I'd honestly love to say that sweating bullets over a video game is an absolute joy in itself. But it isn't. It's quite literally sweating bullets over a video game. Now, whether you sit on the opposing bench is entirely up to you. But in my eyes, having to tackle anything to do with a countdown timer somehow manages to extract the worst in me, and more often than not — sends me either running for the hills or back to the shelf from which the game came.
Sure, developers love to test us, and actually get a kick out of sneaking in a cheeky bit of stress here and there. But what can you do? It is what it is, and if you're not cracking on with it, then you're simply avoiding it for the sake of a saving a few droplets of armoured sweat. And so, with that said, it's probably best you take a moment before embracing these five games. Because stress and sweat, I'm sorry to say — always show up on the cards whenever these come into play.
5. “It's War” (Conker's Bad Fur Day)
I'll be honest — for the bulk of my journey across the cluster of lands that spewed honeycomb and faeces, I was able to look past the stress that came with the odd task. Having to outrun a mob of angry wasps, or even having to escape a bucket riddled with water, live wires and kitchen knives. It was a series of unusual tasks I was able to brush off of my shoulder and happily move on from. However, the moment the siren blared and I was suddenly thrown into the deep end of warfare — I completely lost my cool.
For the duration of the war-themed chapter, which is basically an entire parody based on D-Day, you're made to take on the Tediz, an army of stuffed bears that wield rifles and whatnot. And while ninety-five percent of the chapter is a complete stress-fest in general, its ending is perhaps the worst thing you could possibly fathom. Lasers, countdown timers, explosions, rocket launchers — you name it. It's five minutes of pure torture, and quite possibly one of the most stressful portions in video game history. Change my mind.
4. “The Race” (Mafia: Definitive Edition)
It's funny, because whenever I think of Mafia, I'm always inclined to dust it off and give it another whirl. After all, it is perhaps one of the greatest and most convincing mobster game ever made. But then, after swiftly gliding through the first set of missions, I'm always reminded of that looming moment. You know, the race. That one darned thing that managed to single-handedly ruin an otherwise fanatic story.
Of course, developer Hangar 13 did go on to realise the frustration that players were experiencing from the original game. And so, by the time the Definitive Edition rolled out in 2020, that little chunk was actually toned down just a smidgen. But play on classic mode, however, and you're sure to be greeted with a nostalgic dose of manic depression and miniature meltdowns. So, thanks for that, guys. We really didn't miss you.
3. Burglars (The Sims)
Way back in 2000, around the time I thought I had a killer gaming setup with all the bells and whistles Windows XP could basically handle, I used The Sims as my gateway into another realm. I was young, innocent, and incredibly naive to think that whatever I would build in the safety of my own home would remain unscathed so long as it was confined between my own four walls. But then, in the dead of night — the burglar came, and the music he brought with him was enough to send me running for the hills, with my headphones still attached.
Of course, it seems sort of petty in this day and age. There are probably hundreds of other moments that topple over this one. But, in my eyes, having to witness someone break into your virtual home while your family slept was a horror unlike anything else. And, seeing all that well-earned furniture being stripped from the ground wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs, either. It was agony to watch and essentially made us want to start sleeping with one eye open at night. Or was that just me?
2. Croc's Lair (Batman: Arkham Asylum)
The Arkham series sure did manage to cram in a boatload of genres into its predominantly beat 'em up world. A shred of horror, on the other hand — now that was something none of us really came to expect. And yet, why on earth was Killer Croc's Lair so friggin' scary? Why did we suddenly find ourselves being a lamb lined up for the slaughter rather than a Dark Knight amongst a flock of inmates? It just crept up out of nowhere, right?
Having to collect spores in a sewer that happens to cage a known psychopath is one thing. But to have to tiptoe across rickety planks while navigating an entire labyrinth, on the other hand, is just pure agony altogether. It's a terrifying twenty minutes that will haunt you for a seriously long time. It's also something you'll want to approach like a bat out of hell if you ever plan on concocting the required anti-venom and progressing the story. No pun intended.
1. “Jigsaw?” (Heavy Rain)
Now, I'm not entirely sure how I went from sketching blueprints for a client in my suburban home to slicing a pinky off with a pair of scissors in an abandoned apartment complex, but hey ho — Heavy Rain somehow managed to tie the two together. And boy, what a surreal experience that all was. Sort of like witnessing one of Jigsaw's games in the flesh — taking part in the Origami Killer's gruesome task just sort of reeked of copy and paste shock horror. And yet, we couldn't help but love it in the weirdest sort of way.
Heavy Rain had an abundance of nail-biting moments, sure. I mean, how could I forget having to crawl through broken glass, or morphing into slender shapes in order to bypass live pylons and what have you? It was all pretty barbaric, thinking about it. But nothing quite compared to the separation of the pinky. Bundled with waves of screams, daunting music and a god forsaken countdown timer — it all made up for one horrific experience. An experience that, quite frankly, I don't intend to revisit anytime soon.
So, what's your take? Are there any nail-biting missions we should've put on our list? Let us know over on our socials here.