With revolutionary developments such as the popularization of 3D games, the '90s is possibly the most impactful gaming decade. Upgraded gameplay mechanics made '90s games easier to beat, as well as more mainstream, than '80s games. Even so, there are many examples of '90s games that are too hard.
Impossible to beat for the average gamer, these games have steep learning curves and inconceivably difficult levels. Whether it's boss fights or an onslaught of enemies, by the end of this listicle, you'll learn why these games stood out. Give up while you're ahead. These are 10 retro '90s games that are utterly impossible to beat.
10 Jet Force Gemini
Jet Force Gemini for the Nintendo 64 is a challenging game. Right from the get-go, it immerses you in a world without a tutorial level. Figuring you're way through this game is difficult, especially for inexperienced players. Chances are you'll spend much of your time lost while playing this game. Rewarding but tough, Jet Force Gemini may have the steepest learning curve for any game of the '90s. It's hard to imagine, but Jet Force Gemini can be a highly enjoyable game.
9 Spider-Man And Venom: Maximum Carnage
This game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis has a typical layout with increasingly difficult levels. Without saving points, Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage is near-impossible to beat.
Spider-Man games these days pale in comparison to this side-scrolling beat 'em up classic. With the ability to play as both Venom and Spider-Man, it's one of the earliest examples of an exceptional Spider-Man game. Unfortunately, waves of forcible enemies make Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage too hard to beat.
8 Crash Bandicoot
This timeless classic might seem like a cakewalk for those with experience, but for everyone else, it's absurdly hard. By far, the original Crash Bandicoot is the hardest game of the trilogy. Although games like Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped are by no means easy, the original Crash Bandicoot sticks out like a sore thumb. The bridge level named "The High Road" and "Slippery Climb" are two levels that routinely give players issues.
7 Ecco The Dolphin
The Sega Genesis is credited with releasing many challenging games. One significant reason for why the Sega Genesis had so many irksome titles was because of its fast-paced games and the absence of save points. The console has a small amount of RAM (random-access memory), which is why saving is not permitted.
With help from NPCs found throughout the game, Ecco the Dolphin is made less complicated, but not easy. Without support from NPCs, most players would be lost in this aquatic world that submerges players in a labyrinth of tunnels. To the credit of Ecco the Dolphin, it has an exceptional soundtrack, adding to its appeal.
6 Super Castlevania IV
The acclaimed Castlevania game series by Konami spawned many hits with some considered the greatest of all time. In Super Castlevania IV, players play as Simon Belmont, a vampire hunter who is tasked with defeating Dracula. Even with fluid gameplay mechanics, Super Castlevania IV is hard to beat. The game's intricate level designs, tumultuous enemies, and boss fights are utterly impossible. There's no way to save since this retro game uses passwords to track progress. Beating this game is 70% skill and 30% luck.
5 The Lion King
Back when video games based on movies were good, The Lion King was an exceptional title for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. With an authentic soundtrack and all the movie's loveable characters, this game is an entertaining ride from start to completion.
Recently, The Lion King and Aladdin (as part of one package) were remastered for current generation consoles. The Lion King is now much easier as a remaster because the remaster features in-game rewinding and save states. Retro '90s players, however, understand the real difficulty of this game.
4 Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Back with a vengeance, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back dramatically increases the difficulty. The original Super Star Wars was by no means easy, but this game is absurdly difficult.
Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes is the second game in the Super Star Wars game series, just like the movie. This time around, Luke Skywalker is a Jedi Knight and must face fierce bosses like a Giant Wampa and Darth Vader. This game can be played on the PlayStation 4 with trophy challenges.
Right off the bat, many will notice that this game has outstanding graphics in comparison to other games on this list. Don't be so quick to compare it to games like The Witness and Rime; Myst's levels consist mostly of still images.
A wide variety of puzzles make Myst a tricky puzzle game. Chances are you'll need a walkthrough to reach completion. On average, players take six hours to beat this game, but it's not unusual to give up long before that.
2 Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
Much like its predecessors, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is a troublesome game. The speedy timing of enemy attacks does not do this game any favors. '90s gamers might look for a game with a difficulty level comparable to Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 doesn't hold a candle in relation to this game. To top everything off, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts gives players a time limit to finish each level. With collapsing floors and avalanches that cover more than half the screen, this game is utterly impossible—even for advanced gamers.
Not to be confused with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Battletoads is a game series that debuted in the '90s. The game follows an intergalactic mutant warrior who attempts to save Princess Angelica from the Dark Queen. It is considered to be the most challenging game ever made. The gameplay is fast-paced, requiring toad-like reaction times. The Turbo Tunnel level is a new type of difficult for gaming. How anyone can conquer this game is nothing short of a miracle. Try Battletoads, but know that it's utterly impossible to beat.