What are the worst difficulty spikes you have experienced in a video game?

Sonygamer455

Forum dweller
Premium
4,686
United States
The US of A
So if you have been gaming for a while, I am sure you’ve probably had a few experiences where a game would be fairly easy and then get really hard out of seemingly nowhere and in some cases, the rest of the game is easier than that one particular area. Well I didn’t see any threads like this and I just knew this would be a great topic to discuss, so this is the place to discuss some of you’re worst experiences of this.
 

-Fred-

This is a custom title
Staff Emeritus
24,010
Canada
Somewhere.
Same game, but it was those RC plane/helicopter missions for me.

Wasn't that in Vice City? Either way I despised those as well.

I'll also add to the list:

-running into your first Cazadores in Fallout NV

-The underwater level with all the electricity in the TMNT NES game

-Mission 34
 
1,751
United States
Columbus, Ohio
-running into your first Cazadores in Fallout NV
Which, in my case since I insisted on going left out of Goodsprings instead of towards Primm like the game expected me to, was far sooner than most people ran into them. You think those things are nasty when you're properly geared up? Try one when you're level 3 and can barely shoot your starter pistol correctly! :scared:
 
282
Canada
Alberta
Wasn't that in Vice City? Either way I despised those as well.

I'll also add to the list:

-running into your first Cazadores in Fallout NV

-The underwater level with all the electricity in the TMNT NES game

-Mission 34

Oh yes, the Vice City had that RC helicopter mission too. I could never go past that either.
 

Cowboy

Lariat Member
Premium
5,582
United States
North Dakota
GTP_Cowboy
RacingCowboy570
Power Plant zone from Sonic Heroes. That damn platforming section.....
 

Sonygamer455

Forum dweller
Premium
4,686
United States
The US of A
The 1984 Grand Prix in Corvette (GBA)
Love this game, but this challenge used to frustrate me as a kid and even as an adult, it still does. While the track isn’t bad apart from one turn and you only have to place 2nd or better, the AI is absurdly difficult when using the 1984 Corvette intended for the challenge and you really have to be on your toes to beat it. You pretty much have to get a decent launch, not bump into anything at all, and maintain a good top speed throughout the race. You tap anything once, you may as well start over because the AI will pull on ahead and you’ll be extremely lucky if you ever manage to catch up. Even if you do get in first place, the AI will be all over you afterward and it’s easy to make a mistake that will ruin the entire race.

Fortunately, you can circumvent this by saving the credits you earn from previous events and then buying the 1997 Corvette in the showroom. Once you get it, it’s a piece of cake! However, if you don’t have enough credits for it, you’re out of luck. At that point, you’d be better off starting the whole game over and saving up for it than you would trying to beat it with its intended car.

The challenge is just tedious and WAY harder than it needs to be. What’s crazy is, it’s only about 2/3 of the way through the game, yet it manages to be much harder than any of the Grand Prix’s that came after it and perhaps harder than anything in the game period. This is something that really shouldn’t happen midway through the game! :banghead:
 
Last edited:
6,028
United States
Texas
I think I'll probably be talking about spikes more than permanent shifts, but when you're bad at games it's hard to tell the difference.

Soul Calibur 4 - Tower level 20 (iirc). Two no-names and Setsuka with auto-counter mods level B, A, and S accordingly. Never beat it, closest I got was a time-out using a custom character, Vader, and Starkiller.

GT4 - Driving Mission 34 AND the 1-lap Magic malarkey. Former is well known, the latter I never really got invested in to begin with, then quickly got turned away when my best attempts (at the time) netted barely 4th place. Yes, I am god awful, tell me something I don't know.

NFS Carbon - Putting away the 'Stacked Deck'. Darius 🤬 sucked, but I knew he would because 1. The game likes to screw you over and 2. His personal trio of the three FORMER crew leaders also suck chunks. The circuit race is one thing, but honestly screw that canyon race.

