Top 10 Hardest NES Games

These rank up as some of the hardest games ever released on the NES.
October 27, 2007
If you're a child of the 80's or even a child of the 90's and you love video games, then there's surely no doubt that you would believe that the Nintendo Entertainment System defines the word "classic".

So many great games that system has given us. There were classic games that launched popular series' like "Super Mario Bros." and "Legend of Zelda". There were also some games that were really short and simple but still awesome and fun to play like "Duck Tales" and "Adventures in the Magic Kingdom". There were even some arcade classics like "Balloon Fight" and "Pac Man". Believe it or not, there were actually some games on this system that were extremely hard. The following is a list of the Top 10 games on the NES that I believe are the hardest games in the NES library. Now, before you say stuff like "I liked that game! Why are you distin it?", please keep in mind that I'm not saying that these are all bad games, and I'm not necessarily saying that they're all good games; I'm just saying that they're really really hard. Okay, enough with the yakkin', and let's begin the countdown.

#10 - Top Gun

"Top Gun" ranks as one of the most memorable games on the NES since it's often referred to as one of the first flight simulation games. It's based off of a corny 80's movie. There are only four missions that you play in this game, so you may assume that it's pretty easy. But no, it's not that easy.

At the end of Mission #1, you have to land on an aircraft carrier, and landing on that ship is close to impossible. The radar tells you what direction you should move in and weather you should speed up or slow down. But when it says "Up! Up!", you'd assume you'd have to press up, but it's as realistic as actually flying a plane, so you really have to hit down (and visa versa). An NES Advantage controller is necessary for this game.

The same rule applies for another part of this game. In Mission #2, there's a part where your fuel starts to run out, and a refueling plane comes by to refuel you. This is the hardest part of the game! Your accuaracy has to be just as perfect to get locked in with the nozzle. If you don't lock in in time, the refueling plane will just go away and leave you out to die, and within minutes, you're done for.

#9 - Bart vs. the Space Mutants

One of the earliest Simpsons games and also one of the most classic.

What makes this game so hard is the god-awful controls. The button you have to hold down in order to run is the same as the jump button. It's impossible to make a running jump in this game. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the other button be the run button? Imagine if it was like that in "Mario" or any other games that ripped that off.

What also makes this game hard are the ridiculous missions of each level. Shouldn't Bart be taking out the aliens? Instead, he's making purple things not purple and collecting hats. The bosses aren't too hard, but the levels themselves require a lot of ingenuity.

#8 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The very first video game based off of the Ninja Turtles franchise is hard as hell.

I think it's a cool game since you can alternate which turtle you can play as during game play. There aren't a lot of memorable characters from the show in this game, but it's still fun to take them out. It's mandatory to keep Donatello safe in this game; he has the best weapon!

This game is so hard to get around because the enemies keep regenerating, and there are tasks you have to do that are so hard to pull off. You gotta have a lot of patience in order to play this game. Let me warn you, this is a long game, so make sure you got a lot of time on your hands before you pick up this game and start playing it. One more thing: Ignore what the Angry Nintendo Nerd says; this game is awesome!

#7 - Yo! Noid

Okay, a former mascot of Domino's Pizza gets his own game on Nintendo shortly after he was banned from the world, and the company that made this game happens to be Capcom, so it can't be that bad. Well, it is.

What makes this game so hard? It's mostly the fact that you have minimum energy in this game. That's right; just one hit and you're dead, so expect to die often in this game! There were tons of games like that on the NES, and those games always frustrated me! What's even worse is that there are no check points in this game. When you die, you gotta start the whole level over.

The pizza eating contests at the end of every other level require some strategy. The only way to win is to either reach a certain goal on your meter or if your opponent runs out of cards. If you lose a contest, you gotta start the whole level over again! This game is so hard that not even the Game Genie could help you too much, especially since the Infinite Lives code takes up two of the three spaces. The least they could have done was given you a health bar!

#6 - The Karate Kid

This is a really frustrating game. I mean, really. Every kid who has seen the movie, "The Karate Kid", loved it, and had an NES bought this game. But this game is so frustratingly hard that it has haunted people for years to come.

There are only four levels in the whole game, but they are all extremely hard. The bonus levels are just as hard if not impossibly difficult. The control is so awkward because you press up on the D-pad to jump (like in a fighting game), and you can only jump straight up. There's also so many bullies in every level that attack you and blow you back. In addition, there are pits everywhere.

It's really not worth it to try to beat this game, because the ending is not worth the effort. I'd tell you about the ending, but if you've already seen the Angry Nintendo Nerd's review of it, you probably already know about it.

