardest part of this fight is the 4th and final phase - if you get hit even once, your rings fall to the ground and you can't pick them up. If you lose your life, you must restart the fight.

As a hard series itself, Castlevania deserves a chance on this list. However, the level I picked was the Dungeon from the first Castlevania, and let me tell you: this is hard. After getting swarmed Igors and zombies, you come face to face head-on with Medusa Heads... and even Death itself. Medusa's heads attack you in one of the hardest passageways in history, which makes getting to Death w/the holy water without death a harder mission itself. Even if this does happen, you won't always win, because you need some very skilled timing. To this day, I still can't even cheat on Death.

Here's another game that grew to fame due to insane difficulties. In this level, enemies appear out of nowhere, clog the screen quickly, rip away your lives, and most importantly: the bosses are insane. So for that, you'll want to save some flamethrowers as well. And that said, I don't have anything else to say about the level itself. It's just insane.

Now here's a game that some people may have seen coming at them. Chapter 5 from Ikaruga is an insane level itself. Enemies clog the screen even faster than in Contra 3, you must constantly change your ship's color, and you'll lose your lives quickly if you don't move quick enough. Again, that isn't even the hardest part of it. The boss at the end is absolutely insane. The boss has 4 phases (similar to the Biolizard from SA2), and if you lose your last life in even any part here, you restart the chapter. Personally, I find phase 4 the hardest because you have to survive in a very small space for 40 seconds.

Ninja Gaiden is a series bound to chew up gamers, which means that a lot of people may have seen it coming. Stage 6-2 is the hardest level for me because it's too difficult. Truth be told (or not), there are falcons that can kill you without notice, shuriken throwing ninjas, and difficult jumps. Normally, dying in a stage makes you restart that stage, but if you die against any boss later in the game, you return to stage 6-1. Even today I still can't come close to beating this level.

Now here's another level you may have seen coming. While Stage 6-2 from Ninja Gaiden made me hate birds, this level made me want to kill every single bird I SEE. There are fire-breathing birds, endless numbers of bird knights, and even the smallest enemies are threats here, and if you take too much damage (or fall in the lava), you must restart the level. And after that, there's the Thunderbird, which is just... insane. Then after such a hard fight, you must defeat Dark Link.

This level is just insane. 6 fights in a row that get progressively harder and harder. Losing to any one of them could mean that you must restart the whole level. While one part of the game itself is about pattern memorization, the fighters have one tough pattern or none at all. This level also requires extremely serious practice - making it through the end without losing is such a success. Although I haven't beaten this level yet (I have beaten Flamenco), I hear that Sandman and S. Macho Man are insanity.

Do you know when you've found such a difficult level? Well, I do - it's when you can't beat it even on the easiest difficulty. Actually, correction: when you can't even come close to beating it on the easiest difficulty. The enemies in this level do too much damage to you. If you die, then you must restart the entire level. Then you have to kill Jaws to make progress. The pain though? Well, killing him sets off an alarm that sends laser troops running after you. You can never predict them, since there's a crazy amount and you have no radar at all. After you get the smart card, you must dodge even more laser troops to reprogram a shuttle. But guess what? After that: MORE RUNNING. At this point, you'll be so battered that you're literally on the brink of death. Also, there's only one body armor in the whole level, so you can only take a few hits before death. I just wish this level had some more radar or at least some more body armors.

These were the hardest levels in all of gaming - the ones that put you on the brink of rage itself. 10 hard games, 10 hard levels. There were also some other hard levels in here that I wanted to put in here (e.g. Shao Kahn's Fortress from MK Armageddon, the Endless World of Yoshis from SMW2: Yoshi's Island). Thanks for reading, and I'll see you guys next time.

List by Gamerater66 (11/29/2012)

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