Are you an avid gamer who loves a challenge? Whether it’s early classics like Legend of Zelda or newer games like Dark Souls, gaming is full of levels that have caused players to rage-quit in frustration.
From sadistically punishing difficulty curves to frustratingly convoluted puzzles, these levels represent the toughest parts of our favorite games. For those looking for evidence that video game challenges are truly reaching a new level of intensity and complexity, we're giving you a glimpse into the 50 hardest video game levels ever made!
Read further as we break down exactly why each stage has earned its dreaded reputation among gamers from all over the world.
Also Read: 20 Best Multiplayer Games for PS5
15 Hardest Video Game Levels of All Time
We have chosen 15 levels that we believe are the toughest ever (in no particular order). The list below covers various gaming genres, from platformers to first-person shooters.
15. Water Temple, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
The Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is undoubtedly one of the most challenging and notorious levels in the game. Located at the bottom of Lake Hylia, this temple requires players to navigate through a complex maze filled with puzzles, hidden passages, and deadly water-based enemies.
Along the way, players have to raise and lower the water levels to access new areas and solve puzzles, which can be a daunting task even for experienced players. Despite its difficulty, the Water Temple remains a beloved part of the game as it represents the game's formidable challenge and the player's determination to overcome it.
Also Read: Top 20 Best RPG Games of 2023
14. Tree Tops - Spyro The Dragon
In the world of Spyro The Dragon, there are countless breathtaking landscapes and exciting challenges to explore. But perhaps none are quite as memorable as the canopy of Tree Tops.
As you soar high above the treetops, dodging obstacles and collecting gems, it's tough not to feel a rush of excitement and adrenaline. Of course, there are plenty of dangers lurking in the treetops as well—from pesky enemies to tricky jumps.
But for players who are up for the challenge, Tree Tops is one of the most rewarding levels in the game. Whether you're a longtime Spyro fan or a newcomer to the series, this level is sure to leave a lasting impression.
13. Mile High Club on Veteran - Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare
The Mile High Club is a popular Easter egg in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It can be found inside the plane level, where players have to shoot out the windows of the plane and then jump out into the sky before the plane explodes.
Once outside, they will have access to an area that contains numerous weapons and ammo stashes, as well as a secret door. Accessing the secret room requires players to complete various challenges, such as completing mazes and puzzles.
Once the challenges are complete, they will gain access to the Mile High Club and its rewards. Players can expect to receive bonus ammo, weapons, cash, and even achievement points for their effort. To reach the Mile High Club, you will need to complete all the challenges and obtain a special card that opens the door.
12. Sora Versus Sephiroth - Kingdom Hearts II
The epic battle between Sora and Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts II has become a classic moment in gaming history. As players journey through the worlds and levels of the game, they know that they will eventually face the formidable Sephiroth.
The anticipation builds as the battle begins, and players are immediately drawn into the intensity of the fight. Sora's quick reflexes and magic abilities are put to the test against Sephiroth's swordsmanship and dark powers.
The clash of steel and magic creates a spectacle that players will never forget. It's a true test of skill and strategy, and only the most dedicated players will emerge victorious.
11. The True Arena - Kirby Super Star Ultra
The 'True Arena' in Kirby Super Star Ultra is claimed to be one of the toughest levels in video game history. An intense collection of bosses, stages, and challenges confronts brave adventurers in this ruthless arena, taking gaming to a new level of tough.
Even the most experienced players report that beating The True Arena requires sheer luck and perseverance as much as skill. It's certainly not for faint-hearts, but anyone courageous enough to take it on will come away with tremendous satisfaction from conquering arguably the hardest video game level ever created.
Also Read: All GTA Games in Order
10. Through the Fire and Flames - Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
Guitar enthusiasts around the world have tried their hand at mastering the infamous song “Through the Fire and Flames” from Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. It’s no secret why this song has become legendary in the gaming community – its incredibly fast-paced and complex guitar riffs make it one of the most challenging songs to conquer.
But for those who have successfully conquered it, the feeling of pride and accomplishment is unparalleled. From the perfect timing of hammer-ons and pull-offs to the wrist-breaking strumming patterns, the song demands precision and skill.
It’s no wonder that even professional guitarists have attempted to tackle this beast of a song. For any gamer or musician seeking a challenge, “Through the Fire and Flames” is a must-try.
9. Rainbow Road – Mario Kart Wii
Rainbow Road has been a fan favourite since its introduction in the Mario Kart series. Mario Kart Wii ups the ante with its colourful and vibrant take on the track. Racers wind through a stunning, starry universe filled with rainbow-coloured platforms, neon signs, and even a translucent tube that launches them high into the sky.
A dash of skill, luck, and power-ups can help you stay ahead of the pack as you manoeuvre through the visually stunning course. With Rainbow Road, Mario Kart Wii has truly outdone itself, creating a track that is both beautiful and challenging to race on.
8. Flying Machine - Shovel Knight
Flying Machine is an iconic level in the popular game Shovel Knight. Players are taken on an exciting adventure through the skies on a flying ship. The level is full of obstacles that require players to use their platforming skills to avoid hazards and enemies. What makes this level truly memorable, however, is the epic boss battle at the end.
