Review: Hydro Thunder: Hurricane Tempest Pack (DLC)

November 23, 2010, Author: Phil Ubee

Back in July I was fortunate enough to get a review copy of Vector Unit’s XBLA racer Hydro Thunder: Hurricane, and rather liked it, so when I returned from a recent holiday to see the Tempest Back DLC waiting on my TIMJ desk I was more than a touch happy. Available now at a mere 400MP I have again taken to the water to see just what the DLC has to offer and, more importantly, if you should be buying it.

The tempest pack offers players three new tracks with respective Race, Gauntlet and Ring Master events along with two new expert boats. In addition to this you get five of your old favourite boats with an expert level up, new skins for all the old vehicles and three all new championships to compete in. Not bad for what amounts to just £3.50!

The tracks in question are Atlantis, Castle Von Boom and Bermuda Triangle. Atlantis is played out in the backdrop of, well, Atlantis I guess. There are plenty of ancient ruinous buildings that offer up some sneaky shortcuts if you’re quick enough to spot them. Some of the corners are quite tight but it’s a good course that follows on from the main game well.

Castle Von Boom is almost the polar opposite of Atlantis. This is more or less a straight line that you race up and down. This leads to some pretty mad moments with you ducking in and out of a stream of oncoming traffic, all the while cannons are going off around you and worryingly placed explosive barrels end up in the water just in case you thought it was a bit too easy. The trick is literally to go straight down the middle through the castle, but good luck with that!

The third of the courses is an absolute revelation. The Bermuda Triangle makes Area 51 look like an Indy car circuit! The first part of the race appears to be normal enough as you hurtle across the water navigating around a few rocks and the odd ship. Then the storms come, double the velocity of the “Storming Asgard” course, throwing you literally across the screen. You then come up to an oil rig, disappear down a hole and reappear in a fairly tranquil (by comparison) stretch of water. After jumping off a few cliffs you go through a tunnel and then warp into calm waters for the finish that sees you going over another boat; absolutely mental. It took me six or seven goes just to work out where I was going, suffice to say that finding the hidden packages here will be a challenge and it makes for an excellent online circuit.

What... the... hell...

The two new boats are slightly less impressive. Whiplash handles better than Psyclone, which has a far better straight line speed but in truth neither is much of an improvement on the previous expert boats. In order to open the new championships you will need to master the new courses with the new boats as Lap It Up is unlocked by earning Gold in Race mode on Castle Von Boom with Psyclone and Mad Dash requires a race gold on Bermuda Triangle with Whiplash. If you manage to unlock them both you will then also unlock the final championship Tempest.

At the time of writing I have only managed to unlock the Mad Dash Championship which has six point-to-point events to compete in. These do include races, gauntlets and ring master events though and if I tell you that it’s tough I’d be doing it a disservice.

Ye olde boat racing...

One other thing to mention is that Vector Units have also made a free Multiplayer version of the Tempest Pack available. This enables you to join in races on the Tempest Pack tracks via Xbox Live so you don’t feel left out. Personally I think this is a really nice touch as it gives players an opportunity to experience some of what the DLC has to offer before they fork out the Microsoft Points for the purchase.

Having said that, three massively diverse and challenging tracks, two brand new boats plus upgrades of all your old favourites, gauntlet and ring master events for all the new tracks and three new championships make this an absolute must buy for anyone with Hydro Thunder: Hurricane and if you haven’t got the full game yet, read my review and ask yourself, why not?


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