The character you control looks nothing like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This was a common issue with licensed games of this era, since a separate licensing fee had to be paid to use the actor's likeness.
The game is largely a monotonous button masher with no strategy at all.
Your only method of attack is punches and kicks due to Schwarzenegger at the time not wanting to be depicted using firearms in videogames.
Enemies constantly respawn and take numerous hits to kill. They can kill you very quickly!
SNES and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive versions
With the exception of Benedict, enemies always carry a weapon with them, which gives them much more range than you.
Every level has a time-limit which is annoying due to how long enemies take to kill.
Driving segments which are broken and sometimes impossible to beat.
Hit detection is so poor that you or your enemies have to be a fixed distance from each other for your attacks to connect.
Lazy and repetitive graphics.
The Genesis version's first stage adds a crosshair target that constantly follows you and shoots you, making the game even harder.
Awful music, especially the first stage.
Terrible level design-- one level starts you right next to a bottomless pit and many times in the game you follow the compass only to reach a dead end and be told to turn back the way you came.
You get only five lives for the whole game, without any extras or continues (just like in Dragon's Lair on NES).
The game uses cutscenes that are images from the movie, but the NES limitations make them look terrible. The in-game graphics are even worse, absolutely horrible.
When you pause the game, the music is still playing. Same flaw in the SNES version.
Just barely follows the movie, mostly through the sets which resemble scenes, even the Hamlet dream sequence.
All the enemies use the same braindead AI, constantly respawn and never drop anything when killed, making fighting them completely pointless.
All the bosses use the same strategy and take no effort whatsoever to defeat, which is to duck in place and keep punching them.
Unlike most games, B jumps and A attacks.
Game Boy/Game Gear version
Even worse graphics than the NES and 16-bit versions.
Poor controls, making the sweep kick hard to use.
You have to collect every ticket stub for an item only usable for a specific obstacle, on top of having a time limit which isn't shown.
The Only Redeeming Quality
The controls in the Genesis version are not as confusing as the ones in the SNES version.
Why It Flopped
According to Peter Baron, the lead programmer on the 16-bit versions of the game, the main culprit for the game's poor quality is in fact Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. Originally the game was designed as a shooter, but when the developers sent a beta version of the game to Schwarzenegger's management for approval, he demanded that they remove all guns from the game, as he was trying to promote a more family-friendly image of himself. Because the game's engine was designed for a shooter rather than a beat-em-up, the resulting hasty switch to that gameplay style resulted in a borderline broken game.