Author Topic: The difficulty of games  (Read 11835 times)

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Offline Torp v2.0

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The difficulty of games
« on: August 06, 2005, 10:25:57 am »
Originally, this topic was supposed to be long and interesting. I had written a short essay, but then the browser decided to stop working, destroying what I'd written. I won't rewrite everything I wrote, I'll just state the essence:

Games today don't have much difficulty. They're not really satisfying to beat.

And then, I'll ask a few questions.

What is the most difficult game you've ever played? What is the most difficult game you've recently played? What difficulty do you usually play on?

With me, the most difficult game I've ever played was Syndicate: American Revolt. That was a true gem of extreme difficulty. In the start, you could choose between four missions. I especially loved the Atlantic Accelerator mission. It was, quite simply, fucking impossible. You started off with four agents placed in four towers. Enemy agents assault. A few airstrikes, Gauss Gun shots and lasers later, and your agents are smoking corpses. Mission failed. The other levels were slightly easier. At least, you could run from your enemies. Not that it helped in the long run. You were just as dead when the smoke lifted.

The most difficult game I've played recently is Dungeon Keeper 2. It is Good to be Bad, but it's also difficult. I'm currently stuck on a level halfway through the game.

An honourable mention in difficulty goes to Warhammer: Dark Omen. The game started out difficult, and increased the difficulty slowly and steadily. When you finally, after a long day of smart tactical maneuvers and counterattacks, finally manage to win a battle, you really felt the satisfaction of victory. You felt like you had deserved it. Unfortunately for me, the difficulty started out a tad bit too high, as I ended up never getting past* the level where the Liche King appears. This, I believe, however, to be one of the later levels, so I'm not disappointed with myself. But if I ever manage to get that game going again on my PC, I swear to smash that Liche King to dust.

*Well, technically, I did get past it - I fled the battle, and fought 3 or 4 more battles before deciding that my decimated forces had no chance against the evils facing me. By that time, I was in Bretonnia, close to the lands of the dead.
...why Torp was picked over you... HE'S JUST BETTER THAN YOU IN EVERY RESPECT. -SomethingGood
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Offline Turtle

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2005, 11:03:43 am »
I was just thinking about this while playing the new FEAR demo. I was pleasantly surprised to find the game somewhat challenging, but it still doesn't really compare to the challenge of older games. Quicksave really changes things :-\

The most difficult game ever, hmm... That's hard to say. I can't really think of anything specific right now. Probably a console game of some sort, from the SNES/Genesis generation.

One game of at least honorable mention was Ikaruga. That game totally destroyed me. It resembled a traditional shoot-em-up, yet you had to think very differently to succeed.

Recently though, Ninja Gaiden. Even on the easiest setting, I couldn't beat the second boss, even after a few days of practice. Some day when I actually own the game I'll dedicate some time to learning some ninja skills and actually finish the thing. That's the kind of game there should be more of.

Offline Torp v2.0

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2005, 11:12:10 am »
Oh yeah, the second Ninja Gaiden boss was hard. I played quite a lot further into the game, and he was still the most difficult enemy I've met (supposedly, he's the second or third most difficult boss in the game). There was these daemon dinosaur thingies, which are supposedly one of the more normal enemies later on in the game, that were almost as hard (there were 3 of them), but I finally found a technique that took care of them.
...why Torp was picked over you... HE'S JUST BETTER THAN YOU IN EVERY RESPECT. -SomethingGood
<Radicz0r> Torp is well prepared for universal destruction

[03:18:49] <WereVolvo> ARCTIC
[03:18:51] <WereVolvo> not arctic

Offline Trezker

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2005, 06:48:38 pm »
C64 is the shit!
Many games back in those days were ridicoulusly hard.

The most recent game that gave me a good thrill was that racing game which name I forgot... Finnish... Damn I suck at names. Very fun and very reasonable difficulty curve through the entire game. A real racing dude would probably find it a bit too easy though.

Hardest game evar... On PC I should say Constructor, there was just too damn much to keep track of. The game only worked on one of my computers for a while though, and I haven't been able to get it to run on any other computer since then.
I really loved the game idea, but the managment design was just too demanding.

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Ankle

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2005, 01:43:48 am »
The only thing recently that I found hard was playing Jets 'n' Guns on hard from the start with nothing.

Back in the day I thought C&C TD/RA and KKND were hard. Going back and playing them now they seem to be easy but then I play the most recent RTS games and wow, so easy. Unless you put them [the new RTSs] on hard so the AI cheats to have 2x better damage/armour than you and infinite money. Even then its not hard, it just becomes a boring game of pushing them back incredibly slow.

Offline Xeero

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2005, 03:03:12 am »
That asteroid level in JNG right before you get the good fighter on hard mode...  Fucking hard.  Took me forever to beat that mission.  The rest of the game was quite easier compared to that mission - I didn't have too hard a time beating it.

I've always thought StarCraft is pretty hard, at least once you get to those last levels where it's you in a teeny base with 3 insane computers around you shooting you with tons of crazy shit.

WarCraft 2, same deal.  WarCraft 1...  Moreso.  WarCraft 3 now, I beat that game without codes and I hadn't played a strat game in years.

Hardest game ever is a tough one, though.  Metroid, anyone?

Offline Spiff

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2005, 04:29:21 am »
When it comes to NES games, Metroid is absolute cake, as is Contra, Zelda 1 and 2, Kid Icarus, Section Z and all of the Super Mario Bros games except for Japanese SMB2. Cobra Triangle or Ghosts'n'Goblins, on the other hand, are completely impossible. Well, these are all in my opinion at least. :p I guess it depends on practice and memorization, I could never bother getting good at Cobra or G'n'G. Battletoads is also one of those games that are plain ridiculous, though I heard it's easier than G'n'G (which also has the worst ending compared to the effort. EVER. It's worse than Hexen in that respect).

Anyway... big, commercial games are getting easier. They're no longer arcade games, they're interactive movies (in some cases this is more true than others). Many have a story to tell, and the modern casual player wants to beat the game and see the end, instead of actually having to practice his skills for days before being able to beat it. The audience is getting younger, and are no longer feeding quarters into a machine to keep playing, so there's no longer a need for ultra-hard, quarter-thirsty games. But of course there are hard modern games too; it felt really satisfying to get over 10 million points in Ikaruga on Easy mode - the only way for me to do it is to never use a continue through the whole game and have plenty of lives even after the end boss (which always kills me at least twice).

I'm just now replaying Secret of Mana on my SNES, and man, are the bosses slaughtering me near the beginning of the game. Jabberwocky cast a double Acid rain, instant death. Nothing that leveling up, thinking of a better strategy and keep retrying won't solve though. Beating the werewolves to rescue the girl took five tries in a row. It's not as hard as Seiken3, but I think it's just perfect actually. I'd lose my respect for the bosses if they weren't tough as nails, it makes you feel like you're fighting something incredibly powerful.

I try to make my own games fairly difficult, or where possible, implement skill levels. If you can't take a challenge, what's the fun? I'll make sure playing Iji on "Extreme" will be hell, just for you. ;)

Offline Xeero

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2005, 10:16:10 am »
Secret Of Mana was such cake, I swear.  Fun game with good replay, but cake.  The werewolves are supposed to be hard...  I always get the other girl, the way that's not insanely hard.

Offline Turtle

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2005, 02:11:12 am »
I remember the werewolves giving me lots of trouble the first time I played it, but on recent playthroughs none of the bosses were really challenging. The whole game gets much easier once you learn to chain spells.

Offline Xeero

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2005, 10:22:19 am »
I never chained spells, I was just a cheapass and leveled up spells to as high as I could as soon as I could level them up at all.  Soon as I get Salamando I get all my spells to Lv4...  And even when I don't do that, they end up being a pretty high level anyways.  I dunno how it all works.

Offline Torp v2.0

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2005, 11:46:00 am »
I try to make my own games fairly difficult, or where possible, implement skill levels. If you can't take a challenge, what's the fun? I'll make sure playing Iji on "Extreme" will be hell, just for you. ;)

Why, thank you. I love hell.

I've still not beaten Castle, though.

And as I said, want a challenging strategy game, go play Warhammer: Dark Omen. Unlike the newest incarnation of Games Workshop games (Dawn of War), there's actually a challenge in it.

I mean, I was slightly nervous one time in DoW. There was that big Squiggoth that nearly razed my entire force, and I hadn't bothered building a strong base defense.
...why Torp was picked over you... HE'S JUST BETTER THAN YOU IN EVERY RESPECT. -SomethingGood
<Radicz0r> Torp is well prepared for universal destruction

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[03:18:51] <WereVolvo> not arctic

Offline Spiff

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2005, 07:55:19 pm »
I've never been good at real-time strategy, but I think I managed to beat the original Starcraft. I didn't get far in the expansion though. I always get destroyed in multiplayer whether it's Starcraft, Total Annihilation, Red Alert or Warcraft. I guess I've just never gotten into them, taking the time to learn what to build first and stuff. By the time I have 12 Hydralisks, along comes four 12's of Siege tanks / Protos carriers or something.

Now that I've gotten farther in Secret of Mana, it keeps getting easier. The sprite's magic kills the bosses, and the girl's healing takes me through a dungon no matter how long it is. Since leveling up also recovers all health, it's even easier. I suppose only the first part of the game was hard (like the optional werewolves). By the very end of the game, you can't chain spells because they start doing their super-animation if they're leveled enough, but you deal so much damage it's pointless anyway. :p

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2005, 06:52:52 pm »
I'd have to say the most hardest game for me is System Shock 2. Not becuase of the graphics the low poly items but becuase it is soo fckn scary. I've replayed that game like 5 times, each time getting futher in the game and a bit less scary. Oh man, I remembered the first time I played it an hour later of it and I couldn't touch it again until next install. I was too scared

DoW challenging? I would not say so.... I found that the original C&C and Red Alert games to be many time difficult to finish. I used to have scary sand bag dreams when I played C&C.... still remembers the last level from NOD. At least that game had some awesome CGI and music to go with all the endings. Love the Tiberian Sun preview and music. Mechanical Man

Offline Torp v2.0

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2005, 07:04:17 pm »
DoW challenging? I would not say so....

And neither did I. It was simple. Extremely simple.
...why Torp was picked over you... HE'S JUST BETTER THAN YOU IN EVERY RESPECT. -SomethingGood
<Radicz0r> Torp is well prepared for universal destruction

[03:18:49] <WereVolvo> ARCTIC
[03:18:51] <WereVolvo> not arctic

Smeagol

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Re: The difficulty of games
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2005, 11:52:23 pm »
Most difficult game? Project-X for the Amiga. The original version, before they toned it down.

Difficulty I normally play on is normal/hard...depends on what kind of game really.

Most difficult recently has to be Baldur's Gate 2. When I finished SOA I couldn't believe it. (Admittedly I did use a few mods...like the lvl 50 characterts and the gloves of permanent Improved Alacracity. By the time Time Stop wore off I think I did over 2000 points of damage to Jon Irenicus >:))
Throne of Bhaal seems to be almost impossible for a solo sorceror though, which is the furthest I've ever gotten through the game with.