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The Hardest 1st Level Ever


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Show of hands: How many people on their first time playing Q*Bert jumped off the top of the pyramid?

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Just now, mbd39 said:

Bayou Billy is sort of like the Silver Surfer of beat em ups in how it starts so hard.

 

Well the thing is with Silver Surfer, you can pick your levels and they do tell you what level to start with.  SS biggest problem is really how weak your normal shot is.  Once you're upgraded within the first 2 levels, you can basically 1CC it, if you know a few of the tricky areas.  I cant say the same for other space shooters I own. Didn't you beat Recca?   

With Bayou, you're FORCED to play that one stage.  You can't even try the rest until that one is beat.  Too bad cuz Bayou really is a great game, I have no idea why they needed to make it so much harder than Mad City.

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12 minutes ago, guitarzombie said:

Well the thing is with Silver Surfer, you can pick your levels and they do tell you what level to start with.  SS biggest problem is really how weak your normal shot is.  Once you're upgraded within the first 2 levels, you can basically 1CC it, if you know a few of the tricky areas.  I cant say the same for other space shooters I own. Didn't you beat Recca?   

With Bayou, you're FORCED to play that one stage.  You can't even try the rest until that one is beat.  Too bad cuz Bayou really is a great game, I have no idea why they needed to make it so much harder than Mad City.

I love Bayou Billy. Its high difficulty makes it pretty exhausting to beat. I said in the "complete every NES game in a year" thread that once a year is enough for that game and it is.

Edited by mbd39
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Been meaning to give Bayou Billy a serious go for a long time now.  Messing around a bit on the first level a few years ago was the adult equivalent of being a kid playing double dragon 3 for the first time... The difficulty was really unforgiving.

Silver Surfer is a game that is very difficult when one is new to it, but all it really takes is a lot of repetition until you get the patterns down + the will to see it through.  A reasonably quick twitch and the ability to improvise don't hurt either.  I also dislike all the hate it gets.  I think it's a great game.

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The first level of Macross Valkyrie is pretty hard imo

There are other games like Vulgarr or Abadox where they are difficult until you get used to it. The first level is still irritating after you get used to it. 

I've managed to get through using one of the characters, but there are two other ships with completly different weapons (good weapons) that I can't get through the first level with.

Edited by Californication
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1 hour ago, mbd39 said:

I love Bayou Billy. Its high difficulty makes it pretty exhausting to beat. I said in the "complete every NES game in a year" thread that once a year is enough for that game and it is.

I remember beating Bayou a while ago.  To me its one of those games that feels like it was designed to be beaten within a few playthrus but the difficulty ramp up in the US release makes it feel like every part of it has to be memorized (like who drops the health, what enemies will have weapons) or parts exploited.  IIRC the toughest part WAS the beginning and the driving/shooting stages weren't that bad.  

Shooters def require memorization, along with fast twitch, but when you're fully powered up in SS, you basically just have to remember certain parts to just not die cuz you kill everything so quickly before it even has a chance.  Im telling you, the game would not be that bad if you didn't start so weak.  In fact, I think the game is practically unbeatable on one of the last stages because if you die, there arent enough power ups for you to finish as the enemies take more hits than you can fire off.  I think it was the one with all the ghosts and top hats.  Again when you know where all these things are, you can just breeze right thru it.  Play thru it first with a turbo controller.

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16 hours ago, TDIRunner said:

I won't claim it's the hardest level ever, but one that is surprisingly difficult is the first level of Tomb Raider II.  This level either assumes that you mastered the original game, or spent a ton of time in the training stage at Laura's Home.  The first level does not mess around and definitely doesn't qualify as a "training" level.  

 

TR ramps up in difficulty very quickly, but I didn't think the first level was too bad. Although, by the time you get to the third or fourth level, it's way harder than anything in the first game. Possibly a case of the game being harder because they changed the sequel to let you save anywhere on the PS1 version.

I'd say TR3's first level is harder. Actually, level two of TR3 is probably the hardest level in that game. When you take into account the limited save system, TR's difficulty is quite insane...

