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Critic Reviews (5)
Contributor Reviews (1)
Neck breaking speeds,tight curves and world class competition make Sega's Hang On the most exciting motorbike racing game around!
Hop on board your supercycle and test your racing skills against the top riders on earth!
Think you can beat them all to the finish line?
Legacy has yet to review this game.
This was originally in the shops for £10 which was a third the price of other Master System games now the game is getting a bit of a following because it's a good game and plays well too. Fully recommended
The Other motorbike offering this month is the other arcade classic Hang On.
This is absolute dynamite.
As a conversion it is silky-smooth and action packed.
You Have three gears and switch between them by using the up and down on the pad this can be frustratingly dodgy to start with as you can change gears while taking bends unintentionally.
There are five circuits to cover: circuit, seaside, monument valley, city night and circuit again.
Each stage is four kilometers long and has to be completed in the time specified.
If you hit any road signs or racers you lose a life.
Any spare time is carried forward to the next stage and you score for bikers passed.
This is a must for anybody into racing games.
Check it out.
This review was originally posted in CVG Magazine in the UK on March 7th 1988
You can find a scanned copy of that page below
The magazine ended in October 2004 it's owned by Future publishing who you can visit here
Hang On is a terrific racer that blends enjoyable course design with smooth controls and tense game play. It does have some replayability issues due to its lack of tracks and difficulty, but that won't stop you from having a blast during your time with the game.
I still enjoy playing Hang On, although I normally only play through one loop of action before switching it off, whereas before I would play the loops until my eyes started to get tired, and tear up. I've got more and better games now, so spending that much time with a game this repetitive and limited doesn't make any earthly sense.
But spending a little time feels right. Not for old time's sake alone, but because Hang On is a fast paced challenge of coordination that is simple and easy to get into. It provides a fleeting experience, but it's so simple and charming and unpretentious that you will leave each session satisfied with the fun, fast times you had with it.
It's a game that has aged well thanks to minimalist design, a good challenge level, and a satisfying sense of speed and bike control. The whole game only lasts about five minutes from start to finish, but as with most of Suzuki's games, it is a "perfectionist" game that requires you to drive a nearly-flawless course to have any hope of crossing the finish line. You start with only seven other bikers around you, who get that mysterious nitro boost that racers in early racing games always seem to get off the line, but you'll pass at least 100 of them along the game's course, which is divided into five "levels" with varying scenery. It can be frustrating since the other bikers are completely invincible and apparently have some force field that sends you flying off the course if you so much as clip one of them, and have no qualms about plowing into you, but the game never gets as obnoxious as the later Outrun can be, thanks to the short overall length preventing you from wasting too much time if you wipe out and render yourself unable to make the next checkpoint in time.
Hang-On was a pack-in/built-in game for several models of the Master System when the console launched in Europe in late 1987. I bought the base model Master System, which only had the 'hidden' Snail Maze game built in, soon after the console launched in the UK. Hang-On (Sega Card) was also bundled with my console. I didn't learn about the hidden game until i read about it in a gaming magazine months later, so Hang-On was the first game i played on the console, and then it seemed like a good choice for my first Master System review.
As a launch title, Hang-On was a good technical demonstration of the Master System. The Master System was marketed on the strength of it's arcade conversions and Hang-On clearly demonstrated the potential of the console. The graphics in the Master System version capture the look of the arcade game well; the sprites are large and well drawn, the backgrounds are colorful and the scrolling is smooth and fast. Roadside objects and other riders pass by quickly and are well scaled, creating a good sense of speed.
The game play establishes the classic Sega arcade racing template, which was later used in Out Run and Super Hang-On, and several others. You're racing against the clock rather than directly against the other racers, the other riders just act as obstacles; simply stay on the course and reach the checkpoint before the timer reaches zero to continue racing.
Control of the bike is simple and responsive, the joypad's buttons operate the throttle and brake. Up/down on the D-pad operates the manual gears (low/middle/high) and the D-pad also controls your steering. Music is sparse, the title screen plays a short segment of the main arcade theme, there is a jingle on game over, or completing the course, and that's it. Sounds effects are basic, an engine noise plus white noise to give a wind/motion effect, and an explosion when you crash, all fairly simple but they get the job done.
So Hang-On impresses as a conversion of the arcade game, however, the arcade game has very simple game play, with very little depth. The Master System version simply copies the arcade game without adding anything significant to the basic design. Many later Sega ports did add new elements to the game play for the home version, or in some cases completely redesign the game play, sometimes with mixed results. Ports of Action Fighter, Line of Fire and Super Monaco GP are examples of Master System games that aren't just straightforward copies of the arcade game.
Both the arcade and Master System version feature just one course, split up into five stages, with each stage being about one minute long. The stages all feel the same, the only changes are purely cosmetic with a different background and palette used in each stage. The 4th stage is set at night with a distant city lighting up the background; albeit the night time setting doesn't alter the game play at all. Perhaps the designers could have changed the distance at which you could see the other riders at night, or added weather effects to the course; similar game play elements can be seen in Sega's older Turbo game or Activision's Enduro. Once you complete the 5 stages you get a very short congratulatory scene, then it's straight back to the start line to repeat the exact same course again.
The Master System version has 3 difficulty levels, but these don't provide a lot of challenge, even on the top setting (level 3). The difficulty level only changes the frequency of the other riders, and their driving style (a bit). The difficulty settings have no effect on things like starting time and time added for reaching a checkpoint. On the lowest difficulty level the other riders are very passive, they mostly stick to their racing line. On the top difficulty, some riders will move onto your racing line until you get close to them, and then hold their line, they are still easy enough to avoid. Once the course has been completed on all three difficulty settings there's little else to do except perhaps chasing high scores, I found the low overall difficulty gave me little desire me to return to chase down high scores.
I had fun playing Hang-On back in the day and it was a good demonstration of what the Master System could do. Returning to the game now to write this review, it still has good controls, and decent game play, and the game looks good for its era. Unfortunately it's not a game i return to very often due to the lack of challenge or content.
This review including the images used in it was submitted to Legacy by David Bush we sincerely thank him for his contribution
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