Genre: Racing Developer: Sega of Japan Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1989
Super Hang-Onwas released in 1989 for the Sega Genesis and was one of the first mot0rcycle racing games ever released for that system. SHO is a port of the arcade game of the same name (obviously.)
The graphics in SHO were amazing for their time and they hold up quite well today. The characters and motorcycles are huge. The tracks themselves are beautiful, they are very colorful and are full of life. There are tons of little touches in the graphics that add quite a bit to the game, such as the billboards that you will spend plenty of time looking at, because you will be crashing into them a lot if you don’t pay attention to the game. The billboards themselves are very funny, there’s a faux-Shell logo that I found very funny, and a faux-Marlboro logo that is also funny for some reason.
The sound is a bit of a mixed-bag. On one hand, the in-game music is good, but it gets kind of annoying after a while. On the other hand, the sound effects are great, especially the engine noises. Each one of the game’s many sound effects is perfectly suited to the action that uses it.
There are two modes of play in this game, Arcade Mode and Original Mode. Arcade Mode is the same as the coin-op original. It allows you to pick any track and the in-game music and play to your heart’s content. There is a new, Genesis-exclusive mode in the game that helps to separate it from the arcade game and give the game more longevity as a console game. That mode would be the Original Mode. The Original Mode is basically a career mode, you assume the role of a driver, your goal is to earn money to fix your bike, or buy a new one, and to eventually beat the game by gaining tons of money and success. The gameplay itself is very smooth, the game runs swiftly and never really slows down, which is a downright miracle considering when the game was released.
The game’s control is very responsive. The only downside to it is that it’s too responsive sometimes, making it very easy to lose control of your bike. Thankfully incidents like this are few and far between. You can learn to overcompensate for the touchy controls, this is both a blessing and a curse; it’s a blessing because you can stay ahead of the game if you keep at it, and it’s a curse because it’s a needless task, you shouldn’t have to do it. Nonetheless, the controls are still pretty good.
Super Hang-On is packed to the gills with replay value. The Original Mode will keep you glued to your seat, and the game’s Arcade Mode is always a blast to play for a trip down memory lane. Overall, it’s a must-buy game for any Genesis owner. This is one of the best motorcycle racing games ever due to it’s tight controls, super-smooth gameplay, and amazing graphics. SHO even makes for an amazing Nomad purchase. The screen blurring is very minimal and never really detracts from the gameplay at all, well unless you like looking at the credits. The sound and control are as exceptional as ever on the Nomad.