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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:19 am 
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Is there a list on the internet where people rate the difficulty of each NES game? I.e. a list where "Contra" is rated as quite difficult, but fair, "Ninja Gaiden" as frustratingly and unfairly difficult and "Kirby's Adventure" as easy.
(Preferrably with a filter option.)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:32 am 
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A lot of people have tried, but it's virtually impossible to compile such a list. There are so many factors to take into account, such as the reasons for why the games are "difficult", the skillset required to beat them (puzzles, strategy, action, reaction times, memorization?), and just individual experience with each game.
Also, what do you measure the difficulty up against? Beating the game? Or beating the game on one credit? Or an average of the overall difficulty of all stages? I'd say Castlevania is retardedly easy if you can just keep continuing until you beat the game, but doing it without using continues definitely takes practice. And what if all the stages in a game is really easy, but the final boss is completely hard?

More to the point, Ninja Gaiden might be "frustratingly difficult" the first time you play it, but every subsequent playthrough should be fairly easy compared to many other, much harder NES games. I've never game over'ed that game since the first 1CC I did, and comparably, pretty much every shoot'em up for the system is much, much harder. I'd say even Gremlins 2 is a lot harder, because I can't beat that, and I have no problems beating Contra og NG. But surely, other people would claim Gremlins 2 is among the easiest games for the system? A lot of NES games get a reputation from people trying them for a few minutes and then dismissing them, but I'd say the truly difficult games are the ones that still put up a tough fight even though you've spent days with them.

Look at Super Mario Bros. also. If you're used to platform games, it's an extremely easy game. Not as easy as Kirby, but not far from either. However, if you've never played a lot of platform games, it can be deviously difficult. The running mechanic and inertia in all of Mario's moves take a long time to get accustomed with. The game might not be difficult, but learning the controls is a metagame in itself.

Sorry for not giving you a clear answer. :) The only way to get a solid list is for a single person to play all of the games and give his/her thought on how they compare. Maybe TMR could help? :P


Last edited by Sumez on Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:33 am 
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Not that i'm aware of - planning on something?

I wonder how bucky o'hare would be placed on that list. Would there be a category for "games that repeatedly throws you think-fast curveballs at an uneven pace to substitute real difficulty which will be enormously frustrating at first, but super easy once you've memorized them/figured out how to cheese every boss"? - because it's unfair like ninja gaiden, but not hard like ninja gaiden.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:36 am 
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I feel completely the opposite about Bucky O'hare. It's easier than Ninja Gaiden, but much more unfair, and ridiculously unbalanced.

I think Bucky is another good example. I completed the game without using continues on my second playthrough, but used a billion on my first. The second playthrough was still horribly messy, and the only reason I beat it was due to the absurd amount of extra lives the game throws in your direction. So does that mean the game is still "really hard", or are the extra lives enough to alleviate that difficulty, since I still beat the game?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:38 am 
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Quote:
I feel completely the opposite about Bucky O'hare. It's easier than Ninja Gaiden, but much more unfair, and ridiculously unbalanced.


Wait... That's not the opposite - that's exactly what i wrote :lol:

Oh and yeah, those extra lives are just a sock put into the leak. Easy to get most of the time, so it's just mitigating the underlying mess of a design.


Edit: On the topic of databasing difficulty. What if you did not measure the input of users, but the width of relations? Okay so this many players who rated game a as easy, but fair also rated game b average difficulty, averagely fair. You rated game a as easy but fair too, so you might be interested in knowing what people thought of game b.

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Last edited by FrankenGraphics on Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:46 am 
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Exactly, and a lot of games do that. But extra lives should be factored in when judging the difficulty of a game.
I disagree completely that Ninja Gaiden is unfair, though. :) It's a super tight well designed game. One of the NES generation's master strokes. However the idea of when a game feels "unfair" is definitely another factor that makes it hard to judge wether a game is genuinely "difficult", or just poorly designed.

And then we have Holy Diver....


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:51 am 
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I guess it's a bit too easy to percieve something as unfair if you haven't yet figured it out. Both ninja gaiden and castlevania get a lot of that. Medusa heads aren't unfair - you just have to take your time and study the rythm.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:58 am 
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Yes Ninja Gaiden is very consistent without any random factors AFAIK, so I think it's very fair. Although I have never 1CC'd any Ninja Gaiden game, I think it's much easier than Contra. But I'm pretty bad at shooting games in general and have played far more Ninja Gaiden than Contra.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:11 am 
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That's usually the common factor. It's easy for me to write off a lot of games as harder than Ninja Gaiden, but if I haven't spent at least a couple of days trying to get through them, it's not really a valid opinion. Did anyone ever beat Battle Formula (Super Spy Hunter outside of Japan)? I can't even beat the second stage in that game, and believe me, I tried. It's rarely touted as one of the harder NES games though, but it's definitely very good!

