View Full Version : spiritual sequel to one of the best 3DFX-powered arcade games: Hydro Thunder

01-23-09, 12:46 PM
The original Hydro Thunder arcade game running on Midway's Quick Silver II Hardware (http://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=620) was one of the best games made using 3DFX graphics technology.

Now the team that made Hydro Thunder is working on a spiritual sequel.


Arcade Heroes is reporting today that the team behind the original Hydro Thunder is developing a spiritual sequel to the Midway arcade classic, set to debut at next week's in London.

Arcade game manufacturer Raw Thrills is set to reveal H2Overdrive, a powerboat racing game developed by the original Hydro Thunder team, creators of the best arcade racing game of all time. After two poorly received spin-offs, Arctic Thunder and Off-Road Thunder, Midway allegedly canceled the true sequel to Hydro Thunder in a moment of infinite evilness.

Details are scant, but to hear Raw Thrills tell it, H2Overdrive looks "amazing." Hopefully, that means "actually amazing" and not just "amazing in comparison is Raw Thrills' other games, like Target: Terror." Please be good. Please be good. Please be good.

Update: IT LOOKS GOOD. Arcade Heroes has first screens, just one of which we've yoinked.





Raw Thrills’ has revealed to us a brand new racing game that will be shown at ATEI next week that is tentatively called “H2Overdrive” (which is not based upon the PS2 game of the same name). In news that should be music to the ears of Hydro Thunder fans, Raw Thrills’ has brought together the original team that created Hydro Thunder to give us this new game, which will feature many of the things players loved about that game (such as the huge drops and many shortcuts) but add some new aspects to it as well (which they couldn’t say much about at this time).

The cabinet to be shown features a 42″ LCD HD screen, pulsing LED lights and the game itself looks “amazing”. We’ll have more on this when ATEI rolls around in a few days!

UPDATE: We just received the first screenshots of H2Overdrive from Raw Thrills’. Many thanks to them for sending us these pics. Now just imagine the game running at 60 fps on a 42″ screen and we have a good idea of what it will look like in person ;)

UPDATE #2: I asked Andrew Eloff at Raw Thrills’ about the throttle control on H2Overdrive and he has confirmed that the new games does indeed use the Hydro Throttle like what was used in the original game but it has been “upgraded to be more reliable PLUS with cool new features!”. He also tells us that “The whole cabinet is a radical departure from the original Hydro…This cabinet is brand new from the ground up.”

More reason to rejoice!


01-23-09, 02:26 PM
hydrothunder was an incredibly fun game, but is this going to be in arcades only? also hydrothunder was the 2nd best arcade racing game, sanfrancisco rush was the best.

01-23-09, 03:35 PM



1UP.com PREVIEW (http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3172445)

We go hands-on and deliver the first video footage of this spiritual successor to Hydro Thunder, from part of the team that made the original game.
By Matt Leone 01/23/2009

If you ask my coworkers, they'll tell you I spend a bit too much of my time tracking developers. The theory, as it goes in my head, is that people who have made games I've liked in the past will probably do so again, so when I heard from an arcade operator friend back in mid-2007 that Steve Ranck had started up a new development studio, I did a double take.

Ranck isn't a household name in the game industry, but his track record holds up better than most. For the purposes of this story -- oh yeah, this is supposed to be a preview of the new arcade boat racing game H2Overdrive; I'll get to that soon, promise -- the most relevant game he's worked is the much beloved Hydro Thunder, which he headed up at Midway San Diego approximately 10 years ago. Following that, he formed Swingin' Ape Studios, which produced the excellent shooter Metal Arms before getting bought by Blizzard to take over development on StarCraft Ghost.

Long story short, Blizzard cancelled Ghost, Ranck left, and then Eugene Jarvis (best known for classic games like Robotron and Defender, and current proprietor of arcade publisher/developer Raw Thrills) convinced him to form a company to make arcade games for Raw Thrills. Enter new developer Specular Interactive and H2Overdrive.

Before Midway closed their arcade division, Ranck and co. were actually working on an official "Hydro Thunder 2" that never made it very far in development. Apparently the name is deceiving, however, as Ranck describes it as "kind of an expansion pack." He elaborates: "We were just gonna add some tracks, beef up the boats, add a new set of boats, and things like that."

"[Jarvis] has figured it out where nobody else has," says Ranck. "Nobody's selling coin-op these days except for Eugene, and he's selling a lot of them. So he called me up, and he said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Not a whole lot -- just hanging out here, writing some technology.' And he said, 'I have a project to talk to you about.' So I flew back to Chicago and saw his operation there. He said he's been really successful with what he's done, but he's getting a lot of requests from arcade operators for another boat racing game..."

