Rick Dangerous (Spectrum/Commodore 64/Amstrad/Amiga/Atari ST/PC)
This platform puzzler epitomises one of the key sins of older games. It's not that it's especially hard on its own, but the traps are impossible to anticipate without prior warning. You die, commit a new bit to memory, die, memorise, and, well... you get the idea.
Guitar Hero (Various)
We’ve got only one thing to say here. Through the Fire and Flames, Expert Mode. Enough said!
Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
There's a reason the hardest difficulty level on the Halo games is called Legendary. It’s hard, very hard. Not only do you die in one hit (or if a DRM bullet so much as brushes your thigh), but the baddies take a lot more punishment too. Blimey. We’re just glad we’re not actually Master Chief – we’d be screwed!
F-Zero GX (GameCube)
Possibly the most unfairly ignored game of the GameCube era, this is also the hardest racing game ever. The sci-fi style courses are filled with impossible jumps and opponents that seem to love smashing you into the walls more than they do winning. But that just makes victory all the sweeter.
Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins (PSP)
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is famous as one of the hardest games ever. With baddies appearing out of nowhere the final insult was having to complete the game twice to see the true ending. And yet the fact that the PSP sequel was purposefully just as hard somehow makes it even worse.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Xbox 360/PS3/PC)
Another first person shooter that becomes a whole other beast when you play it on hard, the Veteran level really is for experts only. Suddenly the game's James Bond level of realism morphs into a genuine soldier sim, with instant deaths all around. It’s just like being in a real war!
Another one that we can sum up in a single sentence: the Turbo Tunnel. And woe betide you if you dared play it with another player. Only one of you would need to brush a wall before it was Game Over and you’d be shuttled back to the start. Truly a merciless game.
2D shoot 'em-ups have always been hard, particularly since the advent of "bullet hell" shooters. This is one of the best, with a clever colour-coded gimmick where you can pass through bullets that are the same colour as your ship. If that makes it sound easy then boy, are you in for a shock.
Mega Man 9 (WiiWare/Xbox Live Arcade/PlayStation Network)
Despite what it may look like, this was only released last year. It's a downloadable game made to look and play like it's an old '80s NES game. The graphics are the same but the difficultly level is even higher, with instant deaths, unforeseeable pitfalls and near endless boss battles.
Ninja Gaiden (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)
The Ninja Gaiden games have been causing people to pull their hair out since the late '80s. They're always the same: gorgeous to look at and as hard as a diamond-studded breeze block. When people complained that the Xbox reboot was too hard, developer Tecmo released downloads to make it even harder. Nice!
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