I think I've played a bit more of Ninja Gaiden than Contra, but I'd actually say Contra is much easier. Both NES Contras are relatively easy to learn, and as long as you can keep holding on to your spread shot, you're golden. Contra 3 is much more challenging.
Ninja Gaiden is definitely a very challenging game, and I can imagine the final boss especially pulling out a few hairs until you figure him out. I wouldn't say it's absurdly frustrating though, as it's very consistent and once you figure out some good patterns for getting through each challenge, it's quite easy to get right. It's one of those games you gotta be patient with.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:54 am 
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Yeah so it's very hard to judge difficulty fairly since you probably don't remember how much practice you had with a game you played since you where a child. And other things like having played other games in the genre also affects how much practice you need with a game to get good at it.

Ninja Gaiden 1 is fairly medium difficult until the final level (after the Bloody Malth boss fight) where the difficulty suddenly spikes. But yeah it's still very consistent and relies much on memorization and reflexes. Rockman and Castlevania games are like that too.

In games like RPGs however the random factor is a big part of the game and wouldn't really work without it, so it's not so much about the game being unfair. Speedrunners looks for ways to manipulate the random generation though so they can make as consistent playthroughs as possible. These games must also be very hard to judge in a fair way.

Using a quantitative method like having a kind of difficulty voting system is probably the most accurate way.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:19 am 
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A RPG will typically be judged as "difficult" if it requires a lot of grinding. In something like Dragon Quest, where grinding is the only genuine way to solve these problems (aside from speedrun-like abuse of game mechanics), I think that actually makes sense. DQ2/DW2 is generally considered the hardest of the series by a long shot.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:55 am 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
planning on something?

No. I just wanted to check how other people rate the difficuly of certain games.


The reason why I consider "Ninja Gaiden" frustrating:
Firstly, it constantly throws enemies at you that are already supposed to be dead.
Secondly, in many places you basically have to memorize what will come along your way. Not skill, but fore-knowledge.
And yes, the game is only average-hard until world 6. But even though I practiced that level on an emulator, I could still not beat it when I played it on the NES for real again some months later.


"Contra" is difficult in a different way.
It might be less forgiving than "Ninja Gaiden" with one hitpoint and only five or so continues. But it's not an unfair kind of difficulty.
It requires good eye-hand coordination, but it doesn't really require memorization. Everything that's presented to you is pretty fair. And things that appear continuously, like bullets, appear in a logical pattern and not in an almost-bug-like way where the enemy is spawned again the moment you defeat him or he reaches the screen border becuase the x coordinate is a byte value instead of int.
If often lost at "Contra", but unlike with "Ninja Gaiden", it was never a situation where I became angry.


With "Castlevania" it's only the stiff movement. Yes, Medusa heads by themselves are not really unfair. But if the floor of level 5 is cluttered with Medusa heads, knights and axes and you only have this primitive kind of jump, it can gets frustrating as well.


"Mega Man 1" (I haven't played the others) is pretty average in difficulty. The only really difficult thing is the Yellow Devil, but other than that, I would rate this game only slightly above or even equal to "Super Mario Bros.", but not even close to "Contra", "Castlevania" or "Ninja Gaiden".
Is "Mega Man 1" actually considered difficult (apart from the Yellow Devil)?


By the way, how would you rate "Journey to Silius", "Rush'n Attack", "Joe & Mac" (NES version) and "Vice - Project Doom" in relation to the above-mentioned games?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:02 am 
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Sumez wrote:
A RPG will typically be judged as "difficult" if it requires a lot of grinding. In something like Dragon Quest, where grinding is the only genuine way to solve these problems (aside from speedrun-like abuse of game mechanics), I think that actually makes sense. DQ2/DW2 is generally considered the hardest of the series by a long shot.

Grinding is technically easy in the sense that no special skill is required, it's just terribly boring and not fun. Dragon Quest games, especially the NES ones but also the later ones, are horribly grindy and requires you to do each dungeon 4 times in order to have a chance to progress for example. DQ1 is even worse, basically the game is just grinding, if you cheat to start with best level and equipment the game is beatable in 10 minutes.

