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Get that Powerup!!

Hydro Thunder is an arcade game from Midway that was created in 1999, right around the end of the arcade era. It's a simple arcade racing game in which you pilot a selection of high-speed racing boats in some 9 (plus 4 bonus) locations, often in a place that isn't suitable for such boats to be racing at, and in some cases, the government of where ever you'd be racing at would chase you down for a bit, and you'll be bound to crash into many a passerby, as well as to perform some insane stunts over buildings, rock formations, and who knows what else. The game was controlled by a steering wheel and a cool boat throttle with a boost button to increase the speed.

It has both the standard arcade port and set of console ports for the Nintendo 64, PSX, Dreamcast, and in the Midway Arcade Treasures 3 Compilation Rerelease, in which the consoles were probably far better a chance to get to race on the bonus tracks, since most races are challenging to complete. One of the few games to actually not suffer from Porting Disaster in console format, although the boat throttle obviously didn't make the translation.

A direct sequel called Hydro Thunder Hurricane was released in July 2010 for the Xbox Live Arcade. Hurricane was developed by Vector Unit, a new dev team formed by two people who worked on the "Twisted Metal in the water" game Blood Wake. Meanwhile, the arcades got a Spiritual Successor called H 2 Overdrive courtesy of Raw Thrills and Specular Interactive, which just happens to largely be the original Hydro Thunder development team.


This Game Provides Examples of:

  "Hey, you found a secret!"

    • When selecting a Hard Course:

  "EXPERTS ONLY!"

    • Likewise, when selecting a Hard Craft:

  "YOU'RE CRAZY!"

    • If you listen closely whenever police craft show up to join the race, they'll be barking orders at you.
  • Area 51: Where one race in Hurricane takes place, complete with a warp to an alien world and back.
  • Big Applesauce: Sort of, considering the place is flooded after a meteorite struck it.
    • Oddly, there's one part of the stage where you're clearly racing through a badly beaten World Trade Center.
  • City of Canals: You get to race in VENICE.
  • Cool Boat: Pretty much all of them, but Cut-throat (a boat with a skull on it that has glowing eyes), Rad Hazard (a boat built from alien tech from Area 51), and Razorback qualify the most.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Especially the arcade version.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Ship Graveyard.
  • ET Gave Us Wi Fi: The Rad Hazard boat seems to embody this trope, having been made from a crashed UFO.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Not all that unusual for an Midway sports game but Nile Adventure is something else.
    • In Hurricane one level has giant dinosaurs, another warps you to an alien world and back, and another ends with a Norse god pounding the water, making it extremely choppy.
  • Nintendo Hard: Trying to get first place (or at least hold a second or third place) position against the computer is pretty dang hard... even on the Easy Levels.
  • Nitro Boost: Not just any normal old go faster button. When you get boost fuel, your boost modules deploy, and at the press of a button, you rocket forward with extreme awesomeness! For example, Midway drops an extra pair of big block outboard motors ready for you to shoot the juice with, Miss Behave deploys a Massive Jet Engine for some afterburner delight, and the alien ship hits the micro warp drive!
  • Recycled in Space: The two sequels, Off-Road Thunder (Hydro Thunder WITH TRUCKS!) and Artic Thunder (Hydro Thunder with SNOWMOBILES!)
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Smashing into some of the objects reveals boost powerups.
  • Rule of Cool: Pretty much the whole point of the game, and Lake Powell, Ship Graveyard, and New York City Disaster seem to be pretty big candidates for this.
    • Don't forget the boost modes on all the boats. A hydro that boosts by firing up a jet engine is totally Badass!
  • Serious Business: If the fact that the HTRA will go out of their way to break the law and race in restricted areas like a ship graveyard or race during a catastrophic disaster in a major city isn't serious business in the boat racing crowd, then what else?
  • Spiritual Successor: H20verdrive, from Raw Thrills and developed by Specular Interactive, a new dev studio composed of the members of the orignal Hydro Thunder devteam.
    • About a year or so after H2Overdrive hit arcades, Microsoft announced that they leased the Hydro Thunder IP from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (who purchased the Midway back catalog following Midway's 2009 bankruptcy) and made a true sequel for Xbox Live Arcade. Everybody, say hello to Hydro Thunder Hurricane!
  • Title Scream: HYDROOOO THUNDER!
  • Wacky Racing: Flying into alien worlds and the stomachs of giant mythological snakes, power ups, ramps, and all sorts of weird things exist that almost never are used in real high-speed boat racing.
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