Cliff Hanger (video game)

Cliff Hanger is a laserdisc video game that was released by Stern Electronics in 1983. It uses animation from two Lupin III films, most prominently The Castle of Cagliostro, as well as The Mystery of Mamo. Like many laserdisc games, it is a reactive game which requires 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 The Mystery of Mamo use the original English dub commissioned by Toho, while the segments from The Castle of Cagliostro use a dub created for the game. The voice actors for this game are unknown.

Cliff Hanger
CliffHanger arcadeflyer.png
Arcade flyer
Developer(s)Stern Electronics
Publisher(s)Stern Electronics
SeriesLupin III
Genre(s)Retro, Laserdisc video game, Interactive movie
Mode(s)1-2 players alternating
DisplayHorizontal, Raster standard resolution

The game's plot is based very loosely on that of The Castle of Cagliostro, and follows Cliff (Arsène Lupin III) as he attempts to rescue Clarissa (Lady Clarisse d'Cagliostro) from the evil Count Draco (in some materials called "Dreyco"[1] and in the instruction manual "Dragoe"), who wants to marry her. Cliff is aided in his quest by Jeff (Daisuke Jigen) and Samurai (Goemon Ishikawa XIII).

The original version of Cliff Hanger features 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 The 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. The game was originally edited at Associated Audio Visual, Inc., in Evanston, Illinois. Jack Bornoff, was the editor, Paul Rubenstein, was editorial supervisor.

Cliff Hanger was released as the novelty of laserdisc games waned, thus many cabinets were destroyed or converted over time. Unlike other laserdisc arcade games, Cliff Hanger can work perfectly on MAME as well as DAPHNE, a laserdisc-game emulator.

The game was considered for inclusion on the American Blu-ray release of The Castle of Cagliostro by Discotek Media, however, due to an inability to find the original contracts for the game, it was left off the release.[2]


The voices were overdubbed mainly 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").[3] 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 mediaEdit

  • 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.[4]
  • In the film The Goonies, Chunk is playing Cliff Hanger when he sees the Fratelli Brothers driving past while being chased by the police.[5]
  • 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.[6]

Technical detailsEdit

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).


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bertschy, Zac (26 June 2015). "ANNCastle of Cagliostro". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
  3. ^ "DLP". Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2007-02-22.
  4. ^ "Starcade". Starcade. Episode 103. WTBS.
  5. ^ Archived 2012-09-18 at
  6. ^ Archived 2013-08-30 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit