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ericwierson

What were the hardest arcade coin-op games?

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If you weren't careful, the original Fatal Fury and Art Of Fighting could kick you around. To this day the original Geese Howard is the hardest boss I've ever faced.

Jail Break is b.s. hard, borderline impossible.

Break Thru can be pretty tough.

Mystic Marathon was a bit of a pain.

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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.

It's not strange, that's how it's supposed to work. Those are normal flight controls. The opposite (the way you like it) is the harder version for most people to grasp.

 

Tempest

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I don't think Galaga was universally thought of as hard. I thought it was pretty accessible and quite easy for the first few levels, even the first time I played it. There really wasn't a ton of things to manage at once, and for the most part enemies only attacked a few at a time. Galaga was one of the first games I actually got really *good* at, and one of my all time faves. I also always see Robotron near the top of people's lists, but I never understood why. The controls were so intuitive, and even though there was a lot of distracting eye candy going on you really only had to manage the immediate area around you.

 

Defender on the other hand was a pretty steep, rocky climb. You had to get used to the funky interface first, which was tough when you were dying every five seconds. Ghost N' Goblins was so rock hard that I couldn't really get into the game. I thought Super Zaxxon was tough too.

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I don't think Galaga was universally thought of as hard. I thought it was pretty accessible and quite easy for the first few levels, even the first time I played it. There really wasn't a ton of things to manage at once, and for the most part enemies only attacked a few at a time. Galaga was one of the first games I actually got really *good* at, and one of my all time faves. I also always see Robotron near the top of people's lists, but I never understood why. The controls were so intuitive, and even though there was a lot of distracting eye candy going on you really only had to manage the immediate area around you.

 

Defender on the other hand was a pretty steep, rocky climb. You had to get used to the funky interface first, which was tough when you were dying every five seconds. Ghost N' Goblins was so rock hard that I couldn't really get into the game. I thought Super Zaxxon was tough too.

 

Galaga is the best of the classics. It started out easy to get the player acclimated to the game, had the challenge stages and many variations to keep the player's interest and increased with difficulty along the way.

 

I don't think it's a difficult game, at least for me, since I play it all the time and know all the strategies. I always score 100,000 when I play and it's common that I score between 250 and 400K.

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APB from Atari is a total pain in the ass. It is incredibly strict on gameplay, where the slightest mistake will cost you. I'm not sure if the developers realized this and released revised ROM versions, or the game was buggy. I wonder since in MAME there are numerous ROM revisions. I could not tell the difference among them.

 

It is a game that looks to be a lot of fun, but you end up walking on eggshells.

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I don't think it's a difficult game, at least for me, since I play it all the time and know all the strategies. I always score 100,000 when I play and it's common that I score between 250 and 400K.

 

Yep, same here. There's a bar I go to on Saturday mornings now that has a cocktail Galaga/Ms.Pac... this place also has a classic juke loaded with good 80's stuff, a pool table and giant water glasses full of vodka and ice-tea for $5. It's pretty much heaven on Earth.

 

I think the truly "hard" games are the ones where average play time is under a minute because of poor controls, steep curves and/or cheap cheating cheater mechanics. I think you would have to have pretty poor reflexes to last under a minute at Galaga.

Edited by jrok

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I don't think it's a difficult game, at least for me, since I play it all the time and know all the strategies. I always score 100,000 when I play and it's common that I score between 250 and 400K.

 

Yep, same here. There's a bar I go to on Saturday mornings now that has a cocktail Galaga/Ms.Pac... this place also has a classic juke loaded with good 80's stuff, a pool table and giant water glasses full of vodka and ice-tea for $5. It's pretty much heaven on Earth.

 

I think the truly "hard" games are the ones where average play time is under a minute because of poor controls, steep curves and/or cheap cheating cheater mechanics. I think you would have to have pretty poor reflexes to last under a minute at Galaga.

 

Don't take me as arrogant, but I was at an arcade recently that had two Class of 81 cocktails next to each other and had to laugh at the other old timer playing every time I heard the ominous "boom" of his fighter dying which was quite often...

 

That was a long sentence! : ]

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Bull Fight was pretty hard to get a rhythm going on, I thought. That bull would twist around so quickly while you were trying to stab at it, and you'd quickly end up on its horns and it would fling you into the audience. And usually when you think you killed it, it got right up again and got a good deal meaner.

I never cared much for Congo Bongo due to a) its difficulty and b) its terrible collision detection. Damn it, I did NOT jump in the lake!

