Hydro Thunder Returns With All-New Xbox Live Arcade SequelS

Midway's classic arcade speedboat racer Hydro Thunder is getting a full-fledged sequel with Hydro Thunder Hurricane, exclusively for Xbox Live Arcade, promising all-new, over-the-top rocket powered speedboat action. (Which you can witness in the game's first trailer!)

Hydro Thunder Hurricane will come to XBLA this summer courtesy of Microsoft Game Studios and developer Vector Unit, bringing with it eight new "theme park" levels and new game modes, including Ring Master "a series of slalom-style challenges with progressive difficulties" and the Gauntlet "an explosive new take on time trial."

While the game's watery racetracks may be new, developer Vector Unit will bring back some of the original speedboats, including Razorback, Cutthroat, and Rad Hazard. Hydro Thunder Hurricane will let you take those races online, with support for up to 8-player online multiplayer. If you're an offline kind of guy, Hurricane also supports four player split-screen.

Vector Unit, the creator of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, was founded by ex-EA and ex-Stormfront Studios developers in 2007. Its principals, Ralf Knoesel and Matt Small, both worked on boat-battler Blood Wake among a great number of other games. So... why a sequel?

"We decided to take the ideas that worked from the original, and then start over from scratch," says Vector Unit technical director Ralf Knoesel. "The water physics engine is completely new. Everything affects the racing surface — the boats leave wakes behind them that other boats can jump off or draft in, falling rocks and explosions create huge waves, we've got wave machines, whirlpools, the works."

Hydro Thunder Hurricane will be appearing at PAX East this weekend. But if you can't go, here's the game's first trailer.