I like to consider myself an above average gamer. Sure, I donít really have any proof that this is the case, but I tend to hold my own when playing against random people in games like Mario Kart online and uhÖ Smash Bro... ok, mostly just Mario Kart. But hey I have finished a few tough games in my times. I finished Metroid Prime on hard mode, that was tough, right? Iíve also finished all of the NES Mega Man games, even the first one, which many people think is impossible for some reason. Iím ok at video gaming.
However, looking back into my gaming past I canít help but notice a long line of failures. Some are games that were just too tough for me, while others are games that defeated me for a variety of other reasons. I had many to choose from, but here are my top 10. Well, my top 10 regarding games on Nintendo platforms. I have plenty more games I sucked it up at on other platforms too, but I'm trying to stay on topic here.
Man, I really hope my brother isnít reading this list. See, long ago he would endlessly rip on me because he finished all of the stages in the classic puzzle game Lemmings, whereas I had gotten stuck near the end and given up. I really loved this game and wanted to finish it, and I also wanted to shut him up about it, so much so that many years later, just a few years ago in fact, I decided to sit down and finish it off once and for all. And I did a pretty good job, getting past the stage I was stuck on long ago pretty quickly. In fact, I got to stage 125 of 125 in no time at all. And thenÖ I played the last stage for hours and hours and couldnít figure it out. I was pretty sure that I knew what to do, but if so, it required near pixel-perfect execution and it was tough to stick at it without knowing for sure. So I did something that I usually did not do back in those days. I looked up the solution in a guide. And well, it turns out I was right about what to do. With that knowledge, I was able to finish the stage soon after. But using the guide still makes this a huge failure in my eyes. Mostly because my brother will never shut up about it if he ever finds out.
Lemmings was actually pretty METAL. \m/
Final Fantasy IV (SNES) - Failed At: Realizing What Was Optional
So, Final Fantasy IV probably isnít a super tough game, right? I mean, Iíve successfully finished tons of Squaresoft / Squarenix RPGs, so why does this one sit on my shame list? Good question. See, this is what happened. First, I acquired the game through a shady deal where I traded a used skateboard to a classmate for his Super Nintendo and like seven or eight games, basically totally ripping him off because he didnít seem to understand how much an old skateboard was worth. Iím not particularly proud of this. After that I started playing Final Fantasy IV and got pretty far into it, before getting stuck at this Queen boss that seemed literally impossible to beat. So I finally gave up. And then, perhaps in an act of karma, the game cartridge erased my save file, and I never went back. So ends the quest.
A few years later my brother offhandedly informed me that the Queen was an optional boss. It would have been nice to know this at the time.
Pictured: Not the Queen. Probably some normal boss.
Pushmo (3DS eShop) - Failed At: Not Getting Stuck Right at the End
This one is particularly shameful to me mostly for how very close I got to finishing it. For those not in the know, Pushmo is a pretty spectacular block pushing / pulling puzzle game that came out on the 3DS eShop. You should probably buy it, if you have not already. All in all, including the unlockable stages, there are probably over 200 stages in this game. I finished all of them but four. And then I kept trying and failing on those four over and over and over. I think I may have beaten one of them since? I forget. I still tell myself that I will go back and finish them all up eventually, but I know deep down that this will never happen. I suppose I could try to redeem myself by actually finishing the Wii U eShop sequel Pushmo World, but that probably isnít going to happen either.
Sure it looks easy now, but just you wait...
Darkwing Duck (NES) - Failed At: Verticality
Darkwing Duck is easily one of my favorite cartoons ever, so many years back when this game came out, of course I had to play it. It didnít hurt that it was a pretty respectably made Mega Man clone. Anyway, this was the kind of failure that would probably never have taken place had I played the game in the age of the Internet and had access to Google. The game itself wasnít particularly hard. I got all the way to the end and faced off against the final boss, Steelbeak. He was up near the top of the screen, and I simply couldnít figure out how to shoot high enough to hit him. I could dodge his shots pretty well, I just couldnít do any damage to him. I would sit there for long periods of time just dodging, trying to shoot him but not being able to shoot high enough. What was I doing wrong? Who knows. I could probably Google it, but that wouldnít help me now. And unfortunately, due to the licensing, it is unlikely that this game will ever be rereleased on Virtual Console or anything like that. So unless I seek out a working NES and a copy of this game (or emulate it I suppose, but I don't like emulating games), this failure will never be rectified. Blah.
I am the winged scourge that... doesn't know what to do if you are on a high ledge.
