5 Games That Almost Made Me Rage Quit – Hand me that strategy guide.

I’ve been playing games for a pretty long time.  I remember playing a lot of games on our BBC micro, using the old 5 1/4″ disc drive.  I remember The Philosopher’s Quest (although never getting very far due to being so young when I tried it) and Galaxians being loaded up more than a few times.  I received a NES for my 7th birthday which still works to this day.  I think my point is that I’ve, for better or worse, played a lot of games.  I feel I’m fairly good at them and can pick up the rules and do fairly well in most pretty quickly.  Some though…some are just a little too much.  This week I’m listing 5 games that were I found so difficult that I almost gave up.  I made it through eventually, but it was a slog at times.

Broken Controller
I’ve never quite gone this far, but it’s come pretty close.

Usual rules!  Games I’ve played, one game per series.  I must have had a problem finishing it, wanted to give up but eventually came back to it to finish, even if I had to use a guide to help!  On with the list.  A list of failure and redemption if you will!

Metal Gear Rising

Metal Gear Rising Logo
Metal Gear Rising (2013)

Starting with, to my recollection, the most recent game I wanted to give up on thanks to its difficulty.  The thing is, it wasn’t even that hard really.  At its heart, this is a third person brawler/character action game.  You would use your sword as cyborg Raiden to cut your way through enemies, using your ability to slow down time to slice up enemy robots, stealing taking their energy to restore your health.  There was also, for defence, a parrying system…

Metal Gear Rising Blade Wolf
That’s him! That’s the guy! On the right! Screw that guy.

Good god that parrying.  You could deflect an enemy attack with a well timed move to the analogue stick along with a button press.  There was even a prompt on the screen to hint at the direction you should move the analogue stick.  I reached one of the earliest bosses, Blade Wolf; a robot dog with a chainsaw on its tail (which is pretty cool all things considered).  Put simply, if you couldn’t parry you wouldn’t have a hope.  I tried this boss repeatedly for several hours before giving up and walking away.  A few days later I decided I would give it one more go before retiring it completely.  It took a few more goes, but somehow the timing for parrying came to me.  Maybe it was practice, maybe it was going away and coming back later.  Whatever it was, I’m glad I didn’t give up on this, it turned into a hell of a game, full of thrilling moments and absurd bosses.  That’s Metal Gear for you though.  NANOMACHINES, SON!

UFO: Enemy Unknown

UFO Enemy Unknown
UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994)

Don’t know this one?  You might do, but by a different name being as this was the European title for the game.  Elsewhere it was known as X-COM: UFO Defense and I bet you recognise that name.  The return of the XCOM series is well known in gaming as something of a major success.  I count the remakes among my favourite games, and I regularly return to them for fresh playthroughs.  The original game was a different story though.  It was so hard.  Ridiculously so.  The fact that I hadn’t even reached teenager status when I first played it may suggest that I wasn’t ready for it, but I disagree.  It was just plain difficult.

UFO Enemy Unknown
Mmmm, look at those classic graphics. And that heap of buttons for controlling the game…

This was the first game of its type that I had played, but i had enough of an idea of how to play it.  The turn based missions anyway.  I would normally do reasonably well at those, but on the global level I didn’t know what I was doing, what to research, what to build, where to build bases.  Most of the time it ended up a mess.  But I played games of it over and over for a long time.  I’m pretty sure I gave up and came back time and time again.  Maybe it was through dumb luck, maybe through enough experience but one day I managed to make it to Mars and finish the game…on easy mode.  I never went back to try anything harder than that.  Thankfully I seem to be much better at the remakes.  Either that or they’re easier.

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (1990)

Yes you read that right.  In the UK it was called Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles.  The TV show too.  There was a time in which anything related to ninjas was considered to be a risk of corrupting the youth of the country.  Anyway, this game was one part side scrolling brawler, one part top down exploration game.  You could travel about the over world, fight enemies, then go into a building or sewer where the screen would switch to side scrolling.  All 4 turtles could be played, each with their own advantages.  These also doubled as your lives, and when a turtle was defeated, you couldn’t play as him again unless you found them in a level and rescued them.  It was a rather good game for its time, with plenty of variety, although the enemies were a bizarre mish mash of different creations that seemed unrelated to the Turtles series as a whole.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer April
One of the earliest levels, featuring Beebop and Rocksteady capturing April.

