These titles start off at a cheetah-style sprint before strapping jet fuel to the feline's feet. They're uncompromisingly hard right from the off and never ease up. From perennially painful pixel perfect jumps, tortuously tough first bosses to cripplingly cryptic puzzles; these opening levels all laugh at learning curves. It takes a certain type of developer who'll slave over particle effects, bump mapping and z-buffering for a year and then introduce a first stage so fiendish you'll never see most of it. Bastard-hard beginnings; GamesRadar salutes you. After all, who really wants to see level two?