Cliffhanger (NES)

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Cliffhanger - NES.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1993
Developer: Spidersoft, Ltd.
Buy: Amazon

Cliffhanger is a platforming game based on its movie counterpart. In this game, you play as Gabe. A plane is on its way to San Fransisco with $100 million and while the terrorists attempt to get the money from the plane, an FBI agent shoots and destroys the lead terrorist Qualen's plane. After the crash, the terrorists survive and send out a false alarm, grabbing the attention of Gabe and Hal. When they get to Qualen and his men, they're held at gunpoint to go and find the money. Gabe escapes, but must find Qualen's money in order to save his friend Hal who is still held hostage by the terrorists.

Overall, the game got some bad reviews. While the game does stay true to its source material (which a lot of other movie-based games don't), the game suffers some problems. The controls take some getting used to and the graphics don't look too good, and in the cutscenes, mostly everybody is a shadow. Also, there's no checkpoints within the levels, so if you die, you go all the way back to the beginning. You get three continues and lives and there is only one extra life throughout the game. To be fair, the graphics were made by only one person, and the music is from the movie. While there are different variations of Cliffhanger, this version of the game was ported to the Commodore Amiga, GameBoy and GameGear, all developed by the same people (except the composers). The game is one of the rarer NES titles and can go from $25 to as high as $65. Cliffhanger for the NES was produced by Steve Marsden, programmed by Martin Edwards and David Cooke, with graphics by Robert Lever.


Cliffhanger - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

Cliffhanger - NES - Cutscene 1.png

One of the cutscenes.

Cliffhanger - NES - Gameplay 1.png

You need to get these boots in order to make certain jumps.

Cliffhanger - NES - Gameplay 2.png

In this part of the first stage, you must avoid the falling rocks.

Cliffhanger - NES - Stage Completed.png

The Level Completed! screen.

Cliffhanger - NES - Boss 1.png

Fighting the first boss.


The game's music is from the movie score, something most movie-based games don't have. The only major problem is that there's only one stage theme and it plays really high notes. What's weird is that the GameBoy, GameGear and NES version of the game (all developed by Spidersoft) have almost identical developers besides the composers. Mark Cooksey worked on the NES version, Martin Walker worked on the GameBoy version and David Lowe worked on the GameGear version.

Mark Cooksey used Notator for the Atari ST and converted his MIDI files to the NES using his own sound driver. The music was played back using a box from Spidersoft which connected from the Atari ST to the NES.

Mark said this about the music:

I'm not sure why spidersoft used different musicians on different versions of the game. I know when I got the job I was

only aware that they wanted music for the NES version at that point, there was no mention of the other versions. I think I maybe got the NES version because I had done other titles on it previously, although I know I had a gameboy music player at that time because I did Dr Franken gameboy in Nov 1992 and Coolspot in Dec 1993. I think I might have started working for Richard Chappells at NMS Ltd. by about that time and maybe I couldn't fit the other projects in with work commitments there.. hmmm I wish I could remember.

I wasn't given a musical score from which to work out the music, I think I was given a CD or maybe a video of the film. The music is therefore not 100% accurate compared to the original but is reasonably close.

Maybe I could see a hypnotist to help me remember all those old times....the memories have got to be there still, it's just a matter of accessing them.


# Title ComposerArrangerProgrammer Length Listen Download
01 Title Screen Trevor JonesMark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:17
02 Cutscene Trevor JonesMark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:42
03 Stage Start Trevor JonesMark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:04
04 Stage Theme Trevor JonesMark CookseyMark Cooksey 2:33
05 Boss Theme Trevor JonesMark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:30
06 Game Over Trevor JonesMark CookseyMark Cooksey 0:10
07 Ending Trevor JonesMark CookseyMark Cooksey 1:15



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Cliffhanger - NES.jpg
Title: Cliffhanger
Platform: NES
Released: 1993-11-??
Publisher: Sony Imagesoft