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5 Of Gaming’s Most Devilishly Difficult Puzzles

Are you the type that looks for a challenge? Are you bored by the usual experience that other players enjoy and can only find fun in frustratingly difficult video games? Then you’ll want to pay attention. 

While there are games designed to provide a challenge, some of the most troublesome puzzles actually come from more varied and more casual titles. In many cases, they’re not the kinds of games you’d expect to test gamers.

If you’re looking for something new to challenge yourself with, I’ve laid out five puzzles found in many well-known titles and maybe a forgotten gem or two. To give you the chance to solve it on your own, I’m not going to reveal the answer, because where’s the fun in that? 

Should you have the time to dive into these five titles, see just how high on the difficulty scale they climb for you.

Metal Gear Solid – Meryl Codec

PS1

There were several puzzles for Solid Snake to overcome in his tactical stealth adventure on Shadow Moses Island. While blowing up the generator with a Nikita missile may have been the most obnoxious thanks to the game’s controls, it was finding a simple CODEC code that drove many players crazy.

After being advised to contact Meryl Silverburgh, Snake (and the player) realizes he was never given her CODEC code. Frantic players likely called every character they could, hoping to receive the magic number to progress the game. Others backtracked, wondering if it was hidden somewhere on the base. 

Alas, neither option yielded the necessary code. The resolution was a strange one that, in a way, broke the fourth wall. Without giving the answer away, all I’ll say is that it was problematic for players that rented the game from Blockbuster. The puzzle was one of the many quirks that Hideo Kojima worked into the Metal Gear Solid series.

Silent Hill – The Piano

PS1

A bloodied piano sits alone in a room, ominous and clearly the focus of Harry Mason’s next mind-bending puzzle. The Silent Hill series has always been a fan of puzzling its players, but the introduction to the spooky town has what many consider the most difficult of them all – and it all revolves around that bloodied piano.

Of course, the object is to play a series of notes in the correct order, but how to determine that order isn’t so simple. There may be a clue somewhere near the instrument, but, as I said, I’m not here to spoil! Even when you do find a hint at the solution, what’s laid out is cryptic and not much help without deep analysis.

When you do finally find the correct combination of bloody notes to play, you’re awarded the Silver Medallion and the ability to progress forward in the gloomy, foggy world of Silent Hill

Myst – The Whole Series

PC

If there is one thing the Myst series has going for it, it’s that it is a collection of beautiful graphical adventures. If there is one thing working against it, it’s that some of its puzzles are downright difficult. Borderline obnoxious, even. For a series that’s all about challenging the player, there was sure to be at least one or two or twelve puzzles that would elicit a hair-pulling response.

Everyone has their opinion as to which of Myst’s puzzles were the hardest, but look around online a bit and you’ll find a few that come up frequently. “The Underground Maze” of Myst, the “Spider-Chari” of Myst IV: Revelation, The “Age of Amateria” of Myst III: Exile, and Myst II: Riven’s “Fire Marble” puzzle have all been the topic of conversation at one point or another. 

If you love a game that challenges you, there is no doubt that much of the Myst series will do so. Just be prepared for those moments where your blood pressure rises and a keyboard goes flying across the room.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake – The Owl

MSX

Metal Gear Solid wasn’t the first time Kojima stumped players with a complicated puzzle. Turn back the clock eight years to Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the follow-up to the original Metal Gear. It sees Solid Snake returning to the battlefield to rescue a Czech biologist. It’s also the first game to feature McDonell Miller and Roy Campbell (then spelled “Kyanbel”), who went on to become staples of the series. 

The game features the most asinine puzzle fans of Metal Gear Solid have ever seen. At one point along his journey, Snake finds himself blocked by a laser fence and a guard. While the rules of gaming would lead one to believe there is a wall some C4 would make quick work of, that wasn’t the case. In fact, try as many did to find it, there was no obvious solution. 

Unlike the puzzle in Metal Gear Solid, the solution to this one is convoluted and ridiculous in the sense that it’s nothing anyone but the development team would consider. After speaking to a nearby kid (the resident hoodlum of the military base, maybe?), Snake learns of the base’s lax defenses come nightfall. Without a day/night cycle in the game, however, players had to find a way to trick the guard. 

The solution falls just short of Snake holding a cardboard moon toward the sky, but it is nearly as silly.

Lufia II: Rise Of The Sinistrals – The World’s Most Difficult Trick

SNES, DS

Do a search for “Lufia II hard puzzle” and videos and message board inquiries about a very specific one will be at the top of the list. “The World’s Most Difficult Trick” is an infamous part of the SNES RPG puzzler that stumped players when it first released in 1995 and still does so today. At first glance, it may look like a simple sliding block puzzle, but finding the solution without help is sure to drive you mad.

While exploring the Dragon Mountain, players find a chest trapped behind a series of blocks. The point is to slide the box about until the chest reaches the player. Sliding puzzles are nothing new and generally offer a challenge, but “The World’s Most Difficult Trick” amplified that to an unfun degree.

It took an algorithm that was designed to complete the puzzle without any missteps 116 moves. At a steady pace, that’s about three minutes of moving boxes about. Longer if you’re moving carefully so as not to slip up. Lufia II may have been a delightful RPG, but once players stumbled across “The World’s Most Difficult Puzzle,” some of that charm vanished for a little.

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