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Hang On and Astro Warrior Review

Developer: Sega Publisher: Sega
Release Date: 1986 Also On: None

Before I begin this review, I need to state that this will be different, and likely shorter, than my typical write-ups. The reason is that this game is simply a combo cartridge, as Sega called them, of two games that were released for the Master System. Thus, the general scores will be based on a simple average of these two. If you’re interested in details, read my reviews of these separate titles for a more thorough investigation. As it is, I’m merely going to comment on this game and judge it by averaging and also how it functions on its own. Anyway, Hang On and Astro Warrior is one of Sega’s so-called combo cartridges, which were simply two games thrown into one that originally were released separately. This one wasn’t the first and wasn’t the best.

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Graphically, I was pretty disappointed here. First off, these two games weren’t that great looking to begin with. Again, please refer to my separate reviews of Astro Warrior and Hang On if you want to know where my gripes were. All Sega did was throw two games into the same place. That’s fine, but perhaps something should have been added? But that’s not the issue here, the issue is simple, neither of these games look very good and the only bonus you find herein is a decent game select screen. Not that good, though, they made a nice rider for Hang On, but simply recycled the Astro Warrior title screen. Shame, shame. I can’t expect much added I suppose, so this score is mainly an average with additional points taken off because I feel like it.

Can’t say much more about the sound either, it was good in Astro Warrior but generally absent in Hang On. Same idea with the sound effects. It would have been nice if they made a completely new track for the game select screen, but that would have taken work so of course it didn’t happen. You just come to the screen, select your game, and listen to whatever crap is thrown at you. They could have thrown a little tune in there I think so let’s lower the score a bit.

Hang On and Astro warrior doesn’t have the most spectacular gameplay. Yet again, if you want to read specifics, go to my separate reviews. However, I can do something a bit different here. This seems a rather strange mix to me, a racing game and a space shooter. Neither is very good, sure, but think about the mixture. It just doesn’t feel like a good mix, and really isn’t. Plus, the biggest weakness with this game is there is no interface programmed in here to switch the games without resetting and/or shutting the power off the console. That’s a problem with the console itself, and I suppose you can consider that this saves taking out one game and putting in another. Then again, it’s only two games, one of which was generally the most widespread game programmed in the console itself, so why would I want to play this? Why not just play Astro Warrior and then turn on the SMS without a game in it to play Hang On? Which brings us to the harsh reality we must sadly face.

The big problem this game has invovles both the creativity and the replay value so they’re kind of thrown together here. First off, they vomited in heap two games that weren’t very good to begin with and don’t mix right. Second, and most important, Hang On was one of two games programmed into Master System units when they were released so you didn’t have to put a cartridge in. You just turned it on and selected between Hang On or Safari Hunt. Since this version of the console sold the most units, it makes no sense to release a separate game with one of these two titles on it. Why purchase this combo cartridge if you already had Hang On? The only people who could possibly want it would have been those that purchased the SegaScrope 3D units, which had only Missle Command 3D. Still, Safari Hunt was kind of the big Light Phaser launch title, and that existed on another combo cartridge, which I’ll get to in my next review, with Hang On. So you released two combo cartridges with the same game on both? That makes no sense. If it was Hang On and World Grand Prix, or something else that existed separately, sure, because then it clearly saves money for someone who wants to get two games but only has enough for one. Why do this? I’m sure you can see why it’s confusing.

In Europe, they released a combo cartridge with Astro Warrior, but, and here’s the key to my final problem with this game, it was a game not released in any other form. Thus, you have a reason for getting it. Sega should have thrown in a title from Japan they weren’t planning on releasing on a separate cartridge, that would have made sense. Or perhaps, yet again as they did in Europe, they could have released three games on one cartridge with similar themes. I don’t know, but regardless it makes no sense to release a dual cartridge with two games you could buy separately, one of which was the game most people owned already when they first purchased a Master System. Hang On and Astro Warrior is a poor mix that I’d never play again and in fact never will because I refuse to own it since it’s pointless. The replay value and game length of both is factored in here, but also the fact that I’d never play this again. I sold it as soon as I tried it out and could care less how long the games are.

In conclusion, I must say that Hang On and Astro Warrior is one of the most worthless titles released by Sega of America. Notice what I said there, America. What was it with the NTSC market getting the bum end of the Master System’s strong library? Why did PAL gamers get the better titles and in this case the only combo cartridge worth anyone’s time? I really don’t have an answer for why this game was released. Clearly it made no sense and Sega had to have completely ignored their market numbers, because I highly doubt anyone would have wanted this game. You had the basic system nearly everyone purchased, which came with Hang On and Safari Hunt built right into it, so why in the hell would you want another title with two games, one of which was one you already owned? That’s totally ridiculous, there’s nothing else to say about it. Sega made a big mistake releasing this title. The only real reason anyone seems to care is that it was only released in the states, so PAL collectors, who are sick, like to pick it up just to say they own it. However, most get a little wise when they realize how awful this combination was, and quickly toss it away. Do yourself a favor and never play or own this title, that’s all I have to say. The scores below should have probably been lower, but since I can only really average them what you see is what you get.

Graphics: 4.5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 1.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 0
Final: 3.4
Written by Stan Review Guide