Gamers have come to expect a challenge from their favorite video games, but some level types take things too far and become more frustrating than challenging. Water levels are usually some of the most dreaded stages in video game history, and many have even tarnished the reputation of excellent games.

From infuriatingly difficult stages like inThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Timeto unnecessary water levels like in Star Fox 64, players usually get a sinking feeling when they see a marine stage on the horizon. Though there have been good aquatic stages, the worst have absolutely ruined otherwise classic games.

40 Fathoms - Tomb Raider II (1997)

The Tomb Raider franchise has made no qualms about putting water levels front and center in their gameplay, but the aquatic level "40 Fathoms" was a bit too much. Swimming into the wreck of the Maria Doria, Laura must not only navigate the submerged ship but dodge bloodthirsty sharks as well.

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Starting in the open ocean, the unrendered distances make navigating the level quite difficult until the player gets familiar with it. With air in short supply, a simple miscalculation could mean disaster, and the player often finds themselves reloading again and again.

Deluded Depths - Alice: Madness Returns (2011)

Picking up steam with every year that passes since its initial release, Alice: Madness Returns is finally getting the attention it deserves. Even so, the level "Deluded Depths" usually has players thinking twice about ranking the game among their favorites.

"Deluded Depths" is an underwater level, but it doesn't have the annoying swimming mechanics or air management of most hated aquatic stages. Instead, it is a simple and repetitive chunk of the game that just seems to go on and on forever. There is almost no variety during the massive section of the game, and it takes up way too much of the player's time.

Bats Tower - Conker's Bad Fur Day (2001)

Generally considered one of the best cult-classic video games of all time, the N64 gem Conker's Bad Fur Day was nearly completely derailed by its water level. During the "Bats Tower" sequence, the foul-mouthed squirrel must swim through a series of caverns which left players ripping their hair out in frustration.

The biggest problem was that the controls for Conker's weren't really fine-tuned for water levels. The rest of the game is fluid and easy to use, but the camera angle and N64 era control scheme made navigation a chore.

Mount Kazai - Skies Of Arcadia (2000)

The "Mount Kazai" segment of the classic RPG Skies of Arcadia is unique among reviled water levels because it doesn't have frustrating controls, but a frustrating layout instead. Traversing the maze-like dungeon of Mount Kazai, the player will find themselves at frequent dead ends and were often unfairly punished for simple mistakes.

Though it is usually ranked highly among the best games on the Dreamcast, the game's water level exemplifies everything that gamers don't like about some RPG titles. It is a slog to get through and there are very little rewards given out when the player does actually succeed. RPGs are supposed to be extended gaming experiences, but "Mount Kazai" was too slow for even the most ardent RPG fan.

World 7-4 - Super Mario Bros 3 (1988)

The excitable plumber Mario has been swimming his way through water levels since Super Mario Bros. on the NES, and they have usually been shining examples of great aquatic stages. Super Mario Bros. 3 on the other hand had one of the most frustrating levels in all of Super Mario history.

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The unassuming level of world 7-4 suddenly takes players on an exhausting adventure as they must swim through a stage that is constantly scrolling. With dead ends galore and waves of enemies flying across the screen, even the most seasoned platform gamer is bound to lose a few lives in the process.

Aquas - Star Fox 64 (1997)

Trading in his flying ship for a submarine, Star Fox descended into Davy Jones' locker in one of the series most disliked planets. As part of the hardest route through the game, Aquas requires more finesse than usual, and the level is a dark mess of polygons.

Star Fox 64 is normally a fun game with fast-paced action and intuitive controls, but the Blue Marine is nothing like the Arwing, and the level suffers. Visibility is the biggest problem with the level as almost nothing is visible in the distance, and Fox finds himself flying blind.

Dam Level - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)

Though the game isn't the most well-remembered title in the NES' excellent catalog, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game is still a nostalgic favorite for many gamers of a certain age. While most of the game's platforming levels are at least fun to play, the notorious "Dam Level" makes TMNT one of the hardest NES games of all time.

The swimming mechanic is difficult to master, and there is so little margin for error that it is almost impossible to beat. With an ocean of dangerous sea weed to navigate, the player must be pixel perfect with every move lest they be killed in a few short seconds. All that, on top of the typical air management system that makes most water levels totally unbearable.

Down The Tubes - Earthworm Jim (1994)

While trying to track down Bob the Killer Goldfish, the titular hero of Earthworm Jim must navigate one of gaming's most despised water levels. While the platforming segments are tolerable, and even fun to play, the second half of "Down the Tubes" is where things go completely off-the-rails.

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"Tube Race" is a timed underwater sequence where Jim must navigate the level very quickly. The only reasonable way to beat the level is by finding a hidden air supply, but that takes away from the skill aspect that is important to the game. Earthworm Jim is a beloved series, but "Down the Tubes" nearly flushed the franchise.

Atlantica - Kingdom Hearts II (2005)

Though it is usually ranked highly among the best Disney video games of all time, Kingdom Hearts II also has one of the franchise's most disliked segments. Pulling inspiration from the film The Little Mermaid, the player dives to the bottom of the sea and must endure a plethora of puzzles and quick time event mini-games.

The main mechanic of the game is the fun hack-and-slash action, but "Atlantica" throws on the brakes and completely stops the exciting flow of the series. A Little Mermaid sequence could have been fun, but it takes way too long and gets completely bogged down in frustrating mini-games.

Water Temple - The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (1998)

Few franchises have had as consistent success as The Legend of Zelda, but even its vaunted reputation couldn't make gamers stomach that absolutely infuriating water level in Ocarina of Time. Delving into the labyrinthian "Water Temple", players find the flow of the game completely interrupted by the frustrating way in which the level must be navigated.

Having to stop the game every few seconds to put on or take off the metal boots is enough to torture players into rage-quitting, and it is the only way to beat the level. Zelda games are especially fun to play, but the "Water Temple" felt cheap and unrewarding compared to the rest of the amazing game.

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