By: Jac Bakley
#10: The 4th Survivor (Resident Evil 2) In this bonus mission, you play as an Umbrella agent, and are required to get to the roof of the police station with the G-Virus at hand. Why is this hard? You have limited ammo and health, and most the rooms are crammed with zombies. And, since they’re often surrounding you, getting killed is a likely thing. There are also no items, so killing all of the zombies and spiders will be next to impossible. Good luck getting to your helicopter alive.
#9: Rusty Bucket Bay (Banjo-Kazooie) This is the eighth world in the game, and it’s a real pain in the ass. You’re surrounded by toxic water, the engine room is a death trap, and everything will be trying to kill you in this level, including its puzzles. The bosses can easily deplete your health, and if you lose all of your energy, it’s back to the beginning of the level, with your Musical Note and Jinjo counts reset to 0. This level is also known for having the hardest Jiggy in the game, which can only be obtained by pressing a switch in the murderous engine room and swimming to the back of the ship to grab it, all within a very short time limit. Oh, Rare…
#8: Tutorial (Excitebike 64) You’d think it would take you only about 5-10 minutes to make sure you get a game’s controls mastered, right? Well, not here. You’re tasked to perform tricks, some of which require very specific, and sometimes confusing, button combinations. You also have to race to the finish line, and sometimes the only way to beat the time limit is to perform tight maneuvers along the way to avoid hitting walls and delaying time. You’re not allowed to screw up, either; there are five different stages in the tutorial, and if you make one mistake throughout each section of a stage, you have to keep retrying it until you get it 100% right. I’d go as far to say this tutorial is on par with the parking lot sessions in Driver for the PS1.
#7: Any of the “Get Character” matches (Mario Golf) Unlocking characters usually isn’t too big of a challenge, but trying to do so here is going to require a lot of patience. To unlock the character, you have to beat them in a one-on-one 9-hole golfing match, and doing that is easier said than done. The opponent almost never misses his shot, and will almost always finish with a Par or a Birdie. Get your golfing skills going, because these matches are on par with trying to beat professional golfers in real life.
#6: Area 6 and Star Wolf, Hard Mode (Star Fox 64) Fox is on the home stretch to defeating Andross for good… and then Star Wolf appears. While the first battle was fairly easy, this one will definitely push your sanity. These guys have stronger, more durable ships, and will always be doing somersaults to dodge your shots. There will almost always be a ship tailgating you, and they won’t stop firing until you’re plummeting to your death. Even with the health power-up you receive halfway through the fight, you’d better have all of your cohorts from the previous, equally as challenging level, because taking on this gang with less borders on impossible.
#5: Escape the Island (Conker’s Bad Fur Day) The surfboarding stage was also very hard, but the level where you need to get back to your boat tops it. In this level, you have to get off the Tediz island under a 4-minute time limit, while avoiding security beams, robotic bomb spiders, and evil teddy bears with machine guns. The lasers will drain your health very quickly, and it’s hard to get a shot at the Tediz before they shoot you. Oh, and don’t get me started on the beach section, with the instant-kill and hard-to-avoid missiles. You get checkpoints along the way, but if you lose all of your lives- and you will- it’s game over and back to the start.
#4: Subway (Spider-Man) This level may be easier with other costumes, but the first time around is a nightmare. While chasing Venom through the sewers, Spidey has to stay on top of a subway train going down a seemingly endless tunnel. While on the subway, dozens of Lizardmen will rain down from the ceiling and prey on you. They’re tough, their acid attacks almost never miss, their biting attacks will deal you severe damage, and because they’re ganging up on you, you’ll just get attacked by another Lizardmen while trying to kill the one in front of you. Attacking the Lizardmen is dangerous due to risk of falling off the train, and the health and web cartridges are hard to grab. Plus, the level goes on for four minutes. If you want to stand a chance, grab the armor cartridge in the previous level, which will double your health. But even with that, good luck.
#3: Greenwood Village Silver Coin Challenge (Diddy Kong Racing) Rare makes this list once again. I usually don’t rage quit, but Jesus Christ, did I get close with this one. You have to race through a medieval village and collect eight silver coins on your way to the finish line. The coins are placed sporadically throughout the course, and it’s very easy to miss them due to their rather poor placement. While trying to collect them, you also risk giving your opponents the advantage of getting further ahead of you, as well as forfeiting first place. To make matters worse, even if you collect them all, if you don’t finish in first place, it’s back to the start for you. Just sadistic.
#2: The Water Temple (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time) I’m pretty sure you saw this coming. Unlike the most of the other levels on this list, the Water Temple is not a death trap by any means; it’s just a confusing maze of puzzles. You can only access certain areas when the water level is at a certain height, which can lead to having to go around in a circle just to get it to where you need it to be. Also, you can only use your hookshot to kill enemies underwater, and this level is infamous for its boss fight with Dark Link, who is known as one of the hardest enemies in Zelda history. With Google and YouTube, this level may be easier now, but back then, this level left a lot of gamers throwing their controllers.
HONORABLE MENTIONS Great Bay Temple (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask) Siberia (Body Harvest) Attack the Ship (Perfect Dark) Big Hand (F-Zero X) Rainbow Road (Mario Kart 64)
#1: Aztec (GoldenEye 007, 1997) Congrats, Rare, you’ve taken the top spot. GoldenEye 007 is challenging overall, but this bonus level, based on the film Moonraker, is from hell. All enemies will be able to kill you in just a few hits, and it’s very difficult to avoid the grenades that are frequently thrown at you. Jaws isn’t any easier, as he seems to be able to take a lot of damage, and if he can’t kill you due to constantly being shot, the enemies backing him up will. Like many Rareware N64 games, there are no checkpoints, so if you die- and you will- it’s back to the start.