In most game narratives, you can usually strike a good balance between nice people wanting to help you on your way and obvious rogue monsters looking to hurt you. Some games, however, are not content with this balance. No sir, it’s not a real ball game until absolutely everything wants you dead.
When we say everything, we even mean the things that normally wouldn’t want you dead. This wall? He wants you dead. This piece of fruit? He wants you dead. The passage of time itself? Well, that still I wanted you dead, but now it’s not even subtler about it.
ten The World’s Worst Theme Park – Illbleed
You always hear rumors of people dying in theme parks, but for Illbleed, these many deaths are treated as gratuitous media coverage. The premise of Illbleed, both in terms of the titular theme park and the game itself, is that you must use your senses to defuse various tricks and traps scattered throughout the attractions.
If you’re not vigilant, you’ll either have lots of sharp objects stuck in places you’d rather not have them, or you’ll be so scared you’ll have a heart attack. Or both. Often both! There are several instances throughout the game’s history where park employees will brag about how many guests they’ve killed, and the rest of the world is just kind of… okay with that for a any reason.
9 The Internet Frustration Classic – I Wanna Be The Guy
While the idea of games deliberately designed to be extremely difficult dates back to various ROM hacks released in 2007, the freeware monstrosity that is I Wanna Be The Guy was one of the games to really popularize the concept. He is truly not possible to beat this game on the first try because everything can kill you instantly, and often completely arbitrarily.
See those cherries on the first screen? Yes, they will kill you. The spike pit that seems really easy to cross? Well, it’s not that easy when the pit suddenly expands and swallows you up. It even mentions all the gigantic boss fights. You don’t know pain until you’ve been hit next week by a gigantic Mike Tyson.
8 Animated with Malicious Intent – Earthbound
Earthbound’s stable of enemies includes sentient members like wild animals or street thugs, but as you progress through the game things get stranger and stranger. Ramblin’ Evil Mushrooms, solid carbon dogs, animated puppets and more will all try to hit Ness and company if given the chance.
According to the game’s story, all of these weird enemies, as well as instances of seemingly normal people attacking you, are the result of a wave of passive evil mojo emanating from Giygas. The very presence of Giygas brings the inanimate to life and brings out the hostility latent in the heart of man, and they would all rather you didn’t get in his way.
seven Dr Jekyll’s Stressful Day – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
There are few things more annoying to live with than a stress-fueled superhuman alter ego, and if there are two people who can attest to that, it’s Dr. Bruce Banner and Dr. Henry Jekyll. You wouldn’t think Victorian London would be such a stressful place to live, but in the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde NES game, everyone in town seems determined to ruin your day, from kids with slingshots to ones. Random passerby just bludgeoned your head.
It wouldn’t be much of a problem if all this stress didn’t free Mr. Hyde, who is also threatened by strange supernatural creatures of the night. Dr. J just can’t take a break.
6 Never bother a disembodied brain – Brain Dead 13
In the opening cutscene of Brain Dead 13, sarcastic young computer repairman Lance encounters the disembodied mastermind of Dr. Nero Neurosis, who obviously has a plan to take over the world. Lance calls Dr. Neurosis’ plans a bit played, and the doctor throws a full-blown tantrum, sickening all of his castle’s monstrous residents on Lance as a reward for his snark.
In addition to outwitting these various creeps to stay alive, Lance must always stay on the move in this game as Dr. Neurosis’ henchman, Fritz, is always hot on his trail. Just sitting idle on a screen for a few seconds too long will result in instant and often mindless death at the hands of Fritz. Uh, brackets.
5 The Many Deaths of King Graham – King’s Quest Series
King Graham and his family are known throughout Daventry and beyond for being wise and fair people, but that hinges on the assumption of competent player control. In just about any King’s Quest game, one misstep can lead to all manner of sudden and violent deaths from unexpected sources, from being suddenly thrown off a mountain by a ravenous yeti to being strangled by a bunch of ivy. sensitive.
There was a reason Sierra’s old adage was “Save early, save often” – because you were never more than a few moments away from sudden death in their games.
4 The Earth Itself Hates You – STALKER Series
The alternate version of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone story that is explored in all STALKER games isn’t just a radioactive hellscape full of vicious thugs and wild animals. Due to the nature of the secret experience that resulted in the Zone’s creation in the first place, the Zone itself exhibits a level of sensitivity in the form of common consciousness, and that’s not huge for the Stalker parasites that roam within its boundaries.
This is why the Zone is teeming not only with monsters and mutants, but also with dangerous and supernatural phenomena; it’s quite a sign that the Zone doesn’t want you there, and it’s only too happy to end your life if you start poking around where you’re not wanted.
3 Snakes, Spikes and Cavemen, Oh My – Spelunky Series
If you expected a place to be absolutely filled with death traps, it would be an ancient Inca temple. Those ancient societies were so good at building death traps, weren’t they? Of course, it’s hard to care about them in Spelunky, where they’re all aimed squarely at your forehead.
From heaps of spikes and lava covering every conceivable surface to fiercely territorial wildlife populations, not to mention fiercely paranoid traders, the only truly safe place in the Olmec Temple is outside. You wouldn’t really be an adventurer if you were deterred by endless deadly traps, that’s why you have to keep trying and trying.
2 “Prepare to Die” Edition – Dark Souls Series
From the start, the Dark Souls series made no effort to conceal its joy of chewing and spitting players out. This is presumably why the Definitive Edition of the first game was literally called the “Prepare to Die” edition. Anyone who plays a Dark Souls game knows what they’re getting into.
You’re going to die, and you’re going to die a lot, and you’re going to die a lot in really frustrating ways, from being stomped on by an army of skinny dudes with swords to literally being stomped on by several giant monsters. Even when you try to be proactive and jump on these legions of bad guys, chances are there’s another one waiting just around the corner to crush you again.
1 The BelowThe World’s Worst Theme Park – CarnEvil
While you might say that every rail shooter ever created is considered a game where everything is trying to kill you, one shooter that deserves special recognition is that classic ancestor of childhood nightmares, CarnEvil. Everything about this carnival of the damned wants you dead, and they’re downright happy about it.
From the pimply teenage ghouls of the Rickety Town food court to the disembodied hands sticking out of the haunted house walls, if she’s ambulatory, she’ll probably try to rip your throat out. To be fair to the undead carnies, however, the legend of CarnEvil literally states that they’ll do all of this if you revive them, so it’s kind of your fault you fed Umlaut the token.
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