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Super Hang-On

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Reviewed by Michael LoCascio Some games captivate you right from the start, while others require you to put in some time and effort in order to discover their true appeal. Super Hang-on fits into the latter category. While many will be tempted to discard this game upon first experiencing its wretched controls and inadequate graphics, I wholeheartedly recommend that this title be given a chance.. or a few chances, because it will likely take some time for one to really get involved in it. But while Super Hang-on does have its share of covert positive aspects, for a Genesis game it simply isn't up to par. The concept behind the game is intriguing; motorcycle racing games are pretty rare in this industry. Super Hang-on presents you with two different modes of play: Arcade and Original. Arcade mode involves the same sort of time trial that has appeared in racing games over and over again since Pole Position was introduced: reach the checkpoint on a given course before the allotted time runs out. Needless to say, Arcade Mode can become repetitive and tiring rather quickly. Original mode is a completely different story, however. This mode pits you against "rivals" whose lap times you must beat in order to earn cash and upgrade your bike. If you're going to like this game, it'll most likely be due to the customization options of Original Mode. Super Hang-on has taken some flak for its frustrating, unresponsive controls. Indeed, it takes a great deal of time and patience to get used to the way in which your motorcycle works. Deciding how hard to hit a curve or knowing when to press on the brakes will often determine whether or not you cruise through a course or suffer one crash after another. The controls can be so irritating that many gamers will undoubtedly walk away from the game before they get to experience some of its finer points. Most of these finer points involve the Original Mode. If you can stand the controls long enough to beat out your rival a few times, you will eventually earn enough cash to upgrade your bike - thus making it a far more effective vehicle. The control problems gradually fade away as your motorcycle becomes a more viable racing machine. Building up your bike is a long, tedious process, however: you don't earn very much money for your victories, and the cash that you do earn will often be needed to repair parts of your vehicle that are faltering. Despite the annoying controls, the game is surprisingly easy. Once you gain a decent grasp on how your bike works, you should have little trouble defeating the opposition. And while there is a certain satisfaction that can come from transforming your bike into a force to be reckoned with, you'll undoubtedly get tired of repeating the same old races over and over again. By the time your bike is fully upgraded, you'll likely be sick of the entire affair. The graphics in Super Hang-on are extremely boring. There isn't much to look at besides the many trees and signs that you pass by during the races. The scrolling is decent - it's somewhat reminiscent of Victory Run for the Turbografx-16 - but the other bikers on the track are merely different-colored duplicates of your own driver. The music, on the other hand, is fairly impressive. You can choose one of four different tracks to play as you race, and all four of them are listenable. While it wouldn't be at all accurate to say that I didn't have some fun with Super Hang-on, I don't feel that the game offered the kind of quality that players expect from a Genesis title. Even with the positive elements of the Original Mode, the game is horribly repetitive, and there is very little replay value to speak of (a two-player competitive mode would have worked wonders for this game). While I do recommend that you give the game a shot (you may be one of the few who truly enjoys the customization options), I'm fairly certain that most gamers out there won't have the patience to delve into a game that offers so few rewards to begin with. Overall: 4 / 10

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