Arcade Blog Games Genesis Sega

Super Hang-On (Genesis, 1989)

The ride of your life.

Super hang on, kneecap, this could get bloody.
The colors just melt off the cover.



GENRE: Racing

RELEASE DATE: 11/06/89 – (JP), 12/89 – (US), 11/90 – (EU)

The original Hang-On was a full-throttle thrill ride in the arcade, particularly if you played on the motorcycle cabinet. The Master System port, however, failed to bring the excitement home. While the 8-bit version had admirable graphics, the loose controls and lack of music made for an austere experience; strangely, Hang On II for the SG-1000 (a Hang On port, despite the name) was more engaging, despite the console’s inferior specs.

To Mount Athos!

All Hang On ports are mere hogswallow in light of Super Hang-On for the Genesis. Not only does it retain every feature from the arcade, including the course difficulties, four musical themes (like in OutRun), and intuitive bike controls, it also provides a console-only “original mode.” The latter simulates the career of a professional motorbike rider and significantly extends the life of the game.

Only one biker can stop homeland terrorism.


Super Hang-On‘s arcade mode takes you all around the world. Go on safari in Africa, travel across the Great Wall of China in Asia, blast through purple mountains majesty in the Americas, or ride up the Eiffel Tower in Europe. You begin the race with fifty seconds and receive additional time as you cross the checkpoints. Each of the courses has a different amount of checkpoints. The more checkpoints, the more difficult the race (Africa is the easiest with six checkpoints, while Europe is the hardest with eighteen).

Only in Asia…


As you ride deeper into each continent, the roads become more narrow and the turns more devious. Amazingly, the Genesis’ chunky D-pad is up to the task. Veering around sharp corners feels smooth and heavy, like you’re actually steering a motorbike. While you can take most corners at the accelerator’s top speed of 280km/h, you’ll need to hold down the Turbo Boost if you want to make it from one side of the continent to the other. The sense of speed is phenomenal and somewhat terrifying, particularly when sharp turns emerge out of nowhere. Don’t get too caught up in the moment: if you so much as crash once during a race, it’s hard to recover and you’ll likely end up losing.

The Sahara Desert has never looked more like Mountain Dew.


Once you’ve mastered the Tracks of the World, stop into ‘Original Mode’ for a real challenge. You start off as an amateur rider with no money. Your mechanic – one Ricardo Montoya – is willing to help you achieve your dream, while your rival wants nothing more than to run over your dreams. With the help of sponsorship money, you can fix up your bike and Springsteen your way out of the two-bit town you call home.

Stuff it, Ricardo.

Your bike controls like a dream in Arcade Mode, but it starts as a real fixer-upper here. It doesn’t accelerate as quickly nor does it turn as sharply. Getting through the first few races without crashing will require a little more caution and Sunday driving than you’re used to, but that’s ok. You’ll need patience to beat your rival and get money for better parts. Your earnings are a pittance, at first; $1200 will let you replace your worn-out parts and keep you racing, but that’s it. After you win against your rival enough times, however, you’ll rank up, acquire a faster rival, and earn more sponsorship money with each race. You can also use your newfound wealth to purchase the advice of better mechanics (sorry, Ricardo).

Well, I’ll be darned.


Unlike most of Sega’s arcade ports to this point, Super Hang-On works well as both a short quarter muncher and an in-depth racer. The game satisfies if all you have is a few minutes to spare, but if you want to finish the harder courses or the Original Mode, you’ll need to learn the track layouts and master the controls. While I hesitate to call the Genesis version “arcade-perfect,” the game’s visuals are superb and hold up next to the arcade. And while nothing beats straddling a fake motorcycle in the arcades, Super Hang-On‘s speed still provides a considerable adrenaline rush. One of the best early Genesis games.


9 replies on “Super Hang-On (Genesis, 1989)”

Enjoyed the review. It’s really fascinating following your journey through Segadom.

I agree this game has held up remarkably well. I have the arcade version on PS3 but even with it’s proper scaling I find myself prefering the Genesis/MegaDrive version.

Thanks! I think I’d prefer the Genesis version as well, compared to an emulated version. I’m not normally a fan of the original 3-button Genesis D-pad, but it works so well for this game.

Great review Dylan, you talking about the original mode brought back a lot of memories…me crashing my bike halfway through every race and Ricardo valiantly trying to fix my bike with my meagre funds!

A great game and an early contender for best Mega Drive soundtrack. I know you said you weren’t keen on emulated versions of Super Hang On, but the 3DS 3D version is fantastic. It’s got great handling and speed, plus it lets you race every track in one huge race!

An excellent write up mate. I have a real affinity for the Hang On series. The Master System version was the first video game I ever played when I got my first Master System back in the day when I was but a wee nipper. By a strange coincidence I got Super Hang On bundled in with my Mega Drive so it was one of the first Mega Drive games I ever played.

For me personally I don’t have the patience to tackle Original Mode properly. I have given it a damn good go and all the time I am thinking I would rather just get on my bike (virtually speaking) and battle the clock in Arcade Mode at high speed.

Thanks Tony. Yeah, Super Hang On is the tops, for sure. I personally love the Original Mode, but it’s nice that there’s a lot of content in the Arcade mode if you want to forgo Original entirely.

Seeing that screenshot of Ricardo made me immediately think this:

“Hello. My name is Ricardo Montoya. You crashed your motorcycle. Prepare for fixing.”

In any event, I remember playing the original Hang-On briefly on a friend’s SMS, but I didn’t play long enough to really get much of a sense of the game’s quality. However, I loved playing Hang-On in the arcade, especially with the full sit-down cabinet where you would actually sit down on a bike that you would lean left and right to steer. Despite my indifference to most racing games growing up, Hang-On always attracted me for that reason. I always enjoyed playing it whenever I found an arcade that had it, and I had a spare quarter or two. I still don’t own the Genesis version to this day, for some reason. Maybe it’s because I fear that Sega’s venerable 16-bit powerhouse can’t quite recreate the arcade experience well enough. Your review makes me think perhaps I need to seek it out.

Hang-On with the fully motorcycle or sit-down cabinet is a sublime experience. One of the first arcade racers and still one of the best. If you’re going to seek out any Hang-On for the console, make it Super Hang-On for sure.

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