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Cliff Hanger is a Laserdisc arcade game that uses anime footage from Hayao Miyazaki's The Castle of Cagliostro and The Secret of Mamo, both part of the Lupin III franchise. However, instead of just being a video game version of the movie, it was re-edited into a new story. Hence the main character of the video game is Cliff, and not Lupin III like the movies. It played as all Laserdisc games of the time, where a short animated sequence played on the screen and demanded some sort of user input at the correct time. The game's controls consisted of a four-way directional joystick and two buttons, "Hands" (for use when Cliff needed to grab, punch, shoot) and "Feet" (for when Cliff needed to jump or slide).
Unlike it's predecessors Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, the anime footage did include any "flashes" or visual prompts, so the player often had no idea which input was necessary to continue the scene. If the player made too many successive inputs in an effort to decipher the scene's sequence, the game would also punish the player with a death scene (often, hilariously unrelated to the scene being shown).
Besides the extreme difficulty and complete trial-and-error gameplay, the re-edited story was nearly indecipherable and was filled with translation mistakes and glaring continuity errors.