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3D Super Hang-On (3DS eShop) Review

Review for 3D Super Hang-On on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Originally released in 1987 in the arcades, using the same hardware as the even more widely acclaimed OutRun, Super Hang-On is the sequel to Hang-On, the first major game developed by Yu Suzuki who went on, many years later, to develop such gaming phenomena as the Shenmue series of games. If the name Hang-On is perhaps not too familiar with gamers nowadays, it should be noted that the original game was a major step forward in terms of gaming experience. Indeed, it was the first full-body experience game ever created, with its arcade cabinet doing away with traditional controls in favour of a bike that the player would sit on instead, tilting the make-believe vehicle left or right to make the motorbike on screen negotiate sharp turns on the race track with near-analogue sensitivity, which for 1985 was quite an achievement, twisting the throttle grip to accelerate and hitting the brakes to... brake. Just as notable was the use of the then-revolutionary "Super-Scaler" sprite-scaling technology invented by SEGA specifically for that game, which helped simulate fast moving environments that the player would zoom past. Super Hang-On, the sequel, improved on this in the music and graphics departments, and included more content, and after being ported to numerous systems over the years, finally arrives on Nintendo 3DS. Stick with Cubed3 to find out what has changed and what has not.

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!

Screenshot for 3D Super Hang-On on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for 3D Super Hang-On on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for 3D Super Hang-On on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for 3D Super Hang-On on 3DS eShop- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

M2 could have stuck to the basics and only included analogue stick controls like all the other ports it has done so far, but instead the team went all out to get as close to the full-body experience from the arcades as possible on a handheld, which is quite a tour-de-force! If that doesn't please, then the Circle Pad, D-Pad and Touch Screen are all there as viable options, too.

Graphics

The 3D effect works superbly to bring to new life to the old graphics, which, even without this, still stand the test of time quite remarkably and work in tandem with the gameplay to provide a truly gripping and thrilling experience.

Sound

Nothing has changed from the arcade original, so appreciation of the music or sound effects is really down to personal taste. To some it will sound "old" and "outdated," but to others it will just be "retro" and "classic." An arranged soundtrack may have been a welcome addition, though.

Value

True, the overall experience may feel repetitive, but for those who are hooked by the style of gameplay right off the bat, the prospect of improving on their own times, and managing to become better on the higher difficulty settings will make sure that they come back for more quite a lot. It's a shame that online leader boards were not included, but seeing as Nintendo's own 3D Classics are nowhere near as feature-rich and cost more money, it's hard to complain about what is offered for the price!

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Totally unexpectedly, SEGA trumps Nintendo's own line of 3D Classics on its own system with a more feature-rich experience coming literally at the price of a regular NES game sold with no graphical or gameplay improvements whatsoever. True, complaints about the lack of online leader boards, which would have made the experience all the more worthwhile, could be made, yet for the price, it's really hard to! 3D Super Hang-On is still a thrilling experience on Nintendo 3DS, offering a variety of inputs of which the gyro sensor one turned out to be the most enjoyable, and lots of options to tune the experience to suit everyone's personal taste...and level of skill! It's a shame that the gameplay modes added to the Mega Drive version were not reintroduced here, which would have made it the most "definitive" version of the game, but, again, for the price, it's really hard to complain.

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14.12.2013

9

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Developer

SEGA

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10 (4 Votes)

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

I remember this game so well, endless days I spent trying to beat this on my megadrive, used to drive me crazy! I could never beat the 3rd, (maybe 4th) stage. I even had some racing wheel type controller with it, It was like a full on kart it was awesome! Shame I never beat it, I got fed up in the end because time would always run out :\ do I dare put myself through that misery again?

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Im_Neutral said:
do I dare put myself through that misery again?

Here it's an adaptation of the Arcade version of the same game, not of the Megadrive version which was arguably much inferior, although it offered much more content.

There are quite a lot of elements you can adjust to alleviate much of the difficulty, including giving you more time, so your problem shouldn't exist anymore here Smilie

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Remus (guest) 16.12.2013 18:41#3

Great that Sega putting in much effort with these old games!

