Top Ten Hardest NES Games

The Top Ten
1 Battletoads

One of the best but frustrating games on NES, not as hard as Silver Surfer, but a little more frustrating. Some people may ask what's the difference. Difference being that, hard includes the first level (Battletoads first level was pretty easy), but frustrating means the overall gameplay, where in Battletoads it can't get any tougher. Silver Surfer on the other hand, is rather sluggish (even though I never got past the first stage).

The best combinations of a variety of game-play and difficulty beyond belief.
Most satisfying game EVER when you beat it!

2 Ghosts N' Goblins

Super hard game. Two hits and you die. Swarms of enemies coming from all different directions. Your weapons are laughably under-powered and can only fire horizontally. Enemies spawn underneath you when you are in mid air, leaving you no chance to survive. Don't forget the ultimate insult when you finally beat the game. You have to play the whole thing AGAIN at an even HIGHER difficulty level.

This should be #1. I've played and beat 95% of the games on this list. This one was by far the hardest to beat. They set it up to wherever you jump you die, and many are blind jumps. Doesn't help having only 3 lives.
Most all these games took me a couple days to a week to beat. This one... months.

3 Ninja Gaiden
4 The Adventures of Bayou Billy
5 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I didn't play all the game here but too me this game is hard a lot harder then Gauntlet, I've only been able to beat it on an emulator and I use a lot of save state/load state. To me it's a battle between this game and Battletoad. And I beat ghost and goblins but not Bayou Billy I don't know that game

6 Contra
7 Silver Surfer

This game demands complete perfection. Should be higher ranked. You die once and you lose your upgrades which makes the game substantially more difficult and much less fun. I actually like this game...

I only played this a few times, but it was extremely frustrating. The slightest touch from anything will kill you, so you have to be super precise with your movements.

8 Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse
9 Mega Man

This game is definitely the most difficult of the Mega Man games. You need to battle the enemies in a specific order. Many of the bosses are super tough. I also hated those blocks that appeared and disappeared in a specific pattern, forcing you to memorize the pattern in order to advance. Very frustrating game.

Not that hard... at all... an easy win for me. But this is a very good game it's my first NES game which is now my favorite console, and the games a lot of fun the best MM game and I've played all of em

10 Super Mario Bros. Lost Levels

This is a troll game from years before troll games were a thing. No wonder Nintendo of America refused to release it

The Contenders
11 Gauntlet
12 Dragon's Lair

The first screen is soul crushing. 3(4? ) perfectly timed highly precise movements where instant death and repeat will be your frustrating learning curve. VERY different from the skill building starting tutorials of modern games.

13 Top Gun
14 Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

steep learning curve, but even when you get the hang of combat, the most frustrating thing is being returned to the start every time you die which will happen MANY times going through death mountain on your way to the great palace!

Cryptic and some pretty hard bosses/sections. Not Ikari Warriors insane not even Battle toads hard not as hard as Snake Rattle N Roll either. But still very hard harder than most in the top 10 list here

15 Castlevania

You get knocked back when getting hit, in the early potion it's okay, but as it progresses it gets easier to get hit, and it's a lot harder, and more time consuming. Certain enemies are hard to avoid like Hunchbacks. Not the hardest of all time, but it's one of them.

16 Kid Icarus
17 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
18 Mike Tyson's Punch-out!!

May seem easy at first, but gradually gets harder as the game goes on. Mike Tyson is known to be one of the hardest video game bosses, and even Mike Tyson himself can't beat him.

19 Super Mario Bros. 3

I don't recommend trying to beat the game on a classic Nintendo. But I do recommend playing it on a Wii or Emulator. It's not hard, just pretty long.

This game has to be #1 in this list. How battletoads is in #1 in this list already? Cruddy Mario Ragers 3 should be on this list number! Which is number one!

20 The Transformers: Mystery of Convoy
21 Metroid

This game is unbelievably frustratingly hard!

22 Adventure Island

Do you know how hard this game is? You only start with 3 lives. Get killed all 3 and you start all over among the 8 worlds. What's worse is that each world gets 10 percent harder, by adding more enemies and obstacles from the precious levels. Luckily only the boss fights are super easy

23 Ali-A Alastair Aiken, better known by his online alias Ali-A, is a British YouTuber known for Call of Duty and Fortnite commentaries and vlogs.

This game is so hard to beat. I've popped it into my NES and couldn't get past the first screen as soon as I turned the game on the sound OOFFF came through my T.V. speakers and Ali-A started screaming cringe in my ears. I had to turn it off immediately to prevent myself from corrupting into a empty lifeless shell of something that has been ripped of creativity This game, is SO hard.

Hardest NES game, it will freeze your console if you mess up, and it's so cringey which makes it hard to play through.

24 Bionic Commando
25 Earthbound Zero
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