NFS ProStreet - Street King Showdown back in Tokyo.

Warship Gunner 2 - The moment the AI starts using missiles actively is the near universal one. Depending on the difficulty, the bosses can also be F-U step ups.

All I've got for now.
 
285
Canada
Canada
Stormer248
Phendrax248
Soul Calibur 4 - Tower level 20 (iirc). Two no-names and Setsuka with auto-counter mods level B, A, and S accordingly. Never beat it, closest I got was a time-out using a custom character, Vader, and Starkiller.

Whether ascending or descending, that stupid tower gave me gaming PTSD. I still can't believe my brother beat the whole thing.
 
1,080
United States
So. California
UnkaD
The worst one off the top of my head is a phone game I play on the side called Summoners War. I've hit a point of stagnation where most of my summons won't get much better and I know it. Max level with great runes(at least the best I've come across while playing; it's all down to luck). Nevertheless there are some dungeons where I can mop the floor in normal difficulty, killing everything in two or three hits with any line-up I can think of, but if I try hard then it's like there's nothing I can do. Everything takes at least 20 hits to kill with my best team and they get 2 or 3 turns to every one of mine. Most times my team is dead before I can even make a move. Then there's still a difficulty beyond that.

Finding online tips is discouraging as just about everything in the game relies on luck and the community seems like it's the type where the only way to progress is to play this game all hours and do nothing else. Usually it's like "oh, just use this line-up(usually including some rare summons that I don't have after three years) and get these stats to these levels(which would take items that I might not see unless I do this one other dungeon endlessly everyday for about 5 or 6 months).


Anyway, I say there's a huge difficulty spike because everything that I can beat is super easy, like mind-numbingly easy, while the stuff I can't beat is pretty much impossible for me, like a rabbit trying to kill a grizzly bear impossible. There is no nice middle ground.
 
1,219
United States
Pennsylvania
Drex125
ScoobyMcPancake
God of War (the first one) - Climbing your way out of Hades, the spinning spiky columns in particular, and protecting your family during the fight with Ares. The latter one becomes especially annoying on the higher difficulties.

Driver 1 - The final mission with the relentless kamikaze cops. They're on you as soon as the mission starts, and their cars are faster than yours. Any corner, roadblock, or slowdown of any kind is pretty much guaranteed death.
 
282
Canada
Alberta
After some thinking, I thought of another one:

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. There's a level where you have to crawl through a picturesque town full of german snipers, who will cut down 1/4th of your health with pinpoint accuracy and razor-sharp reflex as soon as they spot you.

Thing is, it's very hard to tell them apart from surrounding with blocky early 2000's 3D graphic, and there's no hit indicator either, so you have to get shot once or twice at the very least just to get a vague sense of where they're firing from.

The spawn point of snipers are all randomized, so you can't even memorize their position either. You just have to abuse quicksave and quickload at every possible opportunity to have any chance of making it through.

To top it all off, this entire thing is an escort mission, too.

Most upsetting thing of all is that I clearly remember beating this level when I was still in elementary school. I have no idea how I ever managed that.
 
5,347
Japan
Japan
virtualnao
Valkyria Chronicles - Memory is a hazy but it the difficulty spike happens during a big skirmish in the storyline. You feel powerless even if your team is prepped. These skirmishes can take several hours to win so I eventually gave up.
 

Wolfe

Physics Critic
Premium
13,390
United States
Wisconsin
Wolfe2x7
Galdera in Octopath Traveler comes to mind. Lovely game, I enjoyed every bit of it from start to almost-finish, but the pseudo-ending-and-final-boss represents a very, very last minute enormous spike. The consequences of going in unprepared won't even become apparent until you're several turns into the fight (the first of two). You just suddenly get squashed like a bug.

There's no build up, not even in the opening phase of the fight, and not at all from the pushover boss rush that precedes the two final battles. To add insult to injury, you have to redo that relatively effortless boss rush every time you make an attempt at Galdera.
 

