The outcome of playing video games vary depending on the player. Some play for challenge, prestige and, for the majority of us, the sheer fun of it. But there are those missions that transcend simple difficulty into the realm of a rather ugly scene colloquially known as “gamer rage”. That nearly uncontrollable need to throw your controller against a wall and curse like a sailor while doing it. Here are five missions that made us rage quit.
Light spoilers ahead; read at your discretion.
5. Demolition Man – GTA: Vice City
Not only is Demolition Man a fantastic Sylvester Stallone movie, but it’s also the title of a notoriously difficult Grand Theft Auto: Vice City mission; the mere mention of which is bound to send a shiver down the spine of any millennial gamer. Tommy Vercetti is working with unscrupulous building magnate Avery Carrington to clear out some valuable real estate that requires remodelling of the explosive kind. All you need to do is place a few bombs on each floor using an RC helicopter. If it weren’t for the terrible flight controls, this mission would be a breath of fresh air from third-person shooting.
These terrible mini game-like tasks shoehorned in to ruin your enjoyment. Builders and security guards will beat the helicopter with hammers and take potshots with handguns, quickly leading to a mission failure. Thankfully, you can rip these annoyances apart with the rotary blades. Like completing so many complex tasks in video games, it comes down to mapping your way to success and Demolition Man is no different. Avoid needless contact with enemies and learn the quickest path to placing the bombs. With the possibility of a remastered GTA trilogy, players will once again experience the misery of this mission.
4. Tree Tops – Spyro Reignited Trilogy
You probably didn’t expect Spyro: Reignited Trilogy to make a list of rage-inducing missions, and neither did I until I returned to platinum the game. This child-friendly platformer hides an utterly infuriating level called “Tree Tops” – seriously, screw this level! Why on Earth Insomniac felt the need to create such a difficulty spike is beyond me. Getting through the level isn’t even the hard part, but be warned if 100% completion is your goal because Tree Tops was invented to piss you off.
Tree Tops involves the little dragon platforming through a forest, doing precisely what you’ve been doing throughout the game. Things become maddening when you’re required to chain together several speed boasts to reach a specific platform. One wrong move and you’re trekking back to the start to fail again. It’s the speed and precision required that has given me controller throwing levels of rage. I love Spyro the Dragon so much, but I’ve come to accept that avoiding this horrible level is better for my blood pressure.
3. Wrong Side Of The Tracks – GTA: San Andreas
Some nights when I’m snug in my bed, I’ll wake in a cold sweat as eleven words reverberate in my mind – “All we had to do was follow the damn train, CJ”. I’m surely not alone in having terrible memories of the infamous GTA: San Andreas mission “Wrong Side of the Tracks?” The mission comes early in the game through Big Smoke and involves Carl chasing a train through Los Santos while Smoke shoots at the enemies atop the train. The set-up is so simple, but time after time, I’d be left to shlep my way back to Big Smoke’s house to try over again – don’t you miss the days before mission restart?
The mission sucks for two reasons. Big Smoke’s aim is woefully inaccurate, and the four targets are bullet sponges that seem scripted to die at specific points during the train journey. Your job is to keep up with the train, which isn’t difficult, but so little of the task is within your control. You might strike it lucky and complete it the first time or be stuck retrying for an hour before successfully icing the targets. Out of the four missions you’ll do for Smoke, Wrong Side of the Tracks? made me want to stop playing what is undoubtedly one of the greatest games ever made. There are other examples – Flight School, Cop Wheels and Supply Line, to name just a few. But, it is that scolding remark of how simple following a train is that’ll live on in my mind.
2. Malus – Shadow Of The Colossus
We’ve talked about annoying controls and complex platforming. One thing we haven’t discussed are boss battles, so let’s rectify that, shall we? Shadow of the Colossus is one of those games that your friends insist you play, and for a good reason. It’s a spectacular adventure through a broken world, protected by a group of ancient giants that must fall if you are to save the life of a loved one. Scaling and killing these towering creatures is a unique experience that’s equally awe-inspiring and devastating, but the final Colossus is a different story altogether.
Malus is a skyscraper with legs and a severe anger problem. You’re armed with a small sword and bow, so tackling this Goliath feels a bit like throwing a pebble at the Empire State Building, and yes, it’s just as tricky as it sounds. Just approaching Malus will require dodging its sweeping attacks, eventually reaching his legs. I think I died upwards of ten times before reaching its legs – now the climb begins. The big brute takes every opportunity to shake you off, which is made worse by the frankly awful controls in both the original and remaster. I couldn’t time my attacks and was thrown to my death over and over again. I eventually fell the beast, but didn’t attempt it again for some time.
Shadow of the Colossus is available on PS4/5.
1. Fair Play – Mafia: Definitive Edition
It’s a little known fact that the devil himself developed this gruelling race that’ll try even the most temperate of players. Okay, maybe I exaggerate. Still, whoever designed Mafia: Definitive Edition’s Fair Play mission was almost certainly a sadist because the mental and physical torture of winning this race took me to the edge. The set-up masks the actual mission goal of winning the race. Tommy Angelo is sent to tamper with a racer’s car, Owned by a rival mob boss. Stealing and tampering with the vehicle is difficult enough, giving that you have a time limit that’ll put your driving skills to the test.
The day arrives, and wouldn’t you know, Tommy now has to compete. The starting grid lights count down, and the race begins with the tampered car careening off the track. Now all that’s left is to win! The turns are tight and winding. The rubber-banding of competitors, severe. The handling is awkward but still fun, which perhaps makes each restart the more frustrating. After my tenth attempt (Original difficulty), I had to contemplate whether I was even capable of crossing the finishing line, my hands gripping the controller, shaking with unrelenting frustration at myself. I did it, eventually. There was no celebrating. I finished the last of the mission and switch off the console.
Rage quitting happens to the best of us. The thread that combines these five missions is that each of them is from an outstanding game! It’s a reminder that every diamond has its rough side, but if you buff away at it, you’ll be left with a shining example of what makes video games worthwhile, muddied metaphors aside. What gaming moments made you rage quit? Let me know in the comments below.
(Video by WatchMojo.com.)