As was the case in the original game, and for those of our readers who may not know yet, 3D Super Hang-On sees the player incarnated as a nameless pilot on his bike, racing at dazzling speed down roadways, against no opponent in particular although other bikers are there merely as moving obstacles for the racer to avoid, while the racing is actually truly happening against the countdown, typical of arcade racing experiences. Still very typical of the experience is that check points along the way refill that countdown by a set amount of time, and that every one or two checkpoints, the scenery shifts to a different type of environment, representative of the part of the world being driven through.
Indeed, several courses are available - four to be exact, each of varying length and difficulty and having players race against the clock on a different continent. A typical play session of Super Hang-On can then last from three minutes to fifteen depending on skill level and what course was selected. When the timer runs out, it's a game over and time to start all over again!
As was pointed out above, the game offers analogue controls, to a degree. Here, the throttle is sadly not as it can only be assigned to a button, so the player can merely release the throttle or push it to the max. What remains analogue, however, is the steering.
It can be either controlled by the Circle Pad, which works well but can be a bit tricky to master due to it being built with a quite narrow range and so the different levels of inclination of the biker on-screen can be hard to pinpoint and give it an accurate trajectory on the track. There's also a Touch Screen option for those who like their stylus-based experiences, which also allows an analogue-type of input to some degree, and then there's the D-Pad, which removes all sense of accuracy and is a bit useless, but having the option is always good.
Then there's the gyroscopic sensor, included specifically for this version of the game, which arguably offers the best option to accurately control the bike as the player tilts the system left or right, not unlike the arcade experience itself. There's a real sense of thrill as one negotiates the sharp turns of the game as fast as possible, avoiding the trees, lamp posts and other billboards that are on the side of the track, avoiding hitting them by just an inch by actually tilting the machine.
Now, there's even a choice for the screen to follow the movement of steering, just like it would on the actual arcade game. This removes some of the sharpness of the graphics but when racing against the clock, not stopping to pay attention to how pixellated everything may look, it really doesn't matter.
The arcade experience offered here, albeit happening on a tiny screen, is as close to the original machine as it could get, and M2 must be given big kudos for that. Not content with this, which would already have made a quite good contender for Nintendo's very own 3D classics series, the game comes with a slew of additional options.
Difficulty settings can indeed be adjusted, just like one would on the arcade machine itself using the so-called dip switches. Additionally there is a choice of whether or not opponent bikes can hit the rider or not and how hard, as well as how much time check points refill on the timer, what control settings can be picked, plus what different screen sizes to have (amongst which the option to have the aspect of the a race cabinet surrounding the action is present - something that might be appreciated by fans of the original), and there is also the option to have the screen tilt or not.
Furthermore, a sound test is present, adjustable volume options and even an equaliser that lets the gamer set how they will hear the music. Some of these options were not really necessary but they may just as well be left alone and don't make it a worse game by being there.
All in all, it turns out to be an even more meatier package in terms of options and possible adjustments than even Nintendo's 3D Classics, since here quick saves can be made and then they can be reloaded swiftly, just like with Virtual Console games, meaning there is the best of both worlds.