These days, it seems that games with super hard difficulties have been incredibly popular. Just look at the likes of Dark Souls, Sekiro and Cuphead. These games all feature incredibly difficult battles and levels, causing people to either rage quit or spend ages trying to perfect their moves in each battle.
However, if you’ve managed to make your way through these games and want another challenge, I thought we’d take a look at some of the most difficult games on the original PlayStation. Therefore, today, we will be counting down 7 super hard PSX games for those of you who love a good challenge, or a game over screen.
7. Fear Effect
We’ll start off with one of my favourite genres; horror games. Fear Effect and its sequel Retro Helix are incredibly unforgiving games. Designed to strike (funnily enough) fear into you with the creepy events of the game as well as the split-second timing needed for many of the “puzzles”, the Fear Effect games take a huge amount of practice to be able to beat. Most of these puzzles reward your failure with instant death, usually in very gory and disgusting ways.
For example, in the very first level of Fear Effect, a swarm of rats starts filling up the area, moving around like the Flood in Halo. At one point in the level, you have roughly 0.001% of a second to perform a specific action, otherwise, the swarm with devour your character entirely. And yes, that may be an exaggeration, but when you’re playing the game, it won’t feel like it!
6. Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
The next game on this list is definitely one for the Sekiro fans out there. The Tenchu games, in general, are infamous for their difficulty. You take control of a ninja who has to be able to make it to a specific target. That sounds easy enough, right? Well, if you are thinking that then you definitely haven’t played a Tenchu game. Tench: Stealth Assassins explains why this is far more difficult than it sounds just by the name. You need to remain hidden, using stealth to take out your enemies. However, the enemies are strong and the levels are designed perfectly to make you think you’re doing well, only for you to mistime something and end up with a bunch of swords in your neck.
Seriously, if you enjoyed the difficulty and aesthetic of Sekiro, then you really need to give the original Tenchu games a try. You’ll either have the time of your life, or end up throwing your PlayStation straight out of the window.
It is rather strange to think that platformer games used to be so incredibly hard. I mean, the likes of Aladdin and Lion King on the MegaDrive were infamous for how difficult they could be, especially with the lack of any ability to save the game. This mentality partly came from the days of arcade game development, where games were designed to basically devour your small change by having you get a game over almost constantly. When the home console came along, this changed for many platformers. However, even the move to the 32-bit era wasn’t enough to get rid of that mentality completely.
Rayman thoroughly kept the idea of incredibly difficult platformer games alive. With a need for extremely precise jumping and controls that were enjoyable but not all that good at letting you stay alive, Rayman offered a huge amount of challenge. Oh, and if you want an easy way to get the original Rayman, you could either buy the game and a PS1, or get the PlayStation Classic!
4. Vagrant Story
The J-RPG genre isn’t normally associated with super hard gameplay. Typically, they allow you to level up massively to overpower your enemies without too much trouble. Vagrant Story takes this idea, rips it up and laughs in your face. Yes, you can level up and grow stronger. However, the enemies that you need to kill to do this are already strong, typically in groups, and really want you dead. The combat takes some getting used to as well, due to the ability to target different parts of an enemy’s body, and the fact that you have a limited range that you can actually attack within.
The gameplay, for the time, was very unique – something I really love. But the game, itself, is a big jump in difficult for J-RPG fans… This is especially true as it is from Squaresoft, the juggernaut developer behind Final Fantasy, a series that does let you grind easily to become super powerful.
3. Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey
Do you like wierd and wonderful games that feature violence and rather creepy humour? Well, if you do, then Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey is quite possibly the game you are looking for. The entire storyline, events and gameplay is just downright strange… In fact, it’s a rather odd world that you find yourself in! And I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist that pun. Anyway, the game follows Abe’s attempt to escape the creature that are holding his race prisoner, whilst either saving his brethren or leaving them to rot.
What makes the game difficult is the need for stealth throughout, as Abe doesn’t really have any way to defend himself. You need to use traps, distractions and your brains to get through the game, all whilst dealing with controls designed to make you perish. If you like a challenge, then this super hard PS1 game might be right up your street.
The penultimate game on this list of 7 difficult PSX games is a bit different from the others, in that it is a side-scrolling shooter. Einhander, developed by the masterminds at Squaresoft, is a game that takes place in the distant future, featuring a war between colonies from Earth and the Moon. Whilst not exactly a member of the Bullet Hell genre, the game does feature a huge amount of on-screen projectile that you need to avoid at all costs (except the cost of your precious lives).
Being able to make your way through one stage of Einhander is achievement worthy, so being able to complete the game easily puts you on par with the Dark Souls and Sekiro completionists out there. If you don’t mind dying, and not really being able to rely solely on attack pattern memorisation, then Einhander is exactly what you need. It is a true showcase of your skill!
Can you believe it? This list of 7 super hard PSX games features two different RPGs! Yes, they are both action-based J-RPGs, but still… Anyway, on to the actual entry. Alunda is an action RPG that came out shortly after Final Fantasy VII. As such, that was around the time that many people in the States and Europe had finally discovered the joy of RPGs. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a surprise that many moved on to Alundra after finishing Final Fantasy VII. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they then proceeded to completely rage quit the game and never touch it again.
Alundra is a brilliant action RPG that is a huge amount of fun, but it really is incredibly hard. Part of this might be because I hadn’t played an RPG that was difficult before, but it was a massive surprise at how difficult the enemies are, and how quickly you can (and will) end up dead.
And That’s All Folks
Well there you have it; those were 7 of the hardest PSX games. The original PlayStation had loads of games that offer real challenge, and this list is only just touching the surface, so if you liked this and want to know more, make sure to keep an eye out for when I return to this topic, as I most certainly will.
What original PlayStation games did you find incredibly difficult? Let me know in the comments below!
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- Retro Gaming
- 30th April 2019