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Which Atari 7800 Game is the Toughest To Beat?
The Baddest of the Badd


You can say a lot of jive about the system that showed up late to the dance, featured an undersized library of dated games with poor sound and painful controllers... You can call it names. You can mock it. You can kick it, spit on it, and throw it out your GD window onto that neighbor you don't like... but if you push it too far, the Atari 7800 might sneak back into your apartment and stab your azz. Say what you will about the Atari 7800... it IS a badass system. Its games are not pushovers. Many of its beloved titles have never been beaten by its fanatics. Here's a list of the baddest of the BADD, rated 1 to 5 stars on standard or default difficulty. 1 is a cake game your dopey girlfriend can beat while she's trying to look cute, giggling in thigh high socks and wearing glasses with no lenses. 5 is nearly impossible. 6 IS impossible. Wait... there's a 6?





Very Beatable

Fight Night, Super Skateboardin', Choplifter!

Oddly enough, Fight Night ranks 25 or 26 on my list, but when I asked for feedback on the Atari Age message boards about this subject, someone listed this as the second hardest game for him to beat. It just goes to show that this list is subjective... then again, LOL. It's not. The trick with Fight Night is landing the squirrely special punch over and over and staying off the ropes. It's tricky, but there's only five fighters to beat for the belt and three of them are jabrones, you got this, kid. Super Skateboardin' is a maze game that can be defeated with some good ole fashioned elbow grease and memorization. Choplifter! is a cinch to complete, however getting the perfect 64/ 64 saved hostages is quite a trick.





Not Too Ruff

Alien Brigade, Super Huey UH-IX, Tomcat F-14, F-18 Hornet

There should be a joke about three crappy flight simulators and a good shooting game walking into a bar... but there's not one. I looked. I enjoy mocking the flight simulators in the Atari 7800 library, and I probably shouldn't because real life humans with feels and pride spent at least 45 minutes making these games... but I feel like they are pretty worthless. The problem comes from the interface and counter-intuitive control schemes. That's where the difficulty in these four games lie. Decades after the Atari 7800 has died, finding instruction manuals to the games may be as easy as pulling up Google, but how fun is this? Squinting at your computer to see which difficulty switch position lowers your landing gear... OOPS! I just dumped all my fuel on an orphanage. It's just a mess, and the 7800 was meant for different things. Different things like... ALIEN BRIGADE. AB is a rare but fun first person shooter/ light gun game that pushes back a bit, but beating it is easy enough when you play it a time or two. The trick is saving your ammo for the last boss, the Alien Mother. That broad can take a punch.





Balanced

Double Dragon, Fatal Run

These two games may not be critically acclaimed, and hell... I even gave them crappy scores in my reviews, but deep down, I am fond of them--- kinda like having an ugly child you secretly like. One reason I dig them may be because the difficulty on these two games feels about right. Double Dragon features no continues, so you got to play pretty well to save enough health and lives for your final show down with the Shadow Boss. No falling off the roof for you, Scottie Ferguson. Fatal Run is not hard per se, but it is an endurance event. Driving to 32 cities in one sitting? Ah yeah baby... show me that you want it. That will take you about an hour and a half. I hope your butt cheeks don't fall asleep.





Snug

Meltdown, Dragon's Descent

The hardest part of beating Meltdown may be in simply acquiring the game, a working Atari XE Light Gun, and owning a CRT television. Then, you gotta put up with the inaccurate Atari light gun and the screen blinking white EVERY GUN SHOT. And... there's plenty of gun shots (just like the old neighborhood). Migraine city, man. Let's say none of that is a problem, this game still has 20 levels of fairly stiff arcade action to contend with. Dragon's Descent is a fantastic dungeon crawler, and finding the right way to level up your dragon is the gimmick to being successful in this game. Defeating the default mode is tough but doable, but the game's programmer wanted me to tell you, if you think that's too easy, try beating the game on hard mode, where touching the walls fries your dragon azz, b*tch.





