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20 Super Nintendo Games That Are So Hard We’re Still Trying To Beat Them

List RulesSuper Nintendo games only.

When the Super Nintendo Entertainment System launched in 1991, it took gaming to a whole new level. The increased memory and graphics capability of the system made it possible for games to feature far more detail, with improvements made to layering, sound, and animations. The SNES was a massive hit, and over the course of its life, more than 700 titles were released. While some were fairly simple, this list ranks all the hardest SNES games that are still regarded as some of the most challenging and unforgiving titles ever made. 

Upgrading the console from the original Nintendo Entertainment System to the SNES didn't just improve everything exponentially, it also made a lot of games even more difficult than the ones that were released on the NES. The term "Nintendo Hard" may have been dubbed for the NES, but the developers must have kept it in the back of their minds while programming for the new system because there are some SNES games that are almost impossible to beat. How many of these games do you remember playing? More importantly, how many did you actually manage to beat?

From The Lion King to Battletoads In Battlemaniacs, check out 20 of the most difficult SNES games ever made, and vote up all the titles you remember raging at the last time you played.

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  • Photo: Capcom

    Mega Man games have always presented a challenge, and that trend continued as multiple titles were released on the SNES. As the title suggests, it was the 7th game released in the franchise, and it takes place six months after the events of Mega Man 6. The structure of the game is a bit different from its predecessors, but the gameplay and controls are essentially the same, so veteran Mega Man players are better suited to tackle this title than someone who is new to the franchise.

    What Makes It So Difficult: All Mega Man games are hard, and that's one of the reasons they are so popular. They present a challenge, and there's a unique strategy in playing them, but Mega Man 7 deviated a bit from the norm by starting the player off with only four bosses to choose from. Eventually, four more will show up, but there are tons of sub-bosses you'll need to go through as you make your way across this punishing platformer. When you make it to Dr. Wily at the end, expect to be at a significant disadvantage. You'll have to take on Bass (again) and every boss you beat to get to that point before you can even face off against the final boss, making for a button-mashing nightmare your thumbs won't heal from for a long time.

    • Release: 1995
    • Developer: Capcom
    • Genres (Video game): Platform game, Action game, Adventure
    85
    23
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  • 10

    The 7th Saga

    Photo: Enix

    The 7th Saga was released as a localized JRPG originally under the name Elnard. It's a turn-based adventure game, which features a captivating story with interesting mechanics and progression through the game, though it is insanely difficult to beat.

    What Makes It So Difficult: The main issue gamers have with The 7th Saga stems from the insane difficulty level that increases as the player progresses. The enemies had more health than they knew what yo do with, and because it takes forever for the player to progress in terms of leveling up, playing through The 7th Saga requires more grinding than most people have any interest in attempting — especially at the time. What's worse, when you die, you lose half your gold, which is seriously traumatizing, given what you went through to earn every single piece of it.

    • Release: 1993
    • Developer: Produce Co Ltd
    • Genres (Video game): Adventure, Role-playing video game
    65
    16
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  • Photo: Jaleco

    Horizontal side-scroller space shooters were nothing new when Super R-Type hit the SNES, but this game helped to revitalize the genre in a number of ways. It introduced a new mechanic related to power-ups, which didn't just increase the power of your weapons, it became a separate controllable entity players could deploy at different locations on the screen. This innovative mechanic is what made Super R-Type a hit, but that didn't make it any easier.

    What Makes It So Difficult: These types of games are traditionally difficult, but describing this as anything but "bullet hell" would be dishonest. The game throws so many enemies, lasers, bullets, plasma blasts, and everything else the enemy could come up with in your direction, and it's a one-hit, one-kill sort of situation. You have to constantly scan the entire screen environment and plan your moves accordingly, or you will find yourself on the wrong end of a laser or missile before you even know what's happening.

    • Release: Jan 01 1991
    • Developer: Irem
    • Genres (Video game): Shooter game, Shoot 'em up, Action game, Scrolling shooter
    59
    17
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  • The first Earthworm Jim was a classic hit for the SNES, so there's no surprise the developers opted to release a sequel. The first was whacky and funny, and those elements made it into the sequel, but the game suffered from some of the same things that plagued a lot of platformers released during the time period, which is a shame, as it's an otherwise excellent game.

    What Makes It So Difficult: Being a platformer, there are numerous points during the game that require incredibly fast reflexes. Everything is amped up, and the tricky jumps, super-fast enemies, and tight controls make it difficult to manage the levels without dying so much you begin feeling sorry for the characters on the screen. Players need to properly navigate their way through the levels, mini-games, bosses, and special levels that require a ton of repetition and expert timing, and because of this, the game is regarded as frustratingly difficult by the gaming community.

    • Release: 1995
    • Developer: Shiny Entertainment, Screaming Pink
    • Genres (Video game): Platform game
    59
    18
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