We’re all gamers here, so we’ve all encountered the occasional mission, level, boss, or trophy that’s a little too much for us to handle. In times like those, it’s comforting to know that you can usually turn down the difficulty and push past that seemingly unbeatable moment and get to the juicy endings we all crave. Sometimes, however, the creators of the games don’t like to see their efforts to create a challenging and fun experience reduced to little more than a cakewalk that requires essentially no skill or technique.
In these cases, the developers will place in varying levels of mockery or training wheels to encourage players to push their limits and really give it their all. Sometimes they’re mean, other times they’re funny, and other times still they’re just practical. That said, we’ve compiled 10 of the best PS2 era games that mock you for playing on easy.
10 Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex
The Crash Bandicoot series is one of those timeless classics that most Playstation games look back on kindness. Crash is whacky, bright, and gives off serious surfer vibes, but the games are anything but smooth sailing. Dodging TNT boxes, fleeing boulders, and spin kicking enemies out of your path has made more than a couple of gamers rage quit.
In the game, if you die more than 5 times, you get automatic Aku Aku masks. These masks basically make you invincible thus making the game much easier. If you still die even with the Aku Aku masks, then the game will turn the nearest box into an automatic checkpoint. Talk about a real slap in the pride.
9 Return To Castle Wolfenstein
Return To Castle Wolfenstein places players in the middle of World War II Egypt on orders to investigate an increase in activity from the Nazi SS Paranormal Division. You find a little more than you expect when the SS manage to trigger an ancient curse that awakens hordes of zombies that you officially have to deal with.
Here the game’s traditional levels of Easy, Normal, and Hard, are replaced by the options “Don’t Hurt Me,” “Bring ‘Em On,” and “I Am Death Incarnate.” In other games in the series, there’s an additional easy difficulty called, “Can I Play Daddy?” that shows the protagonist with a bonnet and pacifier.
8 Devil May Cry 3
In Devil May Cry 3, there’s no direct mockery, but its clear hand-holding is more than enough to make some gamers feel the ping in their pride. This is particularly true in the third game because Easy mode can only be unlocked by dying three times.
To make things even easier, there’s an automatic mode added to Easy which makes the game basically plays itself. The combos execute themselves automatically, enemies have less health, and they deal less damage. The same applies to bosses with the added benefit of making them more docile. So, yeah, that’s pretty easy...and pathetic.
7 Ratchet: Deadlocked
If you like big guns, big explosions, and cute little critters, then Ratchet and Clank is the series for you. It’s a third-person shooter which can make it a bit difficult depending on the type of gamer you are. Luckily there are varying levels of difficulty in the game with the easiest being the Couch Potato difficulty.
If you can get past the shame, this difficulty makes enemies deal an extraordinarily low amount of damage and go down more easily. The nanotech crates also give out a greater amount of nanotech with each find which can make the game even more easy with its upgrades.
6 God Hand
God Hand is a game that’s earned its spot in Playstation history as a difficult, engaging, and funny game. You play as a drifter fighting his way to a demon king through various whacky, bizarre, and at times offensive opponents. The game is known for its crazy difficulty, and those who have played it will tell you to expect to die and often.
That said, there is an easy difficulty that comes along with a prompt from the game’s protagonist saying, “What? You want me to hold your hand?” If you have him hold your hand, you’ll only learn low-level rewards. Perhaps it’s a good trade-off for completing the game though.
5 Serious Sam
Serious Sam is a gory first-person shooter, and that automatically makes it a difficult game for some. The hordes of monsters determined to devour you don’t help either.
While playing on easy isn’t as much of a direct slight as it can be in other games, in Serious Sam HD, playing on “Tourist” mode causes enemies to explode into clouds of flowers instead of blood. Though it seems other versions of the game simply have this as a selectable option under the blood and gore settings.
4 Viewtiful Joe
In the original Viewtiful Joe, the easiest difficulty is “Kids.” In this mode, nothing is unlocked upon completion. In the port, however, there’s another difficulty mode called “Sweet” which is the same word as “Naïve” in Japanese, the game’s native development language.
For Western audiences, it’s a little bit of mockery that might go over their heads if they aren’t familiar with the Japanese language, but sometimes inside jokes are the best kinds of jokes for developers.
3 Mega Man X8
Mega Man X8 is, like most Mega Man games, very difficult. So it’s not uncommon for players to have to push down the difficulty in order to push through the story. Try that on this particular game, though, and you’ll find yourself sorely disappointed. Completing your playthrough on the easy difficulty locks the games final boss. It also doesn’t do it in an obvious way if you’re not paying attention.
That means some players may go through their entire lives never realizing they didn’t truly beat the game. Talk about pulling the wool over their eyes. Easy mode also weakens some enemies while completely removing others and gives the enemy arsenals some serious nerfs.
2 Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts is probably Square-Enix’s most recognizable game series outside of Final Fantasy. The marriage of Disney’s wacky characters and Tetsuya Nomura’s love of zippers, belts, and epic fantasy adventure was one no one saw coming. The game itself isn’t too hard on normal difficulty, but sometimes you just wanna bash Heartless ya know?
If you choose to go the easy route, the game doesn’t actively mock you, but the secret endings cannot be unlocked on low difficulty. This prevents players from observing potentially huge insight into the next game in the series as well as contextualizing some events of the game they just finished. It’s always super cryptic, but who doesn’t love a little drama?
1 NBA Street
Sports games are probably the least popular game genre for most people, but one thing about sports players is they love trash talk. Combine gaming and sports together, and, well, you’re in for a real set of low blows. Playing NBA Street on Easy triggers lines from the commentators like "Why you playin on Easy level? You better than that," "Change your difficulty level! You playing on Easy, son," and "You got some game, playa! Why you still playing on Easy?"
If you’ve ever played Street, then you know these are actually kind of nice compared to some of the lines that come out of the commentators' mouths, but it still never feels all that great to have your shortcomings sassily thrown in your face.