Games tend to have become easier over the years. Infinite lives and a load of save points has now become an industry standard to help gamers finish a game. But there are some games out there that still demand actual devotion and willpower to finish them. We hope you are ready, because these are our 10 favorite hardcore game franchises ever!

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10. Ghosts and Goblins series
The Ghosts and Goblins series is all about King Arthur’s quest to save princess Prin Prin from a demon king. It’s best described as an action platformer. The enemies are brutal as they can spawn out of thin air are and shoot at you from all angles. This series really requires precision and timing.

9. ARMA series
Series like Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and Battlefield have set the tone for modern first person shooters. Millions of gamers have grown up with these series, but give them a virtual gun in one of the ARMA games and they are bound to fail. ARMA requires a totally different kind of hardcore mindset.

8. Hotline Miami series
In modern game development it’s not that easy to find games that are truly challenging. But the 2012 release Hotline Miami and its sequel Hotline Miami: Wrong Number brought a new level of difficulty to the table. In this top down shooter one bullet means instant death. You can instantly restart a level when you are killed, but some of the enemies behave more unpredictable than others.

7. F-Zero series
Generally we don’t think of Nintendo games when talking about hardcore, but F-Zero has made a name for itself as being fast and difficult. The first game in this series was released in 1990 as a launch game for the Super Nintendo. Other versions of the game were released on the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo 64.

6. Contra series
The Contra series started in Japanese arcades in 1987 and was quickly followed by computer and consoles releases. These games might give you unlimited ammo but the amount of enemies and the bullets coming at you make it very difficult. Thankfully most of the games in this series can be played in co-op, so you can always blame your friend.

5. XCOM series
In 2012 we saw the revival of the XCOM series. This tactical turn based game is well known for its challenging gameplay. This all started back in 1994 with the release of UFO Enemy Unknown, which was also known as XCOM UFO Defense. No matter whether you are talking about the new XCOM games or the older ones, these surely are challenging titles.

4. Touhou Project series
For the next entry in our list we go to Japan. A Japanese developer named ZUN has been working for over two decades on the Touhou Project. These are a series of bullet hell shooters following the likes of games like Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun. Made by only one man this series has spawned fifteen games and numerous spin-offs.

3. Mega Man series
Mega Man is all about harcore action platforming. Enemies jump and fly towards you, block your bullets or shoot bullets themselves. Thankfully you have a recharging health bar but the hardcore platforming and many enemies still make it difficult. Early games in the series gave you the choice to beat the bosses in any given order. After defeating a boss you get his power which added another layer of tactics to the game.

2. Souls series
Over the past few years everybody has been talking about Dark Souls, but the Souls series actually started with Demon’s Souls in 2009. It was followed by three Dark Souls games, each of them being considered among the hardest games of the year. All these games take place in a medieval setting where you need to defeat demonic knights, dragons and monsters that have taken over the world.

Honorable mentions: STALKER, Battletoads, Shinobi

1. Ninja Gaiden series
Ninja Gaiden is our favorite hardcore gaming franchise. The first few games can be seen as some of the most challenging titles created for the first Nintendo system. However, the Ninja Gaiden series really gained notoriety for its difficulty with the release of Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Black for the Xbox.

What is the most hardcore game you’ve ever played? Let us know in the comments and download the ZoominGames Community app to share your love for games with us and other viewers!

Music provided by Epidemic Sound.

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