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Video Game / Hang-On

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Hang-On is an arcade motorcycle racing game, developed and released by Sega in 1985. The game's goal is simple, as the player races a linear race track divided into several stages within a limited time. What made it so unique at the time, however, was its innovative control scheme originally envisioned by Yu Suzuki: What if, instead of moving joystick, the player has to lean their whole body to steer the vehicle? Taking this idea into the action, Hang-On was designed with a motion-controlled arcade cabinet, where the player's body movement on a large motorbike-shaped cabinet corresponds with the player character's movements on screen.

Hang-On turned out to be a smash hit, which led to the development of many simulation games inspired by it, like OutRun and After Burner. The game itself also received numerous ports and sequels:

  • Hang-On (Arcade, 1985) - Ported to Sega Master System, MSX, SG-1000
    • The first game in the series. There's only one track to race. SG-1000 version was oddly renamed as Hang-On II. The Master System version was re-ported to arcades as Hang-On Jr..
  • Super Hang-On (Arcade, 1987) - Ported to Sega Genesis, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, Macintosh, Sharp X68000, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo 3DS
    • The objective and controls of the game are the same, but comes with a number of enhancements. Its graphics is heavily upgraded and the volume is much higher this time, with 4 tracks to race on, each one having more increased difficulty than others. A turbo boost is also featured.
  • Hang-On GP (Sega Saturn, 1995)
    • The only Hang-On game so far to be presented in full 3D.

Technically Super Hang-On was the last game released in arcade, but followed by a number of spiritual successors afterward. Enduro Racer (1986) is another motorcycle game designed by Yu Suzuki, and the player rides a dirt bike instead. Racing Hero (1989) is "Hang-On meets OutRun", completed with branching paths at the end of every course. GP Rider (1990) is a single-track racing game where you must outwit the computer opponent. Cool Rider (1994) features digitized riders and really bizarre sense of humor.

The Hang-On series contains examples of:

  • Arcade-Perfect Port:
    • Original Hang-On became available as mini-game in Shenmue, complete with the rider cabinet. Here, the billboard ads got replaced with landmark references in the world of Shenmue. This version was separately sold under complication Yu Suzuki's Game Works Vol. 1 for Dreamcast, along with Power Drift, Space Harrier and After Burner II.
    • Super Hang-On was released on many platforms via digital distribution such as Wii's Virtual Console. It was brought over to Nintendo 3DS as 3D Super Hang-On, with 3D setting and widescreen support courtesy of porting expert M2. It also started to appear as one of the playable arcade machines in Yakuza series since Yakuza 0.
  • Collision Damage:
    • In the Master System version of the original Hang-On, crashing on other racers will always blow up your bike instead of just bouncing it to the side.
    • In Original Mode for Super Hang-On, hitting other racers not only wastes your time but also damages your bike. If you're running on a worn-down frame, bumping on someone can very well crash your bike and force you to retire and replace its parts.
  • Continuing is Painful: You lose a significant amount of time every time you crash. It's even worse in the Original Mode for Super, in which the various parts of your bike have durability. If they break you can be forced to forfeit the race — and more than once if you lack the funds to repair them. Furthermore, if you fail to beat the time for a track five times in this mode you get demoted to the previous one.
  • Dramatic Unmask: The rider in Super isn't exactly what the people celebrating them were expecting. In the original version, a group of reporters are baffled to see they're actually an old man. In the Genesis version the old man appears cheering for the rider from the third ending on, so there's a different twist: the new protagonist is a woman. The reporters are replaced by a fangirl who then walks away looking disappointed.
  • Dub Name Change: The characters from Original Mode had their names changed in the western version of Super Hang-On.
  • Face Fault: At the end of the arcade version of Super, when the rider takes off his helmet to reveal he's a grey-bearded old man, the crowd running in to congratulate him all crash to the ground in shock.
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • You either crash spectacularly or slide over the ground. And every time a group of bikers will then ride into the horizon going "vroom-vroom...vroom-vroom". You're not actually competing against the CPU, so this small scene is just there to annoy you and waste even more of your time.
    • Original Mode in Super adds a failure message for when the bike breaks down for good. If you then attempt to start a race without repairing it, the bike won't even leave the start line as the failure message flashes over the screen again.
  • Multiple Endings: Super features a single ending with 4 parts, each showing more characters celebrating the player. You can only see it in full by clearing the longest course. The World Tour mode in the 3DS port adds an ending in which the bike explodes during the celebration scene, knocking both the still masked pilot and the reporters on their backs.
  • Nintendo Hard: Like those that came after it, don't expect to beat the game if you crash more than once... or if you crash at all, really.
  • Password Save: We get 28-character passwords to write down on a Original Mode run in Super.
  • Product Placement: Original Hang-On had numerous billboard ads that were very close to real-life brands. In later re-releases, these were dropped and replaced with Sega-related products.
  • Race Against the Clock: You have to reach the checkpoint before the timer runs out. Original Mode in Super pretends you're racing against a rival, but in reality they're not visible at all and you're just tasked to run each course in under a certain amount of time as usual.
  • Samus Is a Girl: In Genesis version of Super, it turns out at the ending of Europe course that the rider was a woman, much to the fangirl's frustration. The old man, who celebrates her success at this ending, was the original rider in the arcade version, with similar reaction from the reporters.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: The Marlboro knockoff billboard ads tend to be removed in ports, since there was a controversy about games like Hang-On and Super Monaco GP having such details while also being marketed to children. The old man from the arcade version of Super always takes a smoke during his victory pose no matter which port it is (except the Genesis one), though.
  • A Winner Is You:
    • The original Hang-On ended with a photo collage of the victory ceremony. Super has a brief ending that is only shown in full detail if you beat the hardest course.
    • Original Mode in the Sega Genesis version of Super Hang-On merely ends with a praise from your final rival. No unique screen or anything.

Alternative Title(s): Super Hang On