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Critic Reviews

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The Video Game Critic (May 29, 2011)
With its eye-popping graphics and non-stop action, Hydro Thunder Hurricane has earned the title of "new summer classic."
ZTGameDomain (Jul, 2010)
Everything I loved about Hydro Thunder has returned with Hurricane and more. The fun and addicting gameplay, the huge selection of boats and courses, and the speed all make for a great day of racing. Throw in some new single player and multiplayer modes, Hydro Thunder Hurricane will keep you racing until your fingers fall off.
Gamestyle (Jul, 2010)
Hydro Thunder Hurricane will not be the stand out title of the 'Summer of Arcade', but for fans of the original and newcomers alike, it is a wonderful experience that deserves your attention. At 1200 points it may feel a bit pricey, but with eight race events, twenty-four ring events, eight gauntlet events, ten championships, online multi-player for up to sixteen and local for up to four. It is easy to see there is plenty of value to be had in the game, all wrapped up in an excellent arcade package.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane is absolutely what we hoped it would be - a colourful, anarchic arcade racer. Your mileage will vary depending on how gripped you are by score chasing, but the multiplayer should keep you busy - not least because you can bring three split-screen friends online with you. For a measly tenner, Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a steal.
GameZone (Jul 26, 2010)
On the plus side, Hydro Thunder Hurricane permits players to take three local friends with them online to increase the excitement level of online matches. This tiny addition aids in proving that Vector Unit knew exactly how to produce a stimulating racing experience; an experience that never stops giving, even after hours of play. Hydro Thunder Hurricane is the must-have arcade racer of 2010.
1UP (Jul 26, 2010)
Along with a standard race mode, Hurricane also offers a variant called Ring Master, which involves boating through a predetermined series of rings, and Gauntlet, which ups the challenge by adding an assortment of explosive barrels to avoid. Gauntlet may be a little underwhelming compared to the interesting feedback system of Ring Master -- passing through rings helps you go faster, but going faster makes it harder to pass through rings -- but these new modes add a few new ways to play the already-generous serving of tracks. It's not nearly as robust at what you'd expect from a current-gen racing title, but, at 15 dollars, Hydro Thunder Hurricane's blast of late-arcade-era nostalgia is a perfect match for Xbox Live Arcade.
Planet Xbox 360 (Jul 26, 2010)
Hydro Thunder Hurricane stays true to the original to a fault, all that has been truly updated are the along with the tracks that have been revamped, but keep some of the same themes as the original. The $15 dollar tag keeps Hurricane from being a day one purchase. The multiplayer lacks meat and while the campaign is fun, the fact that shortcuts become the only way of obtaining victory near the end makes some parts of the game frustrating. I definitely suggest vets of the original check out Hurricane as the nostalgia factor paired with the updated visuals make Hurricane a blast to play. While Hydro Thunder Hurricane will most likely be the weakest link in the Summer of Arcade lineup, that doesn’t keep it from being a racer that allows fans of the original to get their feet wet one more time.
Thunderbolt Games (Oct 03, 2010)
Hydro Thunder Hurricane is marred primarily by its own high standards, and as a result it feels less like an XBLA title than a cut down full release; it’s a full game struggling under the shackles of the downloadable medium. What’s here is certainly enjoyable in every respect, but it’s disappointing to see a game unable to fulfil its potential. Yet as a member of a dying breed Hurricane earns the benefit of the doubt for its ambition and polish alone. And with the promise of downloadable tracks and boats coming soon, we can only hope Vector Unit can keep the franchise alive and interesting despite its claustrophobic format.
GameSpot (Jul 27, 2010)
In fact, it's fun to do just about anything in Hydro Thunder Hurricane because everything this game does it does well. The boats look good and handle well, the courses look even better and are a treat to race around, the three different event types are varied enough to keep things interesting, and the frame rate rarely falters--even when there are four of you playing split-screen in the superfast expert boats. You'll definitely get the most out of Hydro Thunder Hurricane if you have friends who are playing the game as well, but even if you're playing solo, there are more than enough events to compete in, hidden packages to find, and additional boat skins to unlock to keep you entertained for many hours.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane is an extremely accessible and entertaining arcade racing game. You're not likely to find a better game involving speedboats than this one.
