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ericwierson

What were the hardest arcade coin-op games?

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Luckily I grew up during the arcade boom and was able to play tons of different games. Some were quite a bit of fun, some were boring, some easy and others were just plain impossible. Below I have listed 10 of the hardest I ever played at the arcades. Hopefully others can chime in and jog my memory of other tough coin-ops.

 

#1 Sinistar- UHGGG Never could get past the 3rd or 4th level.

#2 Star Castle- I believe this is the best of the tough games.

#3 Q-Bert- I sucked big time at this one I think I was able to get where you hit the cubes twice occasionally.

#4 Marble Madness- Great game, but I could never get past the reverse level.

#5 Space Ace- I never could finish the game on Expert even after many, many, many quarters.

#6 Tempest- After level 20 or so I am done unless I added more money.

#7 Asteroids Deluxe- Terrible game and no way near as easy as Asteroids.

#8 Super Punch Out- Ouch, I could run 3 or 4 times thru Punch Out, but could never get anywhere in this game.

#9 Gravitar- Extremely hard game when started in the advanced level (which I never completed).

#10 Paperboy- Frustrating cheap hit game, had potential, but almost impossible to get very far.

Edited by ericwierson
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I'll agree with Sinistar 100%. That was the first and really only one to come to mind.

 

I'm not sure I agree with the others on your list as I've seen others dominate those games and play quite far through them. Some of them even I was able to get decent scores on.

 

But I don't think anyone would argue the point with Sinistar. That game was just unbeatable!

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Luckily I grew up during the arcade boom and was able to play tons of different games. Some were quite a bit of fun, some were boring, some easy and others were just plain impossible. Below I have listed 10 of the hardest I ever played at the arcades. Hopefully others can chime in and jog my memory of other tough coin-ops.

 

#1 Sinistar- UHGGG Never could get past the 3rd or 4th level.

#2 Star Castle- I believe this is the best of the tough games.

#3 Q-Bert- I sucked big time at this one I think I was able to get where you hit the cubes twice occasionally.

#4 Marble Madness- Great game, but I could never get past the reverse level.

#5 Space Ace- I never could finish the game on Expert even after many, many, many quarters.

#6 Tempest- After level 20 or so I am done unless I added more money.

#7 Asteroids Deluxe- Terrible game and no way near as easy as Asteroids.

#8 Super Punch Out- Ouch, I could run 3 or 4 times thru Punch Out, but could never get anywhere in this game.

#9 Gravitar- Extremely hard game when started in the advanced level (which I never completed).

#10 Paperboy- Frustrating cheap hit game, had potential, but almost impossible to get very far.

 

Star Castle was super tough back in the day! Gotta agree on that one as well as most of your list.

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What about Robotron? That game becomes a truly evil bastard after a few levels.

 

I would also add Super Zaxxon which moves so quickly, it would be frilly amazing to see someone go over five minutes on it.

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I am surprised to see Star Castle listed as a toughy. Perhaps others had the bad luck to only play later 'suped' up machines that were indeed tough (sped up quickly and stars followed you as you changed sides of the screen), but in some of the early machines, the floating deadly stars that followed you would not follow you as you changed sides of the screen allowing a pattern of flying the corners, shooting the center, and piling up the extra lives no matter how fast the stars got. Once I saw somebody do this pattern and a bit of practice, this was actually one of the only games I actually learned to 'play forever on a quarter' (until the sped up machines came along of course).

 

I could never get beyond the 1st level on Major Havoc (and still cant')

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I definitely don't agree fully with this list..

 

#1 Sinistar- UHGGG Never could get past the 3rd or 4th level.

 

Agreed there. I think the voice scared me when he game out and impacted my gameplay.

 

#3 Q-Bert- I sucked big time at this one I think I was able to get where you hit the cubes twice occasionally.

 

Don't agree with this one bit. While I'm in no way a world champion I don't think this game is hard. I can always get to the level where you have to run over cubes twice.

 

#4 Marble Madness- Great game, but I could never get past the reverse level.

 

Can't comment on this one. I don't know how much arcade I played, but I did beat it on NES.

 

#5 Space Ace- I never could finish the game on Expert even after many, many, many quarters.

 

Agree. I was never very good at this one. I was better at Dragons Lair and Super Don Quixote.

 

#6 Tempest- After level 20 or so I am done unless I added more money.

 

You say this game is hard, yet you can get to level 20 on one quarter. I think you contradicted yourself there.

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I am surprised to see Star Castle listed as a toughy. Perhaps others had the bad luck to only play later 'suped' up machines that were indeed tough (sped up quickly and stars followed you as you changed sides of the screen), but in some of the early machines, the floating deadly stars that followed you would not follow you as you changed sides of the screen allowing a pattern of flying the corners, shooting the center, and piling up the extra lives no matter how fast the stars got. Once I saw somebody do this pattern and a bit of practice, this was actually one of the only games I actually learned to 'play forever on a quarter' (until the sped up machines came along of course).

