Hydro Thunder is a racing game develop by Eurocom and publish by Midway. It was released for the arcades, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and PlayStation; the game was a launch title for the Dreamcast then later released in 2000 for the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. Hydro Thunder is also a part of Midway's "Thunder" franchise that includes: Offroad Thunder, Arctic Thunder, and 4 Wheel Thunder.
Hydro Thunder follows the same format as many other racers. The player picks a powerboat to race on one of thirteen tracks. The game contains destroyed cities ancient ruins to race on, and all backed up with a orchestral musical score. The levels and boats are broken down into three difficulties: easy, medium, and hard; bonus levels and boats are available once the first nine levels are beaten.
Boosting fuel will be laid out throughout the track. A meter will indicate how long the player can boost. The boosting will let the player boost for a certain amount of time. There are two version of the boost, the blue boost will add four seconds to the boosting meter; while the red boost will add twelve seconds.
Another technique known as the "hydro jump," it can be use if the player has some boosting fuel. The way it works is the player hits the brake then lets go and hit boost; that will allow the player to jump and reach short-cuts and extra boost that are suspending up in the air.
Thunder Park - "A traditional H.T.R.A circuit track. On a sunny day Thunder Park offers a competition-style hydroplane raceway loop. Try to find the hidden 9 second boost on this track."
Lost Island - "Located somewhere in the South Pacific, the Lost Island track offers a fast-paced trek through a volcanic island. Lush greenery, native villages, ancient ruins and numerous secrets await you!"
Arctic Circle - "Gigantic ice formations and a variety of wildlife line this unique track. The race starts near a fishing village high above sea level, continues in a river that winds its way down a glacier, through water-carved ice tunnels until finally dropping you to the ocean for the remainder of the race."
Greek Isles - "The Greek Isles water tracks winds through both modern towns and ancient ruins, providing one of the most visually stunning tracks available. This is a bright and challenging track, highlighted by a downhill sliding finish."
Lake Powell - "Lake Powell, located in Utah, is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. With its gigantic narrow canyon walls, 1000-year-old Anasazi ruins and smooth water. It is the perfect place for a high-speed super-boat race. Unfortunately, the Utah state police don't agree."
The Far East -
"The Far East track, located on a river deep in the misty mountains of China, offers a unique blend of challenging river racing and beautiful scenery. The river drops from the mountains into small villages, ancient brick canals and even through palace motes."
Ship Graveyard - "This deserted atoll was once a productive military shipyard. Now, endless numbers forgotten, decrepit naval ships line the coast as far the eyes can see, forming a maze-like water raceway in and out of hollow steel hulls. Rough waves, shark-infested waters, stormy weather and the military police all await you!"
Venice Canals - "Ah, Venice. One thinks of lovers, romance and of course the ear-piercing roar of sixteen super-boat motors tearing through the moonlight canals! With its extremely sharps turns that never let up, Venice Canals is arguably the most difficult track in Hydro Thunder."
New York Disaster - "A giant meteor has destroyed the Big-Apple and flooded its once crowed streets. Sounds like a fun race, huh? Tear through the remains of the late city, avoiding the N.Y.P.D and the countless submerged vehicles along the way, until you come crashing down to a tragic finished."
Nile Adventure - "Race through ancient pyramids and narrow waterways. This track features danger at every sharp turn. The longest track in Hydro Thunder, Nile Adventure is also perhaps the hardest."
Hydro Speedway - "Set at night, Hydro Speedway is the second bonus circuit track in the game.With fast-pace excitement and boost icons at every turn; Hydro Thunder will test even the best racer."
Catacomb - "Go full throttle through a mysterious cavern filled with crashed, sharp rocks and of course, the competition. Turn and hydro jump your way to victory, if you can."
Castle Von Dandy - "Journey to Scotland and take a watery romp through an abandon castle. Steer around the moat and ancient graveyard to victory."
Damn The Torpedoes - "Damn The Torpedoes is a good introductory boat for racing. Although it is slower than most boats in speed and Mighty Hull activation time, it is the ideal for beginning racer."
"Very stable and not susceptible to being knocked around by other boats, Midway is another good choice for the beginning racer. Midway's weaknesses are its slow booster and Mighty Hull activation times."
Miss Behave - "Able to slice the water for better turning. Miss Behave is one of the smallest boats in the H.T.R.A lineup. The boosters are slightly under-powered but Miss Behave's real strength lies in her ability to glide while in the air. With parts salvaged from a World War II aircraft, Miss Behave is the "flyer" of the beginning boats."
Banshee - "Once a standard hydroplane, Banshee was altered for H.T.R.A racing. Banshee is lightweight and easily knocked around by other boats, but once you've mastered unique handling of the boat you may never choose another boat again!"
Tidal Blade - "Tidal Blade's sleek, dragster like hull design allows it to slice through any water condition. When you have activated your Mighty Hull feature, use Tidal Blade's long bow to knock the competition out of the water. At times, if Tidal Blade gets bumped it can be hard to control and keep stable."
Thresher - "Known as the " caddy" of the H.T.R.A lineup, Thresher is the easiest boat to control. Big and heavy, the boat is well balanced and is easy to steer. Although it has a fairly slow Mighty Hull activation time, Thresher secret weapon is its ability to knock opponents around by using its heavy frame."
Cutthroat - "Lightweight and as close to a military jet fighter as you can get, Cutthroat is one of the best boats in the H.T.R.A lineup. Heavily altered and using "borrowed" military hardware, Cutthroat can soar off of H.T.R.A ramps or other objects for great distances. Use this to your advantage. Even though it has an extremely fast Mighty Hull activation time, it is very light and easily tossed around by other boats."
Rad Hazard - "Created with scrap parts found outside U.S Government Area 51 property, Rad Hazard is recommended for the most experienced racers. Use the boosters to help you take corners better. The fast Mighty Hull activation time helps to keep the competition away. Fast and powerful, Rad Hazard is a boat to reckoned with."
Razorback - "The most difficult boat to control in the H.T.R.A lineup! Once thought of as a total design failure, Razorback was forgotten until an H.T.R.A member learned the secret to mastering this fast and furious boat! With speed and Mighty Hull activation time like no other, Razorback is recommended for only the most experienced racers!"
The bonus boat are unlocked once the player beats the first nine levels of the game. The bonus boats include the following:
- Armed Response
A sequel to Hydro Thunder was supposedly in the works at one point, but was later cancelled. In 2009, Raw Thrills, which contains developers of the original game, announced a spiritual successor to Hydro Thunder; known as H2Overdrive. Other than the spiritual successor, an actual sequel was announced by previously unknown developer Vector Unit in March 2010, under the name Hydro Thunder: Hurricane, on Xbox Live Arcade