This game review is a guest post from Austin Griffith.
Back in 1999, the Game Hydro Thunder was released for the Sega Dreamcast. This game was in the racing genre but unlike many others this featured not cars but boats. Hydro Thunder was unique to the Dreamcast with controls unseen in any other game. Now, more than a decade later Hydro Thunder is back with its ‘Mario Kart in Water’ game play. The new version features more exotic locations and a total of 4 game modes.
Along with new game modes comes a vast variety of maps, these maps also can be played very differently. In certain places there are ‘Map Changers’ green joysticks that when hit can do a multitude of things like raise or lower a ramp, turn on or turn off a wave machine, open or close a gate and other things depending on the map and game type. This along with the amazing computer AI means a game experience that is never the same and with multi-player racing over Xbox Live it provides even more replay ability.
Another great addition to the Hydro Thunder over its predecessor is the great new water dynamics. The boats glide over water like it’s a real boat and the controls are very intuitive for someone who has never actually driven a boat before. They feel like what you would imagine driving a boat would be like. You glide around turns with ease and the wake from your opponents boats are always present and impact your movement through the water.
The Race game mode is what you would expect every game in the racing genre would feature – you and up to 3 others over split screen or 15 others over Xbox Live race against each other. Depending on your final placement in the race you can earn Credits, Credits are the way of unlocking things in Hydro Thunder, The more credits you have to your name the more maps, boats and game types that are unlocked for you in your offline single player mode. This is the game mode that you can play with the least amount of skill and still have fun.
Ring Master is a new game mode to Hydro Thunder. You are by yourself on one of the eight tracks and there are rings that are scattered throughout the map. Your goal is to drive through all of them but each one missed adds 1 to 3 seconds depending on the difficulty you’re playing on (Novice, Pro, an Expert). This game mode can prove to be quite challenging when you get up into pro and expert difficulties.
Gauntlet is a simple race against the clock with a twist. All throughout the map are explosive red barrels and if your boat hits these barrels it will immediately explode and you will have to restart and lose a few seconds. This is also a fight against the clock and it is just you on the course. Your finish depends on the time you cross the finish line.
Tournament takes all three of the other game modes and puts them in a tournament type setting by mixing different maps and game types. It is played and your final place is determined at the end by how many credits you have.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane provides a great game play experience. In order to unlock all the maps, modes, and boats it could take you about seven hours. It might take even longer to finish first in each game mode is another story. Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a great game and a good value from Xbox Live Arcade. It features great game play, amazing multiplayer options and plenty of replay ability.
Final Rating: 8/10