Maintaining the right level of difficulty in a video game is... difficult.
Obviously, we don't want to breeze through, or the whole experience won't be rewarding. We want to face obstacles and enemies that are so tough, you have to really knuckle down to emerge triumphant. Even though it's frustrating to be killed on the same level over and over, it's all the more satisfying when you finally complete it.
Now, there are some levels in gaming which have become infamous for their difficulty. The Flying Rings section in Superman 64. World C-3 in Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels. The Great Palace in Zelda II. We all remember tearing our hair out and hurling our controllers while trying (and failing) to navigate our way around these hellish domains.
But what's more frustrating is when you encounter a level that's borderline impossible in an otherwise perfect game. Titles like Portal or Shovel Knight will maintain a perfectly balanced difficulty throughout your playthrough, before forcing you to endure a level so nightmarishly brutal, you question whether it can be beaten.
Don't get me wrong. Gamers are always up for a challenge. But nobody was ready for this lot.
12. The Great Bay Temple - The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask
The Water Temple from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is universally loathed. It's confusingly structured, the water makes you move at a snail's pace, and you have to pause every few seconds to adjust your equipment. As a result, you'd assume Nintendo would ensure such a poorly designed level would never crop up in the franchise again.
And yet, the water dungeon in the sequel, Majora's Mask, has the exact same problems!! In The Great Bay Temple, you have to keep turning switches to redirect the water current, allowing you to swim to different rooms.
Because it's not clear which way the current should flow, you have to try every option until you find one that works, which is time-consuming. If you make the current go in the wrong direction, you'll be forced to backtrack. Since you have to keep switching from Fire Arrows to Ice Arrows to melt ice or thaw water, you have to pause constantly, which is annoying. Also, the animation of Link turning these switches is REALLY slow, which is tedious and boring.
And just to really piss you off, The Great Bay Temple concludes with the worst boss in the game.