15 Worst Video Game Levels Of The 2000s

Seriously, what the hell was up with Max Payne's blood trail level?!

Is there anything quite like gamer rage? No other artform prods and pulls at your most primal reactions quite like losing a level at the last minute thanks to a mistimed jump, or a random boss getting the better of you just when you could've won, had you another second in the field. There's something incredibly universal in that feeling. A real fight-or-flight response that'll either make you hurl the pad in frustration or knuckle down, lick your digital wounds and try again - and again - until you emerge victorious. The final sensation of snatching victory from the constantly gnashing jaws of defeat is euphoric and something that, when a level's been designed in a way to make your win/loss ration fair the entire time, separates the finest games from the rest. Speaking of the rest, that's where these guys come in; unfair AI numbers baring down on you, bad level design, unresponsive gameplay mechanics and a whole lot more. It's easy to forget gaming's heritage is in coin-stealing difficulty of the arcade scene, and that sometimes boils down to a developer simply wanting to test your worth for the sake of it. So, time to test your gamer mettle - let us know how many of these abominations you overcame in the comments below.

15. Tailing The Resistance Member - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots

MGS 4 remains the one entry in the franchise where Kojima went completely overboard on the cutscene-to-game ratio. There's eight hours of the damn things in total, which when you then reflect back on your game-time (a paltry four levels), is made far worse by realising an entire section was devoted to tailing a guy. Seriously, tailing missions in any form - from Assassin's Creed to GTA - just flat-out suck. Whilst the other two aforementioned franchises will give you a couple of HUD elements (like a detection meter or awareness circle around your target) to help you along, MGS 4 just threw you into the world, the informant you're after darting away into the distance, with zero help as to if you'd be spotted or not. Intended to be Kojima's tribute to French New Wave and film noir, its low lighting immediately makes Snake's trenchcoat'd exploits immediately iconic, but the thing went on for ages. You'd be dodging patrolling robotic sentries, guards, hiding under cars and ducking out the way of your target randomly turning around - all with zero checkpointing and an instant fail-state if you messed up. There's a good reason Ubisoft removed most of these levels in their later Assassin's Creed games, although MGS V couldn't resist having a couple - but at least you can finish if you're spotted.
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Gaming Editor
Gaming Editor

WhatCulture's Head of Gaming.