Yesterday, we had a look at some of the hardest video game bosses that we had ever encountered. Today, I’m going to have a look back at certain video games that were just plain old mindf***s towards gamers, titles that had a great premise and then proceeded to do everything in its power to convince me to book into anger management classes.
The following four games are old-school experiences that made me want to turn my controller into a batarang.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Turtle power! Back in the day, you couldn’t go five steps without running into a child that was screaming cowabunga while wearing green pyjamas, as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were everywhere.
Comics,Cartoons, movies and horrible food were just a few pieces of the giant merchandising wing that made up the TMNT franchise, with a video game naturally following suit. Except that specific game on the NES was the spawn of Satan.
Once again, Shredder (Who I secretly worshipped) is out to bring the pain down on the Turtles, and of course, only their ninjutsu can save the day. While TMNT started out as a straight-forward platformer and beat ‘em up, it quickly devolved into a game that resembled the inside of Charlie Sheens’ mind, as all hell just broke loose.
Enemies were everywhere, Raphael and Michelangelo were absolutely useless thanks to their short range attacks and the stages were littered with more game bugs than a beta version of Skyrim.
And then you got to that damn,er, dam. If Jigsaw wanted to create an unholy terror on a budget, strapping a victim to that level and forcing them to complete would drive them to suicide. It’s an unholy mess of mazes and impossible to avoid obstacles, while a timer above your head counts down towards your doom.
Turtle-power my ass, this was the game that made me want to kick an actual turtle in real life.
Of course, with the Turtles pretty much cornering the market on Saturday morning cartoons featuring anthropomorphic talking animals, a few competitors would try and sneak in along the way.
Battletoads was one such almost-rival, as the exploits of a couple of teenagers morphed into muscular toads that were named after skin infections also proved to be a minor hit with the kids. But besides that terrible cartoon and cardboard cereal, they’re more well-known for a game that caused anyone who played to run out into the streets screaming after reaching a certain level.
Sure, the game was ambitious, challenging and diverse. But then as you went further into it, it was like a descent into madness. While the stages threw everything that it possibly could at a player, it was that hover-bike sequence in particular that really scarred a generation of kids.
Here’s how it played out. Players had to jump and dodge a sequence of obstacles coming towards them, taking care not to crash or it was all over and they had to restart. Sounds fair, doesn’t it?
Except the timing required to do so bordered on near-impossible. There’s a 108 obstacles in that particular segment, and they have to be cleared in two minutes, so you can imagine how fast they were zipping past a player. And the timing and reflex requirements needed to clear them border on god-like, or OCD.
Trying to do that sequence a couple of times is just plain frustration and madness. Afterwards, it’s just child abuse in the form of a video game.
If ninja turtles were pure distilled coolness, then actual human ninjas were an expensive, fancier version of said awesomeness. The Japanese knew this, and proceeded to craft Ninja Gaiden, one of the biggest teases that the video game industry has ever produced.
It’s hard for anyone to say that Ninja Gaiden was not full of great ideas. From the impressive opening sequence, to the fluid gameplay and well-written story, which was unheard of at the time, Ninja Gaiden had a lot going for it. But from that point on, the game took a turn into Hellraiser levels of difficulty.
Imagine if every single obstacle possible could be thrown at a gamer, with the only option of saving your diminishing health bar being to jump over them. And then one of those accursed birds manages to hit you out of nowhere, sending you plummeting back into the swords and tentacles below.
No matter where you jumped, there was always something there to propel you back to square one, completely ruining all the progress made so far. Combined with the fact that the stages resembled a training room out of the Bat-cave, and players would not only have to perform constant, perfectly-timed jumps, but they’d have to land it better than olympic class gymnast as well, as even the slightest of missteps would result in a quick death-plummet.
If Michael Dudikoff dug a grave for ninja popularity with his terrible series of films, then Ninja Gaiden and its absurd difficulty was the title that Spartan-kicked the genre into the six foot deep pit, leaving it to wallow for years before it could be successfully resurrected.
Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training
How can a simple brain-training game cause so much hate to boil up inside of a person? Its easy, when the pudgy-faced mascot that adorns the cover and game in question does its very best to make you look more retarded than a WWE fan who believes that the show is real.
It’s not as if the hand-writing software is inadequate, but when Dr Kawashima asks you what 4+4 is and your answer translates into “Horse-cock”, you know that that floating head of his is trolling you.
Try and answer a simple question that he poses, and the lunatic will twist your words and question your sexual orientation, mocking you with derisive laughter, something that I didn’t even know that the developers had programmed into him.
Now, whether my particular copy is possessed by a flamebait troll or not, Dr Kawashima is still an absolute bastard, infecting many other titles and platforms. If Dr Kawashima had to rate my brain age today, he’d be shocked to find how much hate can still be retained after a thousand years of merciless trolling.
Do you remember a specific game that caused you mental anguish? Comment below and let us know which one it was.
Last Updated: February 8, 2012