Hydro Thunder is a powerboat racing sub-series game, originally an arcade game and later released for the Sega Dreamcast as a launch title in 1999. It was also released for PlayStation and Nintendo 64 in early 2000. This game is part of Midway's 'Thunder' series of racing games, which includes Off road Thunder, 4 Wheel Thunder, and Arctic Thunder. Hydro Thunder Hurricane a sequel to Hydro Thunder was later released for the Xbox 360 on July 27, 2010 on Xbox Live Arcade.
The gameplay of Hydro Thunder consists of racing high-tech speedboats through treacherous environments, from the cold seas of the Arctic Circle, to a post-apocalyptic, flooded version of New York City.
The boats in Hydro Thunder are divided into 4 categories: easy, medium, hard and bonus. The easy boats tend to be easy to control but they do not have the speed of other classes. Medium boats are in the middle, and Hard boats are usually very difficult to control but are very fast. Bonus boats are accessible by entering a combination to access the boat. The tracks in Hydro Thunder like the boats are divided into four classes: easy, medium, hard and bonus. The easy tracks are usually short and easy with the bonus tracks being the longest and hardest. The arcade version of the game had only two bonus tracks, New York Disaster and Nile Adventure. Hydro Speedway was present as a hidden track. The console versions added two more, Catacomb and Castle Von Dandy, making four in all.