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Cliffhanger is a gameplay element that is introduced in Dead or Alive 5.
Similar to the Danger Zone falls in previous Dead or Alive titles, Cliffhangers are triggered when a fighter is knocked over certain edges. However, instead of simply dropping off the edge, the fallen fighter will grab onto the edge, and the player will have the choice to stay hanging, or drop.
If they decide to hang on, they risk being hit or thrown by their attacker, that will send them falling anyway with additional damage, but they can try block or reverse the attack and this will send both fighters falling down to the lower level with minimal damage, sometimes leaving the former attacked with the upper hand. If the opponent is going to perform a Cliffhanger Strike, pressing the Hold button at the right time (usually by a screen prompt) will allow said character to guard against the blow. If the guard is successful, no one will take damage upon landing. If an opponent is going to perform a Cliffhanger Throw, pressing the Throw button at the right time will not only escape the throw, but will deal damage to the opponent who tried to do the throw. If they decide instead to drop, they will take fall damage, but avoid the risk of additional damage from their attacker.
- It's possible that the Cliffhanger's inspired by what happens on Dead or Alive 4's Waterfall Valley, while playing as Ryu Hayabusa. If the player can do his Izuna Drop throw near the Danger Zone, he and the opponent will go straight through the hole to the lower level. This is later made one of his Cliffhanger moves.
- As is appropriate, if a character is knocked out and then tossed over a ledge, this will effectively nullify the usual resulting cliffhanger and the character will, instead, fall straight to the ground below.