Original arcade flyer
Sega Master System
|Release date(s)||July 1985|
|Cabinet||Standard and sit-down|
|Arcade system||Sega Hang-On|
|CPU||(2x) 68000 (@ 6 MHz)
Sound CPU: Z80 (@ 4 MHz)
|Sound||YM2203 (@ 4 MHz)
Sega PCM (@ 31.25 kHz)
|Display||Raster resolution 320×224 pixels (Horizontal),
6144 out of 32,768 colors
Hang-On (ハングオン Hangu On?) is an arcade game designed by Yu Suzuki and released by Sega in 1985. In the game, the player controls a motorcycle against time and other computer-controlled bikes. It was one of the first arcade games to use 16-bit graphics and Sega's "Super Scaler" technology that allowed pseudo-3D sprite-scaling at high frame rates. It also introduced 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, inspiring arcade games that followed and anticipating the modern motion control trend.
The game was also built into some versions of the Sega Master System. The title is derived from when the biker is turning and has to "hang on" to the bike while the bike is leaning, which Suzuki had read in a Japanese bike magazine, though Suzuki learned later the technique was called "hang off" in North America. Nevertheless, he chose to keep the former name. In a 1995 interview Suzuki said he felt Hang-On was his most impressive game at the time of release.
Using a behind the motorcycle perspective, the player races a linear race track divided into several stages within a limited time. Reaching a checkpoint at the end of each stage extends the time limit. The game ends if the time runs out.
The arcade game contains in-game billboards for Bridgestone (and their Desert Dueler tires), Shell, Garelli Motorcycles, TAG, John Player Special cigarettes, Forum cigarettes, and for "Marbor", an obvious parody of Marlboro cigarettes. The arcade flyer features a bike in Marlboro colors, who had sponsored the Yamaha YZR500 during the world championships in the mid and late 1980s. There would be a controversy over cigarette ads in games marketed to children upon the release of another Sega racing game, Super Monaco GP in 1989.
There were three arcade cabinet designs—the usual upright machine only with a handlebar and brake levers (instead of a joystick and buttons),the upright machine with the addition of a seat and a third version which looked roughly like a real motorcycle. To steer, the player leaned to tilt the bike, which then steered the in-game bike. The screen was mounted into the windshield area of the bike.
Sequels and ports
In 1987, it was followed by a sequel Super Hang-On for arcade, and later for a range of platforms including the Sega Mega Drive, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Commodore Amiga and Atari ST. A polygon based sequel, developed by Genki, was released for the Sega Saturn, named variously Hang-On GP '95 (Japan), Hang-On GP (USA) and Hang-On GP '96 (Europe).
In Power Drift, the motorcycle is a hidden vehicle and can only be accessed by finishing first place for all five tracks on courses A, C, and E. It is only playable in the Extra Stage.
In Sonic Riders, both the "Hang-On" Gear and the "Super Hang-On" Gear can be bought in the shop, with each one playing its respective music while racing. Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity has this gear as an unlockable (in the form of the sit-down arcade cabinet); however, collecting 100 rings and pressing a button during a race changes the gear (and main music) to the sequel's sit-down arcade cabinet and "Outride a Crisis" from said game. In Sonic Free Riders both the "Hang-On" Gear and the "Super Hang-On" Gear can be bought in the shop, as in the original Sonic Riders.
Shenmue and Shenmue II both feature Hang-On as a mini-game, as well as the ability to win miniature toy versions of the bikes from gashapon machines. The Xbox version of Shenmue II is playable on Xbox 360, but crashes when trying to play "Hang-On." In Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Ryo drives a Hang-On sit-down arcade cabinet during water-based portions of a race.
In Daytona USA, if "H.O" is entered on the high score table, a clip of the main theme from Hang-On will play.
Notes and references
- "The Yu Suzuki Resume". 1Up.com.
- http://mamedev.org/source/src/mame/drivers/segahang.c.html Archived September 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Hang-On Hardware". System16.com. Retrieved August 5, 2006.
- "IGN Presents the History of SEGA". IGN. 21 April 2009.
- "The Disappearance of Yu Suzuki: Part 1". 1Up.com.
- "Episode 10". GameCenter CX. 2003. Fuji TV.
- "Nothing Compares to Yu". Next Generation. Imagine Media (11): 7. November 1995.