If you ever played this game, you know where I’m going with this.  That damn dam level (see what I did there?) was near impossible.  The idea was there were 8 bombs underwater, and you had to swim around and disarm them all within a time limit.  A very, very strict time limit.  That time limit, combined with floaty swimming controls and it being very easy to die meant that this was the end of my journey one more than one occasion.  I was fairly young at the time, but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t finish this game until well over a year of starting it.  I don’t remember the specific point at which I somehow managed to get through it, but it happened.  I remember the next tricky point being fighting the Technodrome, which wasn’t all that difficult by comparison simply by virtue of the fact that you could take your time.  Underwater levels are regularly some of the worst in any game.  Please don’t stack dime limits and instant deaths on top developers.

Dark Souls

Dark Souls
Dark Souls (2011)

Well obviously at least one of these games would be in here.  This was the first game in the series I played, I had been looking forward to it for a while and was excited to have a go at it thinking “This era of ‘hard’ game won’t be that tough for me”.  How wrong I was.  This was punishing to say the least.  I like a good hack and slash game, which I suppose this technically is, but I wasn’t prepared for just how slow and methodical you had to be.

Ornstein and Smough
No. NO! I’m not doing it again. Absolutely not!

Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough.  If you’ve played this you know exactly what I mean.  Taking on one boss in this series is often tough enough, but two at a time was near impossible.  Couple that with the fact that once one is defeated, the other becomes considerably tougher and you end up with a recipe for rage quit.  I hammered away at these two constantly over the course of several days before vowing to never go back.  That didn’t last though, this game has a way of drawing you back for another suicidal run.  I decided to swallow my pride and summon a player to help me and managed to just eke out the victory about a week after first meeting these two beasts.  By comparison, everything after here was pretty simple!  Although Bloodborne certainly had its moments…


Ikaruga (2001)

This is a bullet hell shooter.  If you aren’t familiar with that term, it means a top down/side scrolling game in which you fly a ship along, shooting down enemy ships.  Think Gradius, R-Type or 1942.  Then add a thousand bullets on the screen all at once.  Ikaruga does something to give you a form of defence other than shooting enemies down.  You can change the colour of your ship between blue and red.  When blue you are immune to blue bullets (in fact, they charge up your super weapon when collected) but vulnerable to red, and vice versa.  An excellent form of protection, but…

Ikaruga Bullet Hell
This is what you have to deal with during a boss fight!

This is absolutely bananas.  There are so many bullets on screen at once!  Just so many!  Look again!  Have another look!  Switching between colours at exactly the right moment, weaving between shots, and managing to hit the target is near impossible at times.  I recall getting through the first 3 stages before getting utterly destroyed on the fourth over and over before giving up.  Months later I came back, wanting to play a shooter of this style.  After a few false starts I managed to make a full run through, from start to finish.  I’m not sure if it was luck, or some sort of moment of Zen, but I managed to make it through.  As it turned out, the bosses will retreat after a while, meaning you didn’t have to actually destroy them.  With that pressure off, this suddenly became a lot more manageable.

Some honourable mentions as ever!  FTL was very difficult, but being short meant having a couple of failures meant that having another couple of games was no huge time commitment.  Still though, after I started seeing the same events crop up I decided to leave it for a while.  I had another go at it one day and managed to get through after a couple of goes.  I feel that having a lucky run of events is a big part of winning this game.  Ninja Gaiden 2 is a bit of a cheat for me, as I technically didn’t finish it.  I put it to one side after finding it just far too hard to manage, but came back to it one day.  I managed to get a fair way through before the game kept crashing at the same point.  I think the disc was damaged and it was far too late to take the game back.  I think I might have been able to beat this if not for that!

And that’s the list!  Do you have any to add that you managed to beat after constant failure?  Let me know about your successes!

21 thoughts on “5 Games That Almost Made Me Rage Quit – Hand me that strategy guide.

