We all miss those good old days when arcades where the place to go. With home consoles back then barely featuring a few dots running around the screens, the bigger and more powerful arcade machines were what gaming was all about. In the 90s consoles started to gain momentum and a few years later arcades were forgotten machines collecting dust. Hydro Thunder was a very exciting arcade game that I personally was thrilled with back in the days. When the Sega Dreamcast needed a racing game to compete, the series came with amazing graphics and awesome tracks to represent. Now years later, the series is back for more on the XBLA; how good did this title turn out to be? Read on.
The crazy looking boats are back and so are the tracks. The thing about this game is that it is in a way relaxing. You will sit down and enjoy all what is happening around you, try to find shortcuts and boosts and you will most likely finish first either way. The way the tracks were created was to look good and be exciting. For an XBLA game the graphics are decent and will manage to grab your attention for a while. The level of excitement generated from what is going on around you will fully depend on how old you are. The few Viking ships and dragons trying to cut your race short shouldn’t be that exciting for some one who has finished games like Halo and Kill Zone for example. Some of the tracks simply lack details and the interesting stuff like dragons popping up are not as pretty or interesting as it sounds.
The load times in the game were a bit frustrating. And the fact that we sometimes played the same track over and over again did not help much either. The game comes with a several game types to choose from. You either have to race others, collect checkpoints, or all of the above in a tournament like event. That seems to be a long list of things to do in an XBLA title, but do not let the list fool you. The races are nearly identical with nothing separating one mode from another. And we were a bit disappointed with that, as we actually expected a few different modes to really help this game shine.
Controlling the boats is a bit frustrating too. The game seem to have ignored the laws of physics as at times you feel like you are just shifting from one side to another rather than riding a wave. This was a massive disappointment for this game, since the controls were a lot more efficient and interesting in older titles in the series. Trying to look for support from the sound department will not help either. The sound effects are as lackluster as it gets. The comments you get while racing are also very annoying and we do recommend you play your own music in the background rather then listen to your partner on the boat telling you what you just did over and over again.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane was a title we were really looking forward to in this summer’s XBLA lineup of games. Sadly and due to a number of shortcomings we were not able to enjoy this one to the max. Fans of the series are better off dusting their old Dreamcast and enjoying another run at the retro titles in the series. The new XBLA title is just not worth to be named along the other titles in this series.