The folks over at Game Set Watch have composed
a list of the 20 Most Underused video game mechanics. While the list sometimes strays into items that are on the bad design list (Not re-using mini-bosses) the list does cover some of my favorite game mechanics like Asymmetric co-op play and letting players fight battles they aren't supposed to win. The article sites God of War II'
s first fight against Zeus as an example of this but a better example might be one of the fights in Wing Commander IV
At one part of the game you are defending one of the carriers against a fleet of Kilrathi bombers and no matter what you do, you can't save the carrier from being destroyed. I played that level over ten times before I realized there was no way to win the battle. Sure it was a bit frustrating but it's also a pretty memorable fight.