As the plot goes, you have your own boat. You've completely drained you bank account and spent endless months building it out of state-of-the-art racing materials. From the insides out, you have a built a monster of a boat. From the tuned specialised motors to the refined hull shape. This boat has been built to sheer perfection, which has enabled you to win more races than you can count. You're at the top of the international boat racing game, and you're screaming for a challenge - nobody even begins to come close to you. Then one day you get the challenge you have been waiting for. A sealed envelope arrives for you with no return address on it and only the words Hydro Thunder Racing Association are on the cover of the envelope. Upon opening it you discover a single blue sheet of paper with your name written on it. This letter simply states, "you have been chosen as a permanent member of the H.T.R.A." A map and date accompanied below sate the details for the next secret race! Now, you've certainly heard of the H.T.R.A. There is no signing up with these guys. Nobody even know who they are or on what location they will race at next. But if you are good enough to become one of them, they will know where to find you. These underground racing renegades don't let anything get in their way. If they want to race - they will do it! It's never to dark or no place is ever too sacred. There's never a waterway too dangerous for these guys. They know no rules nor no manners. The Law means nothing. These deadly serious group of racing fanatics will do anything to reach there one ultimate goal: Crossing the finish line first. So, do you think you have what it takes to be the best?
The object of Hydro Thunder couldn't be easier (in theory)! All you need to do is cross the finish line in a winning position, collecting the BOOST icons as you go. The boost icons are scattered throughout the entire game. Sometimes in easily accessible places. And other times, not as easy. There are even some located in various hidden shortcuts. Upon the starting of Hydro Thunder. Upon starting Hydro Thunder, you'll only have access to three tracks and three boats. Both the track and the boats are designed as easy. If you complete the easy races and place at least 3rd, you'll gain access to the medium division in which there are different tracks and boats. In this setting you need to place at least second in order to qualify to the hard tracks and boats. You need to come first place to access the bonus tracks and boats in which there are four each to choose from. I would really recommend mastering the other tracks before trying the hard setting because it requires a lot of skill.
The Main Menu will allow you to do a number of things. From here you can select from a 1-Player up to a 4-Player game, adjust the Sound Options, view High Scores and even configure your Controller. One good thing about this game is that the control system is nice and simple. Steer, accelerate, brake, boost - easy enough. There are two controller configurations to choose from.
The game is really colourful and bright. The best way to describe it would be to say that it looks a bit like the wave race style! But at the times the graphics do mess up ever so slightly some areas do clip pretty bad as well. The only stupid thing is. The Expansion Pak is only used to allow 3-4 player games. Without it, the maximum is 2 players. As far as I can tell, it doesn't enhance the graphics at all in any way. Hydro Thunder sounds quite good. The boat pilots usually spout off some phrases at key moments. I suppose the pilots shouts are one of my favourite bits in the game. If you're feeling just a bit mad , You could go full-pelt over a ramp and cause a helicopter to crash! I've done it and It's damn funny! Most of the sound fx are ok! The music is well done as but I reckon most of it seems to sound very similar. What varied music there is though. Is quite good and catchy.
I'm not 100% sure about this game. I've got no doubts there's going to be quite a few people out there who like this game! Unfortunately I'm not one of them. I've heard lots of things about the arcade version, and this isn't anything like the stories I've heard (apparently)! There is no real feel for speed in this game. I mean, after all isn't this supposed to be the best boats money can buy? I'm not that convinced. It was ok for a while but it soon lost it's appeal! I've heard that Hydro thunder is on the Dreamcast as well. That version is supposed to be amazing and almost arcade perfect. I can't confirm this but I have it on good information from a member of staff at EB. Looks like if you want Hydro Thunder you might want to keep your options open. After all, I've seen available for the Playstation, Dreamcast and of course the Nintendo 64. The choice is yours!