Edge (Jul 27, 2010)
At its core, though, is Hydro Thunder Hurricane's handling model. Swerving between subtlety and throttle every few seconds, it graces tracks that provide both competitive dashes and full-on fairground rides. All this is wrapped up in a perpetually rewarding structure that keeps these precious elements fresh, making up a comeback that holds its first principles close.
80 (Jul 26, 2010)
1200 Microsoft Points might be seen as a lot by some people, but there's really a lot of content here, all wrapped up in some of the slickest presentation seen in an arcade-style XBLA release. If you want some nostalgia with a modern feel, take Hydro Thunder: Hurricane for a whirl.
GamesRadar (Jul 26, 2010)
Perhaps that is Hydro Thunder Hurricane’s conundrum: it looks like racing junk food, but is in fact totally hardcore. We’re betting many players will give it a whirl and dismiss it as shallow before ever getting to the serious, beautifully crafted design underneath. A co-worker came by while we were playing it, and took one look and said, “Wow, that looks like the year 2000.” When we asserted that the game was, in fact, fantastic, utter disbelief was the response. Like we said before, HT Hurricane shouldn’t be this good. We’re sure glad it smashed our expectations.
Gamer Limit (Jul 26, 2010)
There are few XBLA titles that warrant a $15 price tag. Hydro Thunder Hurricane is one of them.
D+PAD Magazine (Jul 26, 2010)
The overly critical will undoubtedly claim that Hydro Thunder contains too little content to warrant a full recommendation. We, on the other hand, believe such criticism to be largely unfounded given the modest 1200 point price tag, particularly at a time when many retail games sit proudly on store shelves lacking the accessibility, or indeed playability, of what’s on offer here. At under half a gig in size and just over the usual Live Arcade asking price, Vector Unit’s sequel to the original Hydro Thunder stands surprisingly tall against its ground-based competitors. It might not quite be F-Zero on water but what the game does, it does remarkably well; the stages are themed and colourful, the handling is superb and the action can get downright crazy at high speeds. A quality racer that won’t break the budget, we expect Hydro Thunder Hurricane to make waves this summer.
80 (Jul 26, 2010)
Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a game released at the right time. Even though it is stuck with some late '90s design sensibilities, it all works in the context of being a summer Xbox Live arcade game. The action is intense and the game is undeniably fun with unlockables all over the place. Hydro Thunder Hurricane hits the sweet spot that will quench the thirst of arcade racing fans this summer.
79 (Jul 28, 2010)
Nee, gemütliche Rennen sind das nicht: Mit jeder Runde verändert sich die Strecke ein wenig, hier explodiert was, da geht was zu Bruch - oh, eine Abkürzung? Yay! - wenige Meter vor dem Ziel entfesselt sich ein gemeingefährlicher Positionskampf, der mit dem letzten Krümel Boost gerade noch so gewonnen wird - dafür, dass es hier auf dem träge plätschernden Wasser zur Sache geht, geht es aber mächtig zur Sache! Hydro Thunder Hurricane ist Arcade pur, eine Art Split Second auf dem Wasser - und dabei in seinem Kern so wundervoll simpel und fesselnd wie OutRun Online Arcade. Mit dem teilt es sich aber auch seine größte Schwäche: Auf Dauer mangelt es den Rennen, nicht zuletzt aufgrund der wenigen Strecken, einfach an Abwechslung. Als rasanter Pausenfüller ist das Spiel aber fast perfekt: Einfach mal rasen, sonst nichts. Simpel und spaßig.
That Gaming Site (Aug 03, 2010)
This title is just trying to be a fun racer for your summer drought and achieves in being just that. When put under the scruitiny of trying to be something different, it suffers to innovate on all counts save the fact that it does for $15 what most racers do for $60.
GameFocus (Jul 26, 2010)
Hydro Thunder Hurricane shines with its crazy core racing mechanic, but falls short because of a repetitive single player component and meagre list multiplayer options. Paying $15 for what is essentially a throwback title also seems a little steep, given that the game`s design doesn`t push the series much further from where it started in 1999. That aside, it still plays well. I`d recommend Hydro Thunder Hurricane for any diehard fan of the franchise, or someone looking for a fun racing game to play with friends. Meanwhile, those yearning to spend their money on the newest experiences XBLA has to offer might have some better choices.
