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Nintendo Games Few People Have Ever Beaten

Nintendo has been at the forefront of the video game world ever since a little plumber named Mario started trying to find the right castle containing Princess Peach. For decades, they've released game after game, and console after console, including some of the most beloved games of all time. Nintendo is arguably the biggest force in video game history, with a catalog to back that statement up.


Naturally, every game hasn't been of equal difficulty. Some of them have been easy, capable of being beaten by even the most novice of gamers. Not that being easy is a bad thing. If every game was impossible, what would be the fun of gaming? However, there are some games that have been much more difficult to beat. Some of them have only been beaten by a talented, and dedicated, few. They are games that try your patience and your skill, which make them objects of admiration in some circles. Here are 10 games across different Nintendo platforms that have taken true effort to beat, which is why not many have done it.

Battletoads forced players to get it right on every try

Battletoads started off as a ripoff of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That was not uncommon in the early '90s, given how much people loved those heroes in a halfshell. In 1991, Nintendo released Rare's Battletoads to an audience willing to accept anything that reminded them of the Turtles. Nobody expected to get one of the toughest video games of all time.


In Battletoads, Rash and Zitz, two grossly named aggro toad dudes, try and defeat the Dark Queen. It is a simple premise and a classic beat 'em up, but it turned out to be incredibly difficult. As IGN noted, "its difficulty is perhaps the biggest influence on its enduring reputation amongst hardcore gamers." You only started with three lives, and if you lost, you had to go back to the beginning. There was no way to pick back up where you left off. That meant that not only was the actual gameplay tough, but if you failed, you had to do it all over again. It's been decades since Battletoads came out, and many are still lamenting its difficulty.

Friday the 13th was a horror just to play

You know what's a perfect recipe to keep a game from being beaten? Being both incredibly difficult and intensely awful. That's a combo that 1989's Friday the 13th brings to the table. The game is, naturally, based on the film series about Jason Vorhees killing teenagers, which doesn't seem like the worst premise. You play as a camp counselor and have to go around trying to find Jason and kill him three times. Along the way you have to deal with wolves, zombies, and other stuff that has nothing to do with the movies.


The execution simply wasn't there. GamePro, in naming Friday the 13th the 10th-worst game of all time, called out its "repetitive music score and amazingly frustrating gameplay." That gameplay is what made this outing such an arduous chore to get through. As The AV Club noted, "There's no denying most of the criticisms thrown at Friday The 13th. The big one, the one that makes the game impossible to recommend without the severest caveats imaginable, is the difficulty." Being killed by Jason would be bad. Having to play this video game, though, seems perhaps even worse. Some people have beaten Friday the 13th. The question is: why?

Ninja Gaiden was difficult because it was good

The NES is known for being a paradigm-shifting console, but also for the difficulty of its games. There is even a phrase, "Nintendo Hard," that was coined to describe the early Nintendo offerings that punished players as they also enthralled them. Ninja Gaiden is one of the quintessential examples of Nintendo Hard, declared as such by the likes of Bits 'n' Bytes, among others. The game is noted for getting increasingly difficult as it goes along, until it gets nearly impossible. A review for 1Up declared the latter levels an "unfair display of intentional cheapness." The game is broken up into six "acts," and that final act was described by Alex Navarro of GameSpot as "one of the bottom levels of gaming hell."


However, this is a case where the difficulty did not turn players away. Ninja Gaiden is also considered one of the best Nintendo games. Even if people tore their hair out trying to beat it, they couldn't get enough of it. There's a reason that the original was able to spawn several sequels. A really difficult game may be frustrating, but it doesn't mean it has to be bad.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors was a whole lot of game, all of it hard

Zombies Ate My Neighbors, which came out for the Super Nintendo in 1993, has a great title. Who doesn't want to play a game with a name like that? However, once you delve into the game, you realize that it's not quite the romp you hoped. In addition to being a pretty tough game, it's also a long one. There are a whopping 48 levels in the game, meaning that you have to log a lot of time to get through the game even if you're good at it. Good thing kids tend to have a lot of time on their hands.


As The Gamer noted in naming Zombies Ate My Neighbors the sixth-hardest SNES game, "Ammo allocation is rather important in this release and you'll need to make sure that you don't simply burn through each weapon you have." It was a fun game, but it could be a real slog to get through. As fun as fighting zombies can be, having do so for 48 levels is a challenge for all but the most dedicated of players, and Zombies Ate My Neighbors is not a game that stirred up the fervor of others. You may have picked it up and thought it was fun, but would you really be willing to see it through to the end?

Hagane: The Final Conflict demanded the best from its players

Part of what made Hagane: The Final Conflict so difficult for people to beat was that it was hard to find. In fact, as The Gamer says, there are debates online about whether or not the game was a Blockbuster exclusive in the United States. That being said, those who played it enjoyed it, but they also found themselves playing a truly difficult game.