#5 - Double Dragon 3: The Sacred Stones

If you're a fan of the "Double Dragon" games, you should know that the third game of the trilogy is undeniably the hardest. Not only is it the hardest of the "Double Dragon" trilogy, but it's also one of the hardest games ever to be released on the NES.

Enemies keep ganging up on you, it's hard to pull off some of the moves, your energy drains faster in this game, and on top of all that, you only have one life in this entire game. Playing in 2-Player mode is your only chance of survival.

Along the way, you get new players added onto your team, but they have different skills and are somewhat useless. The only thing I find entertaining about this game is that the dialogue has tons of typos. In conclusion, if you own this game and still have a lot of trouble beating it, I could give you some advice: Check YouTube; there are plenty of useful videos on how to develop a strategy on "Double Dragon 3".
#4 - Mega Man

I've always praised the "Mega Man" games, especially the classic games on the NES. They're all pretty challenging games, but the first game that started the series is the hardest of them all.

If you've played some of the sequels but not the first game, consider yourself lucky, because you have no idea how hard this game is. I mean, this game's not as long as the other games in the "Mega Man" series, but the difficulty out does the others. You don't get any passwords in this game like in the others, so there's no way to save your progress. Also, there are no energy tanks, so you have no way of refilling your energy unless you pick up energy pellets, and good luck finding those, because the items look way different in this game as well.

This isn't a bad game, but the sequels are far more superior. On a definite plus side, this is the game that started the series, and it has a lot of memorable characters, some of which are very important to the Mega Man franchise.

#3 - Ghosts n Goblins

Yeah, some of you probably saw this one coming. "Ghosts n Goblins" has gone down in history as one of the hardest games in the 8-bit era.

You only have two hits in this entire game (some health bar, huh?). The game is filled with enemies coming after you. There isn't even room for you to breathe! Literally! Even if you're an experienced gamer, you'll have a really hard time beating this game. And you think that's not bad enough?

Once you've beaten what appears to be the final level, you gotta start the whole game all over again! Yes, this is a game that has been haunting gamers for years and years!

#2 - Battletoads

Yep, you probably assumed this one would make my list too. "Battletoads" is undeniably one of the hardest games I have ever played in my entire life.

With twelve levels, a bunch of stuff coming after you, and a bunch of moves that are hard to maneuver especially with all this deadly stuff that's impossible to dodge, this is definitely one of the hardest games ever made. Even if you play 2-player mode and with the Game Genie, it won't be too much help. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who have played this game since it was a hit game, and I'm sure that all of those people remember how hard it was.

You know how much I suck at this game? Heck, there are twelve levels, and I can't even get passed the third level! Most games on the Nintendo aren't that hard, but there are some that are. Adding some challenge to a game is one thing, but the creators of this game went way too far! I swear to God, unless someone can help me beat this game, I will never play it again!

Okay, are you ready for #1? I'm certainly not. Nothing can prepare you for this game! Well, if "Battletoads" made my #2, and "Ghosts n Goblins" made my #3, then what made #1? Do you really want to know? Well, okay. You asked for it! Here it is, the #1 hardest NES game of all time!

#1 - Silver Surfer

This is the queen mother of all hard games! To quote the Angry Video Game Nerd, the difficulty on this game is legendary! What makes this game so hard?

Well, there are always multiple enemies on the screen at one time, and they're always coming after you. You constantly have to be shooting in this game. The enemies all have tons of hit points. Doesn't sound too hard, huh? Well, try this! You have only one hit point in this entire game! One touch, and you're dead. It's not like in "Contra" where you restart right where you die; in this game, when you die, you gotta start the whole level over! Challenging, but still not too bad? Well, guess what? You're also not allowed to touch any walls! That's right. If you touch any walls, ceilings, grounds or anything in this game, you die. You're basically not allowed to touch ANYTHING in this game! The game also doesn't make it clear on what you're allowed to touch and what you're not allowed to touch.

Unless you've played this game, you have no idea how hard it is! If you know Silver Surfer but haven't played this game, believe me, this game is an insult to Silver Surfer. Words can not describe how hard this game is! From what I understand, there is not a single person in the world who beat this game, so the difficulty is indeed legendary!

Well, there you have it. Those are my thoughts on the Top 10 hardest games on the NES. I know I've said this numerous times in previous articles of mine, but I'll say it again. This is all my opinion. All the games that have made my list are all based on my gaming experience and through reviews I've read or watched on the Internet. Yeah, I downloaded those games just to see if they really were that hard, and yes they are! I'm sure that a lot of you will probably wonder why I left out games like "Ninja Gaiden" or "Adventure Island", and that's probably because I either haven't played those games or forgot all about them. If you enjoyed this article, then you should check out the link below to see how other gamers review hard games.
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