5 Video Game Puzzles So Stupidly Hard, They're Brilliant
Something funny happens to the mind of a video game developer when they've designed too many puzzles. They lose all contact with reality and begin operating on some sort of deranged logic barely recognizable as the product of a human mind. How else would you explain some of the more infuriatingly intricate puzzles out there? Look at how ...
If You Don't Spy On Your Brother, Resident Evil 7: Daughters Is Unwinnable
Resident Evil 7's Daughters DLC starts off terrifying: You live in Louisiana. In this prequel story, you play Zoe Baker, the daughter of the hillbilly family destined to get infected and chase you around their farmhouse in the main game. One day, your dad brings home a little girl he rescued from a wrecked ship, unaware that he's in a Japanese horror story and there's a 200% chance she's creepy and evil.
Your mom asks you to go fetch some dry clothes for this possibly hypothermic girl. And if you do that, then congratulations; you're a good person, and you've just lost the game. Oh sure, you can keep playing and eventually try to escape the house through the garage, but that only leads to the bad ending, in which your dad beats the crap out of you.
To avoid this ending, you have ignore your mom's request to help the girl and instead snoop on your brother as he dicks around on his phone.
You see him enter a PIN to unlock the device. That code also works on his laptop, which contains a file in which he bitches about his dad putting all his stuff in a box on the veranda. Among that stuff is a metallic dog head, which you're supposed to place on the locked door leading to the backyard, letting you open it. Now that we type it out, it all seems so logical and obvious.
Note that the game won't even let you search the box unless you've previously invaded your brother's privacy. So the correct way to play this game is: 1) Try to escape through the garage and lose, 2) realize you need to go through the back door and spend hours searching for a nonexistent key, and 3) give up, turn Zoe into an unfeeling, voyeuristic asshole, and stumble upon the correct solution. All so you can get the "good" ending ... which leads to Zoe getting straded and rescued months later in the main game by her MMA uncle who suplexes zombies and wrestles gators. Totally worth it.
Dark Souls II Has You Burn A Metal Girder To Stop Poison In A Windmill
Dark Souls II has an enemy that's a snake lady with a severed head who lives in a pool of poison, because "angry mushroom" was already taken. Oh, and the poison also heals her. How do you beat an enemy who heals faster than you can harm her? Well, you can grind away for hours like a doofus ... or you can focus on the real enemy, which is this windmill over here:
Right before the boss, there's a checkpoint which sits in front of the giant metal axle of a windmill. In order to kill the poison snake lady, you need to stop the axle. Ah, so you simply hit it with your sword a bunch? Nah, that'd make too much sense. Instead, you're supposed to clear the enemies in the room, go back to the checkpoint, light a torch on the bonfire, and burn the axle. Yes, burn the clearly metal axle. And also the laws of physics, apparently.
There's no way to stumble upon this solution accidentally, especially since the axle is by a sheer cliff and this game has no "Whoa, I'm about to fall" animation, so you've already learned the hard way to stay the hell away from those. Also, only a maniac would carry a torch into a well-lit boss fight when you could be holding an extra weapon or a shield.
Anyway, stopping the axle will drain the poison from the boss room ... for some reason? We're sure the lore is explained in the description for an obscure weapon you'll never use. In short, you need to carry a torch into an area where you don't need one, approach an area you have no reason to go near, and ignite a substance that doesn't burn. Stick to difficult boss fights, Dark Souls devs! Oh right, you still have to defeat the difficult boss anyway.
Grim Fandango Thinks Packing Peanuts + Fire Extinguisher = Rocket Fuel
Late in Grim Fandango, you find yourself stuck in a small area outside a sort of heavenly gate, and you need to find a bunch of fuel that can power a rocket. Luckily, you have some packing peanuts you found in a coffin. What, you didn't know packing materials can be used as fuel? Then you didn't pay attention to the scene at the start of the game wherein an infernal janitor informs you that using a magnesium fire extinguisher near packing foam can cause an explosive chemical reaction. Or you did pay attention and forgot, because that was four years ago for the protagonist, and likely several days ago for you (weeks if you have a job and/or kids).
