10 More Awful Moments In Great Games

10 just wasn't enough. There's always more.

GTA San Andreas
GTA San Andreas

We’ve already spoken about some of those cursed missions and levels in gaming which turn what was an almost perfect game into a moment of buyer’s remorse, as you’re left questioning if you even like video games anymore. How can the developer be this good at making games, and yet leave something like this here?

Of course, 10 instances of this happening barely scratches the surface of near-game ruining moments that have dotted this industry’s decades long history. Because of this, we found ten more levels and times when amazing games were very nearly derailed by something horrible, whether it’s because of a sharp difficulty spike, poor design or something else.


1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – Supply Lines

Picking a bad level or mission from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is an arduous task in itself, purely because there’s so many of them. Despite the fact that the game earned universal acclaim from press and public alike, there’s a bunch of missions and moments thrown in that threaten to turn your controller into a hand-propelled rocket aimed at the nearest wall. Wrong Side of the Tracks is the subject of enough memes, while being forced to learn how to fly by taking lessons is a harsh momentum stopper during a playthrough. However, none of that compares to the hell known as Supply Lines.

Given to you by the electronics expert Zero in San Fierro, Supply Lines has you piloting an RC plane, shooting five different delivery drivers across the city. Sounds simple enough, but the issue is that the plane can’t handle being shot, and has a very limited fuel supply. Completing this mission requires a perfect balance of skill and path routing, most of which you won’t have on the first 20-odd goes of this awful mission. Even Zero’s voice actor, David Cross, has slammed the mission when he appeared on Hot Ones, stating that he “couldn’t f**king do it”.


2. Mafia – Fair Play

You know a level absolutely sucks when the developers of the game’s remake need to put out a blog post talking about how they’re going to handle that specific level, which is exactly what happened with the Fairplay level in Mafia. Despite being a game that follows the criminal antics of Tommy Angelo, as he rises through the ranks of Salieri Crime Family, the Fairplay level contains the least amount of violence possible, but it’s arguably responsible for a number of dead playthroughs for the original game.

The premise of the level sees Tommy commandeering a race car and driving it to the track, with this first part of the mission being timed and under the constraint that if you damage the car, you fail the mission. So far, so annoying already, but if you manage to make it through that bit, you then have to complete the toughest and most brutal race in gaming history. Again, at least the remake from Hangar 13 and 2K made this level a lot easier, meaning people could actually experience the rest of the story too.


3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl – The Great Maze (Subspace Emissary)

Fans of the Super Smash Bros. series might not like the weird gameplay changes that Brawl introduced, such as the chance you can just randomly fall on your butt anytime you dash or change direction when running. One aspect of Brawl that’s universally beloved is the Subspace Emissary story, a massive single-player mode that saw the entire roster of characters, including Metal Gear Solid’s Snake, band together to take down some bad guys. Still, even the game’s most diehard supporters have to admit that the Great Maze is a load of old fart.

While the 30 other levels in Subspace Emissary don’t take too long, the Great Maze is a massive, sprawling network of rooms with save points and teleports dotted all over the place. It’s almost a game mode in itself, and the main problem is that this “mode” sees you fighting the same roster characters and bosses you’ve already fought throughout the course of the game. The rooms themselves even use level assets and themes you’ve already seen. It offers nothing original, it’s just a big dungeon of stuff you’ve already done, padding the runtime by about an hour almost unecessarily at the final checkpoint.


4. Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Any Boss Fight

The appeal of games like Deus Ex is that you’re given a series of situations that can be handled in any way you see fit. If you want to go in all guns blazing, that’s fine, but for those who prefer a more careful and considered approach, the stealth, hacking and even just dialogue options give players the means to solve problems creatively, or chaotically. Or both. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the series prequel, was meant to evoke the feeling of those older games, and while it mainly succeeded in the regular levels, the game’s boss fights became near impossible for a good chunk of the playerbase.

Despite championing player choice throughout the rest of the game, Human Revolution’s boss fights forced players into one on one gun fights against powerful foes, meaning if you had built your skill tree around stealth and subterfuge, you were up the proverbial creek without a paddle. If you were already a guns blazing player, you wouldn’t have noticed a difference, but everyone else was fuming when Deus Ex: Human Revolution first launched in 2011. 2 years later, the Director’s Cut version reworked boss fights somewhat, adding hackable turrets to help fend off the boss, but it’s still not great.


5. Super Mario Sunshine – Lily Pad Ride

Super Mario Sunshine catches a lot of flak from hardcore Mario fans for its weird ideas and sometimes frustrating mechanics, while Sunshine defenders would likely consider any detractors in the same way Jon Moxley considers CM Punk: “Fragile ego. Fragile mind. Fragile body.” Still, even if Sunshine is one of my favorite Mario games of all time, even I have to admit that Sunshine has its glaring flaws. The Pachinko level is considered by some to be the most infamous level in Sunshine’s repertoire, but for our money, there’s an even worse offender: Lily Pad Ride.

