Arcade flyer of Cliff Hanger.
|Retro, Laserdisc video game, Interactive movie|
|Joystick (4-way); 2 buttons|
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Cliff Hanger was a laserdisc video game released by Stern Electronics in 1983. It used animation from the anime series Lupin III, 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 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 remains a highly sought-after cabinet by collectors to this day. Because it was released as the novelty of laserdisc games waned, many cabinets were destroyed or converted over time.
Goofs[edit | edit source]
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."). 
Appearances in Other Media[edit | edit source]
- 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 one of the later episodes of Macross (seen as part of Robotech), the game is very clearly shown being played in the city arcade when Max and Miriya meet for the first time. The specific scene shown in the game is the car chase scene in which the player is dodging bombs dropped from the chased car.
Technical Details[edit | edit source]
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 players aged.)
[edit | edit source]
- Dragon's Lair Project
- Cliff Hanger at Museum of the Game
- The Dot Eaters entry on Cliff Hanger and the laser game craze