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Administrator · Posted

I've not played it but I've read that DOOM Eternal starts basically assuming you've beaten all of DOOM 2016, and immediately ramps up the difficulty compared to the toughest content in its predecessor. 

So if you play DOOM Eternal WITHOUT playing DOOM 2016, and do so on the hardest difficulty, I imagine that'd be quite the challenge. 

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2 hours ago, guitarzombie said:

Shooters def require memorization, along with fast twitch, but when you're fully powered up in SS, you basically just have to remember certain parts to just not die cuz you kill everything so quickly before it even has a chance.  Im telling you, the game would not be that bad if you didn't start so weak. 

2 hours ago, guitarzombie said:

In fact, I think the game is practically unbeatable on one of the last stages because if you die, there arent enough power ups for you to finish as the enemies take more hits than you can fire off.

  I think it was the one with all the ghosts and top hats. 

Basically agree with everything here but this one part.  If I have it right you're referring to the 3rd stage of "Mephisto" which is the level that starts out with the ghosts in stage 1.  That third stage of Mephisto is a pain if you die and loose your power-ups, but is definitely possible from square one.  It's the one that has all the squiggly things that line up more or less from top to bottom and shoot at you.  The trick is to get as close up to them (toward the right of the screen) as safely possible just as they materialize and shoot as fast as possible in order to take out at least a couple right away in each wave in order to make a hole for surfer to pass through without being hit.  Total pain, but doable.  A lot of it is figuring how to get through all bare bones like this in any given stage when you happen to die and lose those power-ups.

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7 hours ago, scaryice said:

Possibly a case of the game being harder because they changed the sequel to let you save anywhere on the PS1 version.

 

The PC version of the original game allowed you to save anywhere, so I don't think that's the reason.  I think the game developers simply treated it the same way the developers treated the Japanese version of SMB2.  They only expected seasoned veterans of the original to play it, and therefore, no reason to include simple "trainer" levels in the beginning.  

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8 hours ago, Gloves said:

I've not played it but I've read that DOOM Eternal starts basically assuming you've beaten all of DOOM 2016, and immediately ramps up the difficulty compared to the toughest content in its predecessor. 

So if you play DOOM Eternal WITHOUT playing DOOM 2016, and do so on the hardest difficulty, I imagine that'd be quite the challenge. 

I can attest that the highest difficulties in both of the recent DOOM games are brutally difficult, having played both on said difficulties, so... yeah, I'd say jumping right in to Eternal without having any knowledge of what the developers assume the players learned with 2016 on Ultra-Nightmare difficulty, the highest?

That would be pretty damn brutal, haha. I haven't kept up with this thread so I don't know what other people have said, but assuming all those conditions are met, and especially if the player isn't particularly good at or familiar with FPS games, that might be a top contender in terms of difficulty honestly, especially since Ultra-Nightmare removes all checkpoints in the game, meaning if you die once at any point in the game, you have to start over from the very beginning.

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13 hours ago, Estil said:

OMG, I remember having Ikari Warriors back when I was a kid and despite all my best efforts I couldn't even get close to getting past even the first level (I honestly wondered if the level ever ended)...this was of course early-mid 90s (pre-Internet era) loooooong before I knew about the ABBA code...you know the one that gives you gives you gives you more lives after dying...won't that code help me chase the game over away? 😄 

 

I totally agree on Ikari Warriors. Makes me wonder if anyone ever got through it without the code.

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2 hours ago, ZeldaFreak said:

I can attest that the highest difficulties in both of the recent DOOM games are brutally difficult, having played both on said difficulties, so... yeah, I'd say jumping right in to Eternal without having any knowledge of what the developers assume the players learned with 2016 on Ultra-Nightmare difficulty, the highest?

That would be pretty damn brutal, haha. I haven't kept up with this thread so I don't know what other people have said, but assuming all those conditions are met, and especially if the player isn't particularly good at or familiar with FPS games, that might be a top contender in terms of difficulty honestly, especially since Ultra-Nightmare removes all checkpoints in the game, meaning if you die once at any point in the game, you have to start over from the very beginning.

