While it’s true that the original North American release of this game is technically the hardest version (due to the fact that Capcom raised the difficulty of every optional setting before reverting that decision in subsequent re-releases), it really doesn’t matter which version of this game you play. This is an absolute masterpiece in difficult game design, and I love the Devil May Cry team for everything that it is just as I kind of hate them for the same reason.
2. Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
The developers of Maximo: Ghosts to Glory were seemingly determined to see whether or not it was possible to translate the kind of absurd 2D-style difficulty the Ghosts and Goblins games were known for into a 3D environment. In the process, they created something that may be even more difficult than those legendarily challenging 2D classics.
Ghosts to Glory’s combat is as difficult as you’d expect it to be given this game’s pedigree, but this time around, you’ve got to also deal with a surprising amount of frustrating platforming sections that will have you falling down endless pits time and time again. This game may look “slower” than the original Ghost and Goblins adventures, but in its own way, it doesn’t let you breathe for a second.
I’ll stand by anyone who argues that Shinobi is one of the most creative, underrated, and overall best 3D action games ever made. Having said that, I can not in good conscience talk about this game without mentioning that it’s the kind of difficult that will make 90% of people rightfully give up on it after only a few hours (or even minutes).
What makes Shinobi so difficult? Let me count the ways:
- A sword that slowly drains your life if you’re not killing enemies
- Fairly common enemies that can block nearly all of your attacks
- Platforming sections that demand nothing short of perfection
- An infuriating lack of mid-level checkpoints
- Boss battles that often combine the game’s hardest combat and platforming mechanics
- A lock-on system that is necessary for success but often leads to your accidental death
People who live for hard games will often admit that Shinobi is sometimes too difficult for its own good, which is honestly kind of an achievement in and of itself.