ROAD_DOGG33J

Premium
11,597
United States
IL, USA
holyc0w1
holyc0w
I'll take one of those
Same game, but it was those RC plane/helicopter missions for me.

And one of these
Driver 1 - The final mission with the relentless kamikaze cops. They're on you as soon as the mission starts, and their cars are faster than yours. Any corner, roadblock, or slowdown of any kind is pretty much guaranteed death.

I don't think I ever beat the last mission without using a gameshark.


I don't remember much else except the Vettel challenges in Gran Turismo 5. I gave up on those, especially with just a controller.
 

DesertPenguin

(Banned)
10,691
United States
Long Island, New York
DesertPenguin_
Bloodbourne - right at the start. No weapons and you're up against a bloody Werewolf the size of roided out T-Rex.

Not even Dark Souls was this evil.
Each Dark Souls game had a spot for me that felt annoyingly tough, but I wouldn't say the whole game got tougher from there on out. That's also the nature of the game in that each area has it's own thing going on. Anor Londo archers knocking you off is one thing, but the rest of the place is a cake walk.

I remember Killzone 2. The last two or three missions got seriously tough and I remember dying there more than the rest of the game combined.
 
1,896
Australia
Adelaide
The final set of races in Need For Speed: Underground, the rubberbanding becomes ridiculous.
 
759
Philippines
Philippines
So if you have been gaming for a while, I am sure you’ve probably had a few experiences where a game would be fairly easy and then get really hard out of seemingly nowhere and in some cases, the rest of the game is easier than that one particular area. Well I didn’t see any threads like this and I just knew this would be a great topic to discuss, so this is the place to discuss some of you’re worst experiences of this.

Pretty much every JRPG's out there. I finished playing FFX a couple of days ago, the rest of the game was a smooth sailing but the last chapter will force you to fight boss fight after boss fight. And if your characters aren't' adequate or you missed some weapons and armor you're not aware of, you have no other choice but to grind for hours once again. I've no idea why I still play JRPGs. I will definitely avoid them for real this time
 

Sonygamer455

Forum dweller
Premium
4,686
United States
The US of A
GT4 - Driving Mission 34 AND the 1-lap Magic malarkey. Former is well known, the latter I never really got invested in to begin with, then quickly got turned away when my best attempts (at the time) netted barely 4th place. Yes, I am god awful, tell me something I don't know.
Though I haven't touched the driving missions in a long time, I do remember some of them were pretty dang hard. I can't recall which ones specifically apart from the one at Nurb, but they're not ones I would be tempted to frustrate myself over.
NFS Carbon - Putting away the 'Stacked Deck'. Darius 🤬 sucked, but I knew he would because 1. The game likes to screw you over and 2. His personal trio of the three FORMER crew leaders also suck chunks. The circuit race is one thing, but honestly screw that canyon race.
Yea I don't mind the other races at all, but the Canyon Duel is certainly a tricky one. Fortunately, you can end it quickly if you manage to pass him on the first turn with a Corvette Z06, but it's also tricky and requires a bit of effort. It's kind of understandable why this race would be hard though since it is the final race in the career.

If you get the Collectors Edition of the game, be warned, theirs a challenge series event where you drive a Camaro Concept and I played it in recent years and it was perhaps the hardest race in the whole game from what I recall. After playing it, I could see why people complained about the rubberbanding.
The final set of races in Need For Speed: Underground, the rubberbanding becomes ridiculous.
So I have heard. I don't think I ever played the game enough to get that far, but I can certainly believe it based on what I have seen.

Ironically, I was watching Kacey's retrospective on NFS Underground just recently and he mentioned how hard event 95 was and that video was actually what motivated me to create this thread.
 

