Terrible Moments in Great Games

I’ve been playing a lot of Sonic Mania, and I love it. The platforming is great, the level design is on point, the art and soundtrack are fantastic—it’s just an all-around enjoyable experience.

Except for one thing. That octopus. I cannot describe the rage that inevitably fills me whenever I get to the end of Oil Ocean Zone and that thing looks at me with those dead robot eyes. The instant kills are obnoxious, rings are impossible to grab after being hit, and its placement at the very end of probably the game’s least memorable zone (not terrible, but not nearly as engaging as most of the others) makes getting back to it after a Game Over a tedious slog.

Have you guys ever had that experience with an otherwise amazing game? Something—a boss, a level, a narrative element even—that briefly made a great experience painful?

In Ace Combat 5, there is a mission where you & your squad have to synchronize taking down multiple outposts. If your target isn’t destroyed right at the right second you automatically fail the mission. I found it to be impossible. The only saving grace about it is that it only becomes available after a dialogue choice you make prior to the game so if you chose the other choice you will be given an entirely different much better level to do. Still to this day I have not finished it & I think most people who played that game would agree it is a garbage mission.

1 Like

I’m sure if I really dug through my memories I could come up with a few examples, but the one that jumped out at me was the Royal Rat Authority from Dark Souls 2.

OH BOY. I had such an issue with this one. And I love the Souls series (including Bloodborne—and I’m totally not going to bring up Ebrietas, the RNG Nightmare). I know Dark Souls 2 is usually the one people tell to go stand in the corner, but I dunno, I like it a lot. Anyway Royal Rat Authority is an optional boss, but it almost made me put the game down because I just had to really clean that game out. Mechanically it’s kinda like fighting a faster version of Sif from DS1, but there are several smaller dog-rat enemies that come with the main course and they just love to jump in from your blind spot when you’re focused on something else. I beat it eventually, but yeah. Fuck that thing.

I thought of another one when I was typing that, sorry: the Ganon fight in Ocarina of Time. It’s extremely anticlimactic. The End.

1 Like

Let me tell you a tale of a man called Desmond Miles…


Super Mario Sunshine’s pachinko stage broke the laws of physics and my controller almost beyond repair


that octopus and its baffling instakills certainly suck but the true awful part of mania is the entire last level. gamedevs please don’t fuckin use The Crusher as a substitute for level design

remember the god awful, cringe-inducing mash fest that was the pageant in Persona 4? Atlus can be the absolute worst sometimes.

I was just about to say this, or pretty much any time the most remotely feminine thing happened to Yosuke. Fun fact: he was originally supposed to realize he was gay at the end of his social link.

GTA San Andreas was mostly great, but the motorcycle chase missions sucked because the fuckin’ Sanchez handles like dogshit.

Fishing in Persona 4 Golden killed my interest in the game for a month, because I could not for the life of me catch the Sea Guardian. Thankfully this was rectified in Persona 5.


wow i had no idea. that would have gone a long way to explain why he was such a dick to kanji and the girls.

edited for clarity

Panzer Dragoon Saga has a section that takes away your dragon and forces you into a maze-like area with one-way passages and dead ends. My second time through it wasn’t quite as bad as I remembered but it was still pretty slow and tedious

That one sex animation in The Witcher 3 that’s used almost any time you have sex. Mix it up a bit, Geralt.

The lost woods in Breath of the wild.

The meat circus in Psychonauts.

The first small colossus in Shadow of the Colossus.

1 Like

all of the pirates of the caribbean world in kingdom hearts 2, the terrible animations, the awful voice acting, the actual playthrough was kind of shit (the coin boss was cool but THAT WAS IT)

1 Like

So I wasn’t the only one to notice. 2 had more variety. Then again… I suppose developing a game with the scope of the Witcher 3 requires you to prioritize more important things.

vague Nier Automata spoilers: The virus walk bit. Visually it’s incredibly cool, and I get they were going for a MGS4-microwave-corridor kinda thing, like hanging on by the skin of your teeth as your body disintegrates, but you can’t do that and also spawn tons of enemies in your path that you can’t fight and can knock you down into giant pits you don’t have the controls to get out of, come on.


I fell down that pit SO many damn times.


That’s arguable :wink:

That boss was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread title.

Fuck that boss (and by association, that level)

It definitely would have worked much better either without enemies attacking you or if you’d been placed a little bit closer to the destination (walking around that crater was not fun).

The ending of System Shock 2. It didn’t ruin the game for me, but it is a small black spot and a terrible moment in an otherwise great game.

While on the topic of endings and obvious examples, also Mass Effect 3.