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All thunder, no trousers
The original arcade version of Hydro Thunder is a pure piece of racing heaven. It's like an updated version of classic racers such as Outrun and Power Drift, but set on water, a bit like Off Shore Warrior but without the guns and in its original form it's nothing less than full-on pumping entertainment. In many ways, this is a faithful conversion but in transferring over to home computers, someone forgot to add in any meaningful extras and while this might be okay in the arcades, the lack of extra content makes this less appealing. There's nothing whatsoever in terms of story here, and instead the player is simply a choice from a few hi-tech and very flashy looking boats, and then thrown out onto the water in a series of ever more exciting races. The levels are diverse and see you visiting Greece, the Far East and the Antarctic, with no bigger goal than beating your opposition across the finishing line. There are a few powerups like nitros, but apart from this, Hydro Thunder is a simple, old-school racing game dressed up with some modern flash. When you first start playing, there's no denying the sense of fun that comes from this game. It's a very faithful port of the arcade experience, and the tracks all seem to be intact and presented in detailed and eye catching fashion. The tracks are heaps of fun to race around, and there's a good sense of speed here. However, when you delve into things a bit more, you'll find a distinct lack of options and modes, with the biggest omission being multi-player, which feels almost criminal. For a straightforward racing game, this is fine, but it lacks the long-term appeal to make it a home classic.