2016 and Eternal at the upper difficulties is certainly aimed squarely at FPS masochists. And it certainly benefits someone playing Eternal to have played through 2016. I will say, 2016 on Nightmare difficulty is toughest in the first 2-3 levels ironically enough, simply because your arsenal is limited. If you know the secret early weapon pick-ups, the later stages are actually not all that hard. You'll still die at times, of course, but it feels like you're slowly overtaking the enemies in terms of power-level (the feeling of empowerment being oh-so-sweet).

Eternal on Nightmare is pretty damn brutal all the way through, although I think it ramps up fairly consistently, as opposed to 2016's front-loaded challenge. id clearly learned from 2016 and figured out how to keep the player from getting too ridiculous, mainly by really restricting your ammo capacity, thus forcing you to constantly switch weapons.

And screw Ultra-Nightmare. I ain't got no time for that nonsense.

But yeah, if someone who wasn't a savvy FPS player tried jumping into Eternal on Nightmare (or even Ultra-Violence), I imagine they'd have a really rough time even finishing the first stage (isn't there a couple of Arachnotrons in Level 1?). Some of the enemy types can be really aggressive and it doesn't take much to put the player in the ground. The only saving grace is the rather generous checkpoint system.

Edited by Webhead123
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2 minutes ago, Webhead123 said:

And screw Ultra-Nightmare. I ain't got no time for that nonsense.

Yeah, notice how I said I've played them on both difficulties, but not beaten, haha. I've beaten both on Nightmare, but the only reason I even bothered with ultra-nightmare in Eternal is because they decided to punish completionists like me by giving players an actual reward for completing the game on ultra-nightmare, unlike the previous game, and on PC there's a very convenient workaround for ultra-nightmare's lack of checkpoints involving manipulating the save file, haha. Losing a ton of progress due to one small mistake is one of the only things that truly pisses me off when it comes to games, so I didn't feel even remotely bad for cheating the system a bit with that one. Normally difficulties like that where it's just "Same as previous difficulty but we couldn't think of any way to make it harder so no checkpoints I guess" I avoid like the plague, but like I said, they decided to assign an actual reward to it, so if they're gonna be cheap then I can be cheap too, damnit! Haha.

In my defense though, I did only have a couple deaths on my ultra-nightmare run of the base game, and the DLC which is significantly more difficult in every way I actually survived all the way up until the final boss before dying, so I'd consider that close enough, hahaha.

With all that said, I did enjoy the experience of playing both games on regular Nightmare. Really tested me and kicked my skill with those games in to shape, but the fairly lenient checkpoints kept it feeling fair regardless of the brutal difficulty.

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5 hours ago, CasualCart said:

They definitely wouldn't qualify as having the hardest first-levels ever, but arcade-style games with unconventional controls can often seem insurmountable on the first attempt. Clu Clu Land and Q*Bert are prime offenders there.

-CasualCart

Show of hands: How many people on their first time playing Q*Bert jumped off the top of the pyramid?

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2 minutes ago, rdrunner said:

Show of hands: How many people on their first time playing Q*Bert jumped off the top of the pyramid?

Whee Whipper-Snapper PII did not even possess such a clue as to attempt jumping off the top the first time.  I recall being utterly confused as to the meaning of these other things that were jumping around the cube-pyramid with me and feeling like there was no where to go...

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18 hours ago, ThePhleo said:

Any bullethell SHMUP for a first timer to the genre.

I actually struggle to think of any bullet hell games with particularly difficult first stages, outside of Futari's Ultra mode 🙂.

In the case of Cave games, they almost always follow the same structure, where Stage 1 will ease you very slowly into the game, allowing players to practice the mechanics with little risk, and then Stage 2 is where the game actively tries to kill you and probably kill most beginners on their first game, and Stage 3 being the first point where you really need to sit down and practice specific sections to have a chance of consistently surviving.

You typically get enough extra lives and bombs to survive quite a bit into any of these games even if you're doing really poorly.

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