In everything except the name, H2Overdrive is a sequel to Hydro Thunder. It's still all about boat racing, with a throttle to the right of the steering wheel, no pedals, gameplay focused on collecting boost power-ups, crazy jumps and courses, etc. -- even about half of the team at Specular worked with Ranck on the original back at Midway. When you sit down and play the game, you feel like you're playing Hydro Thunder brought up-to-date. I didn't have to think twice about picking up blue and red power-ups to gain boost power, holding down the button on the throttle to zoom forward, or aiming for ramps whenever possible.

That "up-to-date" part means you'll see plenty of new water physics effects, debris in the middle of courses that you can try to avoid or ram out of the way, and elaborate backgrounds that seem to be going for a Disneyland-style aesthetic. Compared to other games published by Raw Thrills, this is a big step forward visually. "Nobody's really seen a next-gen quality game in arcades for quite a while," says Ranck. If you slow down too much or look closely at a few of the screenshots, you can spot certain textures that prevent the game from competing evenly with top tier console driving games like MotorStorm, but that's not really a fair comparison given the budget allotted to new arcade games these days. A better match would be to think of it as Hydro Thunder HD, along the lines of what Sony did with WipeOut HD. And to keep that comparison going, the game will run at a consistent 60 frames-per-second, which helps a lot in making it look good.

H2Overdrive also adds a few gameplay features to the Hydro Thunder formula -- most notably, an upgrade system that allows players to take their boats from Level 1 to Level 40, earning new abilities along the way. Each time you race, you earn a certain number of "props" (usually over 100), and for every 100 props received, you move your boat of choice up one level. When you hit Level 2, you get the Superboost upgrade that lets you track down gold power-ups for double the speed of your typical boosts. Later on, you earn the ability to perform stunts in midair (which you control by moving the throttle back and forth quickly) along the lines of something you'd find in a Tony Hawk game.

If the name H2Overdrive sounds familiar, you're not crazy. It turns out Crave had a console game in development under that game awhile back. "It was cancelled and their trademark lapsed so we jumped on it," says Ranck, noting "this game has nothing to do with that." Click the image above to check out 20 H2Overdrive screens.

Much like some Atari arcade games towards the end of their run, each arcade cabinet will feature a phone keypad password entry system so you can store data for each of your boats. And though none of this will be customizable -- my Level 40 boat will look just like your Level 40 boat -- Ranck promises additional unlockables in the game outside of the level-up structure. I spotted one hidden shortcut when playing, so we can at least count on those.

Another bonus over Hydro Thunder is that H2Overdrive will support eight players at once. It'll probably be tough to find that many cabinets linked together outside of a tradeshow or the world's biggest Dave & Busters, but it's a nice bump up should any arcade be willing to take the plunge once the game starts hitting arcades in April.

If you happen to live in London, you'll be able to get a taste of the game when it makes its official public debut at the ATEI convention next week, which is appropriate since Hydro Thunder debuted at that same show exactly 10 years ago. Seems a bit too coincidental with all the other connections between the two games, no?

01-23-09, 05:22 PM
**** me those videos are awesome. id buy this for pc instantly

01-23-09, 06:22 PM
Looks fun but I wouldn't say it looks amazing. The ship models are very well done but I think the water effects are alittle on the low end for this generation.

01-23-09, 06:38 PM
have u ever played hydrothunder? we arent excited for the water

01-23-09, 06:41 PM
Hydro Thunder for its time had great water simulation... thats what made it half the fun during the races because you had to fight the current and the waves as your battling your opponents.

01-23-09, 07:24 PM
The graphics pretty much look like they're on the high-end of last generation, like original Xbox or NV25/GeForce4 Ti level (although at a higher res) which is still a generation ahead of the original Hydro Thunder, which ran on a 3DFX Obsidian card the equivalent of a Banshee. The framerate being 60fps is really nice.

01-23-09, 07:31 PM
Hydro Thunder for its time had great water simulation... thats what made it half the fun during the races because you had to fight the current and the waves as your battling your opponents.

im excited because hydrothunder is more fun than any racer ever relleased on the pc

01-23-09, 11:16 PM
im excited because hydrothunder is more fun than any racer ever relleased on the pc

Yup and it was its best on the Dreamcast. ;)

01-24-09, 09:27 AM
I'd say Hydro Thunder was at its best in the arcade, not Dreamcast. Although the arcade game ran on Midway's Quick Silver II Hardware with an Intel Celeron 333/366 MHz and a 3DFX Quantum Obsidian card equivalent of a Banshee, which was overall less powerful than Dreamcast in both CPU and GPU performance, the Dreamcast version was still, for whatever reason, downgraded. The water had considerably fewer polys. It was a good port but not arcade perfect. I'd take the arcade version over the Dreamcast port anyday, even if just to get to use the arcade machine's controls.

01-24-09, 09:30 AM
I loved all the Thunder series and wish I could have them on the 360 and play with the wireless wheel.