SUPER GHOULS N' GHOSTS / Capcom / SNES
I don't mind a little difficulty in a game. I've been gaming for nearly two decades now, I like a stiff challenge here and there. Super Ghouls is one of those games that is hard in a bad way, however. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, the difficulty lies chiefly in the limitations of your onscreen character. You are not up against overwhelming foes - shuffling zombies, wolves that jump predictably, maybe something spewing a fireball here and there. These should not be hard things to handle, but ... your avatar Arthur is exceptionally slow, exceptionally weak, and decked out with an arsenal of mostly inefficient weapons. Most of the trouble revolves around Arthur's jumping. Arthur jumps reasonably high, and can even double jump. However, he does it slowly and has no means to change course once he's commited to a jump. And the game is laid out so that you must be constantly jumping over and onto things; it is also constantly spawning fresh enemies out of nowhere for you to unexpectedly land on. It's also continually putting enemies in inconvenient places where Arthur's weapons can't quite reach them, except maybe that *one* weapon if you happen to have it, which is a matter of it randomly spawning for you.
The game also makes you re-do way too much when you die; generally it kicks you all the way back to the beginning of the level, and the slow pace means a long bout of tedious trudging to take another shot at the part that gave you troubles last time. It's not intuitive, it doesn't flow well, and it doesn't offer any compelling reason to press on and put up with it's jankiness.
The problem can be best summed up this way - it's using clunky stiff old 8-bit play mechanics and level design schemes in an era where it should have long since moved on. It's quite pretty and has a nice orchestrated soundtrack, but the same can be said for Actraiser and Super Castlevania 4 which were released about the same time, and those have vastly better gameplay mechanics than this.
* Gameplay Video