What’s the game about? Back in the 1980s, laserdisc games were all the rage, and Cliff Hanger jumped on the gaming fad started by Dragon’s Lair. Clips from Miyazaki’s early feature, Castle of Cagliostro, were used to simulate action.
What type of game was it? Castle of Cagliostro was the first film Miyazaki directed, a position he earned after he directed multiple episodes of the Lupin III TV series that the film was based on. The film was a non-stop thriller with car chases, sword fights, sneaking missions, and cover-based shootouts, all of which were brought to life by many future Ghibli animators. That action would make for an amazing game now, but 30 years ago arcade gamers instead got Cliff Hanger. Gentleman thief Lupin was renamed Cliff, and clips from Cagliostro were played while simple commands appeared on-screen. If you failed the inputs, the clips simply stopped. Though we’d still love to see the film made into a proper game, perhaps we should take this as a worst case scenario of what could happen if Miyazaki’s films fell into the wrong hands.