Xbox LIVE Summer of Arcade Review: Hydro Thunder Hurricane


It’s been ten years since Midway’s powerboat racer, “Hydro Thunder,” became a staple in arcades all across the world, and if you’ve been inside a Dave & Buster’s since then, you’ll find that it’s just as popular as ever. This undoubtedly played a major role in Microsoft’s decision to develop a sequel for Xbox LIVE Arcade, but while “Hydro Thunder Hurricane” is definitely similar in spirit, it loses some of its appeal with a regular controller. The game still consists of racing, boosting and jumping your way through a series of themed water courses while riding tricked-out powerboats, but since that alone isn’t worth the $15 price tag, the game has been outfitted with a few extra modes.

Along with the basic Race option, there’s also a frustrating slalom mode (Ring Master), a time trial mode littered with exploding barrels (Gauntlet), and multi-event tournaments combining all three. Additionally, you can play with up to four players locally or eight players online, and there’s even a multiplayer-only event called Rubber Ducky that pits two teams against one another in a race to push their rubber duck across the finish line first. Though the single-player mode offers enough to keep you busy for an afternoon or two, it’s in multiplayer where the game really shines. Not only do the races feel faster, but you can also rack up points (used to unlock new tracks, difficulties, boats and skins) a heck of a lot easier. It’s still not an incredibly deep racer, but you get what you pay for.

Want more Summer of Arcade? Be sure to come back every Wednesday through August 18th for a first-hand look at Microsoft’s newest XBLA exclusive. Next week: break out your whip, stakes and holy water when Dracula returns in Konami’s “Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.”


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