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Oh, &!$% This: Infuriating Moments From Great Games

Even the best games have moments that make you want to break a controller. Amongst the stellar combat, impeccable platforming, and responsive controls of the games on this list, they all have those segments that you dread experiencing again when you start up a second or third playthrough. Here are some of the worst offenders.

THE SPIKE TOWER (GOD OF WAR)



On first look, this column (two columns, actually) seems like something that can be easily tackled as long as you have the required patience. For some people, this is entirely possible. Others (who may or may not be the writer of this article) may hit their head on a spike and fall to the very bottom upwards of 100 times, resulting in the most condensed flurry of unspeakable words they've ever uttered in their lives. It's not a complicated ordeal by any means, but each time one of those spikes grazes your head and sends you back to the beginning, your own personal Rage meter starts to creep up until you're red in the face.


GETTING KICKED OUT OF THE MAGE'S GUILD (ELDER SCROLLS IV: OBLIVION)



Let this potentially enraging incident serve as an example of why you should always keep numerous save slots. While exploring the Mage's Guild in this massive game, I walked up to a member and intended to talk to him. Unfortunately, I didn't realize I was crouching and thus accidentally went into the "pickpocket" menu. Nothing was actually taken, but it was enough to get me banished from the guild entirely. No big deal, I thought...I'll just do some little quest later on that'll reinstate me. Not so in Oblivion. Get kicked out of the Mage's Guild, and you can look forward to hours of roaming the Cyrodiil countryside in an effort to acquire 20 Dragon's Tongues and 20 Redwort Flowers. Adding even more frustration is the fact that there's not some big field of flowers and Dragon's Tongues anywhere in the world of Oblivion, they're spread all over. Break the Mage's Guild rules even once and you'll quickly turn this fascinating action RPG into a flower-picking simulator.


TIMING THE MAGNETIC BLOCKS (ANY MEGA MAN)



One of the Mega Man series' many trademarks is also one of its most infuriating platform challenges. In seemingly every entry in the Blue Bomber's NES adventures, there's a section that requires you to demonstrate near perfect timing and memorization to cross a gap by jumping on disappearing blocks. You could always use Rush to cross the gaps with ease, but if you were out of power for your pooch, that meant it was time to stand and stare until you had the pattern memorized. Even when you thought you had it down to a science, the odds of falling to a spiky death were high.


LUIGI'S FLOATING PURPLE COIN CHALLENGE (SUPER MARIO GALAXY)




For the most part, the purple coin challenges in Super Mario Galaxy were just challenging enough and served as a great way to explore the various vivid worlds. That all ends when you're placed on top of a giant, floating 8-bit Luigi and have to defy death long enough to collect 100 purple coins. Two primary factors lead to this being a hair-pulling exercise in frustration and failure. First of all, you can't ever stop moving. Ever. The stage consists of two types of platforms that you can land on - the yellow pixels flip around as you land on them, and the green ones flat-out disappear. This means that by the time you're close to 100 coins, the majority of the platforms are either flipping around or completely nonexistent. It's this that causes the second factor to be such a pain in the ass...not only do you have to get 100 coins, but then you have to return to the beginning to grab your star and complete the level. On numerous occasions I'd rejoice at collecting that final purple coin, only to realize that the entire path back to the star was completely gone. As a lifelong gamer, I'm ashamed to admit that this is the only star I was unable to get in Galaxy. Even more embarrassing is the fact that my little sister got it for me. I'll now wait for Andy and Reiner to mock me in the comments. Tip your waitresses, folks, they'll be here all week.