Game Freaks 365 (Aug 18, 2010)
Vector Unit set out to pay homage to an arcade racing classic and although it doesn’t add anything significantly new to the existing formula, the amount of care that was taken to preserve the original’s appeal is as clear as the water you race on. Complex course designs and a variety of fun modes will warrant plenty of replay value while solid gameplay and excellent wave physics make Hurricane a highly enjoyable racing experience despite its shortcomings. In all, if you own an Xbox 360 and are in need of some old fashioned arcade racing action, by all means, ignore the final score below and add Hydro Thunder Hurricane to your active downloads list immediately.
Gamervision (Jul 27, 2010)
While it might not break the mold or add anything unique to the genre, there's no denying that Vector Unit has created a true sequel to the classic racer, and one that fans of Hydro Thunder should enjoy for years to come. It's hardly one of the best games on the Xbox Live Arcade, but it might be one of the strongest in terms of providing an actual "arcade" experience without the need for quarters.
TotalVideoGames (TVG) (Jul 27, 2010)
Through its many challenges Hyrdo Thunder Hurricane doesn’t exactly keep your attention, but it’s the type of game that you’ll happily tuck away in your collection and probably keep coming back for more. Much of the fun lies with the multiplayer, which thankfully hasn’t been sacrificed. It does the type of things you’d expect from online modes in an Xbox Live title, so once you’ve finished an event it will show your score/time compared to your friends. It’s a small touch, but can create that urge just to try one more attempt to shave that second or two - but it’s certainly no Trials in comparison.
Game Watcher (Jul 27, 2010)
If you’re looking for a fun arcade-style racer that you don’t have to plop a disc into your machine to play, Hydro Thunder Hurricane is definitely a more than worthy candidate.
70 (UK) (Jul 26, 2010)
Indeed, this is a good summary of the wider experience, which asks players to experiment with the tools pressed into their hands, while keeping reminders of your friend's times and scores on screen at all times to focus the mind toward rivalry. The absence of personality and flourish perhaps comes from a general lack of nuance or innovation. But therein lies a reminder that the dumb arcade racer is a cornerstone of the videogame medium. While there's scant cultural prestige to be found in that fact, neither should there be any shame.
Gamereactor (Sweden) (Jul 26, 2010)
Med mer innehåll hade Hydro Thunder Hurricane varit en given hit och självklar köprekommendation. Nu stannar det på att vara ett underhållande racing-spel som definitivt är riktigt kul så länge det varar. Bara det att det inte varar så länge som jag hade hoppats.
MS Xbox World (Jul 27, 2010)
Not much has changed with the gameplay in the 11 years between games, but it does stay true to its arcadey racer roots that provides fun for everyone. The updated graphics look amazing as you race through every track discovering new paths and leaving opponents in your wake. Sound effects are what you'd expect out of the game and the soundtrack flows with the fast pace of the game. It really is a shame the game costs 1200 Microsoft points and only comes with 8 maps, 4 single player game modes, and limited multiplayer options because they could have a lot more downloads if it were priced 400 points cheaper. Fans of the arcade racer will have a blast, but don't expect Hydro Thunder Hurricane to be a game that is routinely played months from now.
RetroManiac (Aug, 2010)
Dejamos para el final lo mejor. ¿Sigue siendo Hydro Thunder tan deliciosamente rabioso y frenético? Sí, sin duda. Te lo pasarás en grande en las carreras de Hurricane descubriendo atajos y ganando las carreras en el último segundo, desbloqueando nuevos niveles o probando los diferentes modos multijugador, en una misma máquina u on-line. Sin duda, una opción más que recomendable este verano para pasar un buen rato sin complicaciones.
Factornews (Jul 28, 2010)
S'il s'avère être plutôt une bonne surprise dans un genre peu représenté sur X360, il est difficile de conseiller Hydro Thunder Hurricane au milieu de toutes ces grosses sorties XBLA. J'ai bien accroché au jeu, mais son prix de 1200 points peut être rédhibitoire pour certains.
IGN (Jul 26, 2010)
Between uninspired references to the original game and its reliance on aged arcade racer elements, Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a dull, monotonous experience that shows its hand early and fails to deliver on its pedigree. In the loaded Summer of Arcade, Hurricane will likely prove to be little more than a tropical depression.