Cliff Hanger (video game)
Arcade flyer of Cliff Hanger.
|Genre(s)||Retro, Laserdisc video game, Interactive movie|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players alternating|
|Display||Horizontal, Raster standard resolution|
Cliff Hanger is a laserdisc video game that was released by Stern Electronics in 1983. It used animation from Lupin III films, mostly from The Castle of Cagliostro and a couple of scenes from Mystery of Mamo. Like many laserdisc games, it's a reactive type game which required the player to press a button or move the joystick in a particular direction when prompted by the game to progress the storyline. The segments from Mystery of Mamo use the original English dub commissioned by Toho, while the segments from Castle of Cagliostro use a dub created for the game.
The game's plot does not come from either of the films, and instead involves "Cliff" (who is based on Arsène Lupin III) rescuing Clarissa (Lady Clarisse d'Cagliostro, the bride from Castle of Cagliostro) from the evil Count Draco (in some materials called "Dreyco" and in the instruction manual "Dragoe"), who wants to marry her.
The original version of Cliff Hanger had an animated sequence of Cliff being hanged at the gallows immediately following the "miss" animation sequence. The sequence was taken from the opening sequence of Mystery of Mamo (where Lupin was supposedly hanged in Transylvania), plus a later scene in the same film. According to the instruction manual, a setting on the game cabinet's logic board would allow the individual owners/operators the option of not playing the sequence if they so chose.
Cliff Hanger was released as the novelty of laserdisc games waned, thus many cabinets were destroyed or converted over time. The game can work on MAME perfectly, unlike other laserdisc arcade games, as well as DAPHNE, a laserdisc-game emulator.
In the main, the voices were overdubbed in English. However, when "Cliff" finally reaches "Clarissa's" chamber, the player can clearly hear Yasuo Yamada's voice saying "Kurarissu?" ("Clarisse?") from the original vocal track of Castle of Cagliostro. The American voice actor then says "I think we'd better get out of here" before one other missed overdub can be clearly heard: the Count (Taro Ishida) from the original film saying "ute" ("fire"). Also, several soundbits of Yamada can be heard when Cliff and the Count are fighting on one of the rotating gears, and Cliff says "Kurarissu?" again before Clarissa goes up the stairs.
Appearances in other media
- The television show Starcade featured a special episode where rather than playing the usual three games, the contestants played three rounds of Cliff Hanger. The winner of the show, Mark Walsh, won a Cliff Hanger cabinet.
- In the movie The Goonies, Chunk is playing Cliff Hanger when he sees the Fratelli Brothers driving past while being chased by the police.
- On the special features of the DVD video game Dragon's Lair released by Digital Leisure, a group of children can be seen playing Cliff Hanger during a visual montage. 
Cliff Hanger uses a unique feedback loop to read frame details from the game laserdisc. This prevents the laserdisc and gameplay from ever going out of sync (a common occurrence in other lasergames as the disc players aged).
- Cliff Hanger at the Internet Movie Database
- Dragon's Lair Project
- Cliff Hanger at the Killer List of Videogames
- The Dot Eaters entry on Cliff Hanger and the laser game craze