I could never get the hang of Defender or its terrible controls.. do I REALLY need a reverse button? Can't I just pull back on the controller?

The Pit. Bulls***!!! I keep falling in because the platform falls under me so quick and I have just this itty bitty space to maneuver to and go up.

Samurai Nihon-Ichi is an understandably one-hit kill game (with swords involved) but you can get surrounded by enemies and knife-throwing birds and you have to act SUPER quick.

I was never very good at Space Panic.. once I had to face the stupid green enemies that needed to fall 2 stories, I was hopeless.

Super Zaxxon was way too friggin' fast! What happened??

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Donkey Kong Jr. and Donkey Kong 3.Was DK3 a RARE machine sight for others?I think I only saw one unit several years ago I used to play on.Also,did anyone else see and play Tank 3 by SNK,only ever saw 1 of these.Mach Rider was not a common machine around here either.

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The hardest ones that I can recall are probably Defender, Mappy, and Kangaroo. Mappy and Kangaroo are tough because of the way you have to use the stick. As for Defender, I never get very far in any version of it.

 

Toughest more modern games, IMO, are Ultimate MK3 and Raiden II. Though I can still clean its clock, Raiden II does not make itself easy at all.

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Some of the harder arcade games I've played:

 

Ghosts N' Goblins - What more can I say, this game is fucking tough.

 

Tetris (Atari) - Once they start throwing those oddball levels at you and not the regular "just play Tetris" levels it gets a little tough.

 

Star Wars (Atari) - Easy on the first two or three levels, then it gets hard when you've got like six ties shooting at you.

 

The Empire Strikes Back (Atari) - Same as Star Wars

 

Return of the Jedi - Here goes nothing!

 

Stargate (AKA Defender II) - The controls was hard enough, but with your ship sliding around this game gets hard.

 

Robotron 2084 - Swarms and swarms of robots...oh shit I shot a human.

 

Joust - Fun, but your guy is like slip n' slide on those platforms! And those birds come out of nowhere!

Edited by Baloo

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I could get to the chopper easily enough on 005, but that was usually about it. He would bomb or shoot my ass into next week, if I didn't collide with a tree or balloon first.

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Smash Tv was pretty hard. Of course if you kept pumping quarters in you could continue playing forever

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Smash Tv was pretty hard. Of course if you kept pumping quarters in you could continue playing forever

 

Or until it ended of course. But yeah, pumping quarters was pretty much the idea :)

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Let's not talk about pumping quarters...

 

Off-Road! That's about the quarter eating-est game I have ever seen in my life! It lets you win a race or two, then the computer trucks just go to light speed until you feed it some more.

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Let's not talk about pumping quarters...

 

Off-Road! That's about the quarter eating-est game I have ever seen in my life! It lets you win a race or two, then the computer trucks just go to light speed until you feed it some more.

I actually own the coin-op Ivan Stewarts Off Road and I definitely agree with Shadow. Very rarely can I get more than 3 three wins in a row, and I own it! Most of the coin-ops with a continue are tough in my opinion. Tempest, T.M.N.T., Gauntlet, I.S.O.R., Simpsons etc. All of them are pretty much impossible to finish or if there is no finish, to get very far without pumping in quarter after quarter.

 

I probably should have qualified this post with the game having a no continue policy. But I did post Tempest as one of the toughest games my mistake.

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Even with cheats turned on, Ghosts & Gouls still makes dick moves & proves to be difficult in some parts. It's like that plant has absolute perfect aim and knows where to shoot at you. Screw this game.

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The hardest ones that I can recall are probably Defender, Mappy, and Kangaroo. Mappy and Kangaroo are tough because of the way you have to use the stick. As for Defender, I never get very far in any version of it.

 

Toughest more modern games, IMO, are Ultimate MK3 and Raiden II. Though I can still clean its clock, Raiden II does not make itself easy at all.

Defender........ Extremely tough. I pumped many quarters in it and never once got past the mutant wave. Mappy, was also pretty hard, but I did not like it and never played it much. Kangaroo is one I never played or saw at the local arcades.

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Star Wars by Atari.

 

I used to slay at Star Wars. Great game!

 

Another vote for Sinistar. Come to think of it, pretty much anything Williams made could vie for the top spot. I guess that's the mark of genius game design - make games that are stupid hard, but so good that you never get tired of pumping those quarters in. :)

Edited by crunchysuperman

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I'd say that Carnival is the hardest arcade game of all time, out of the ones that are well-known (who knows if there is an obscure one out there that is harder?). This game starts out easy, but few people ever make it past the 5th level. Even in MAME with cheats enabled (unlimited bullets) it is hard to make it past the 5th level, unless you are very precise and quick with every shot.