Anyway, you need to put the peanuts in a mug and leave the mug next to a toaster, then dip some rags in oil and stuff them in the toaster so they catch fire when it turns on. The fire spreads to the mug full of peanuts, causing a mechanic to come in with a fire extinguisher, which (obviously) just makes the peanuts burn much harder, even though that's the opposite of what a fire extinguisher is supposed to do. Congratulations! You have fuel! Somehow!
To this day, there are professional reviewers who assume there was no explanation for the puzzle at all, having stumbled on the solution through trial and error. Chances are there's still some old-school gamer out there who's been clicking every item on every pixel of this screen for 21 years, trapped in video game purgatory.
Wizardry IV's Insta-Kill Final Boss Has A Single, Hilariously Hard-To-Find Weakness
Near the end of Wizardry IV: The Return Of Werdna, you face off against the badass Lord Hawkwind, and the game doesn't mess around when it comes to hyping up this battle.
There's a good reason they tell the player that you'll never get past this guy, as Hawkwind is completely immune to almost anything you can throw at him. After toying with you for a while (with battle commands like "Brush teeth," "Fall asleep," and "Order sushi"), he'll eventually get bored and insta-kill you. Then, instead of getting a "Continue" like usual, you'll have to sit through the bad ending and restart the game, assuming you aren't too demoralized to even try.
But we said he's immune to "almost" anything because there is a way to beat him. All you have to do to find it is add a feature the developers neglected to include: maps. The game takes place in a maze-like structure, like Pac-Man in first-person view. To find out how to kill the boss, you have to walk around the entire map and draw the levels from above (again, a perspective you never get in the game itself). If you do that, you'll find a secret message ... or not, because it's still pretty easy to miss. Here, we'll help:
Yes, the walls on a random section of the map spell out "DINK." Of course! Wait, what the hell is Dink? That's the name of the single weakest monster you can summon in the entire game. All you need to do is carry this pathetic creature, which is useless in all other battles, into the fight with this fearsome demigod. If you abandon all common sense and do that, the Dink has a 20% chance of killing Hawkwind with one hit, for reasons someone is likely still drawing maps in order to understand.
Destiny 2's Developers Had To Step In Because Of An Insanely Obtuse, Possibly Broken Puzzle
Destiny 2's expansion, Season Of The Forge, promised a new challenge to veteran players. It may have over-delivered there. The climax was supposed to be Niobe Labs, a massive puzzle blocking the way to the final section, Bergusia Forge. Meaning no one on Earth could finish until this puzzle was beaten. The solution? "Wait for the developers to step in and unlock it themselves, because the actual solution was too hard."
Niobe Labs is a seven-level puzzle, and the beginning of each level involves standing in specific spots and shooting symbols that can only be seen with specific weapons. If you mess up, you're attacked by a wave of tough enemies. If you get it right, you're ... also attacked by tough enemies, but at least you get to move on to the next level. While there's a screen in the room which gives players "hints," they're maddeningly obtuse. Take this one, for example:
If that makes no sense to you, then you're not familiar with the design on the hilt of Charlemagne's sword, and in that case, what are you even doing here? Here's the simple, obvious cipher for this problem:
Unfortunately, the Destiny fanbase had far fewer medieval history buffs than the developers assumed. After watching popular streamers attempt (and fail) to solve the puzzle for over 24 hours straight, Bungie decided to unlock Bergusia Forge themselves, perhaps unwilling to find out if they're legally liable should 400 people die from exhaustion live on Twitch.
The kicker? Two days later, Bungie admitted that a string of text had been "improperly removed" from the final hint in the puzzle, which might explain what happened here. They posted another clue to replace it. The puzzle was solved 42 minutes later. Players were finally able to take the intended route into the last area ... which looks like this:
For more, check out 5 Video Game Puzzles Totally Designed To Gaslight You:
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