Lily Pad Ride is as you’d expect from the name, tasking the player with floating down a river collecting red coins. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the river insta-kills Mario, the leaf can only be guided through the use of Mario’s FLUDD backpack and if the leaf touches any of the walls, it instantly collapses and you die. If the finicky controls and one touch death mechanics weren’t bad enough, the process to get to this level is so boring and long winded, requiring a Yoshi and a bunch of boat riding. Of course, if you get a game over, or just go through the warp pipe at the end of the river, you’ll need to go through that whole process again just for another go. Screw this level and everything it stands for.


6. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Allies Of Bruma

RPGs are almost always bound to have a couple of dud quests, though usually that comes in the form of a menial fetch quest. Even though they’re not the most original, at least most fetch quests don’t take too long to complete, not like Allies Of Bruma from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. While it’s an optional quest that isn’t required to complete the main storyline, completing Allies Of Bruma will make the final battle a lot easier, but unless you’ve been smart with your playthrough, this quest might just be the most tedious one of them all.

Essentially, Allies For Bruma sees the player traveling to every major city and settlement in Cyrodil, pleading with the relevant lord or ruler to send aid for the impending final battle. There’s seven settlements in total, and each one requires you to close an Oblivion Gate in order to get their help. If you’re smart, you’ll tackle the Allies For Bruma quest as you’re playing through the rest of the game, closing gates as you visit towns, but for a lot of players, this quest was left until the last second, leaving them to complete the same tasks seven times in a row in quick succession.


7. Tekken 5 – Jinpachi Mishima

Fighting game bosses can be some of the toughest tests you’ll ever face when playing, aside from deciding to try online matches. There be dragons in those hills. Admittedly though, most of those fighting game bosses are cheap as all hell, employing a bunch of game breaking tactics and ridiculously overpowered moves to dominate the player. Those who have played through the Arcade ladder of any SNK game will likely have nightmares about beasts like Rugal, while Shao Kahn in MK 2 and 3 is an absolute prick. However, none compare to the ridiculousness that is Tekken 5’s Jinpachi Mishima.

The last fight of the Arcade/Story mode in Tekken 5, Jinpachi is the father of Heihachi, who’d been imprisoned by his son under Hon-Maru and died of starvation. Some demonic entity revived the old man though, turning him into one of the toughest fights in any 3D fighting game, particularly on the harder difficulties. Instead of fighting like a normal character, Jinpachi has a bunch of instant stun attacks, fireballs that deal massive damage and even teleports that allow him to avoid your attacks. His moveset is limited, and he is beatable, but he’ll make you suffer for a good number of tries before you defeat him.


8. Final Fantasy XV – Chapter 13

Much has been said in the past already about the potential Final Fantasy XV had. Going on a road trip with the boys while exploring an open world sounded like such a thrilling idea for a Final Fantasy adventure, and it is for about nine chapters. Before long, you’ve hit Chapter 10 and you’re basically railroaded (almost literally for part of) on a straight path until the end of the game. This latter portion of FFXV is where the game really loses its lustre, but Chapter 13 in particular is the worst part of the whole game.

Without spoiling too much for anyone who hasn’t played up to the penultimate chapter of FFXV, you’re basically trapped in the enemy’s main base, with no party members, all your weapons have been stolen and the only thing you have to defend yourself with is a ring that takes forever to kill anyone. Eventually, you do get your weapons back, but this whole section is about an hour of wading through identical corridors killing the same enemies over and over, giving you some exposition that could have just been delivered in a five minute cutscene. The chapter was updated post-launch to make things somewhat easier, but even now, it’s the worst part of the whole game.


9. Cuphead – All The Run & Gun Levels

Cuphead is at its best when you’re fighting against amazingly animated bosses, each of which has its own unique attack patterns and moments that make every fight a memorable experience. While some might grumble at the airplane fights compared to the regular boss fights, pretty much everyone can agree that the bosses are where Cuphead really shines. Meanwhile, the run and gun levels that pop up every so often are such a chore that we wish they weren’t in the game at all.

Playing out like Contra or Metal Slug, Cuphead’s run and gun levels are exactly what you’d expect, only they’re brutally hard and ask you to complete the whole level in one run. The enemy and obstacle placement on show in these levels would make even the most hardcore Contra player sweat, and while they’re not needed to make progression, the coins found in these levels allow you to buy charms and new weapons. If Studio MDHR ever makes a Cuphead 2, leave those run and gun levels in the past, please.


10. Sonic & Knuckles – Sandopolis Act 2

The 2D Sonic The Hedgehog games stand among the best that the series has to offer. We should know, we ranked the best ones after all. Despite the legendary status these classic games boast though, there’s still a good few moments and levels that make you question your decision to play them in the first place. Marble Zone from Sonic 1 threatens to end your playthrough at level 2 by turning your high-speed platformer into a precision platformer, but the era bad level of the bunch is Sandopolis Act 2 from Sonic & Knuckles.

After a pretty awesome Act 1, Act 2 sees you traveling into a pyramid to continue your pursuit of Doctor Robotnik, but the level throws so many gimmicks at you that it makes navigating the level feel like a chore. There’s moving block puzzles, which is always great in a game about going fast, but you also have to make sure the lights stay on or the invincible ghosts will try to kill you. Throw in some locked doors that only open on a timer, an endless, repeating sand slide that requires trial and error to find the right moment to jump off, and the series’ hallmark 10 minute timer, and you have the most anxiety-inducing Sonic level since Chemical Plant Zone Act 2.

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