Play Hard has been MIA for quite some time from this blog. Well, fret not because I've conjured up another list of tough games. These are all from the yesteryear, a time that most firmly believe offered games of the greatest degree of difficulty.
Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge (GB)
At a mere six stages, Mega Man's first Game Boy adventure is his shortest. The truly dedicated could probably conquer the game in a little over an hour. But that's to be expected for an original GB title. What it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in brutal difficulty.
Dr. Wily's Revenge plays more like the original NES Mega Man. That means no Sliding, no Charge Shot and the big kick in the robot pants, no E-Tanks, the lack of which makes the two Dr. Wily stages pretty frickin' difficult. Compared to any Dr. Wily stage in Mega Man 1-6, Wily stages here are actually quite long and even pack a few blind falling areas over spike pits. Sometimes you might get lucky and fall the correct way but more often than not, you have to know instant death is waiting for you in order to avoid it.
The Robot Master stages themselves can present quite a challenge. If you're thinking these stages are a copy and paste job from the NES games, boy are you in for a surprise. The four Robot Master levels have been completely redesigned for a fresh on the go experience. While Cut Man's stage made for a good first pick in Mega Man on the NES, in Dr. Wily's Revenge, trying to take on this level without at least one of the special weapons is suicide due to the devious enemy placement in this level.
Make it to the first Wily stage and beat the second set of Robot Masters and you'll have to do battle with Enker the first of the Mega Man Killers. Enker can only be hurt with the Mega Buster and he absorbs the damage you deal him and sends it right back at you with his Mirror Buster. His erratic jump pattern can make him tough to defeat so gamer overs at the first Wily stage are common but man, do they hurt.
In spite of it's harsh difficulty, Dr. Wily's Revenge is a solid Mega Man game. It doesn't play quite at the same speed of the NES game but it still retains the spirit of its bigger brothers. It looks good, sounds good and its quite tough. Maybe a little too tough.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (MS, GG)
When most think of old school Sonic platforming, they think of the Genesis games. But Sonic's career on the Master System/Game Gear was almost as glamorous as his outings on the Genesis. Because the MS and GG had similar hardware, games on both platforms looked and play very much alike. If you fond Sonic's 16-bit games too tame, fire up the MS/GG version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, arguably the hardest game in Sonic history.
Unlike the console games, Chaos Emeralds are hidden within the second act of each zone so you're encouraged to explore if you want to find them. Without all six Chaos Emeralds you cannot access the final zone and get the good ending
All of the zones in Sonic 2 are completely devoid of any checkpoints so if you die, you gotta do the whole stage all over again. This gets particularly irritating when you reach zones such as Scrambled Egg, a zone consisting of mostly tubes that you have to travel through to each the end. The big problem with this zone is that it is trial and error gameplay at its absolute worst. Some tubes can send you right to your death so playing this zone without some kind of map or guide is not recommended.
Boss fights can also test your patience as each act 3 gives you no rings, forcing you to fight without getting hit. Yes, this includes fights against Robotnik and Silver Sonic. This is actually Tails' debut game and in it, he plays the role of a hostage. I don't mind that Tails got kidnapped in his first game. I just wish he could have gotten himself abducted in one that wasn't so dang hard.
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts (SNES)
Once again, Princess Prin Prin has been kidnapped and Arthur has to go a stupidly hard quest to save her. This is like, what, the third time Arthur has had to put up with this crap? And in G 'n G tradition, the adventure must be completed twice before you can get the true ending. Personally, I'd have let the demons have her, but Arthur is a lot more noble (and patient) than me.
Double jump. Double jump, double jump, double jump. I'm pounding those two words into your head because they will be the key to navigating the hellish lands of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. You double jump to avoid in coming attacks, to successfully reach high platforms and basically keep Arthur from being turned into a skeleton. Arthur is still locked in the direction of your choosing with hims jumps once executed, but the double jump does make things a tad easier.
Arthur's weapons can be powered up, meaning the Dagger can be made even more useful than before. The Torch still sucks on its own, but when powered up, it really is a force to be reckoned with. Even Arthur's armor can be upgraded to gold, allowing him an extra hit. It isn't much but in a game like this, you'll take all the help you can get.
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts doesn't give you infinite continues like the first game but gaining more isn't tough to do. This game isn't as hard as the original Ghosts 'n Goblins but it is still more than capable of inducing fits of rage.