5 most difficult Nintendo games

There are plenty of Classic NES games that are difficult for all the wrong reasons. While some games are miserable experiences that no human should have to endure, such as Yo! Noid or Silver Surfer, and countless others. This list is not a celebration of such unfortunates. This list is a collection of games that are tough for challenging reasons, and that brought entertainment. Everyone had fun playing these, and conquering them was a badge of honor.


  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Ok, so I may actually get some flak for this making the list. But to start this list off, I’ve never actually completed this game. On multiple separate occasions, I have cleared the calendar, ordered a pizza, downloaded all the maps, only to come up empty handed. When it comes to the original Legend of Zelda, I just simply do not have what it takes.

    difficult Nintendo games - Legend of Zelda


  • Blaster Master
  • This game takes us on a massive adventure, whose size and scope are as much a source of enjoyment as they are pure exhaustion. BlasterMaster simply has it all: one minute you are fighting in tank mode, up against swarms of deadly mutants, the next you find yourself out of the tank, running on foot, and seeing the game from a new view. A top-down perspective fighting the same mutant enemies! With only a few continues, and no save function, Blaster Master is complete a marathon.

    difficult Nintendo games - Blaster Master


  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • This is another one of those weird, difficult Nintendo games that I get flak for enjoying. The difference between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for NES and the Arcade, as there is the original Eastman and Laird comics vs the Saturday morning cartoon version.
    Levels require you to use specific turtles to best get the job done, however should one of them become capture, it is up to the remaining turtles to rescue him. This only ads to the already lengthy gameplay, so enjoy the music and take your time, because quick and risky moves will only get you into trouble.

    difficult Nintendo games - TMNT


  • Battletoads
  • No other game on this list better codifies the term “difficult” than the 1991 beat-’em-up Battletoads. Completely new characters, amazing musical score, and tons of button mashing action make this the alpha and omega of mind-bending, controller-smashing difficulty. Things start out innocently enough. The first stage is your typical brawler. By the next level you are descending by rope, down a vertical shaft. Before you know it you hit stage three Wind Tunnel and from here the game is over for the weak. The provided endless string of obstacles demand absolute split-second precision and timing. The amount of practice and repetition it would take to master this section is astronomical. Believe it or not the game only gets harder from here. Best of luck!

    Classic Nintendo Battletoads


  • Contra
  • Contra is absolutely damn near impossible! That is, if it was not for the incredibly well know Konami code You know the one, up up down down, right? Where you go from only 3 extra lives to 30. But do not wast them with the endless streams of bullets and bottomless pits this run-and-gun shooter sends your way. Everything kills you in one hit. You can even team up with a buddy and play cooperatively, and that’s sixty extra lives! However two player mode ads another element of difficulty by requiring simultaneous progression. Even with the code, beating Contra still takes an absorbent amount of practice.

    Classic Nintendo Contra

For other lists of classic Nintendo games, check out our Top 10 NES 8-bit Nintendo Games

From this provided list of difficult Nintendo games, which ones have you and your friends completed? What games do you feel should have made the list? We would love to hear your feedback!

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