The Dorklyst: The 15 Most Annoying Levels In Video Game History

May 25, 2010

Gamers love a good challenge. Unless it involves an underwater level. Or a mine cart. Or pretty much anything from Mega Man 9. Come to think of it, gamers are frustrated by a lot of things. Here's a tribute to the levels that made us collectively break our controllers.

1. Battle Toads: Turbo Tunnel

The most annoying level of the Citizen Kane of near-impossible video games, the BattleToads speederbike level, is the reason why the Game Genie and adderall were invented. Nothing short of John Nash-like spatial recognition is enough, as even thousands of plays can still leave the most talented gamers in the fetal position. What sets it apart from other classic video games, and what is perhaps its most annoying quality, is that years later it still retains the same level of difficulty it had when you were 9.


2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Dam Water Level

Apparently the developers of the NES version of the classic TMNT arcade game weren't satisfied with simply desecrating probably the greatest multi- player arcade game ever conceived. They had to make the underwater level—always a bane of any gamer's existence—the single most difficult underwater level in video game history. The obstacle list reads more like a grocery list for someone shopping a medical marijuana facility (Electric seaweed, Energy Draining Leaves, 8 Bombs) than a proper collection of video game obstructions.

3. StarFox 64: MacBeth/Titania

Look, we appreciate the StarFox developers being courteous enough to give the Landmaster as many Arwing-ian qualities as possible—smart bombs, locking onto enemies with the laser, even doing a Barrel roll—we get it, thank you. But you don't go to a seafood restaurant and order a cheese burger, and if we wanted to roll around in a tank, we'd play Twisted Metal. Now get us back to the goddamn planes.

4. Mike Tyson's Punchout!: Mike Tyson

The most annoying aspect of fighting the title character in Mike Tyson's Punchout! isn't the uppercut that signals instant death for anyone on the receiving end, or the grotesquely large physique of someone who could destroy you even if he was half your size, or even the fact that your character was given an embarrassingly limited repertoire of moves. No, the most annoying aspect is the fact that in 1987, Mike Tyson's Punchout! was possibly the most realistic game ever invented.

5. MarioKart: Rainbow Road

There isn't really anything super complicated to navigate on Rainbow Road, but it's the ultra minimalist and, let's face it, ingenious act of simply removing the railings that helps it make the list. Because the mark of a truly annoying video game comes from your complete and total confidence being crushed at a moment's notice by the simplest of mistakes.
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