Players face off against an imposing mechanical dragon that shoots fire and launches missiles. The battle is challenging but incredibly rewarding, with a sense of accomplishment waiting for those who persevere. The Flying Machine level in Shovel Knight is a thrilling experience that showcases the game's amazing level design and boss fights.
Also Read: 25 Best Third-Person Games
7. Ringed City - Dark Souls 3
The Ringed City is a place of mystery and danger, full of twisted creatures and treacherous traps. As the final DLC for Dark Souls 3, it offers players one last chance to test their mettle against the toughest challenges the game has to offer.
With a new storyline that delves deeper into the lore of the series, the Ringed City promises to be an unforgettable experience for fans of the franchise. Explore the ruins of a lost city, battle powerful enemies, and uncover the secrets of the Ringed City if you dare. This is Dark Souls at its finest, and the Ringed City is the perfect way to end one of the most beloved game series ever.
6. Water Dam - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
In the world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there are plenty of challenges for our heroes to face. One of these challenges comes in the form of a massive Water Dam. The villains of the show have taken control of the dam, and it's up to the turtles to prevent disaster from striking.
With their ninja skills and fearless determination, our heroes must navigate the treacherous waters and stop the bad guys in their tracks. It's a high-stakes adventure that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, wondering if the turtles will be able to save the day. But one thing's for sure: with their teamwork and bravery, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will always rise to the occasion.
5. Rusty Bucket Bay - Banjo-Kazooie
Rusty Bucket Bay in the iconic game Banjo-Kazooie is a level to be reckoned with. This maritime-themed level is full of dangerous obstacles, hidden secrets, and an atmosphere that will keep you on edge. As you traverse through the ship graveyard and toxic water, you'll encounter enemies like TNT barrels and mechanical crabs.
But don't let that deter you, as overcoming these challenges will reward you with Jiggies and other treasures. The stunning visuals and creative level design make Rusty Bucket Bay a standout in the Banjo-Kazooie universe.
4. The Dungeon - Castlevania
The Dungeon in Castlevania is not for the faint of heart. Dark and ominous, this maze-like maze is filled with dangerous creatures and treacherous traps. Every step could be your last as you explore its shadowy corridors, hoping to uncover the hidden secrets. But if you're brave enough to face the challenge, the rewards can be great.
From valuable items to hidden passages, there's always something to be discovered in this foreboding fortress. Whether you're a seasoned adventurer or just starting out, the Dungeon offers an experience like no other. So grab your whip and steel your nerves, for the challenges that await within are not for the weak.
Also Read: 20 Best Racing Games for PS5
3. Assault - Hotline Miami
Hotline Miami is a brutally satisfying video game that puts players in the shoes of a mysterious hitman tasked with taking down a series of thugs and gangsters. One of the most visceral and intense aspects of the game is the focus on close-quarters combat, with the player character executing brutal finishers on enemies using everything from pool cues to frying pans.
However, the game also tackles heavier themes, such as assault and domestic violence, with some enemies being portrayed as abusers who have been dispatched to teach them a lethal lesson.
Hotline Miami may not be for the faint of heart, but for those who can stomach its intense violence and challenging gameplay, it's a thrilling ride that doesn't pull any punches.
2. Chapter Nine - Farewell Celeste
In Chapter Nine, Farewell Celeste, readers are taken on an emotional journey as they say goodbye to a beloved character. As the story unfolds, we see the impact that Celeste has had on those around her and the marks she has left on their lives.
It's a poignant reminder of the power of human connection and how even the briefest encounters can shape our existence in ways we never imagined. Through beautiful prose and heart-wrenching scenes, this chapter will leave readers teary-eyed and reflecting on their own relationships and the legacies they hope to leave behind.
1. Ornstein & Smough - Dark Souls
Ornstein & Smough, two of the toughest bosses in Dark Souls, embody the true essence of what it means to face a challenge head-on. Their unique fighting styles, coupled with their brute strength, make for a nail-biting battle that tests even the most seasoned of gamers.
Ornstein, the lightning-fast dragon slayer, darts around the arena with lethal precision, while Smough, the executioner wielding his massive hammer, relentlessly chases after you. Fighting against these two giants requires strategic planning, quick reflexes, and an unwavering determination to emerge victorious.
Whether you beat them on your first try or after countless attempts, one thing is certain - taking down Ornstein & Smough is an accomplishment to be proud of in Dark Souls.
Also Read: 30 Best Third-Person PS5 Games
After exploring the past of gaming and diving into 50 hardest video game levels ever released, it's safe to say that video game designers are continuously pushing the envelope to ensure gamers remain challenged.
From Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda to Rainbow Road in Mario Kart, each of these levels tested the skills of gamers around the world. While some may be more difficult than others, they all prove that beating a challenge brings us closer together.
It's possible that we'll continue to see new and harder levels being released as games evolve and technology advances. But until then, even if you struggle with them, remember there will always be someone out there who has completed them before and is ready to help you get through yours!