MXH

Filthy casual
Premium
3,010
Sweden
Gangsterstaden
Ironically, I was watching Kacey's retrospective on NFS Underground just recently and he mentioned how hard event 95 was and that video was actually what motivated me to create this thread.
I'll have to give Kacey's de-tuning method a shot later. I've been playing UG1 on and off for sometime now but had to take a break from UG mode as a result of event 95. That specific event still drives me mad as it did 17 years ago.

UG1 is my personal favorite NFS game of all time, followed by the original MW and HP2. With that said though, this game's rubberbanding is absolutely insane and rage-inducing, not to mention the traffic cars deliberately spawning right in your driving path with little to no time to react and avoid them. In my teen years, this game has cost me at least two or three PS2 controllers.
 

Sonygamer455

Forum dweller
Premium
4,686
United States
The US of A
MXH
I'll have to give Kacey's de-tuning method a shot later. I've been playing UG1 on and off for sometime now but had to take a break from UG mode as a result of event 95. That specific event still drives me mad as it did 17 years ago.

UG1 is my personal favorite NFS game of all time, followed by the original MW and HP2. With that said though, this game's rubberbanding is absolutely insane and rage-inducing, not to mention the traffic cars deliberately spawning right in your driving path with little to no time to react and avoid them.
Although I haven't made it that far in the game yet, after seeing Kacey's video, I don't doubt it!

Although I like Underground 1 from what I played of it long ago, we got the game at a rather bad time. I was already deeply into Underground 2 and GT4 at the time when I got it and while I did play it some, it pretty much ended up getting swept under the rug as a result. Eventually, I do intend to go back to it and finish what I started. I'll keep Kacey's tip in mind since he and others have complained about the last race.
MXH
In my teen years, this game has cost me at least two or three PS2 controllers.
Dang! :lol:

Every time I ever lost a controller, it was either due to bad build quality (looking at you Mad Catz) or because my dog chewed it up.
 
Last edited:

Jump_Ace

Compare Yourself To The Best Of Your Own Abilities
Staff Emeritus
8,550
United States
Portland, OR
Jump_Ace
JUMPxACE
Mission 34 is the first thing I think of.
The water temple in OoT (the first time through - are you kidding me!?).
Battletoads level 3 on NES.
The rest are basically scattered gold license tests from GT1 - GT3. Like in GT1 the RX7 @ GV and in GT3 the Camaro up that right hander @ Seattle.
Oh, and the last like 2/3 of Super Meat Boy, that game got really UNFUN fast, SMH.


Jerome
 

Sonygamer455

Forum dweller
Premium
4,686
United States
The US of A
The freeze tag mini-game at Gypsy Roads in Spyro Season of Flame.
So pretty late into the game, there is a mini-game on Gypsy Roads and how it goes is you have to chase these 4 fire pixies, which move abnormally fast, and freeze them before the timer runs out. If you freeze one of them and another gets close, they'll be unfrozen and you'll have to chase it down again. If you beat it, you have to play the mini-game again on hard, this time with 5 instead of 4.

Thing is, the fire pixies move so fast, have so much area to run around and unfreeze so easily, it's tremendously harder than any of the mini-games that came before it and in my opinion, harder than anything else in the entire game. Like, forget Crush, forget Gulp and forget Ripto, this is the hardest thing in the game for me. However, the game does have cheat codes that allow you to have all breath types including the powerup breathes and they make the mini-game marginally easier, but it's still not easy either way. Once you beat it, the rest of the game isn't too bad.

Maybe theirs a trick to it I haven't figured out yet, but this mini-game used to frustrate me as a kid and it kept me from beating the game for years. Even now, I still loath at the thought of having to play it again. If my save game gets corrupted, having to play the game again isn't going to frustrate me, it's the thought of having to play this mini-game again that will. I get it's set pretty late into the game, but it's pretty absurd how a mini-game like this somehow manages to be much harder than anything else in the game including the bosses and having to play it twice certainly doesn't help. A challenge as small as this should not be this difficult.