Hydro Thunder Hurricane
Developer: Vector Unit
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Available For: Xbox Live Arcade
The second of Microsofts Summer of Arcade titles sees an old classic reincarnated. Hydro Thunder was originally an arcade game but soon found itself on the Dreamcast, PSOne and Nintendo 64. Ten years later the series returns with an updated engine, high definition graphics and some very cool water physics.
Visually the game looks very nice, colours are bright and bold and graphics are probably what you would expect from a decent Arcade title without being jaw dropping. The water effects though do look very well. From the wake the boats produce to crashing waves and under water explosions, the water does look and work very well when racing.
The game itself is essentially the same as its predecessor, you are required to race around a water course against opponents whilst trying to pick up as many boosts to give you as much speed as possible. Boosts are strewn around the course for everyone to collect and as the name might suggest, they give a much needed, but brief, boost to your boats speed. A new way however of gaining ground on those in front of you is by trailing them in their wake. Similar to a cars slipstream, a boats wake allows you to move through the water more easily and gain ground quickly.
As well as the standard races there are another couple of modes in the single player mode. Gauntlet pits you and your machine against the clock and a course littered with exploding barrells. Hit a barrell and you will find yourself thrown into the air costing you precious time. This is where choosing the right boat comes in very useful as you have to decide something with more top speed or something with a little more maneuverability.
Ring Master is the other single player mode and will find you hurtling through hoops around the course. The more hoops in a row you get, the more boost you get rewarded. But miss a hoop and a second is added to your time. Leaderboards for both Ring Master and Gauntlet can be viewed at the menu. This way you can check your score against your friends or everyone on Xbox Live.
Going online gives you once again the standard race against a maximum of 8 other Xbox Live gamers but there is also one team mode called Rubber Ducky. The object here is to get your own teams giant Rubber Ducky to the other side before your opponents do. There is also a local multiplayer option allowing up to four players to play splitscreen.
As you go through your single player or online modes you will earn credits and these will allow you to unlock new courses and modes as well as avatar awards and achievements.
When it comes down to it Hydro Thunder Hurricane is fun and exciting racing game to play against friends and other gamers. Like a lot of racing games the single player can become quite tedious but its online where the fun is and playing against a group of friends would be a real blast. If you like your racing games then this is one that would be well worth picking up.