Did you check the md5sum of the iso after downloading it to make sure it was identical to the one on the server and not corrupted during the download process? Did you check the media after burning to make sure it burned 100% correctly? I usually don't bother with either if I'm just playing with a distro in live mode, but anything I intend to install, I always do both checks before installing. In live mode you get a feel for what you'll face to get stuff working too. My policy there is if there's major stuff like graphics issues, I don't install, unless I REALLY want to use that distro.
Some distros just don't play well for some folks hardware too. Sidux hates my netbook, yet it apparently works great for plenty of people. I don't doubt them, I just know it hates my netbook, so it's not for me. I certainly wouldn't try to install something 42 times with the same problems over and over. I'm guessing 42 is an exaggeration or a Douglas Adams reference that people missed.
For me, I can accept either human error or some random glitch like the repos having some conflict at the time I updated, or a mirror being partly sync'd etc can destroy an install. I'd accept that two or three times but after that I'd be stopping to research why, specially if it's the same issue every time. Repeating the same experiment over and over and over without any changes hoping that somehow this time it will work is just an insane waste of time and effort. It's not much different from a toddler trying to force the square block in the round hole over and over and over.
The concept of a recovery mode is something I've advocated for a while. One of the newer filesystems has it built in. I'm not sure if it's licensable on Linux or not. Given the vast amount of time difference to backup / wipe and reinstall between Windows (days) and Linux (a couple of hours at most) it understandable that it's a vital tool in Windows, but not so much in Linux. The fact that Windows is prone to a lot more malware issues means it's degradable much easier too. In Linux if you want something you can rely on without all that regular hassle, there's distros like Debian Stable, where updates are well tested and you don't get new versions of applications which potentially break other stuff.