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ericwierson

What were the hardest arcade coin-op games?

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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.

 

 

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

 

Maybe Rip-Off doesn't deserve mention unless others agree. Come to think of it, like Tempest, it is one of the better games in that with a bit of practice you get better at it.

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Cliff Hanger,Cloak and Dagger,Steel Talons,Street Fighter 2,Cabal,Race Drivin',Flicky,Andromeda,Make Trax,Pleides,Blasteroids,Lethal Enforcers,Lethal Enforcers 2: The Gunfighters,Bosconian,Alpine Ski,Vigilante,Turbo,Chase HQ,Kickman,Galaga,Night Driver,Pacman,Legend Of Cage,Assault,Centipede,Millipede,Rock 'n Rope,Track and Field,Hyper Sports,Bad Dudes,Mr. Do!,Mr. Do's Castle,Tron,Tron: Deadly Discs,Omega Race,Road Riot 4WD,Dig Dug,Rampart,Wild Western,Bubbles,Shinobi,Renegade and Rolling Thunder.More?

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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.

 

<snip>

 

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

 

Pepper II is one of my favorites. A joystick may help a little, but not much. The control handling in the game doesn't feel as smooth as other games from the era but I still enjoy it a lot.

 

~telengard

Edited by telengard

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Bosconian

Bosconian, really? The first time I ever played that game, I got to some absurdly high level, and basically lost interest. However, that was via emulation, and maybe the difficulty settings were off somehow.

 

I agree that the mark of a tough-but-good game is that practice allows a person to reasonably improve. When an experienced gamer puts a good bit of time in, and is still getting flattened, it's usually a sign that something's gone wrong. Remember, Sinistar wasn't originally supposed to be as hard as it is -- one of the execs made them crank up the difficulty, right?

 

Having said that, Sinistar also is far harder if you're playing it with an 8-way stick. It's quite a bit easier to handle on the original hardware, or with a decent analog stick that can approximate the 49-position stick of the original.

Edited by thegoldenband

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The story on SiniStar, which I saw in a video included with a Williams classics collection on the Saturn, was that the arcade machine was initially made to be quite playable but that arcade operators demanded that the average game last two minutes or less(!) whereas most other machines provided an average playtime of a little over three minutes. So the programmers went back and changed the game into the evil, relentless monster that we all know today.

 

One of the original programmers said that he probably has a copy of the original ROMs and would like to release them at some point as that he felt that was when the game was closest to perfection. I would imagine that the legality of his releasing them would be very unpleasant, but feel that they should be included on one of the countless classics collections released every year.

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Cliff Hanger,Cloak and Dagger,Steel Talons,Street Fighter 2,Cabal,Race Drivin',Flicky,Andromeda,Make Trax,Pleides,Blasteroids,Lethal Enforcers,Lethal Enforcers 2: The Gunfighters,Bosconian,Alpine Ski,Vigilante,Turbo,Chase HQ,Kickman,Galaga,Night Driver,Pacman,Legend Of Cage,Assault,Centipede,Millipede,Rock 'n Rope,Track and Field,Hyper Sports,Bad Dudes,Mr. Do!,Mr. Do's Castle,Tron,Tron: Deadly Discs,Omega Race,Road Riot 4WD,Dig Dug,Rampart,Wild Western,Bubbles,Shinobi,Renegade and Rolling Thunder.More?

More please.

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Oh I forgot about Cliff Hanger. Even for a memorize the pattern game that game is damn hard! You have two buttons, split second moves, and almost no indication as to what to do next. Very tough.

 

Tempest

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I agree that Defender was tough. I never got the hang of all the buttons. Two friends of mine used to play together, one person doing the flying, the other doing most of the rest.

 

Starcastle wasn't too bad, in my opinion. It definitely got tougher, but after a few rounds, I mostly flew vertically, on one side of the screen, and every cycle up, if the shields looked good, I'd rotate my ship temporarily, fire a few rounds, then rotate straight up again, and accelerate.

