14 Impossibly Hard '90s Games No Kid Today Could Beat

List Rules
Vote up the '90s video games that are basically impossible to beat if you were born after 1998.

The gaming industry has evolved dramatically over the past few decades, morphing video games into experiences that are vastly different from their early predecessors. One thing that has noticeably changed, though, is the fact that games are now much easier than they ever used to be. Kids today have no idea just how tough titles on the likes of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) could be and there are some truly super difficult games from the '90s that they would not even be able to imagine playing through today.

That decade saw many titles that were practically impossible to beat with normal means. Some of the hardest video games from the '90s to finish would punish players in a number of unforgiving ways. Many had no save feature to back-up your progress, whilst others would instantly kill you and send you back to the start of a level if you so much as touched an enemy.

With the exception of a select few examples like Dark Souls and Super Meat Boy, today’s games just don’t pack the same challenge. Take a look at these video games from the '90s no kid today could beat and see if you agree. Remember to vote up the ones you think are the most difficult to complete.


  • Battletoads
    Photo: Rare

    Created by the legendary developer Rare, Battletoads went down in history as one of the most frustrating games to complete of all time. Every level threw new challenges at the player that required quick reactions and expert timing to move forward. While the beat ‘em up sections were difficult, it was the turbo tunnel levels that truly stood out as the difficulty suddenly spiked.

    There was almost nothing equivalent to those turbo tunnels in modern gaming. Here, you not only had to be quick on the d-pad to avoid all the obstacles but memorize minutes of gameplay so you knew what was coming next. With only a limited number of lives before you had to start the entire game again, it was an experience that even few gamers in the '90s could beat, let alone today's players.

  • Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
    Photo: Capcom

    The third entry in the celebrated, yet frustrating, Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts came out on the SNES in 1991. The game followed a similar premise to its predecessors and the platforming gameplay is what fans of the franchise would have expected from a sequel.

    Along with seemingly endless enemies and a generous amount of spiked pits that kill you instantly, one particular feature of the game would likely force the children of today to turn off the console. Once a player got to the end and defeated the final boss, they were sent back to the very beginning of the game and had to do everything over again to actually beat the story. This was a huge slap in the face considering it would likely take hours in a single sitting to reach the end.

  • The Lion King
    Photo: Westwood Studios

    While most versions of The Lion King video game that released in 1994 were surprisingly hard, it is the SNES version that has gone down in memory as the most maddening to play. The first level acted as a sort of tutorial for new players, introducing them to the mechanics of the game and letting them get a feel for the controls. After this, though, the title morphs into something that is practically impossible to beat.

    Even just the second level of the game was quite difficult for many players, surprising considering this was essentially a game for children. Obstacles appear out of nowhere, jumps need to be made with the upmost precision, and enemies can kill you in a single hit. With just three lives, anyone playing The Lion King will have to restart a lot just to make it through stage two, never mind the rest of the game.

  • Super Castlevania IV
    Photo: Konami

    1991’s Super Castlevania IV is another game that puts most modern platformers to shame with its sheer difficulty. Like other titles in the series, it was unforgiving in how it treated the player. There were masses of hazards in each environment that meant you needed to have excellent platforming skills, while each enemy had their own unique attack patterns.

    Essentially, players would have to experiment with how to tackle certain enemies, mixing up their tactics to make sure they survived. That’s not to mention sections where multiple bosses lined up in a row to battle the player one after another.