Museum of the Game ®

International Arcade Museum® — Killer List of Videogames®

Hydro Thunder Hydro Thunder - Japanese Logo - Katakana / Kanji

Hydro Thunder - Cabinet - Video Game Marquee


The player drives a turbo jet-powered speed boat in a wild water race filled with ramps, jumps and some treacherous areas of water.

Hydro Thunder was produced by Midway Games in 1999.

Midway Games released 53 machines in our database under this trade name, starting in 1972. Midway Games was based in United States.

Other machines made by Midway Games during the time period Hydro Thunder was produced include: Touch Master 4000, Bio Freaks, Hyperdrive, Touch Master 5000, NFL Blitz '99, NBA Showtime - NBA On NBC, Carnevil, Cruis'n Exotica, NFL Blitz 2000, and Invasion


Name Hydro Thunder
Developer Midway Games (United States)
Year 1999
Type Videogame
KLOV/MOG # 8161
Class Wide Release
Genre Racing
Development Team
Conversion Class JAMMA
# Simultaneous Players 1
# Maximum Players 8
Game Play Alternating
Control Panel Layout Single Player
  • Steering: X-directional yoke
  • Throttle Lever with thumb button - Turbo
Sound Amplified Stereo with Subwoofer (three channel)
Cabinet Styles
  • Upright/Standard
  • Environmental/Cockpit
  • Deluxe/Themed (non-motion) - 39"
Side Art Hydro Thunder Side Art Image

Game Play

The 3-D-FX and Omega 3-D powered graphics are spectacular with water spray and lens-flare effects, as well as superb water physics and effects. The great controls and varied race courses, which from an island in the pacific to the arctic to a ship graveyard, help keep the racing interesting.

Hydro Thunder KLOV/IAM 5 Point User Score: 4.36 (9 votes)

Fun Factor: 4.29

Overall Like 4.56
Fun (Social) 4.00
Fun (Solo) 4.33
Collector Desire 3.56

Technical Rating: 4.42

Gameplay 4.33
Graphics 4.67
Originality 4.44
Sound/Music 4.22

Personal Impressions and Technical Impressions each account for half of the total score. Within the Personal Impressions category, Like carries a little more weight than the other factors.

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Cheats, Tricks, Bugs, and Easter Eggs

There are many secret shortcuts in this game. The easiest way to find some of them is to aim your boat at any waterfall and drive through to the secret shortcuts.

There are four special boats: Armored Response, Blowfish, Tiny Tanic, and Chum Dinger(faster than it looks). Select either one of the bottom two medium boats or either of the bottom two hard boats and press pilot over and over until the craft changes into one of the secret boats.

Finish a race fast enough to make the high score list, then enter either ?PB or ?DL to unlock all the tracks and secret boats.


Cabinet Information

This game utilizes the same basic cabinet as Crusin' USA and Offroad Challenge, minus the standard foot pedals and adding a variable position trottle with forward, neutral and reverse directions. The game also has an unusual volume adjustment, where the regular play volume is usually set lower than the feedback volume for the sub woofer in the seat. This places the player "in the game" and makes the person feel like her or she is piloting a powerful, high-tech speedboat.


This game is part of Midway's 'Thunder' series of racing games.

VAPS Arcade/Coin-Op Hydro Thunder Census

There are 14,958 members of the Video Arcade Preservation Society / Vintage Arcade Preservation Society, 9,547 whom participate in our arcade census project of games owned, wanted, or for sale. Census data currently includes 165,359 machines (6,939 unique titles).

Very Common - There are 150 known instances of this machine owned by Hydro Thunder collectors who are active members. Of these, 148 of them are original dedicated machines. One is a set of circuit boards which a collector could put into a generic case if desired.

For Sale - There are 15 active VAPS members with a Hydro Thunder machines for sale.

Wanted - Popular - There are 16 active VAPS members currently looking for Hydro Thunder.

This game ranks a 7 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census ownership records.

This game ranks a 25 on a scale out of 100 (100 = most often seen, 1=least common) in popularity based on census want list records.

Rarity and Popularity independently are not necessarily indications of value. [More Information]



These games used the Quantum3D Quicksilver II ArcadePC system which featured an Intel Pentium II or Celeron processor running at or around 400MHz.


  1. Hydro Thunder
  2. Offroad Thunder
  3. Arctic Thunder


Additional References (logged in members often see more)

  1. 3D Model (External): Sitdown (Large Screen)
  2. 3D Model (External): Sitdown (Large Screen, Twin)
  3. 3D Model (External): sit-down

See the game at:

This game is available at the following public arcades, bars or museums:

Name Location State Country Details Check-ins
Bit Bar 278 Derby St, Salem Massachusetts United States 1

eBay Listings

Click to search eBay for Hydro Thunder Videogame machines and related items.

Click to search eBay for Midway Games for machines and parts.

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Ebay Compatible Application


Auction ends in: 3 weeks, 1 day


Hydro Thunder by Midway Games Sit Down Video Arcade Game

Auction ends in: 3 weeks, 14 hours



Auction ends in: 4 weeks, 15 hours


Hydro Thunder Arcade Topper Translite Race Leader 1 & 2. Art Inserts. NOS!

Auction ends in: 2 weeks, 22 hours


Hydro Thunder Arcade Marquee 28.5"x8.75"

Auction ends in: 1 week, 4 days


Hydro Thunder Arcade Side Art Panel. New Old Stock. Midway.

Auction ends in: 3 weeks, 6 days


Auction Results

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Auctions Recap

Year Count Median $ Average $
2015 48 158.13 183.88
2016 48 143.75 171.90
2017 34 115.00 158.43
2018 7 236.00 244.43
All Years 137 143.75 176.46


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