www.nintendo.com – Nintendo 64:
Famous for outrageous arcade action in games like NFL Blitz and San Francisco Rush, Midway continues to over-indulge extreme sports fans with Hydro Thunder. Originally an arcade mega-hit, Hydro Thunder has faithfully been translated to Nintendo 64 by the experienced craftsmen at Eurocom Entertainment Ltd.
HTRA boat racing events are always invitation-only, and always deliciously illegal. You won't find any fans cheering for you, because HTRA drivers are required to keep the location and time of every race completely confidential. This allows for the absurdly unsafe racing conditions which the HTRA thrives on.
Hydro Thunder tests your marine navigation skills on 13 courses, with 13 tweaked-out cruisers to choose from. Like Cruis'n USA, you have to prove yourself in competition to unlock new boats and waterways.
With Hydro Thunder, Midway has thrown realism overboard and opted instead to embrace utter chaos. Course design is impressively creative. Each course contains a boatload of visual distractions, like dancing dragons in the Far East, killer whales in the Arctic Circle, and Icarus himself in the Greek Isles. Since the races are officially against the law, you're buzzed by the fuzz and forced to dodge civilian cruisers throughout every event.
Thanks to HTRA ramps and the natural lie of the land, your boat spends about as much time in the air as it does on the water. Power-ups are bobbing everywhere, which provide fuel for your machine's mechanized Booster Tanks. To finish in first, you have to take advantage of hidden shortcuts and nab every Boost power-up you can scrape your hull over.
The graphics in Hydro Thunder can't compete with the arcade version, but the basic artistic design of the backgrounds is outstanding. Every course features multiple styles, colors and special features designed to draw the attention of your eyeballs. Special water effects are a bit disappointing, particularly the spray which appears too flat and stiff. However, polished boats and well-marked corners are a plus.
Featuring a fantasy physics system and a three-button Controller configuration, Hydro Thunder is incredibly easy to learn how to play. Play control is suitably loose for boat racing, but the water conditions don't change enough to produce a realistic sensation of speeding over liquid.
Midway, though, could care less about realism. Hydro Thunder is an arcade game, after all, and the play control is perfectly suited for its genre. Even though it's easy to get the hang of driving the boats, crafty course design and competitive artificial intelligence ensure that you'll be practicing for a long while before you master every course.
Hydro Thunder supports four-player racing action, but the N64 Expansion Pak is required for three- or four-player races. The first ever HTRA-sponsored event on Nintendo 64 is scheduled to take place in March, so throw your life jacket to the sharks and try to get a decent life insurance policy while you still can.
Contributed by Evil Ryu (49843) on May 13, 2005.
You've been racing boats for years and you're an expert on all things nautical. There isn't an event you haven't raced in and there isn't a race you haven't won. Where's the challenge now?
When that momentous challenge comes, it simply drops through the letterbox. No fanfare, flashing lights or chorus of dancing girls but the invitation is intriguing enough. It simply reads 'You have been chosen as a permanent member of the Hydro Thunder Racing Association' and includes a map and date to the next meeting. You've been admitted to the most secretive and prestigious racing organisation in the world!
Ready yourself for the incredible power and pace of Hydro Thunder. Choose from 9 of the finest and fastest boats ever created, earning the right to use secret bonus crafts along the way, and race circuits around the world in 1 or 2 player modes.
Hydro Thunder. It's no pleasure cruise!
Contributed by Grant McLellan (546) on Sep 12, 2001.