FLOATING THROUGH "TUBULAR" (SUPER MARIO WORLD)



Before Nintendo was forcing you to hoard dozens of purple coins in 3D platforming hell, they were perfectly content to just fill Mario up with helium and let football players throw baseballs (?) at him. If you even got to this stage, it was clear that you were a pretty serious Mario player. After all, it's in the super-secretest of the two secret worlds in his SNES Koopa-stomping adventure. Each of these stages was named after some horribly dated 90s slang like "Gnarly" or "Mondo," but "Tubular" was the most brutal. Most of the level has no solid ground to stand on, requiring Mario to collect balloon after balloon so he can float just long enough to make it to the end. It's not as easy as simply collecting power-ups, as the stage is filled with Chargin' Chucks, Paratroopas, and the occasional Volcano Lotus filling the screen with every projectile in their arsenal in an effort to send Mario to his doom. Take a second too long to dodge one and you'll find Mario deflating long before you can reach that next balloon.[PageBreak]


THE TURBO TUNNEL (BATTLETOADS)



Any list of the most frustrating/difficult/infuriating gaming moments ever is sure to have this stage included, and for good reason - it's *** near impossible. So many gamers have fond memories of Battletoads, but those memories tend to meet an abrupt end right at this stage unless they were using a Game Genie. This stage isn't even a matter of skill, it requires memorization of all of the wall locations, and an almost sadistic level of patience for this nonsense. Make one misstep and you're splattered all over an arbitrarily-placed concrete slab.


CHOCOBO RACING FOR THE SUN SIGIL (FINAL FANTASY X)



Final Fantasy X featured optional extended playtime for completionists that wanted to get every Ultimate Weapon. Each character had one, but acquiring the Caladbolg for Tidus proved to be an exercise in patience. It required you to challenge the Chocobo Trainer to a race, and you had to finish it with a time under zero seconds. This was accomplished by collecting balloons that would lower your score, but the real frustration comes in the form of swooping birds that add to your time and briefly stop you in your tracks. When it came to dodging the birds and collecting the balloons, it didn't exactly help that your Chocobo handled like a shopping cart with a missing wheel.


SWIMMING (ANY GAME EVER)



Like many gamers, I have never enjoyed a swimming level. Granted, some were tolerable (God of War featured mercifully short underwater areas), but none have been fun. Whether you're constantly toggling your Iron Boots in Ocarina of Time, navigating through murky crap-filled waters to get the Nikita in Metal Gear Solid 2, panicking when you hear the terrifying "Sonic is drowning right now" music, or getting repeatedly killed by electric seaweed in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, water has proved to be more of an enemy throughout gaming history than all the Nazis and aliens in the world.


COMPLETING THE TRIALS (STREET FIGHTER IV)



For all the achievement whores out there, Street Fighter IV was a particularly bitter pill to swallow. Speaking as someone that put over 80 hours into the game and specifically shot for achievements, I can understand why many gamers were frustrated at the 210 points that can only be earned through the impossibly-hard trials. Some of these trials were single-serving bits of frustration like Sagat's fake kick, while others featured a laundry list of actions that needed to be performed with inhuman timing. It didn't matter if you were a fighting game newcomer or a seasoned veteran, these trials rank amongst the hardest challenges a fighting game has ever presented.


ACING THE COMBAT CHALLENGES (BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM)




Arkham Asylum's combat controls were beautifully simple, but utilizing all of the Dark Knight's moves well enough to ace all of the Combat Challenges required a zen-like focus. Each required you to hit a certain score, and simply beating the holy hell out of everyone didn't cut it. You had to keep a constant mental checklist of what moves you've already used in a combo so as to max out your variation bonus. You had to remember which guys to stun and which to jump over. You had to be vigilant and act quickly whenever you saw a goon running towards the gun case. Some of the levels even had time limits, like the downright brutal Shock and Awe Extreme that featured a floor that would electrify and kill you if you hadn't disposed of Joker's henchmen quickly enough. Nothing was worse than realizing the ground was about to shock you to death just before you were able to land that last ground takedown. Hearing the same Joker quips and seeing him mock you every time you died added plenty of insult to injury.

How about you? What were the moments that made you want to toss the controller through your television during an otherwise great experience?

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