  1. Ugh that Turtles game. My brother played that, and yeah, it was an awkward mishmash of genres. That would’ve been fine except for how impossible it was. I remember he did get to the gigantic Mouser, and I definitely remember that underwater part. Absolutely awful. He never beat it, and I didn’t play it long enough to even have a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I rage-quit Metal Gear Rising before I even started it, because at the time it was released I was very upset that they changed the original concept to one that I thought didn’t make sense in regards to Raiden’s character arc (thus confirming my nerd status). Whenever I see it in the store, I think I should pick up a copy and at least *try* it. I’ve yet to play Demon’s Souls (glares at to-play pile), but from what I’ve heard I may acquire a second controller just in case!

    I just talked about this on cary’s page, but Skyward Sword… Can you believe it? Between the Silent Realms or Hushed Realms or whatever the annoying You-Can’t-Use-Your-Weapons Realms were called, and the final boss battle (admittedly, I had put the game away for a long time and forgot half the controls and attacks I could use)… my Wiimote was getting slammed into the couch quite a bit before I beat the game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Metal Gear Rising is brilliant if you can get past the parrying system. It’s genuinely a brilliant character action game. It doesn’t seem to fit into the Metal Gear universe at all, but if you put that aside it’s great fun. I didn’t play Skyward Sword, I think my love affair with the Wii had passed by that point and I gave the console to a friend of mine. I missed out on some gems, I don’t think Skyward Sword was one I’d have enjoyed.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re right; I’ll have to get past the story part and just pick up a copy.

        To be completely honest, Skyward Sword definitely had its positive qualities. The storyline was well-executed and the overall premise was interesting, the dungeon puzzles were great, and some of the combat concepts were unique. But unfortunately the game also had some wonky 1:1 motion controls (detracting from the gameplay a bit), a lot of hand-holding, and I just had a personal problem with the companion character Fi. If you’re a Zelda fan, it’s worth checking out, but i wouldn’t put it into the same category as some of the other titles in the series.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The only Zelda games I consider classics are the original and Wind Walter (I know, Ocarina and Majora, don’t hate me!) although I did try Twilight Princess. I have to say though, I loved the art style of Skyward.


  3. I totally threw the controller across the room and walked away from Dishonored because I wanted to get through the whole game without killing anyone, but I just couldn’t do it. Of course – I haven’t gone back to it… so maybe it doesn’t count. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gah, I wanted to love Dishonoured, I really did! But I gave up on it for that very reason. I wanted a deathless run, but the game got in the way. Most of the good abilities were for killing, and the stealth wasn’t quite tight enough to allow for good sneaking. I may go back one day and just kill my way through it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I picked up a copy of Metal Gear Rising for $3 last year. Sounds like I’ll need to have a replacement controller ready for when I play it. Chainsaw-tail dog does look awesome though! Never played Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles but the damned dam level does sound daunting.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I was recently watching a dark souls play through; I think it’s ‘kay plays dark souls’. I remember trying dark souls when I was a lot younger and I just didn’t have the experience / thoughtfulness / understanding to recognise patterns and mechanics. Kay was apparently new to the series, but watching how quickly she could pick up game mechanics based on subtle hints has changed the way I think about playing games.

    Ikaruga looks insane. I’ve been to Japan a few times and while not as popular as they use to be I sometimes see people playing similar games in game centers with unbelievable skills. I don’t even know how some peoples brains work like that.

    I love games, but I am actually pretty poor at anything other than driving games. I don’t understand how my reactions can be so bad in some games, but good in others.

    I was trying to figure out this year what games would help me; as an older player, improve my reactions and timings. Last few years I found the combat systems in Bayonetta and The Witcher to be relatively good for my learning process.

    What games would you suggest as being good ‘training’ games for people that genuinely want to beat more challenging games.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It heavily depends on the type of game you want to get better at. Personally I think Beyonetta is fairly difficult at times, but it’s certainly easier than other character action games. Transformers Devastation is a good one to use, it’s easier than Bayonetta in terms of being forgiving, but also gets you into the mindset of that sort of fast paced brawler. Dark Souls is a very different animal though, being slow paced and deliberate in everything it does. Pattern recognition is the key. There aren’t many games that can really teach that, Dark Souls is a case of driving on in spite of the odds, with time you become good enough at that section to plough through it like it’s barely even there.

      Liked by 1 person

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