 

Thanks,

5-11under

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To answer S1500: "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." This disaster was called Time Limit. Makes one wonder if some companies skip having anyone actually try out their game for playability. This was impossible. You died within five seconds of starting the game, guaranteed. Who knows what the point was as you started over, and died again seconds later as the enemies just appeard out of nowhere and you were dead.

 

There's a big difference between labeling a game difficult and calling it just plain impossible. Super Zaxxon qualifies as impossible as no one can even focus their eyes on the landscape flying by let alone play the game with that big clunky joystick with the fire button on the stick making your accuracy suck as you cannot steer while trying to furiously fire with the same hand, your arm muscles just won't do it. Cinematronics ruined their games in a similar way using buttons instead of a joystick. Rip Off could have been fun, but was impossible to steer with four directional buttons and a seperate thrust button. Why not use a joystick and have your man move in the direction you are pushing?

 

Stern had many games that could have been fun, many were made too hard by having to stop moving in order to fire,(Berzerk and Tazz-Mania) or having enemy fire be one pixel on the screen, virtually impossible to see or avoid (Rescue, Minefield, Lost Tomb) Even using MAME, maximum men, and the 'easy' setting, they were still miles too hard to stay alive with slow joystick response, tiny enemy fire.

 

Sun released some stinkers such as Kangaroo with its crappy over sensitive collision detection, and Route 16 with the delayed joystick reaction, and having to find yourself on the screen, meanwhile the enemies moved in and killed you before you could locate your self. Crap, pure crap.

 

Lady Bug could have been fun, but having to line up your character perfectly to turn instead of having it take the next right turn if you were pushing right on the joystick ruined it. You died before you could realize that you weren't perfectly lined up to take the next turn, boom, you're dead. Then again, Universal ruined most of their games with their slow clunky joystick response, though crap like JumpBug by Rock_ ola or SNK's Joyful Road, were equally crappy with their slow joystick response times.

The most impossible game award IMHO has to go to Sanritsu's Dream Shopper. What the hell were you supposed to do? Almost invisible holes all over the place that you stepped into and died while trying to figure out what the hell was the point of the game. Enemies that are faster than you, you stop to turn over parts of the maze, meanwhile they just walk over and kill you. If you happen to flip over enough of these squares without running out of men you get to see the first actual board where you seem to be moving up toward a house at the top of the screen, but you can't stop moving forward if an enemy gets in your way as you have to move to the next crossroad before changing direction, meanwhile they move wherever they want and of course, you die before you can steer out of their way. Amazing that even one ROM of something this bad survived to be emulated in MAME.

 

Even more mindless is why I fire up any of these every now and again. I guess I just can't fathom how games that could have been fun were made basically impossible. Nobody puts a second quarter in a game where they die before they can even figure out what the point of the game is, or find their character on the screen. Just my 25 cents worth.

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Yep, Lost Tomb was a pain to play. It wasn't until later I figured out it had a robotron-like shooting scheme. I was just hitting the "bomb" button thinking that was your primary weapon. The hard parts of that game get at the room selection part where the bats fly at you fast.

 

Yeah, Dream Shopper sucks too.

 

There are legions of terrible coin-op games in MAME that were unforgiving to the player.

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Bagman was a bitch for the longest time for me.

Venture was super hard.. I HATED those 2 trolls in the maze that lets them loose after about 5 seconds, then they just fly after you (and of course, find ways to avoid your arrows).

Targ was difficult for me, but then its sequel Spectar came out and it was crazy easy.

I could never get into Gravitar. It was too hard for me to maintain interest.

I was never any good at Star Castle.. it's just one of those games that you need to find a strategy to be successful. You can't really just pick it up and kick its ass.

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Sinistar was aptly named because it was TRULY diabolical. Still, I can't believe that Defender didn't make your list. It was merciless to newcomers, as was Kong.

 

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

 

I don't agree with this one. I don't think the learning curve was terribly steep, and you could certainly get good at it (although, once you got into Thursday/Friday territory, even really good players could suffer a cheap death or two).

 

The perspective was pretty tricky in that game, and you had to really to split your focus between the obstacles scrolling in from the top and the mailboxes on the left (which is tough and a pretty unusual game layout). But even some of the tougher obstacles like the remote control car and the dog had patterns that you could learn to time.

 

To me, I guess one somewhat mean-spirited mechanic was that the game literally got harder the worse you were at it, since losing subscribers generated more hazards and reduced scoring opportunities.

Edited by jrok

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Bagman was a bitch for the longest time for me.

Venture was super hard.. I HATED those 2 trolls in the maze that lets them loose after about 5 seconds, then they just fly after you (and of course, find ways to avoid your arrows).

Targ was difficult for me, but then its sequel Spectar came out and it was crazy easy.

I could never get into Gravitar. It was too hard for me to maintain interest.

I was never any good at Star Castle.. it's just one of those games that you need to find a strategy to be successful. You can't really just pick it up and kick its ass.

Gravitar was definitely a nightmare. I never could finish a full level. I have to say it was a fun game though. It is one of the games on my list of must haves.

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Huh.. some of the recent entries were pretty easy for me. Rally-X wasn't really that hard (I could get to round 6 or 7 at least), Xevious wasn't TOO hard, Gyruss was pretty easy, and so was Elevator Action (I was pretty good at that one). I was pretty good at Do! Run Run as well.

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I owned a Ghosts n' Goblins cabinet earlier this year, and if it's not the most difficult arcade game I've ever played, it has to be the most difficult arcade platformer I've ever played.

 

To its credit, the arcade version is far easier than the NES version, in that you have the chance to re-earn your armor (after it's lost), the colors are numerous (so the enemies don't blend into the background), and the graphics and motion are smooth.

 

It still took me almost ten hours, while taking a couple of pizza and movie breaks, to complete it**...something I have yet to do on the NES

 

**I refused to play through the game a second time, once I got to the end.....

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"Blaster", the unofficial sequel to Robotron 2084 is a cheap kill game. You can't go more than 45 seconds without getting hit. There's no easy way to dodge the baddies. That, and the game isn't that great to begin with.

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"Blaster", the unofficial sequel to Robotron 2084 is a cheap kill game. You can't go more than 45 seconds without getting hit. There's no easy way to dodge the baddies. That, and the game isn't that great to begin with.

Try it on the 5200. At slow down (due to the system capabilities) makes the game much more playable.

 

Tempest

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"Blaster", the unofficial sequel to Robotron 2084 is a cheap kill game. You can't go more than 45 seconds without getting hit. There's no easy way to dodge the baddies. That, and the game isn't that great to begin with.

Try it on the 5200. At slow down (due to the system capabilities) makes the game much more playable.

 

Tempest

 

I had no idea it was even ported to a console. I thought of it as an obscure, practically unreleased coin-op.

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I owned a Ghosts n' Goblins cabinet earlier this year, and if it's not the most difficult arcade game I've ever played, it has to be the most difficult arcade platformer I've ever played.

 

To its credit, the arcade version is far easier than the NES version, in that you have the chance to re-earn your armor (after it's lost), the colors are numerous (so the enemies don't blend into the background), and the graphics and motion are smooth.

 

It still took me almost ten hours, while taking a couple of pizza and movie breaks, to complete it**...something I have yet to do on the NES

 

**I refused to play through the game a second time, once I got to the end.....

Another one I forgot about when making my list. This has to be one of the hardest games I have ever played and I played it quite alot. I never was able to get to the first ending no matter how hard I tried. I guess this was just not my game. Congrats. on getting thru the first run. I watched a YouTube vid. and saw that after you finish once you have to somehow do it again.

Edited by ericwierson

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Star Wars by Atari. Kind of tough as the controls are reversed, up is down,down is up, I have on that is fixed. Up is up and down is down,much more playable.

 

Also Total Carnage, I have the stand up arcade. It's very intense! Cant get to the pleasure dome.

Edited by atarian63

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Star Wars Arcade, Ghosts N' Goblins, Ghouls and Ghosts, Tetris (Atari), the classics like Galaga, Pac-man, Donkey Kong, Frogger.

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