Another part of Sega’s push to never release a new title, Super Hang-On is one of their earlier arcade releases now being included in the Sega Vintage Collection. Honestly in all of my time of playing racing games, their concept hasn’t necessarily changed much in the last 20 years. For those that have gone to arcades and experienced titles like Crusin’ USAor the classic Top Gear series of racing titles, players race against the clock, and their own abilities, to hit the checkpoints and keep the race going.
But like I said, the game is simple, and it is only a matter of taking a turn at the right speed with the right amount of brake (if necessary) and dodging opponents as you fly through the landscape at breakneck speeds. It’s straightforward to the core, but it’s the challenge the harder races provide that give the game its fun. Much like other arcade racing titles, players are able to pick which track they’d like to play in a set amount of time. Hurry hurry, lest you get stuck with something you’re not prepared for. It’s all sectioned off into colors and difficulty with North America being one of the most difficult right under Europe. Come on, we’ve got some dangerous roads here (thank you Boston). These exhaustive races have players covering different countries, passing the landscape in such a fashion where to look elsewhere is to crash. Thank you very much Sega for putting landmarks and signs along the way to draw our attention and cause these horrible crashes that no man should survive.
Being that the arcade racing genre is a set piece, Sega did breathe in new life to the title with the inclusion of the Challenge mode (as with all of these Vintage Collection titles), but thankfully the trials within Super Hang-On make sense and are fun to attempt. They’re split into difficulty levels (Beginner, Junior, Senior, Expert, and finally World) that essentially take the racing modes of the actual game and challenge you. Like I stated earlier – it’s a racing game, and an arcade one at that. Do you expect a ton? Shame on you if you do. The challenges are fun at least and the World Course Challenge throws everything the game offers at you. Good luck through all 48 stages without pulling your hair out though – it takes a while. If you’re a racing fan who played the NASCAR series doing the “full” experience, it’s akin to some of those races that take as long as they do watching them on TV.
While Sega breathed life into the game giving us more to experience, they left that classic arcade look and feel alone. I understand the nostalgic draw that people will have for this style, but in those 20 years of time racing games have at least come a long way. Gamers steeped in the racing games of today may be disappointed going back to something they may think feels, looks, and sounds dated, but there are those that will enjoy it. It’s got a wide range of colors that will draw player’s eyes and a good MIDI soundtrack that’ll hopefully keep the head bobbing. That or you’ll mute the TV mid-race causing a crash or try to read a billboard at 250 KPH and wreck into another driver. You never know.
Going back to what I stated earlier – I know you release new titles, Sega, but we’re definitely glad you don’t forget your classics. Super Hang-On does a great job of showing gamers just how far the racing genres have come in 20 years. While it may not compete with some of today’s titles, it’s a quick romp through historic gaming that gives many the chance to experience what us old timers remember fondly. Granted, I fully expect many of them to turn to us and simply say “You played this? Wow you guys suck,” the nostalgia and fun going back to something from our youth is too much to resist and I must say I did enjoy this title. It’s not Forza or Gran Turismo, but damn if it’s not still fun to play.
Note: The Super Hang-On review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.