8. Contra: Shattered Soldier
The first Contra game landed in arcades back in 1987, quickly garnering a reputation for its super-hard difficulty. Later entries like Contra: Hard Cops were hard as hell too, featuring the same alien invasion theme and side-scrolling, run and gun gameplay. But arguably the most difficult game in the series was also the last, which was released for the PS2 back in 2002.
Because Contra: Shattered Soldier is maddeningly difficult for sure. Konami had dropped the life bar in Hard Cops, so getting hit by enemies was truly lethal here, meaning players had to be extra careful with their choice of weapons too. Using the machine gun, flame thrower and grenade launcher at the right time was vital to get past encounters here. There was little room for improvisation and defeating the game’s parade of boss fights was a struggle demanding nerves of steel and plenty of trial and error. Contra: Shattered Soldier is difficult as hell then, but one fine Contra game all the same.
Next: 7. Battletoads