Jmanultra (guest) 17.12.2013 13:27#4

 An "8" for Super Hang On? Seriously?  

  From what I've seen of reviews on this site, games are rated on a scale of 7-10. Occasionally if a game is terrible it will warrant a 6.

Jmanultra (guest) said:
 An "8" for Super Hang On? Seriously?  

  From what I've seen of reviews on this site, games are rated on a scale of 7-10. Occasionally if a game is terrible it will warrant a 6.

A game being hard, or having some mistakes doesnt neccesarily make it a bad game, all too often all I hear is, "oh this game is to easy, I beat that game in 5 minutes"

Also you should look at the game for what it is, a 20 year old game, at the time was using new technology, maybe the score is based on this and not what it looks/plays like compared to todays games because lets face it, that would be kind of stupid.

( Edited 17.12.2013 19:28 by Im_Neutral )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Im_Neutral said:
Jmanultra (guest) said:
 An "8" for Super Hang On? Seriously?  

  From what I've seen of reviews on this site, games are rated on a scale of 7-10. Occasionally if a game is terrible it will warrant a 6.

A game being hard, or having some mistakes doesnt neccesarily make it a bad game, all too often all I hear is, "oh this game is to easy, I beat that game in 5 minutes"

Also you should look at the game for what it is, a 20 year old game, at the time was using new technology, maybe the score is based on this and not what it looks/plays like compared to todays games because lets face it, that would be kind of stupid.


The score is based on what the experience brings. Not on the graphics, not on the technology, not on the length... Is it an 8/10 experience, even today? Yes. It is. It's super fun to play with the gyro sensor and, personally, I like to play it again and again, improving on my own score...

But I just repeated here what the review says already. Of course, someone skipping to the score and not taking time to read the review itself will just conclude that the score is being too generous Smilie.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Staff Member

Jmanultra (guest) said:
 An "8" for Super Hang On? Seriously?

Scores are irrelevant. If you had read the content of the review like Rudy stated, then you would understand why it was given an 8.

Jmanultra (guest) said:
From what I've seen of reviews on this site, games are rated on a scale of 7-10. Occasionally if a game is terrible it will warrant a 6.

This isn't true at all, I myself have rated games 5 and 6 before and I'm sure some reviewers have even given lower scores. In terms of ratings, 5-6 is average, 7 and above means the game is good (hence why we have awards for games that have scored 7+). Anything below 5 is below average to just plain bad.

Also, just because someone gave a certain game a good/bad score does not mean that their opinion will reflect on everyone else's. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as long as the criticism given is constructive, of course.

jmanultra (guest) 18.12.2013 18:27#8

  I read the review and the reviewer seems more excited about the options available than the game itself.  

  The racing genre especially has come a loooong way since 1987, and Super Hang On's "meaty" offering isn't even on par with racing games on my phone.  Fine that this is the reviewer's opinion, but just browsing through reviews the majority of games get high marks. In order to receive a low score a game much be on a level of Superman 64.
 
Seems like the 1-10 scale is pointless if it's not being used fully. 

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Just because other games have more modern features doesn't mean that a retro game can't provide just as much enjoyment with simpler, even outdated features!

And yes, compared to other repackaged classics available on the eShop, it IS a meaty package for just 5€. If it was for Nintendo, they would have just added the stereoscopic 3D and voilà, and would have made you pay 10€ for it. Sega, or rather M2 since the game wasn't ported in-house, went out of their way to make it worthwhile, even by nowadays standards, whereas other developers who make a game from the ground up with modern features, modern graphics, being free to make whatever the heck they want with it and not having to pay attention to the source material, still manage to fail to make their games worthwhile (For example: 3D Pixel Racing, which had an interesting prospect, and failed to deliver on pretty much all levels)

On a final note, it's not just Cubed3 who are rating very highly those 3D Sega Classics. They're being rated highly simply because they are still good games, even after nearly 30 years!

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

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