The 20 Hardest NES Games We All Loved To Play As Kids

Anyone who ever played a NES game knows that these were the best games growing up, Don’t get me wrong, today’s games kick ass too, but there’s something special about classic NES games like Metroid or Legend of Zelda, spending nights and countless hours trying to navigate through the endless world fighting 8 bit enemies desperately trying not to die. So for anyone who loved a good NES game, this is a list of the hardest NES games ever.

1: Legacy of the Wizard

Legacy of the Wizard is the fourth game in the Dragon Slayer series. Makes you wonder why the so called dragon slayer failed the first three times…but lets just go with it. In this game you need to guide five different members of the Drasle family through a huge dungeon under their house. You will need to pick up artifacts along the way or buy them to complete your quest. The world is pretty big similar to Metroid in that way.

Why is it on this list of the hardest NES games? This game is hard not because you fight tough bosses ( which are pretty hard any way ) but because it takes a shit load of time to complete. The exploration needed in this huge dungeon is ridiculous! You also need to decide for yourself which of your five characters is best for each part of the quest and it will take some trial and error to complete each phase. Add to that more than just your regular health and magic bars, here you also have money, keys and you only able to carry three artefacts with you at all time, you also have power downs which will drain your magic if you’re not careful. At least you can save your progress right? WRONG! you can’t. you have a password feature every now and then so you don’t have to start everything from scratch, but still, this NES game is pretty damn hard

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2: Ninja Gaiden

Why is it hard? Because in Ninja Gaiden of the huge number of enemies that come at you ( Come at me bro ). But the worst ones are those who seem to hit you just when you jump above a hole, sending you to your death. Also dying on any of the three final bosses of Stage 6 – 4 will send you all the way back to Stage 6 – 1. NOT FAIR.

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3: Rygar

No passwords or save points! Need we say more? On the off chance we do, this hard nes game will take you through item collecting, leveling up, track-backing because you lost something or forgot something else, it’s a real toughy!. If you plan to conquer this game, please have a few hours to spend, at least.

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4: Battletoads

I don’t know where to begin with this game, everything is hard, the regular enemies are really badass, the game features all different types of play and if you make one wrong move on some levels, you dead. Maybe the toughest game on the list of Hardest NES games.

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5: Ghosts N’ Goblins – many say this is the hardest NES game ever, so naturally it’s on this list of hardest NES games.

Think about this way, you die if you get hit twice, while all enemies are firing on you like crazy with projectiles and come right up at you. Not easy at all for any game.

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6: Blaster Master

Similar to Rygar you need to collect weapons and upgrades, you fight hard bosses and you do a lot of backtracking, also like Rygar, you can’t save or have passwords, you only get a few continues, that’s it. Deal with it! Lastly, when you exit your vehicle, every hit you take weakens your fire power, which is worst then dying.

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7: Gauntlet

This is a crazy game, it has no end in sight, your health is like a timer that slowly goes down until your imminent doom, and oh, don’t forget about that black figure, no one knows what it is exactly, we think it’s death that suddenly appear out of nowhere and just casually kills you for fun. Good luck with this one

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8: Mega Man

Mega Man is a game where you fall a lot and you fall on spikes, that’s pretty much the whole game, it was a huge success so i guess people like falling on spikes games. But it’s pretty hard so it’s on this list of the hardest NES games

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9: Silver Surfer

anything in this game kills you, even the level structure can kill you ( how right? ) One hit, and your dead. Try and survive while a sworn of enemies fly your way in ridiculous speed, this is a real hard game on the Toughest NES games list

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10: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – one of the coolest games on this list of Hardest NES games

Let’s start by saying only Donatello is worth something in this game, so if he’s dead, you’re screwed. Simple things like jumping is difficult here and is a lost art and i must mention the ” dam ” level where you need to swim around mines. Sounds like fun? Actually it is. try it

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11: Karate Kid

It’s on this list because of one fu**ing level that has winds that tend to push you over pits killing you instantly, damn that level! Damn that level to HELL!! Other than that, pretty cool game.

