That One Level/Video Games/Hack and Slash

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Hacking and slashing your way through thousand of soft mooks is fun! But sometimes, the game just doesn't want to cooperate...

Dynasty Warriors

  • Dynasty Warriors 4 was the scrappy game of the series, due to enemy generals receiving power ups after standing back up from being knocked down. This included everything from attack or defense ups (merely a hassle, except against Lu Bu or on the highest difficulty) to full life plus musou refills. Dynasty Warriors 4 XL removed this, but was scrappy in its own way, such as Lu Bu's ultimate weapon, which required you to get 2000 kills on his stage at the hardest difficulty, which pits you against the Peach Garden Oath Brothers at the end.
    • It was 2 that had some generals gaining powerups. The battles were still winnable, but this really dragged some of them out, particularly when Liu Bei or Cao Cao was the commander. He could literally be the last man standing, with hostile forces swarming around him, and it'd still take 6 minutes to finish him off. No surprise Koei dropped this like a bad habit. As for XL, well, everyone (okay, maybe not so much Sun Ce) has a mountain to climb. That's the point.
    • For a level, pretty much any time the player is at Hu Lao Gate on the Coalition side and forgets that pursuing Lu Bu is optional. (Dynasty Warriors 6 lampshades this briefly when Yuan Shao, responsible for the infamous meme in DW 3, simply says that if no one can stand against Lu Bu, "Then forget about him!")
    • Oh, and as for 4, two words: Nanman Campaign. First off, you're up against a massive, highly motivated force. With elephants, which your forces have trouble with. Likewise, armor troops. Plus after a few seconds, your side constantly loses morale due to the harsh climate. And every time you beat Meng Huo outside of his headquarters, he returns more powerful than before. Plus the enemy gates continually regenerate, meaning that they have effectively unlimited forces. It's so bad, any strategy other than "go right to enemy HQ and take out the commander quickly" is practically suicide. An archtypical case of a company legitimately wanting to create a challenging level and Not. Knowing. When. To. Friggin'. Quit.
      • It gets worse: There's two different versions of this level - Wu's version actually nerfs Meng Huo (he won't respawn all those times), Shu's version is where you actually get to unlock Meng Huo and Zhu Rong. How do you unlock them? Zhu Rong is simply unlocked by defeating her in a duel (as Shu, after dueling Meng Huo). Meng Huo, on the other hand, requires you to defeat him all 7 times, one of which MUST be done by duel. The ONLY way you're pulling this off is to break the 1000-KO barrier to max out your force's morale while taking out enemy officers so that your commander (and the bodyguards you hopefully didn't forget to have wait at YOUR HQ) aren't taken out.
    • The Two Qiaos also qualifies. The situation: You're either Sun Ce or Zhou Yu, and you have to find both the other and the eponymous Qiaos, all of whom are scattered across the battlefield. You're up against lots and lots (and lots and lots and LOTS) of enemy soldiers who pop up in massive ambushes all over the place and have no troops or bodyguards of your own. And if anyone goes down, YOU FAIL THE LEVEL. (This stage, incidentally, is the only way to unlock the Qiaos.)
  • "Dynasty Warriors 6," Chang Ban, Wei Scenario. Trying to get to Liu Bei is hard enough IF you kill the peasants, but you have to avoid them if you want to complete one of the targets. You also have to kill Zhang Fei, who gets a power charge that makes him comparable to Lu Bu. And if you DO kill the peasants, and you kill more than one, KOEI's poster boy Zhao Yun comes chasing after you. If you don't kill them, he comes after you anyway. And this is all while having to deal with the time limit which extends to the moment Liu Bei gets to the boats, which is pretty damn quickly.
    • You can send the innocents to their deaths provided the chieftains does not die, taking out Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun can be done by getting a friend with higher stats and nicer weapons...But indeed Chang Ban is just one scrappy level for either side. Whereas the Wei has to complete their objectives before Liu Bei goes to the docks, the Shu has to deal with the fact that NO chieftains are allowed to die.
  • Dynasty Warriors 5 has Battle of Mt. Ding Jun on the Shu side. Not that the battle is hard by itself, but about ten minutes in, a painfully obvious but impossible to prevent sabotage occurs and Wei starts bearing down on both the commander Ma Su and the main camp, which are suddenly a long, roundabout way away from each other. Ma Su is a generic officer easily overwhelmed by the 3+ named officers bearing down on him; if he dies, you lose. The main camp is protected only by a handful of officers who are outmatched by the attack force; if both checkpoints inside the base are taken, you lose. The game has the courtesy to tell you what's going on, but unless you pick one issue, deal with it quickly and completely then hustle to the other, you'll lose before reinforcements arrive. This is one of the few maps where even advanced players can lose by mission failure if they drop the ball at all.
  • Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires has a whole bunch of Escort Mission levels, the worst of which are probably the "Deliver Supplies" missions. Two groups of fragile villagers on opposite sides of the field, who can't wait long enough for you to escort them one at a time, who insist on charging into every possible base (aka enemy respawn point), forcing you to run like hell back and forth to keep them from getting killed. If either group dies, you fail the level. And just because it wasn't annoying enough, the villagers are frequently attacked by tigers and wolves, which are like the Dynasty Warriors version of Goddamned Bats. RAAAAARGHHH!!!! The only good thing these missions have going for them is that they're mostly optional.
    • The peasant ones are the tough ones? Just get a horse (buy one and equip at start or press Select ingame) and you'll find them easy. Now the ones with Lady Cai Wenji are tough, moreso since she refuses to attack in self-defense (unlike the similar escort missions where you are escorting either a musou officer OR a custom character, who DO attack enemies).
      • Escorting those goddamn villagers was a nightmare (even with Red Hare).

