Wave Race 64, despite being an almost three-year-old veteran, is still absolutely tremendous - on all counts. And it's a measure of the N64's - and Nintendo's - brilliance that the water effects have not been bettered on any system anywhere since.
So, what can Hydro Thunder offer that Wave Race hasn't already? It's another water-based racer, but this time the emphasis is pretty much on straight racing thrills, rather than battling against the ebb and flow of the tide, which Nintendo's classic positively encouraged.
Even so, the physics on the boats themselves are pretty striking; scything through the water and generally reacting as they would in real life, despite the absence of waves. Although there are no weapons, turbo power-ups are available, and there's an emphasis on shortcuts and huge jumps. Coming from developers Eurocom - the folks behind the technically superb Duke Nukem: Zero Hour - Hydro Thunder certainly looks the part, pin-sharp and colourful. And it's incredibly smooth, too. with nary a shudder of frame rates, which bodes well for the two-player mode. Question is, can it come up to the dizzy heights of the superb Wave Race?
We'll find out for sure in the next couple of months...