The game lets you pick the number of lives you want to start with. Srsly. Do I need to continue this review? The developers are shouting loud and clear: We fucked up. Our bad. Sorry. Here, pick the number of lives you want. Don’t even need to bother with a Game Genie.
The classic design of a bad side scroller: Pits that insta kill you that are exactly one millimeter smaller than your maximum jump range, repetitive music, stupid AI that likes to walk into knives, repeatedly. Oh, and of course, the infamous super move that somehow drains your health. Apparently Stalone’s muscles were so tense that every time he did a tripping kick motion, he ripped 3 more tendons, so you take more damage than you could ever conceivably take from the enemy you kill. Better yet, the amazingly costed super move is interruptible by any bad guy who decides to poke you in the middle, and you still take the full damage. Yay. And then there’s the avalanche scene, also know as the how-to-spend-all-7-of-your-lives-in-approximately-21-seconds scene.
This game is not fun for more than 48.7 seconds. Sure, games don’t HAVE to be fun, if they have some artistic merit, or the tiniest of redeeming factor. This game has neither. That leaves only the fun factor. There must be fun to be had somewhere?!?! The most fun I had playing this game was putting down the controller, and watching one of the cookie cutter bad guys who was wearing the exact same outfit as the 57 other guys – no seriously, what do they all shop together, buy in bulk or something? – punch the living shit out of Stalone, over and over and over. Apparently if you stand still, and don’t block, they just sucker punch you, repeatedly. No kicking, nothing. Just whap, whap, whap, whap, whap, whap, punching, the, crap, out, of, his, stupid, face.
Verdict: This game doesn’t even deserve the title of franchise rape because the Cliffhanger franchise really didn’t have that much prestige to it to begin with. If you have the urge to play a difficult side scroller, play something with character instead, like Double Dragon II.