God of War

  • Hades from the first God of War is a rare Scrappy Level that's actually Hell.
    • Hades felt like Filler and raised some serious Fridge Logic issues regarding Kratos' suicide.
    • This editor cracked up when, after dying one too many times to the terrain in Path of Hades, the game prompted him to switch to easy mode, with the note that "this will only affect combat." Yes, because that would certainly help me deal with niggling jumps and climb your blasted whirling bladed cylinder of pointy doom.
    • The extras disc for God of War II reveal that the Hades level was the only one that wasn't play tested, hence the difficulty.
  • Some people find every obstacle course and puzzle sequence in that game to be a Scrappy Level/sequence. They worked fine and all, but they were damn hard/annoying. Especially outrunning those spike walls, and dragging that cage up the mountain.
    • The worst was where you had to move a box along a floor in a certain time limit, or else spikes would come out of the floor and instantly kill you. I got through Hades with no problems (no, I have no idea how), and it took me a ton of tries to get past that damn room.
  • The first God of War also had one major Scrappy combat section: a confrontation with three Cyclopses early in the Athens Town Square map. On easier difficulties it's merely annoying, but on Hard and Very Hard, it becomes ridiculously frustrating and unfair, unlike the rest of the game which is hard but fair.
  • In God of War 2, there's the part where you have to protect the Translator. It basically involves carrying around the ultimate Squishy Wizard on your back and trying to protect him from the game's most frustrating Demonic Spiders, the Satyrs and the Minotaur Priests, enemies you would be lucky enough to survive against yourself! It's only moderately difficult on some of the more human difficulty levels, but on Titan, it can be seemingly impossible. If you haven't upgraded just right up until this point (usually by exploiting infinite respawn and / or magic areas for experience orbs), you could be stuck in an Unwinnable situation. To add insult to injury, you can totally see the final boss lair from the balcony!!! At least when / if you ever get past this part, you immediately get to smash the fragile little bastard's face into a book to vent your frustrations.
    • On Titan Mode, every part of the game that's merely tedious turns into That One Level/Boss. One notable example is at the end of the first Pegasus segment, right after the prologue. The Dark Rider portion, specifically: he traps you in a draft and shoots bursts of dark magic at you that you have to dodge, the last of which is unavoidable and ends up railroading Kratos into the next section of the game. The problem is that now, each hit takes off over half of your life bar, so you have to avoid everything up to this point or you're dead. The only problem is figuring out how to dodge THAT DAMN PENULTIMATE DARK BURST! Even when you go on the opposite side of the draft from where it'd logically hit you, you still get damaged by it!
    • By itself, one of the late-game sections is tedious. You're basically grabbing the chains in a pillar and pulling them to make the elevator move down, but a ways down, the ceilings sprouts spikes and starts coming down, so it turns into a race to get to the bottom and open the door before you're impaled and crushed. Problem is, the skeletons you saw just lying on the ground since you entered start coming to life and attacking you. Not only do you have to keep them off of you while you move the elevator (which is easy enough with a cast of Cronos' Rage), but the skeletons will occasionally grab hold of the gears actually moving the elevator and stop them entirely, so you have to stop and kill them anyway. The whole thing is more tense than anything.
    • And of course, who could forget the gauntlet of enemies preceding Clotho's Chamber in the end game? Little-to-no health/magic recovery from beginning to end, and you have to face several rounds of almost every enemy you've ever seen in the game, from Satyrs to Cyclopes. Hope you mastered using The Golden Fleece, or you're not walking out of this with minimal damage.

Other examples

  • Most of Dead Rising, especially the mall gardens if you haven't killed the convicts driving around and / or are escorting an NPC who can't walk unaided.
    • Convicts that constantly bloody respawn. You'd think cutting someone to death with a katana would prevent that sort of thing.
      • At least they drop their minigun each time, which is very useful for speed runs. "Oh, you got a pretty nice shotgun Cletus? Well, SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!"
  • Mission 19 in Devil May Cry 3. There's this bit where the Demonic Spiders known as Abysses appear and you have to kill them off before the huge hourglass in the background runs down. If you don't, the Abysses reappear but your damage taken and items used stay as they were right before the hourglass had reset. Then it caps off with the horrible blob Arkham, who is most certainly That One Boss. The Boss Rush levels in 3 and 4 also fit to some extent.
  • The Desert Lands levels in Gauntlet (1985 video game) Dark Legacy. The enemies are so tough and numerous that you can lose hundreds, if not thousands, of your hard-earned Hit Points.
    • The Ice levels are all That One Level - they are all very long, the enemies spawn quickly and do NOT give good experience, there are traps that are hard to avoid which can be a real drain on your health, and getting all the necessary extras requires a lot of steps.
  • In Drakengard, we have Leonard's Regret, specifically the verse "Gleamings". Aside from the waves of those ever-annoying bulb-armor knights, the end of the stage sees you fighting a dozen heavy cavalry. They have an attack that causes them to charge at you and send you flying if it hits. Since there are so many of them, several are guaranteed to charge at once, and Mercy Invincibility doesn't kick in until you recover, so prepare to be ping-ponged between several of them. Oh, and they love doing this while you're busy attacking one cavalryman and they're offscreen. And there are two more waves after the first. Best to call out Leonard for the last one...
    • In truth, all of the pact-partner side chapters are like this. "Arioch's Madness", due to miserable flight controls, is worse yet.
  • Bayonetta. You've played through Normal mode, had a blast, punched God into the sun, and you've unlocked Hard Mode. Shouldn't be too bad, right? Unfortunately, in Hard Mode, Level 1 is that one level. Halfway through the level, you're on the wings of a plane, in Witch Time, and because it's the tutorial level, this is the part where you learn about torture attacks. You must execute 3 to pass this point. They don't redo the tutorial itelf, but you still gotta do the torture attacks... against Gracious and Glorious. To do a torture attack, you spend 8 units of magic. You get one unit for every few hits you land on an enemy, and lose 4 if you get hit. On normal, this wasn't so bad, because the enemies were pathetic. On hard, it's hell, because Gracious and/or Glorious just love to interrupt your combos, and are as aggressive as sharks in a feeding frenzy. The rest of the game isn't anywhere near this bad, and it's humiliating to get your ass handed to you sixteen dozen times on the tutorial level.
  • Act 3 of Diablo II. You have to slog through a jungle with switchbacks and dead ends populated by a) native pygmy men who either swarm and stab you or shoot you from afar with blowguns, which are led by shaman with the ability to revive the pygmys; b) enormous mosquitoes that drain your stamina and poison you; c) literal Demonic Spiders that are larger than you. This is on top of an act-long fetch quest which forces you to fully explore the jungle and the sewers of a nearby city looking for the unusually well-preserved remains (eye, brain, heart) of an old wizard.
  • Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes has Incident at Honno-ji. Apart from being a pain in the arse to even find the level is swarming with a wide variety of enemies, is large and time-consuming to navigate, and puts a strict time limit on capturing bases - and failing to do so allows That One Boss at the end of the level to resurrect another time, further putting your survival chances in the toilet. There is a trick to it: Nobunaga always activates the Mortal Coils in the same order. Take the southernmost base, then both northern ones, then use Hero Time to get to the south-western one. That base contains a slingshot to the north-western one, which then has a slingshot to the eastern base, completing the sequence. That said, even taking optimal routes, you have to move pretty quickly while defeating every officer you pass to make it work. The character the game forces you to use the first time? Oichi, who has the movement speed of a duck in molasses.