Mike Tysonís Punch-Out!! (NES) - Failed At: Not Getting Progressively Worse
This is almost certainly one of my longest running failures. Mike Tysonís Punch-Out!! is one of the first games that I got into way back when I started getting heavily into video games, period. Back then I could never really get much further past Soda Popinski or so. Many years later I picked up the game again, and got all the way to Mr. Sandman. I think? Tough to recall. Iím pretty sure Mr. Sandman is where I was getting stuck though. So I put the game down again. Then many, many years later (Iím old) it rereleased on the Wii Virtual Console (sans Tyson) and I started playing it again. This time I didnít even get as far as Mr. Sandman. So Iím actually regressing now. Next thing you know I will be struggling to get past Glass Joe. Incidentally I never finished the also excellent Punch-Out!! on the Wii. I donít consider that one a failure yet though because I wasnít really stuck so much as other games came up and I havenít found the time and energy to go back to it since. I probably will one day. Hmm. Probably not though.
Who is this guy? I have certainly never seen him in the game.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (Gamecube) - Failed At: Lots of Things Really
Despite absolutely loving The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, Iíve barely gotten halfway through it. This isnít really a failure from lack of skill. One part of the failure is my abject refusal to play the game alone. Four Swords Adventures was meant to be played with at least three people, preferably four. And that leads to the next failure, my lack of planning. Sure, Nintendo made it tough because you need four Gameboy Advances and 4 link cables to play the local multiplayer only game, but still, I could totally make it happen more often if I wasnít so lazy when it came to multiplayer get-togethers! I guess the last failure, except actually it is a success, is the fact that even when I do get people together to play this game, we barely make any progress because we are too busy playing it CHICAGO STYLE. I remember one night in particular where my cousins and I spent almost a whole hour on a single screen. Because, you see, there were a ton of bomb plants on that screen. Yep. Never going to finish this sucker.
Really though, failing at a game was never so much fun!
Most of the BIT.TRIP Series (WiiWare) - Failed At: I'm Honestly Not Sure What Happened
Those of you who know me well know how much I love the BIT.TRIP series. Did you know that I have barely finished any of the games? Sigh. To this day, the only BIT.TRIP games which I have finished are RUNNER, Runner2, and FLUX. I never even finished BEAT (or I never beat BEAT, seewhatIdidthere?), the one that started it all and made me fall in love! What is wrong with me?! In a few cases I have come pretty close to beating the games (BEAT and VOID), while in others, not so much (CORE and FATE.) But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Basically, I love these games, but I am terrible at them and I should feel ashamed of myself.
BEAT is so awesome. So awesome that I never finished it.
SimCity (SNES) - Failed At: Seven Digit Figures
I started playing SimCity at my cousin's house (on his PC) and quickly fell in love. It became one of the first games that I bought on the SNES and I played the heck out of it. If the Super Nintendo tracked play times for games like modern consoles do, SimCity would surely be at or near the top for me. In part because I played it a lot, of course, but also because even at the fastest pace the in-game time moved so slow in that game. I would often leave it on overnight just to see what my city would look like the next morning. Anyway, you can't really "beat" SimCity, but you know what you can do? Get a population of 1,000,000 citizens. I had always heard that if you hit 1,000,000 you got something special. Is this even true? I have no idea, because I never hit that mark! It was always my goal, and I did whatever I could to reach it, including using maps with no water for more building space and using the weird cheat that got you tons of money, among other things. All of it to no avail. The closest that I ever came to my goal was around 900,000. I will never know what, if anything, you get by getting 1,000,000 citizens.
That is an awful lot of big buildings there. HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS?!
Super Ghouls ĎN Ghosts (SNES) - Failed At: Using That Dumb Bracelet
I guess I shouldnít feel too bad about never finishing a game that is legendary for its toughness. But I do feel bad about how and why I never finished it. Itís that stupid f-ing bracelet. How on Earth do those of you who have finished the game use it? It makes the game nearly unplayable. For the uninitiated, Super Ghouls ĎN Ghosts is super tough Ďn stuff in large part because it plays like a Mega Man / shooter game with tons of projectiles flying around, yet the health works more like a Mario / platformer game where you can only get hit a few times before you die and have to start over from the last of the not so liberally placed checkpoints. Also the jumping sucks. Also you have to play through the whole game twice before you can fight the final boss. Also, during the second time through, you have to fight the final mini-boss using this crappy bracelet weapon that only shoots like an inch in front of your character. Ok I am exaggerating a bit, it goes more than an inch, but it doesnít shoot very far, which means you have to get up super close to him, which means, if you are me, you constantly die. Actually, you know what? Iím not ashamed that I never finished Super Ghouls ĎN Ghosts. This game can go to hell.
I never finished Ghosts 'N Goblins on the NES either.
We can all basically agree that the horrible bracelet is horrible. RIGHT?
Tecmo Super Bowl (SNES) - Failed At: That Very Important Thing in the Name of the Game
I donít know if Tecmo Super Bowl is necessarily my greatest video game failure, but it is certainly one of my most frustrating ones. You see, I have never won the thing which makes up two-thirds of the name of the game aka the Super Bowl. That would be fine if I just sucked at the game and never got anywhere near the Super Bowl. But that has not been the case. I have been there several times, and failed miserably each and every one of them. My brother and cousins and I have played through many seasons of this game. Pretty much every season I would be the front-runner coming into the play-offs, finishing the year with the best record of any team. Sometimes I would choke hard in the early stages of the playoffs. Usually, however, I would make it all the way to the Super Bowl. And then choke hard. Every. Single. Time. My brother won it once. I think one or two of my cousins did. Just not the person who dominated every single season we played, aka me. Mind you, sometimes it felt like the game was actively working against me, having my players just constantly fumble the ball and such.
Later I started playing Madden with my cousins and won the Super Bowl in my very first season. Bah.
I need to play more Pushmo World. Problem is I only have the bonus levels left at this point I think and Pushmo turns from a relaxing game to a frustrating one when that's the case (although satisfying when you finally get one done).
I stand by the Bracelet as a great weapon for the daring man who confronts his foes head on. So much damage up close. But of course, the only enemy where it's necessary is impossible to get close to...
If I remember right, I made it pretty far into the Bonus puzzles in Pushmo and got stuck on a few tough ones as well. It's so easy until it isn't.
Man, to heck with Ghosts and Ghouls n' Goblins n' Whatever. That stupid series and its incessant need to make players play through the game twice for its ending. I never liked 'em. None of 'em! Like you said, it's got the projectile craziness of Mega Man mixed with the stiffness of Castlevania and the life/checkpoint system of Mario?? Screw that. I too managed to get to the end of the game with the bracelet in Super, and could not beat it. This list brought back all sorts of memories.
However, if there's one thing you should take from my post, it's GO FINISH PUNCH-OUT WII. In fact, start it over and make your way through. I love shooting through this game once or twice a year these days. It's the very definition of short and sweet, and always a pleasure to revisit.
@chrisbg99 Yeah I recently played through on VC, was thinking hey with save states I can finally do this! Got all the way to the end part and just couldn't make it happen.
I even tried slightly cheating even though I hate cheating, as #10 should make evident. Basically I set a VC save state right at the start of the mini-boss fight. My plan was to just practice on him a bit, get good at fighting him, then go back to the beginning of the stage and do it right. But even with the save state I kept losing horribly. There were a few times when I thought I was doing ok but he seems to have a ton of health. Maybe I just need to get up closer with the bracelet? It is more powerful the closer that you get, right? But anytime I try to leave that lower part I die fast.
Anyway, so I played him for like an hour or so that way and never even beat him once, let alone got good enough to start from the beginning of the stage and beat him in the non-cheating sequence. Haven't really gone back since.
It's funny, I played all the way through Castlevania for the first time a couple years ago, and it was definitely hard, but manageable. Probably took me less than two hours to get to Dracula. Actually beating Dracula though... that was, like, another two hours on top of that. Absolutely could not figure out his attack pattern. Thanks to save states I was able to quit in his stage and then come back the next day to try again... thankfully they don't make you go through the entire final stage in that game every time you die.
If you're talking about the queen of monsters in Final Fantasy IV (II), the one that uses Cure 3 and Cure 4 on herself, it's actually pretty easy once you know the trick, but might actually be impossible if you don't. The trick is to use the spell Wall (Reflect in later releases) on her, which will then bounce her cures off her and onto one of your members. If you didn't have that spell when you got there then yeah, you're stuck. Maybe now after all these years you can go back and beat it!
There is no reward for reaching 1,000,000 population in SimCity... because it's impossible to do without cheats/hacks. I think the record high score for playing on the actual SNES is a little over 800,000. The last reward you get is a golden Mario statue at 500,000. The screenshot you have there looks like it was taken from an emulator.
You do realize that with number 9, once Rosa learned Wall the fight was a joke. Cast Wall on Queen Asura, so every time she cast a cure or life spell on herself, it would reflect and hit your party members instead. Strike, wait for a heal, then strike again.