At present, we’ve already had two sets of inductions into our very own GamerSushi Hall of Fame: one for solo campaign levels as well as multiplayer maps. When I wrote those, I was sure to note that they were by no means a final list, and that we would be adding plenty of new groups in with them. That’s why I’m here today to bring a new set of candidates, but with a bit of a twist: The Video Game Level Hall of Shame.
This wing of the Hall of Fame is devoted to those game levels which are masochistic in their design, ever demanding more skill from us, more hours and frustration and yes, even blood sacrifices in order to add their notches to our belts. The Video Game Level Hall of Shame is reserved for those notorious offenders that made us collectively throw our controllers in frustration and disdain, scorning the forges that could create such misery in video game form.
Allow me to display the first inductees:
Halo 3: Cortana
Along with the dreaded Library from Halo: CE, Cortana seems to be one of the more universally deplored levels in Halo fandom. I don’t think it’s any coincidence at all that both are Flood stages which require you to navigate through what seems to be and endless maze of corridors with a bit of back-tracking to boot.
Cortana to me seemed to be a gigantic middle finger to Halo fans far and wide when it asked you to completely run back to the starting point of the level, this time with an even worse barrage of Flood waiting for you as you exit Cortana’s spa chamber, or whatever it was. That opening hall with the needle shooting Flood nearly drove me to alcoholism. Not really, but it was hard, man.
T2: The Arcade Game: Assault on Skynet
There were many games that involved Terminators made in the 90’s, but only one of them was not complete garbage. That was the Terminator 2: Judgment Day arcade game, which was eventually ported over to the 16-bit consoles as well. If you’re unaware, this was a light gun game that took you (sort of) through the story of Terminator 2.
However, not many people got to experience past the third level, which had you defending a beat up red truck that was on its way to destroy Skynet. Why the human resistance didn’t just get themselves a tank is beyond me, because defending this truck is a total pain in the ass. Ask almost anybody that played this game, and they’ll tell you that it was next to impossible to keep the HKs and their red balloon missiles off of it, almost always ending in a game over.
BattleToads: Turbo Tunnel
Oh man, BattleToads. Welcome to one of the hardest games ever created, and easily the hardest game on the original NES. While nearly any single level past the first could have made this list, I think people most especially remember the hover bike level. With all of its enemy/barrier dodging, its ridiculous speeds and its completely unforgiving nature, this level was just a bear’s ass to play.
Really, I don’t have a whole lot of other words for this one. You just have to see it to grasp its magnitude.
As one of the best console FPS games of all time, Goldeneye is going to have multiple entries into the hall of fame across different categories. To me, one of the coolest features about the game was the rewards system, which encouraged players to beat levels on difficulty settings or in certain time limits in order to unlock all kinds of goodies for future playthroughs. However, the hardest cheat to unlock came from Aztec.
I’m not sure if I can count on more than one hand the amount of people I’ve met that beat this last Goldeneye level on the dreaded 00 difficulty setting. I know that I certainly never did it. It’s hard to quantify exactly what it was about this level that made it so maddening. I feel like the enemies all aimed better and were much smarter than any of the enemies in the game. You regularly walk into ambushes and situations where they all but kill you in a few shots. There’s also not much body armor/health to be found. It’s just hard. You won’t understand unless you’ve played it, I’m afraid. I think I saw those yellow-suited guards for much of my young life, always in my nightmares.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Water Dam
The first TMNT game on the NES sent me into one of my first fanboy frenzies, as I was a lover of all things related to turtles that were both ninjas and teenagers. I remember getting the game and loving how exciting it was to play as each of my favorite characters, and particularly loved driving around the city in the Turtle Van. But then, I got to the Water Dam.
If you’ve played this game, you remember the Water Dam. Allow me to set the scene. You have less than 3 minutes to disarm a group of bombs that are wired to blow up under water. It gets worse. You see, there are these bastard electric shocking tendrils hanging around everywhere, ready to fry your turtle ass if you so much as make the slightest mistake. On top of that, there are small electrical fields, and even a turning wheel thing at one point all slowing you down. Even at your fastest possible speed, you can only just barely make it.
How the foot clan got in there to plant the bombs in the first place remains a mystery. For crying out loud, I’m a turtle that is also a ninja, and I can’t swim around and survive these things long enough to disarm them, how did you even plant it?!
To see this misery, watch the Water Dam level yourself.
As it was before, this is by no means a definitive list of these levels. So what do you guys think? Did you play any of these games? Feel free to submit your own levels for future consideration in the comments.