Shadow of the Beast (1989, Amiga Port)
I couldn't beat this game when I was younger, but I decided to have another stab at it after unlocking it in the Shadow of the Beast remake. Of course I still sucked at it and probably wouldn't be able to complete it normally so I made a rule, you can turn invincibility on and off from the options menu, when you do this it restores all your health, so I decided it would be fair if I could restore all my health a maximum of 3 times each chapter, yes I know its cheap but this game is absurdly difficult compared with the recent remake, and I only did it 9 times throughout the whole game and did finish 2 chapters without restoring at all. This is an action/platformer and at times could be described as bullet hell with the amount of stuff charging towards you. You play as a child turned into a beast by an evil mage, forced into servitude you eventually recover your memories after witnessing the death of your parents and attempt to exact revenge against the mage. As I recall you don't actually fight the evil mage in this game (you don't even fight him in the sequel, you fight him in the 3rd game in the series), you instead fight a series of nameless enemies and bosses (that include: A giant beetle that breathes fire, a hydra and a giant whose only visible parts are his club and one foot, who you kill by punching his foot over and over). Considering the age of the game, released the same year as Wonderboy 3, Revenge of Shinobi and Prince of Persia, it is very good game, chapters are one big stage and the graphics and smoothness are pretty decent (Though the game does lag when entering certain areas), the music is also really good, halfway through a chapter it will often change track and you suddenly feel like something bad's about to happen (Something bad is always happening in this game).
As said earlier, the difficulty is absurd (The Genesis port is even more difficult however due to a glitch making everything move faster, a walkthrough I read made in 2006 said no one had ever finished it legitimately) fireballs, lightning, spikes and enemies often appear simultaneously towards you giving you less than a second to react, and often no time to react making you rely on memory from when you were here last time. The game mentions it has puzzles, these puzzles amount to: This boss requires a particular weapon, go find it, weapon has a timer on it requiring you to run to the boss to defeat it. You reach the end of the level and find a locked door, the key is back where the weapon was through the massive horde of enemies that have since respawned. You reach the end of the 4th chapter after finally beating the boss, you need a key to pass, that key was back in Chapter 2. As you see the puzzles amount to, make sure you take every path in each chapter. The boss fights, are probably the least difficult part of the game, as the strategy amount to running up to them and tanking damage while mashing the attack button, you lose about 2hp each boss fight this way, and this is out of 12. I have to assume this is the strategy they intended as the final boss smashes down a pillar at random from the sky and you have almost no time to dodge it if it appears above you. The high difficulty is probably there, because the game is actually really short if you don't spend most of your time dying, it could probably be done in a hour. Overall its a good game though, you know, when you're cheating like I did, otherwise its a nightmare.