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Super Hang-On (Genesis) artwork

Super Hang-On (Genesis) review

"One of my least favourite genres of games are racing games and although a few of them have appealed to me over the years. One of these games was “Super Hang-on” for the Sega Genesis or Mega Drive, a motorbike racing game that was the sequel to the Master System game “Hang on”. The 16-bit version was released on the Arcade as well as the Genesis but that’s not being reviewed. "

One of my least favourite genres of games are racing games and although a few of them have appealed to me over the years. One of these games was “Super Hang-on” for the Sega Genesis or Mega Drive, a motorbike racing game that was the sequel to the Master System game “Hang on”. The 16-bit version was released on the Arcade as well as the Genesis but that’s not being reviewed.

The game is a basic racing game released either on its own or on various Sega Arcade compilations. There was about two or three of these compilations and it was put up into the ranks of other Sega arcade classics like “Columns” and “Golden Axe”. It came out in either 1990 or 1991, I forget but it was around the early nineties during Sega’s 16-bit dominance of that time before the SNES. It was one of Sega’s early arcade releases just when they were getting warmed up.

Basically, this game is motorbike-racing game, which is a little different from regular racers. To win the race you do not have to come in first but you have to get across a course in a certain amount of time. Each race has approximately four checkpoints, it depends on the track and you have to get to each checkpoint as fast as you can. Completing each checkpoint will give you a bit more extra time to complete the next checkpoint and so on until you finish the race.

The game has two modes, Arcade and Original. The two modes are very different from each other, one being a quick race and the other being a career mode style game, which is one of the games most playable features. Arcade mode is basically just one race that allows you to choose your race/location from four different continents. Africa, America, Asia and Europe, they all range in difficulty and are all longer than the other. Super Hang-On has a good arcade mode and is fairly fun to say the least, its very handy if you just want to have a quick five minutes play.

The original mode is a career style mode that allows you to start a career as a racer. You can customize a lot of your settings in career mode changing parts on your bike for example. You can buy parts for your bike to improve its performance or if you crash and break something you can buy a replacement for it. You can select a sponsor to assist you and in turn you will receive money for that. Money is a major item in this mode. You gain money from your sponsors for doing work and if you win a race you receive a healthy cash sum. To win a race properly is a bit tricky because you have to beat only one racer to win the race. Your rival will be a lot harder to beat than other racers and will put up a pretty big fight. It gets very hard later on and it is a challenge.

Graphically, “Super Hang-on” is no masterpiece and do not have anything special about them. The sprites of the bikers and bikes are all the same but this doesn’t surprise me. The only differences between all of the different racers are the colour differences, a.k.a palette swaps. The sprite itself is not really great and although the detail factor is about three out of ten its pretty bad that all of the sprites are identical but it really doesn’t make any difference and in fact you don’t really notice at all. It really has no effect on the game play and only someone with a real problem with this game will complain about it. The animation of the biker when you crash into a signpost looks pretty cool and for the early stage of the Genesis I have to say it was pretty good at the time.

“Super Hang on” has a small amount of backgrounds in it and all of them stay the same except they change colour (or some do) when you reach a particular stage in the level. The Africa level has a picturesque (well, in a gaming sense) background of mountains and it looks fairly decent when you consider the other graphics in the game. They do not change as you progress through the level but the shading or colour changes, which make it, look like a sunset . This is decent but the graphics are not bad but I guess they aren’t that good either.

The music is a lot better however, there are four selectable tracks that you can choose before you start a race. The tracks all have their names but I can’t remember all of them, the first one, “Outside of a Crisis” is my personal favourite and I can’t really comment on the other three but this one is great. The music is very memorable, especially after you listen to it a few times or a few hundred times. The quality of the music is very clear and smooth and without any jumps or breaks that a few Genesis games seem to have. The music in the game is worth listening to and really good to turn up. Not bad, not bad at all.

Sound effects are not as good as the music but it is reasonably okay. The effects are very loud and clear, ranging from the engine revving up to crashing into “Bird Bird” signs. Some of the bikes sound loud a bit like a real bike but a watered down sound. The revving of the engines of bikes as they overtake you is noisy and a bit distorted and they sound a bit crummy but it isn’t all that bad. The fact that they are loud and annoying gives it a few knocks down the ladder, the SFX are good and do not let the music down.

Overall, Super Hang-on is a good racer for the Genesis and is really on the lines with games like Golden Axe and The Revenge of Shinobi. I highly recommend that if you are into racers and retro-gaming that you pick up a copy either by itself or in one of those arcade collection cartridges from a second hand shop like Cash Converter. If you are looking for games for your Mega Drive then I have to recommend this one.

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Community review by goldenvortex (July 12, 2004)

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