November 30, 1999

Hydro Thunder - Review

Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating RRP
VMU Game Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border
NoEasy8 BlocksYesNoNone

Midway have been the surprise developer on the Dreamcast. With titles such as Ready 2 Rumble, NFL Blitz 2000 and NBA Showtime they have once again shown just how important they can be to a new system, especailly after a few years of average games. Another of their Dreamcast launch titles is Hydro Thunder which is a conversion of their arcade boat racing game.

Hydro Thunder is a no frills conversion of the arcade game. Midway handed over development of the title to Eurocom who have done a great job of replicating the arcade game. The variety of boats and tracks is astounding with 13 of each available throughout the game. One minute you will be racing through the icy waters of the arctic, the next through hidden passageways in Egypt.

Upon first starting the game you are restricted to only 3 boats and 3 tracks. Thankfully, new stages can be unlocked by finishing in the top 3 in each of the races in the lower class. This is especially tricky in the later stages where the computer boats are quite hard to pass. The variety of boats to race in is quite good with normal speed boats as well as other unusual craft such as the Tiny Titanic, hovercraft or the police gun boat.

It's a shame that the developers of the game, Eurocom, didn't include some sort of championship mode as it would have added to the titles longevity immensly. Having to play the game one race at a time soon becomes tiresome although as previously mentioned the tracks are definately varied and interesting.

One of the best features of Hydro Thunder is the graphics. Each track has a very different look to them with a great variety in the location of each race. From dark caves, to icy waterways and the canals of Venice you'll probably end up hitting a few walls while admiring the scenery. Hydro Thunder does suffer from some slow down, especially in 2 player mode, although it isn't enough to distract from the gameplay.

Like several other Midway games such as NBA Showtime there is an auto catch-up feature in the game without an option to disable it. This means that no matter how many turbo's and how far ahead you get it usually isn't long before the opposition catches up to you. It would be nice if developers realise that it can be fun to totally defeat your opponent and lap them if you are good enough.

Don't get me wrong, Hydro Thunder is a very good racing game which is ultimately let down by a lack of extras. Without a championship mode of some kind, this racing game looks a little rushed and under developed. This game is arcade perfect conversion and if buy Hydro Thunder expecting an arcade experience you won't be disappointed.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall