In my lifetime as a "gamer", I have played challenging games (Mario, Zelda, etc.) on consoles ranging from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the XBOX 360, as well as being a huge fan of the "Myst" PC games. That being said, "Exodus" for the NES is easily the most difficult video game I have ever attempt (and am confident I ever will attempt).
This game, from the now long-defunct religious-based company Wisdom Tree, completely rips off the NES game Crystal Mines (apparently copyright laws were not enforced in the 1980s!), instead inserting Bible hero Moses as the main character in his quest to collect enough manna and question marks (yes, a strange game indeed) to complete each stage.
For about the first 15 (out of 100) stages, the game is relatively straightforward and quite fun, as you must use both your action skills and thinking cap to defeat each level. Very quickly, however, the game goes from fun to difficult, then to mind-boggling, and finally to downright impossible.
Two main factors make this game the peak of gaming difficulty: First, like many NES games, is the fact that your Moses is defeated with just one "hit", making you have to run a perfect level to succeed. However, what really amps up the difficulty is that each level is essentially a puzzle in order to collect all the requisite items and find the hidden exit. Items must be strategically moved, baddies strategically taken care of, and most of the time (at least in the later levels) there is only ONE solution...leading to hours of head-banging, controller-flinging frustration. Remember the old PC game Klotski? Imagine playing that on a clock with guys trying to kill you, and that is the gist of Exodus.
All in all, though, this is actually a pretty fun game for those of you who don't mind a challenge (i.e. Myst fans may be up to the challenge, while those who revel in first-person shooters will not). The highest level I have ever seen reached in the game was 97, at which point it takes Mr. Dream-like reflexes and mind to rival NASA scientists. Has anyone in the history of gaming ever actually beaten the game? If so, please comment!
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