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12: Top Gun

There are two things about this game that makes it hard. One: The missiles that your enemies fire at you can only be seen when it’s too late, you see it and get hit almost instantly. Really annoying. Two: Landing at the end of the first level is some kind of Chinese torture.

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13: Bionic Commando is also on the hardest NES games list

You can’t jump, what kind of game doesn’t let you jump? The controls are awkward to say the least and the layout of the game can be really confusing.

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14: Contra (with no Konami code)

Every game where you only have three lives is hard, and this is why Contra is on this list of the Hardest NES Games. When you have 30 lives your life is easy, try playing games with only three lives, any game, see the difference? Good.

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15: The Adventures of Bayou Billy

Ok maybe the toughest game on this list, the fighting here is really hard, but let’s talk about the shooting levels for a second, i mean, playing them without a NES Advantage is just crazy! And when you get to levels 4 and 5, that’s when things get real hard. It’s the driving levels, where just hitting a single post will kill you ending the game, so you think ” ok i’ll just drive slower” NOPE, you can’t take your time, if you take too long, game over. For all those reasons, this game is on this list of the hardest Nintendo games.

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16: Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!

This is a fun game, it really is, i remember playing this game for hours as a kid, but it is on this list of the hardest NES games because of Mike Tyson. That’s right, it’s all Mike’s fault. They made him so ridiculously hard that one punch during the first 1:30 of round 1 and your knocked out. Who ever play this game knows that there are patterns to all the boxers so once you figure that out you can win anyone, but the margin for error with Tyson is way too hard.

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17: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

The classic Simpsons game, you probably saw this at the arcade too. One of the most difficult things about this game is the controls. The same button to run is the button to jump, so how the hell am i supposed to do a running jump like this?! Another thing that makes this game so hard is the ludicrous missions of each level. You would think Bart would be chasing aliens and shooting them down, but instead he makes purple things not purple anymore and collecting stupid hats, what is going on with this game. I still played hours on it though, not sure why

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Hardest NES Games #18 Ghosts n Goblins

You knew this game was coming, this game has been haunting experienced games for years and i will tell you why at the end of this paragraph. You only have two lives in this entire game, no health bar or nothing, two lives and that’s it.You have so many enemies coming at you at the same time you literally have no time to breath, this is a hard game even to the best of gamers and just when you think you finished this game and won everything, you have to do it all over again! YES. you have to start the whole game again. Nightmare!

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19: Paperboy

If you played video games in the 80’s and 90’s you know this game. And you know why it’s on this list. You play a paper boy and the goal is to deliver your papers on your route. The player must throw the papers on the house door or on the mail box while on the route, every house you get, you earn another house as a subscriber on the next level and some points.

What makes this game hard is the obstacles. Starts nice and easy with fire hydrants and parked cars and reaches a level of tornados and the grim reaper himself. Every time you crash your bike you lose a life and you must start at the start of the level or in the middle depending where the crash happened. The hardest element to this game is the fact you can’t stop the paper boy, him and the screen are always moving forward and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Each day is a level, so every day you make it without crashing and delivering the paper to the right houses you advance to the next day, make it all the way to Sunday and you won the game

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20: Back to the Future

There’s a rule of thumb, when ever a video game is inspired by a Hollywood movie, it’s terrible, just awful, and Back to the Future is no different. It was released four years after the movie release and you play the role of Marty McFly. This is a weird game, Marty must collect clocks around Hill Valley to prevent Marty from disappearing from his family photo, like in the movie. Your enemies in this game are bees and bullies, yes i said bees, for no apparent reason. To your luck, you have bowling balls and skateboards to help you fight them off.

This game is on the Difficult NES Games list because of the ending, when you reach the end of this game you need to drive fast enough to reach 88mph, but it’s super hard to avoid the lighting bolts and other obstacles in your way, sounds kind of easy, but trust me, it’s hard.

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Do you have any insights about one of the games? Please share with us so we can make this hardest NES games list complete.

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