For as fun as every game could be, there’s always one specific level or section that spoils your enjoyment. So while certain classics can be joyfully reminisced about, there’s always that one level (or two) that tilts you to this day. Let’s take a look at 15 such games that had these kinds levels.
GoldenEye 007 – Protect Natalya
Escort missions are always a highway to misery but GoldenEye 007 made escorting Natalya resemble Bond’s legendary car roll in Casino Royale. First, if you get too far ahead – like in the Jungle – some random enemies might pick her off. She’s constantly in the line of your fire, which makes for accidental kills more often than you’d think. The least Rare could have done was make Natalya somewhat durable but alas, it didn’t.
Metal Gear Solid 2 – Escorting Emma
This is the second and last escort mission on this list, we promise. But it’s from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and involves Emma Emmerich. Not only are you trying to escort her past enemy soldiers but even have to hold her hand and help her cross water. Yes, we get that she’s under a lot of stress but it’s not Emma we blame. No, we blame director Hideo Kojima who, after that whole ordeal, just had Vamp come in and kill her anyway. Thanks pal.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Krystal’s Spirit Battle
Having personally suffered through this particular Spirit Battle and beating it through sheer luck, I can attest to its insanity. Imagine battling Falco and Fox, two fairly strong characters, on top of the Greatfox. There’s already the fear of being launched off or hit by random Arwings flying by. Now throw in Krystal who fights alongside the two and can freeze you endlessly. It’s a rough battle because there’s so much working against you at any given time.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Jet Ski Levels
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is a fantastic game that kick-started an even better series. That being said, those jet ski sections were less than fantastic. Like, a lot less. Though short, you’ll still have to deal with baddies, maneuvering the jet ski, explosives and shooting if you have enough sanity left. It doesn’t bring down the game as much as stick out sorely but it’s still annoying.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – The High Road
The High Road is a level that appears in the latter half of Crash Bandicoot 1. While indications of a higher difficulty materialized here and there, this level cranked it up to 11. The High Road has tough jumps that require precise landing – failure to do so results in death. While the enemies do make it that much more annoying, it’s the jumps – every one of them seems like a leap of faith, a roll of the dice, ending mostly with your death.
Hitman (2016) – Freedom Fighters
Freedom Fighters in Episode 5 – Colorado is nearly the lowest rated among all of the main missions for Hitman (2016). It’s not hard to see why. Usually, you’re a ghost in these diverse sandbox levels, only really inviting hostility at your discretion. Freedom Fighters, however, makes the entire level’s NPCs hostile from the get-go and everyone has a weapon. There also four targets to take down which makes for some tedious running around. To top it off, the level just wasn’t that interesting. While not game-breakingly awful, it definitely was a poorer showing than the previous Episode in Bangkok.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – Supply Lines
There’s a special place in Hell for GTA flying missions and while Supply Lines from San Andreas isn’t the first, it’s arguably the most infamous. Players remote control a plane and target four different vehicles in this optional mission. Now, keep in mind that the controls are awful. That would be bad enough. But you also have to deal with a low amount of fuel (later game versions increased it), making this mission doubly frustrating. It’s optional, sure, but still the worst.
Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes – Mission 20
You probably haven’t heard of Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes but the fact that it’s a collectible card game for mobiles from EA shouldn’t be surprising. It’s actually quite fun to play until mission 20 aka A Shadow Falls. This was due to the “Powers to the Plants!” rule which made all Plant heroes an absolute nightmare to deal with. Solar Flare’s beginning rush with relatively basic plants may not seem that bad normally but thanks to the rule, they’re much stronger. Green Shadow just becomes an absolute monster. Thankfully, PopCap saw how unfair this was and nerfed the mission substantially.
Half-Life – Xen
What’s that? Criticizing any aspect of Valve’s Half-Life, an FPS masterpiece? Well, yes, because at the end of the day, Xen is still a thing. In a game with super-polished moments and action, Xen feels a bit rushed. But even then, it’s quite the mess of platforming, especially when compared to the pulse-pounding brilliance of previous chapters like Surface Tension. It also didn’t help that the environments as a whole felt bland, especially given how built up the travel to Xen was.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed – Star Destroyer Takedown
A key part of the game’s marketing, the level to pull down the Star Destroyer in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed remains infamous to this day. It seems easy enough – hold down the analog sticks and just pull it down. Except you have TIE Fighters constantly interrupting, the on-screen prompts are wrong, the sticks need the right inclination…we could go on and that doesn’t include isntances where the level would just glitch out.
Five Nights At Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted – PlushBaby Level
Initially, the PlushBaby dolls don’t seem all that scary. But even so, they quickly become annoying in the Dark Rooms section. It sounds easy enough – activate the flashlight when they’re close and they’ll scurry away. What could go wrong? In no particular order, the PlushBaby dolls can hide behind other toys in the Prize Corner, spawn in a number of different places, and sometimes assault you at once. Hilariously enough, your flashlight’s battery is limited as well and must be used intermittently, lest it run out and require recharging for several harrowing seconds.
Battletoads – Turbo Tunnel
Battletoads is a pretty rad beat ’em up but you wouldn’t know it from all the hate that the Turbo Tunnel sections have gotten. These levels put the toads on hover-bikes and see them moving across the screen at lightning fast speeds, dodging obstacles and hitting jumps. Either could mean instant death especially if your reflexes aren’t up to snuff. While the first Turbo Tunnel isn’t that bad, it has two more versions later that amp up the difficulty even further.
Dead Space – Course Correction and Obliteration Imminent
For as fun and brilliant as Dead Space could be, wrapping Metroidvania-like exploration into survival horror, some sections in Chapter 3 “Course Correction” and Chapter 4 “Obliteration Imminent” stick out. Chapter 3 involves running through a gravity centrifuge. The problem is that if you’re not properly aligned or in cover, it’s easy to get shredded apart by the blades. Then there’s the part in Chapter 4 which involves dodging meteors, except the warnings are unhelpful and the instructions unclear, leading to some frustrating deaths. The worst part is that this leads to the turret section where you must shoot several asteroids down before they hit the ship – another exercise in frustration.
Metal Gear Solid 4 – Tailing the Resistance Fighter
After the chaos and madness of the first two acts, Metal Gear Solid 4’s Act 3 had you performing such harrowing tasks as…tailing a member of the Resistance. No, seriously. Finding him is the easy part – it’s trying to stay hidden and taking out the guards (but don’t kill them or else your target runs away) that make this a pain to traipse through. It also doesn’t help that this section lasts seemingly forever.
Max Payne – Nightmare Levels
Story-wise, the Nightmare levels in Max Payne are kind of cool. We’re taking a deep dive into Max’s psyche after all. However, till this point, there have been heaps of awesome gun battles. What do the Nightmare levels offer? Mazes. Lots of mazes. One particular section involves walking across trails of blood – step a bit off the path and you’ll need to restart. Don’t even get us started on the background score with its screams and crying.