I can understand that bearing the annoyance of such grinding is "hard", or that trying to continue even though you might be slightly underlevelled makes the game "harder", however, grinding is not much of a challenge by itself, just an annoyance.

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If often lost at "Contra", but unlike with "Ninja Gaiden", it was never a situation where I became angry.

I agree. The Stage 4 boss in Contra is the only part which comes close to being "frustrating", and that's only because those homing bubbles are so hard to defeat. Ninja Gaiden on the other hand looks like it's all glitched up, enemy respawning is fine if you go back and forth at least one pixel, but NG will throw the enemy at you even if you don't go back at all sometimes.

Quote:
Is "Mega Man 1" actually considered difficult (apart from the Yellow Devil)?

Not really, but the erratic platforms in Ice Man's stage are a problem too. It's more glitchy than anything else, the rest of the game being predictable.

Am I the only one who find SMB difficult ? I mean there's only a single hit point, and the movement control is so erratic, I hate it. I prefer heroes running at constant speed, I hate how Mario accelerate and decelerates so slowly. I probably didn't get much further than world 2-4 or something. However in SMB3 it's much more easier for some reason, this is the only Mario game where I really went far (although I don't think I've beaten it).


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:15 am 
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DRW wrote:
By the way, how would you rate "Journey to Silius", "Rush'n Attack", "Joe & Mac" (NES version) and "Vice - Project Doom" in relation to the above-mentioned games?


Rush'n'Attack is the only game of those i had as a kid. Despite (thanks to?) being quite simple in its design, i'd rate its difficulty as pretty fair, pretty hard and close to perfect in escalation as far as the levels go. Some boss fights are just time wasters (1st and 3rd level provides no continuing challenge after the 1st time you play it).

One major flaw though: the combined climb and jump button (d-pad up) sometimes get you stuck and killed in the heat of the moment. It'd been much better off with a castlevania scheme, except there's no perfectly clean solution how you would lie down and use your subweapon in that case. Some workaround would need to be had, like pressing down instead for up or something.

Informally, there's two difficulty settings: One which moves you back a bit, and one which lets your restart on the spot you died without interruption (2 player mode, let one player die. Or play as 2 players).

I don't remember if i actually ever beat the last boss or if i just watched somebody else do it.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:18 am 
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Contra and Ninja Gaiden are very similar in both how fair/unfair they are, and the amount of memorization "required". Neither game will kill you for not knowing what's to come, but both benefit highly from it. As such I consider both fair games that get noticably easier with practice despite starting out difficult. Contra is definitely much more lenient in how you can afford to solve an obstacle though, which not only makes it easier, but is probably also why you perceive it as being "more fair".

DRW wrote:
"Mega Man 1" (I haven't played the others) is pretty average in difficulty. The only really difficult thing is the Yellow Devil, but other than that, I would rate this game only slightly above or even equal to "Super Mario Bros.", but not even close to "Contra", "Castlevania" or "Ninja Gaiden".
Is "Mega Man 1" actually considered difficult (apart from the Yellow Devil)?

Meta Man 1 is definitely the hardest of the NES Mega Man games. I think it's sort of unevenly balanced, with the Yellow Devil definitely being a spike (but mostly because of how long that fight drags on), and the Mega Man clone basically requiring you to "know the trick" (a few different tricks will work).
People tend to consider the Mega Man games "very hard", but I believe this is once again definitely based on a combination of prejudice and just generally not being willing to put the effort into actually beating them. Most Mega Man bosses will defeat you until you learn their patterns, but after that's it's pretty smooth sailing. I'd say Castlevania 1 and 3, all Ninja Gaidens, and even Contra are definitely harder. "average" is a good estimate on your part.

Quote:
By the way, how would you rate "Journey to Silius", "Rush'n Attack", "Joe & Mac" (NES version) and "Vice - Project Doom" in relation to the above-mentioned games?

I consider all of these games harder than any of the games we've mentioned continously in this thread - and yeah, again it's mostly due to me not putting enough effort into actually learning them. I feel that a game like Silius I can probably beat with a bit of training, but it does feel pretty tough when you come into it knowing nothing. Vice Project Doom has a bit of the same, but it's very specific spots in the game that seem like spikes to me.
Rush'n Attack is just ungodly unforgiving. :)


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