 

I could never get beyond the 1st level on Major Havoc (and still cant')

I forgot about Major Havoc. I loved that game, not especially good at it, but decent. Another game I completely forgot about was Bagman. I see there is a large thread about it. I agree that was a tough one also. I did not play it much though.

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I am surprised to see Star Castle listed as a toughy. Perhaps others had the bad luck to only play later 'suped' up machines that were indeed tough (sped up quickly and stars followed you as you changed sides of the screen), but in some of the early machines, the floating deadly stars that followed you would not follow you as you changed sides of the screen allowing a pattern of flying the corners, shooting the center, and piling up the extra lives no matter how fast the stars got. Once I saw somebody do this pattern and a bit of practice, this was actually one of the only games I actually learned to 'play forever on a quarter' (until the sped up machines came along of course).

 

 

Yep, Thats what I used to do back in the day......Once you get to 99 extra lives you cap out......I would usually turn the game over to some kid who was watching....I would always chuckle as I walked away because I would hear the first of those 99 get nailed.....But it was ok. That kid was gonna be there a while :cool:

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Robotron IMO is pretty touch and the mentioned Sinistar. Black Widow is another I enjoy (very similar to Robotron) and it gets pretty hard after a few levels.

 

~telengard

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Robotron is tough, but you can get good at it. Same with Defender (another hard game)

 

You can NEVER get good at Sinistar though in my opinion :lol: Go ahead and put in your hundreds of hours and try and test that theory :P

 

Super Cobra to me was also pretty tough.

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Robotron is tough, but you can get good at it. Same with Defender (another hard game)

 

You can NEVER get good at Sinistar though in my opinion :lol: Go ahead and put in your hundreds of hours and try and test that theory :P

 

Super Cobra to me was also pretty tough.

 

Yeah, with practice I've gotten much better @ Robotron (500k or so). But back in the 80s, I'd be toast before I even knew what was going on. Defender still eludes me even today for some reason. I totally agree about Sinistar, even harder if you try playing with an emulator without the 49 way joystick it used. :)

 

~telengard

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Defender. All those buttons all over the place made it an utter pain. I barely ever played it because of that.

 

I'd also go so far to say that Atari's arcade games tended to be harder than your average game, except of course some of the ones where exploits were found like Asteroids.

 

The games I had most trouble with were probably Scramble and Super Cobra. No idea why, but I was useless at the arcade ones but did just fine on most home versions.

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Robotron's difficulty depends entirely on the maintnance mode settings which can make it a ruthless, bastard of a game when set to "10 Extra Conservatve". It is still playable for long periods with enough practice.

 

I strongly agree with Super Cobra but know I'm forgetting about several smaller run games.

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Donkey Kong wasn't mentioned. I think it among the hardest games to progress past 4 or 5 levels.

 

Defender was also a real bastard to play. Might be simply because of how the controls were layed out because I have gotten rather far playing it on MAME.

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I am surprised to see Star Castle listed as a toughy. Perhaps others had the bad luck to only play later 'suped' up machines that were indeed tough (sped up quickly and stars followed you as you changed sides of the screen), but in some of the early machines, the floating deadly stars that followed you would not follow you as

 

The drones in the version I had would sometimes cross over. It depended on how close they were when you cross, because they would decelerate once you wrapped around and sometimes made it across before they came to a complete stop.

 

I agree that major havok is hard. I can't navigate the base at all.

 

Gravitar is even harder, IMHO. Slow paced, perhaps, but hard.

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I wouldn't put Space Ace on the list. All it was is basically a 'memorize the move list' type of game. After practicing for a few weeks I was able to beat it easily and for many months there after. Of course once I stopped playing it and forgot the moves list then I went back to sucking. Still, Space Ace and DL aren't about skill they're about memorizing moves. Even a person who is really bad at games could beat it with a little practice.

 

Tempest

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Defender. All those buttons all over the place made it an utter pain. I barely ever played it because of that.

 

Yes.. but Defenders controls are a large part of it's gaming experience in my humble opinion. And they aren't hard at all if you simply take the effort to get used to them. Once you do, the play control it offers is awesome. :)

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Robotron is a great example of a tough game that rewards raw skill -- player reflexes, the ability to anticipate, the ability to see the whole playfield -- without requiring pattern memorization. Wave 9 is the only (early) wave that verges on ridiculousness, but even that is manageable once you get the hang of it. In some ways I still think it's the perfect twitch game, yet at the same time, it's got a kind of split-second depth to it, almost like chess accelerated by a factor of 500.

