It's one thing for video games to challenge the player -- it's quite another for the puzzles and obstacles to be so obtuse and devoid of logic that you need a Ouija board to finish the damn things. If you beat any of these games without a walkthrough, you're either the chosen one or you kidnapped the developer's family and held them at gunpoint until they sobbed out all of their secrets.
5Castlevania II's Magic Tornado (and World Full of Liars)
After killing Dracula in Castlevania, Simon Belmont spends the sequel collecting five of Sir Vlad's body parts in order to resurrect and kill him again. Because if it's worth killing somebody, it's worth overkilling them. After grabbing his heart, rib, eye, and ring, you find that you're still lacking his grimy, yellowing toenail -- the most important ingredient in any resurrection. But the path is blocked by a physics-defying body of water:
He should just sing his way through the lake, since logic clearly isn't a thing.
So you have to walk around a bit and speak to the townsfolk, who, in just about every other game in existence, offer helpful hints that guide the hero to his goal. This time, however, you're greeted by 99 percent pure bullshit:
You'd get better hints from Cleverbot.
Yep, the people of Transylvania, perhaps aware that a whip-wielding, organ-stealing psychopath is roaming the land, continually lie right to your face. There are no potions, no crooked trader, nobody meets you at the river, and Luke blew up the Death Star years ago. Don't just blame Engrish -- series producer Koji Igarashi admitted years later that virtually everybody in the game is a "deliberate liar." Not that the game ever tells you this. Even the few characters with helpful information fuck with you while dispensing it, like the guy who tells you how to access the toenail dungeon:
Whoa, games really don't know how to treat women.
Who is Deborah Cliff, and why are we headbutting her? She's not a person, but a place -- an anonymous (as in, no sign pointing to it whatsoever) dead end on the other side of the game.
You know it's a cliff because there are pyramids in the background.
So you hit your head on the cliff and walk through the big hole to the final dungeon, right? Nope. There's no headbutt button in this game. What you need to do is kneel down on the top platform and stay that way until a tornado scoops you up and whisks you away to the final area.
Ah, we get it now. It's like Deborah from The Wizard of Oz.
That has nothing to do with hitting stuff, or your head -- in fact, nobody at any point ever says anything about a tornado, much less one that you summon by kneeling and waiting quietly, like you're praying to the gods of gaming that whoever designed this puzzle doesn't hate logic as much as he clearly hates video game players.
4The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass' Sacred Crest
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS takes advantage of the system's touchscreen by adding a new dimension to its puzzles. Namely, our real-world dimension.
Link is in search of the sun key, which can unlock any door with a sun symbol on it. Since several important plot elements are hidden behind Door Number Sun, you absolutely need this thing. And it's nowhere to be found. Finally, you encounter the sacred crest -- a giant stone wheel with a sun in the middle. In most games, you'd touch the wheel and get rewarded with a key-containing chest. Not this time: all you get is a map of the ocean, a glowing green circle, and this hint:
A hint that sounds vaguely perverted.
Accessing your sea chart is as simple as pressing a button. So you select it, Link presses it to the crest, and you get the key, right? Nope. Pressing that button simply brings up the sea chart for you to stare at in frustration.
"Dammit, Link jacked off on the east side again!"
Hours pass. "Put the thing against the thing!" you scream, futilely searching for the "press" button. You hack at the sacred crest in a blind, frothing rage, but it's no use. You cannot get the crest's chocolate all up in your sea chart's peanut butter.
Here's the solution: open up your sea chart, select the southwest area, which looks like an upside-down version of your ocean floor map. That way, your DS looks like this:
Which means either the chart or map is totally backwards and useless.
Now close your game system. No, don't turn it off -- you're supposed to intuit that you have to physically close the screen, despite the fact that the game has not asked you to do this before and, indeed, no game ever has presented flipping your screen about as some sort of extra control. Open the system back up and you'll see the green dot magically transferred to the sea chart.
It could be worse. That green dot could be the Ubisoft logo.
Some video game puzzles lack any kind of internal logic, so you don't feel bad when you don't get them. Some game puzzles are so simple that you feel like an idiot for struggling with them. The sacred crest has the unique honor of being both: it's wildly unintuitive, yet it somehow also makes you feel like a gigantic asshole for not figuring it out sooner. Somebody get these developers a trophy for their accomplishment. Make sure it's shaped like a tiny, golden middle finger.