If you were hit three times, you died. If you ran out of lives, you had to go back to the start of the stage. Also, there was no save feature. That means you have to get really good at the game to even think about beating Hagane. GameFAQs named it the toughest Super Nintendo game of them all. In explaining why, they wrote, "The difficulty is so high, it's close to the verge of unfair, but doesn't cross it. It's unforgiving, heavily punishing, and fun. All at the same time." This speaks to why this tough-to-find game has become a cult classic.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts made you play it twice

Ghouls 'n Ghosts was tough. Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts ramps it up a couple levels. The game was so hard that they removed some of the enemies from the European release to make it less difficult. How often does a game need to edit itself on the fly because it turned out to be too daunting?


In the game, you play as King Arthur (fun!) and have to rescue a princess from the evil Emperor Sardius. Here is what makes Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts so brutal: beating the game once wasn't enough! As Digital Spy noted when calling this game the most difficult EVER, you had to beat the game twice to win it. You would make it all the way to Sardius' castle only to find out you had to go back to the beginning and do it all over again. Not only was it draining to find out that all your work had been for naught, the game was tough enough to get through once, let alone twice. Surely some gamers, upon realizing they had to do it all over again, simply gave up in defeat.

Jet Force Gemini was a lot of genres in one, all hard

We move on to the Nintendo 64 with 1999's Jet Force Gemini, an offering from Rare that frustrated many game players. Even people who liked it admitted that it was a difficult journey to undertake. IGN gave it a solid 8.1 review, but made sure to warn potential players of its toughness, saying, "It's nearly impossible to fully complete a level the first time through it. There is almost always something that cannot be reached or retrieved without the help of another character. To complete the game, players must rescue every Tribal in every level. Rescuing Tribals is not an optional side quest — it's mandatory. This is a time-consuming task that is going to take an immeasurable amount of dedication on a player's part."


GameFAQs agreed with IGN's assertion, as they called it the most-difficult of any Nintendo 64 game, adding "What do you get when you fuse a third-person shooter, a platformer, a puzzle-solver, and an adventure game together? A whole lot of hell." Combine that with the fact Jet Force Gemini wasn't exactly a rousing success, you rarely hear anybody talk about loving it, and you will be hard pressed to find somebody who has beaten the game.

F-Zero X was the fastest thing onscreen

F-Zero X isn't pretty, in fact they sacrificed graphical detail for speed, but oh man did the speed work. The Electric Playground said that the game made it seem "like your vehicle is bursting through the sound barrier." Designer Shigeru Miyamoto, in an interview with IGN, called it "possibly the fastest racing game ever" and suggested you could reach speeds of 1,000 kilometers per hour.


The intense speed and limited graphics made for tricky gameplay, though. You needed to pay deep attention and have lightning-quick reflexes. If the slightest thing went wrong, you could find yourself flying off the course, which resulted in instant failure. On the internet, you can find people proclaiming their excitement for beating F-Zero X on Master difficulty.

Generally speaking, if you find folks in forums dedicated to video games getting pumped for being able to beat a game, you know it's a worthy foe for any gamer. F-Zero X gave racing game fans a real run for their money. Additionally, though it didn't make this list, F-Zero GX for the Gamecube is considered just as hard.

Super Monkey Ball 2 was so tough, it made you a better ... doctor?

The premise of Super Monkey Ball 2 is simple. You control a monkey in a ball and try and get through all the game's stages. What made this game so tough to beat is that there were just so many levels. There are a staggering 100 levels to the game, many of which featured obstacles not seen in the original Super Monkey Ball. Plus, the game introduced a 60-second time limit to most levels, meaning you had to go up against the clock as well as the course.


IGN, in offering advice on how to beat Expert Mode, offered the following statement: "Ummmmmmm... Good luck here! You have to play fifty of the hardest levels in the game... and you have to beat them all with a single continue to access the next set of stages in the game." Trying to make it through 100 levels of Super Monkey Ball 2 is only for the most diligent and dedicated of gamers.

Oddly, all that gameplay could turn out to be quite beneficial. As Polygon reported, a study showed that surgeons playing Super Monkey Ball 2 performed better in laparoscopic surgeries. How many games can claim to make you a better surgeon?

Donkey Kong Country Returns was platforming excellence

Fans of the big ape in a tie may have been excited when the Donkey Kong Country series returned with this offering for the Wii. Then, they played the game.

It turned out to be immensely difficult. In a review for Venture Beat, the writer clearly had some issues to work through, stating, "Pleased fans and reviewers described DKCR as 'challenging,' but they need to grab a dictionary. 'Frustrating' is a more fitting label for the toil the game puts players through. 'Sadistic' is a good one, too, as DKCR wants more than to see you fail: It wants you to suffer."


They weren't the only ones to find this game immensely difficult. In fact, Complex called it the second-hardest game of the new millennium. That's across all platforms, mind you. However, this is another case of difficulty not necessarily getting in the way of quality. Though IGN called it the "Most Challenging" game of 2010, they also called it the sixth-best Wii game.