Difficult

Midnight Mutants, Ikari Warriors, GoSub

We are still operating in the realm of video games that can be defeated with a reasonable lack of sweat and crying. Midnight Mutants is tough, but with the many online guides, the helpful instruction manual, and Grandpa Munster's in-game advice, MM does a nice job of holding your hand through your creepy and ridiculously silly adventure. Once you level up, the trickiest parts of the title are the three boss battles. Tough, but doable. Just like Midnight Mutants, Ikari Warriors has to be beaten in one sitting. Getting to the end of IK is all about YOUR skill in this twitch action title. It's no jobber, but the game is heaps of fun, so the effort required to defeat it is at least a fun day at the office. Gosub is a simple game, but it takes a copious amount of concentration to get through the seaweed mazes without making a mistake. There's 20 levels of tight, high pressure turns and evasion for you to navigate. Godspeed, sailor.





Tough As Hell

Bentley Bear's Crystal Quest
Rikki & Vikki (Single Player)
Tower Toppler, Planet Smashers, Ninja Golf
Impossible Mission (PAL), Possible Mission


OK... well... here we are. This is a list of games that you probably will never beat. If you do, you cheated or watched Youtube videos for help. LOL... no shame, son. I would have too if I didn't beat these before that jive existed. OK... I'll be honest. I only beat Bentley Bear's Crystal Quest because I had access to warp pipe locations. Hey... membership has its privileges. BBCQ is a platformer/ shooter... and there are 99 million levels. Man, what a THICC game. Rikki & Vikki (Single Player) offers free continues like Bentley Bear, but it is a puzzle game... so you have to be smart to win. That leaves some of us out in the cold. Neither game has a password feature, so dig in if you wanna win, (if it rhymes- its troo) those games take hours to defeat. Tower Toppler has been making strong men weak since the 80's- I currently hold the World Record, so I mock you. Planet Smashers features an earth shield... and once that is gone, your reserve ships are destroyed as well. Newsflash... you cannot keep the Earth Shield in tact for the duration of the game, its too difficult. That means you'll probably sail into the final boss fight against the massive Mothership with one ship. Tee hee. Ninja Golf is a hoot, but it will kick your azz before you reach the 9th hole. The health potions in this game are random and weak, so are the 1ups... and the dragons hit HARD. You will have to play a perfect game just to beat the Standard difficulty. Possible Mission and Impossible Mission (PAL) are the same game, and even with a map in hand, jamming the 36 keycard pieces together at the end of your running and jumping for 45 minutes is a weird, crazed, extremely difficult biathlon. Oh yeah... you have a time limit, too. Good luck on ANY of these.





Seemingly Impossible

Karateka, Rikki & Vikki (Team), Tank Command
Water Ski, Scrapyard Dog
Pac-Man 40th Anniversary Collection


Children, I am a 7800 Master... and I have only beaten one game in this group. That would be Karateka, and to be honest with you... I'm not even sure how I did it. The five hit points they give you in your final fight against Akuma is ridiculous. Good luck... I would love to put the Scrapyard Dog feather in my cap, but it is riddled with so many STUPIDLY cheap jumps located in the middle of the game that it will never happen for me. I have given up hope. Tank Command and Water Ski, both made by Froggo, may be only 3 levels long, but Water Ski's speed increase at levels 2 and 3 and Tank Command's gameplay flaws make trying to get to the end of these not only difficult, but tortuously NOT FUN. Rikki & Vikki's Team play is harder than the single player affair, because the gameplay actually changes with a second person. Finding a 2nd player to play a 7800 game for two hours with you is impossible enough... much less defeating a tough game together, to boot. To add insult to injury, Pac Man Plus's new "Pac Man 40th Anniversary Collection" now has an ending... all you have to do to see it is get to level TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE. For someone like me, I'd have an easier time climbing K2 and killing a kung fu monk at the top with my bare hands. Thanks Bob! Another game I'll never beat!!!

















But Wait........... There is Another............












Literally Impossible

Impossible Mission (NTSC)

All hail the one game in the Atari 7800 library that NO ONE has ever beaten: the American version of Impossible Mission. A programming flaw keeps many pieces of the furniture in Elvin Atombender's secret lair unsearchable. Since half the game is literally searching for keycards so you can later jam them together to figure out a password that will allow you into Atombender's panic room, you're screwed. We were all screwed, Many of us, as kids, spent HOURS trying to defeat a game Atari didn't care enough to beta test. I'm still pretty sore about it... can ya tell? I would beat Impossible Mission right the hell now... with a rubber mallet... but damn these things bringing in $75 on ebay right now. I'll believe I'll channel my inner monk o funk on dis subject, for now.