Hydro Thunder Hurricane Hands-On PreviewBy Andrew Pfister - Posted Mar 31, 2010
We were told in the days leading up to PAX East that we should carve out some time to meet up with the guys at Vector Unit, because they’d be unveiling something we’d definitely want to see. It turns out that “something” was a sequel to 1999’s Hydro Thunder, an arcade boat racing game from Midway. Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a fresh take on the sitdown cabinet-based classic, and I had the opportunity to take a quick lap around one of the game’s 8 environments.
Considering that Vector Unit creative director Matt Small and techincal director Ralf Knoesel are big fans of water-based racing games (Small correctly identified the superior Wave Race title as the original Wave Race 64), they seem to be on the right track. In my quick lap, there was a good balance of “arcadey” qualities like branching paths, jumps, and power-ups, and having to pay attention to competitor-generated wake and wave patterns to keep your racing line true and speed at maximum.
Further hands-on time is required to evaluate the rest of the environments and the game’s many modes (“Gauntlet,” “Ringmaster,” “Championship,” and the team-based “Rubber Ducky” where you’re driving a yellow rubber duck boat), but the trailer embedded above already gives us a good idea of the direction Vector Unit is taking Hurricane. That, and they’re supporting up to 8 players over Xbox Live and 4 players with local splitscreen (hooray for that feature not being completely dead!)…you can even have your local group of 4 take on another group of 4 over Live. Hopefully we’ll get a more thorough examination before the game’s “summer” release window.
So now that we’re getting NBA Jam and Hydro Thunder updates…all we need is a new ridiculous San Francisco Rush to complete the mid/late-90s arcade trifecta.