Top 10 Frustrating Video Game Levels

Try not to fling your controller across the room. Or at least make sure your buddy’s not in the way. Join as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Frustrating Video Game Levels. For this list, we ranked the hardest levels in all of gaming. As usual, one per franchise.

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Written by Max Bledstein

Top 10 Frustrating Video Game Levels

Try not to fling your controller across the room. Or at least make sure your buddy’s not in the way. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 frustrating video game levels.
For this list, we ranked the hardest single levels in all of gaming, not boss fights as we have another list for those guys. As usual, one per franchise.

#10: Waterfall
“Contra” (1987)

This run and gun action game has been notorious for being among gaming’s most difficult titles, but the challenged peaked here. Climbing a treaturous cliffside is hard enough As you head to the top of the waterfall, with falling rocks, turrets, and soldiers constantly shooting at you while making the climb. Not to mention falling off the screen as you climb is a danger too.

#9: Animal Antics
“Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest” (1995)

This level is the longest in the whole game and you face many challenges along the way. You must play as all five playable Animal Buddies to get through the stage, and you’ll face a host of enemies like Zingers and Puftups. No part of this level is easy, but the section where you play as Squawks the parrot is particularly frustrating, because you fly through a narrow corridor of thorns while fighting the intense wind.

#8: Stage 6-2
“Ninja Gaiden” (1988)

We never thought the life of a ninja was easy, but this level was ridiculous. Even if you can take out the tons of enemies who are after you, they respawn quickly and make your life hell. Not only that, but you’ll have to deal with projectiles that come at you in a seemingly random fashion. If that weren’t enough trouble, the level takes a while to complete, and you have a narrow time limit.

#7: Dr. Wily’s Castle
“Mega Man 9” (2008)

This 8-bit throwback to the early days of the franchise really went overboard with the insane difficulty level of these stages. Before you even get to take on the doctor himself, you’ll have to face intimidating challenges like lava jets, robotic enemies, and more. Even though there are eight checkpoints, you can’t save at any of them, so you’ll have to start from the beginning if you decide to leave.

#6: Aztec
“GoldenEye 007” (1997)

So many fond memories with this FPS, but not many of them come from this level. From the beginning, all of the enemies deal you severe damage, and you’ll constantly find yourself running from grenades. And don’t get us started on Jaws and his seemingly limitless capacity for damage. If any of these dangers finally get to you, you’re in trouble, because you’ll be going back to the beginning of the level if you die.

#5: The Perfect Run
“Super Mario Galaxy 2” (2010)

Late game “Super Mario” levels have been pretty challenging, like Tubular in “Super Mario World,” with that damn P Balloon, but there was never anything this bad. Here, you navigate ridiculous challenges that combine a lot of what you’ve been doing over the course of the game. Oh and the kicker is one hit and your dead, and there are no checkpoints either. If you’ve made it all the way to this level, you’ll want to beat it in order to get the game’s 242nd and final star, so it’s frustrating but very satisfying once you beat it.

#4: Through the Fire and Flames
“Guitar Hero 3” (2007)

This song separated the posers from the real Guitar Heroes. Even on Easy, tons of notes fly at you, giving you barely any time to think, let alone get your fingers on the right buttons. With all of the time spent just trying to pass this Dragon Force song, we probably could have gotten pretty decent at playing an actual guitar.

#3: The Water Temple
“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (1998)

This level is by far the longest one on our list, and it offers far more challenges than just its length. It consists of a seemingly infinite maze of switches, doors, and shifting water levels. If that weren’t enough, when you’re underwater the only weapon you can use to defend yourself from enemies is your hookshot. It’s a bit easier in the 3DS remaster thanks to color coordinated doors telling players where the water level can be changed, but the infamous frustration with the original makes it hard to pass off. Plus, when this came out, it’s not like you could Google where to go.

#2: The Dam
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1989)

Underwater levels are often challenging, but this one might have taken way things too far. You have to diffuse eight bombs, navigate through some hard-to-avoid electric seaweed, and escape other obstacles, all while under a tight time limit. Its made especially hard since swimming is surprisingly not easy for the turtles, especially when you get to this section where with the aforementioned seaweed everywhere that gives you little room for error.

Before we get to our number one, let’s take a look at some honorable mentions:

Operation Mystic Tiger
“Rainbow Six” (1998)

“Halo 3” (2007)

Final Level
“Double Dragon” (1987)

Velvet Hammer
“Mechwarrior 2” (1995)

#1: Turbo Tunnel
“Battletoads” (1991)

Ohhhhh boy ... this level … this … damn level. You have to dodge over a hundred barriers in around two minutes, and each one comes at you with barely any warning. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the long-jumping part, you’ll never be sure if you’ve made it safely to the other side until your bike touches land. Its even worse in 2 player because if one person messes up both of you have to start again, effectively double the amount of hazards. And you know what the worse part is? This is only the 3rd level, it’s not like the rest of the game is a cakewalk after this…

Do you agree with our list? Which video game levels made you rage quit? For more top 10s that make you rage published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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