In addition to the ordinary base of speed-boat racing, there are some very arcade characteristics of the title. As you ride around, you can collect power-ups that give you boosts. The boosts provide an excellent sense of speed and need to be used strategically in order to overtake opponents.
There are also some very amusing game modes that players can tackle. The race mode is exactly what it sounds like. You engage in 16-boat races that have the ability to bring the chaos like few games can. Ring Master is more of a time trial that has the player racing through rings. As players collect rings, they gain boost, which will greatly help lower the times. The player will also have the chance to do the inverse of Ring Master, which is Gauntlet. In Gauntlet, players have to avoid explosive oil barrels in order to finish the race. The final mode is a simple Championship Mode, which is a series of races to see who can collect the most points across several races.
The best part of the game is, without a doubt, the exotic locales. The players will race through areas filled with waterfalls, rapids and even an occasional sea-monster. The waterfalls do a great job of throwing some insane moments into the mix. Jocking for position in mid-air can prove to be a blast. The caves also do a great job throwing some twists and turns into the courses.
Overall, Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a great offering on the Xbox Live Arcade. That's not to say there aren't flaws to the title. The main flaw is that there isn't really enough here to justify the $15 price tag. At $10, this game would be a much better value, but for the nostalgia factor alone, the game is definitely worth a try. If you're looking for a great racing title that has a different take on a tired genre, check out the trial version of Hydro Thunder Hurricane.