I have young daughters and a wife who love Disney movies (long live the USB drive). Watching the Little Mermaid made me think of how that story line was included in Kingdom Hearts and the sequel.
The first game was a rough take on action RPG with a decent challenge level. The systems worked well, if not very well integrated. The mermaid sequence was 100% 3d combat, which was (and is) pretty cool.
The second game went a different route, a fanboy route. That version’s Ariel was a sing along.
So where the first game took a middle path for difficulty and content (enough challenge), the second one bifurcated. Half the game was a cakewalk, the other half an exercise in frustration. Gummy ships, Ariel, the tutorial and a few other spots could have been played by a 4 year old. Most XIII bosses and the Pride Lands (to me) were frustration builders, even for someone who at the time played a lot of games.
I understand why they did it, some parts were to appeal to other player types. What happened was that the people expecting the easy game reached bosses they simply could not kill, while the people expecting a hard game found very boring spots. Those expecting the challenge of the first game, well they were simply out of luck.
To top it off, the game sold like hotcakes. I would guess only a fraction ever finished the game. Probably why game companies are still using the business model of appealing to multiple player types. Who cares if they finish it or not, as long as they pay you right?