 

As for hard games: I remember being incredibly frustrated by Xain'd Sleena and Athena, both of which seemed to me to fulfill this trope all too often. Maybe they thought having female protagonists would ensure maximal quarter input anyway, so why not make the games insanely difficult and unfair too! I beat Xain'd Sleena eventually, but Athena I'd rather just throw off a cliff, in both its arcade and NES iterations.

 

(Hmmm, maybe it's not a coincidence that, IIRC, neither game offers invincibility after you take a hit. That's always been a serious demerit in my eyes.)

 

I do pretty well with Major Havoc and Marble Madness -- I've beaten the latter in MAME -- but Sinistar is just brutal. Another one that I couldn't pass in the later levels: R-Type. Suddenly it gets ridiculously hard, and requires the kind of pattern memorization that typically ruins a game for me.

 

Also I think the difficulty of a lot of the driving games gets underrated. Turbo, Pole Position, Hang-On, OutRun -- I never had much luck with any of 'em.

Edited by thegoldenband

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How about Bagman? I could only beat that game using cheats!

 

Tempest

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Spelunker - About 5000 ways to die.

Hard Drivin' - A choppy simulator that is very anal retentive. Tough to actually drive the car where you want it to go.

 

I can't remember the game, but it's an Elevator Action-like game where you are a cop. MAME doesn't emulate it perfectly, but it emulates it enough to show how bad this obscure game is. It's too easy to die, and it spawns robbers at you so frequently, you have barely any time to react.

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If you're including more modern games, you need to add Mushihime Sama, DoDonPachi, and the other cave shoot em ups on the list.

 

I do agree completely though, Sinistar is by far the hardest. Ever. Period.

 

Also, Warlords gets decently hard after the second level.

Edited by keilbaca

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See.. everyone agrees about Sinistar. I actually don't think the game is "hard" per-se, but rather the game is just poorly designed. The atmosphere and artistic design of the game is fantastic (nearly the best for it's time), but the game itself is a real turd.

 

When all the skill in the world combined with hours of practice doesn't get you anywhere, that's the sign of a lousy game :P

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See.. everyone agrees about Sinistar. I actually don't think the game is "hard" per-se, but rather the game is just poorly designed. The atmosphere and artistic design of the game is fantastic (nearly the best for it's time), but the game itself is a real turd.

 

When all the skill in the world combined with hours of practice doesn't get you anywhere, that's the sign of a lousy game :P

 

See, I tend to disagree. A lousy game makes it unplayable from the start, just a real crap game that controls are sluggish, and the hitboxes are so bad its laughable. Kinda like snake's tilt up + A on SSBB.

 

 

The game is fully playable, fast, fun, spot on controls, and an amazing theme. As you said, great theme, but I think its a great game as well.

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Luckily I grew up during the arcade boom and was able to play tons of different games. Some were quite a bit of fun, some were boring, some easy and others were just plain impossible. Below I have listed 10 of the hardest I ever played at the arcades. Hopefully others can chime in and jog my memory of other tough coin-ops.

 

#1 Sinistar- UHGGG Never could get past the 3rd or 4th level.

 

This guy wasn't in the arcades around here when it came out. I only played it a few times recently on one of those multicade cabinets and in MAME. I'm not clear on the game play but yeah, it's tough.

 

#2 Star Castle- I believe this is the best of the tough games.

#3 Q-Bert- I sucked big time at this one I think I was able to get where you hit the cubes twice occasionally.

 

I think Star Castle takes a bit of practice.

 

Q*bert for me is tough and actually I'm not 100% sure of the game play - do you have to avoid all the other guys on the screen or are there some that are vulnerable? I only play this one occasionally on the home consoles.

 

#6 Tempest- After level 20 or so I am done unless I added more money.

 

You reach level 20 and think it's tough? I would disagree with you on this one and think it's one of the more balanced games in terms of difficulty.

 

#7 Asteroids Deluxe- Terrible game and no way near as easy as Asteroids.

<<<SNiP>>>

#10 Paperboy- Frustrating cheap hit game, had potential, but almost impossible to get very far.

 

I'm with ya there...

 

Also, I've found Space Fury pretty intense and much more difficult than the ColecoVision port.

 

One game I've discovered recently and becoming a favorite of mine is Rip-Off. I'm not sure how popular this one was in the day but I have a feeling it is overrated. Pretty intense game as well.

 

Ladybug is tough also. Always has me on the edge of my seat.

 

Pepper II I've been playing in MAME using a Gravis Gamepad and I find it impossible to play. Maybe a joystick is easier to use.

 

Check out my thread here and feel free to add to the list - it's in need of serious bumpage:

http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.php?a...17&t=141395

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