Racing games have really been typical amongst the racing genre. You drive a car, you race 12 other people, and you win first place. Though nowadays, people have been getting more creative like Nintendo and their Mario Kart franchise. Still, nothing was really different until Midway came out with one of the best arcade games ever! This masterpiece of a game is called Hydro Thunder. I am playing and reviewing the Nintendo 64 version since I prefer that version. The only differences between the Dreamcast and Playstation version is that the Dreamcast version is closer to the arcade version, and the Playstation version has a career mode that the other versions didn’t have.
The whole plot of Hydro Thunder is to pick your boat, and race across some very creative and original levels, and, well, get first place. There really doesn’t need to be a plot for racing games, and when they do have a plot, they just take the fun out of playing the game.
The game play is in the form of a racing game, but it’s more like Wave Race 64 than stuff like Mario Kart or Grand Turismo or other racing games in that fashion. You get multiple kinds of boats to use, and you race across some pretty creative tracks. They aren’t F-Zero crazy, but it’s amazing for something as simple as a boat racing game. I also like how all the boats are different and they have a cool design to them. During the game, you can gain speed boosts and it’s not just speed difference, your boat also transforms a little and brings out a stronger engine. You can also glide in the air if you hit a ramp or something. and it’s just fun to race through all the levels.
The graphics are purely awesome. They are fun to look at and most of the versions look the same as the arcade version. The music is also amazing to listen to. It isn’t like F-Zero and I don’t know why I’m comparing this game to that game. I guess I’ve got racing on my mind, but for Hydro Thunder, you get a kind of intense action music you would hear in a James Bond film. The controls are spot on. Though some boats might be trickier to control, it doesn’t mean that the controls are broken. It just shows that specific boat is more challenging. Then again, this was made by Midway before they started to do poorly in the industry.
Now, it is time to talk about the bad parts of the game. Well, there isn’t much to say that is bad about it. One of the few things I don’t like about it is that in the later levels you are forced to find all the boost if you want to get through the race in first. After unlocking everything, there isn’t much else to do. There isn’t a “create your own boat or level” which I find odd since games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater has a “create your own skate park” feature.
This is truly one of the best games of all time, and stands as one of the best racing games ever. I would say go find yourself a copy of this game for whichever console of your choice. I am trying to find one for the N64. Hopefully, the spiritual sequel that is coming will be better, or just as good as Hydro Thunder.
This game gets an 8 out of 10