 

As far as games that are hard right from the moment you start playing, I'd go with Defender or Stargate... that's not counting Defender 3 of course - http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=ztveao&s=3

 

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

 

I have the Twin Galaxies record score on this game, and I also own the arcade machine (along with a regular Punch-Out boardset that I can swap into it). You are right; this is a difficult game; significantly more so than Punch-Out is. I first started playing it when I was 12 years old in 1987 at the local general store, and played it most every day for about a year straight, until the machine was removed from there and replaced with something else. That was the last I ever saw of it until I discovered MAME in 2002, and then a few years later I acquired the actual machine.

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I'd say that Carnival is the hardest arcade game of all time, out of the ones that are well-known (who knows if there is an obscure one out there that is harder?). This game starts out easy, but few people ever make it past the 5th level. Even in MAME with cheats enabled (unlimited bullets) it is hard to make it past the 5th level, unless you are very precise and quick with every shot.

 

As far as games that are hard right from the moment you start playing, I'd go with Defender or Stargate... that's not counting Defender 3 of course - http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=ztveao&s=3

 

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

 

I have the Twin Galaxies record score on this game, and I also own the arcade machine (along with a regular Punch-Out boardset that I can swap into it). You are right; this is a difficult game; significantly more so than Punch-Out is. I first started playing it when I was 12 years old in 1987 at the local general store, and played it most every day for about a year straight, until the machine was removed from there and replaced with something else. That was the last I ever saw of it until I discovered MAME in 2002, and then a few years later I acquired the actual machine.

I always had a hell of a time getting the timing right on avoiding Dragon Chan's kick.

 

Samurai Nihon-Ichi is pretty damn tough.. those Samurai easily surround you (as do knife-throwing birds) and all it takes is one hit and you're dead.

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I always had a hell of a time getting the timing right on avoiding Dragon Chan's kick.

 

The first Dragon Chan? There is a big timing window for that. It gets more difficult with the 3rd and higher Dragon Chan. Now, I've actually talked to someone who asked me about avoiding Dragon Chan's kick; he said he could never do it. Well it turned out that he was unaware of the "duck" function in this game (which original Punch-Out does not have). So I'll go ahead and point out that you have to duck, just in case you didn't know. This video that I made for reporting a bug in MAME shows the correct time to duck Dragon Chan's kick - link.

Edited by MaximRecoil

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I always had a hell of a time getting the timing right on avoiding Dragon Chan's kick.

 

The first Dragon Chan? There is a big timing window for that. It gets more difficult with the 3rd and higher Dragon Chan. Now, I've actually talked to someone who asked me about avoiding Dragon Chan's kick; he said he could never do it. Well it turned out that he was unaware of the "duck" function in this game (which original Punch-Out does not have). So I'll go ahead and point out that you have to duck, just in case you didn't know. This video that I made for reporting a bug in MAME shows the correct time to duck Dragon Chan's kick - link.

Well, I knew there was a duck button, but I guess I freaked myself out, expecting him to jump to another corner before attacking me. IIRC he'd mix it up, sometimes he'd jump 3 times, sometimes 2, maybe 1. I let that throw me off completely.

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Well, I knew there was a duck button, but I guess I freaked myself out, expecting him to jump to another corner before attacking me. IIRC he'd mix it up, sometimes he'd jump 3 times, sometimes 2, maybe 1. I let that throw me off completely.

 

No, he always has the same pattern. The only thing he mixes up is the direction; i.e., sometimes he makes his jumps around the ring in a counter clockwise pattern like in the video I linked to. Other times he does the same jumps but in a clockwise pattern. It is always 4 jumps plus the jumpkick; the first jump is directly to the left or right into a crouching stance on the mat. The second jump is to the turnbuckle directly behind him. The third jump is to the other rear turnbuckle. The fourth jump is back down to the crouching stance on the mat, on the opposite side of his first jump. At that point you want to duck, because his jumpkick is next.

 

The second Dragon Chan and higher only does one jump, and it is the first jump from his earlier pattern. The difficulty here is that he waits in his crouching stance on the mat for a variable length of time before doing the jump kick, so it is not as easy to predict when the kick will arrive.

Edited by MaximRecoil

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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.

 

I loved it for that exact reason!

 

That game is really tough though. Took me forever as a kid to get past 15 or 20 minutes of play on one quarter.

 

IMHO, Robotron is probably the toughest game ever.

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