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Hydro Thunder

Halo: Fireteam Raven

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I did not realize how long this has been "out" since I didn't go out at all in 2020 or really until now.

But finally got to play this at my local theater...and I had some fun but I have major critiques.

So the good news first, is that I loved the graphics and the controller.  Not sure what the specs are on what it's running on, but it was smooth and the colors etc were very bright and clear in true Halo style.

The force-feedback massive guns were super well designed and really felt great.  Mowing down the covenant with what felt like a true Warthog Gatling gun was really fun.



This is basically an on-rails shooter that entirely fails to be functional as a challenge.  As a direct comparison, Gunblade NY and LA Machine Guns both did it right, and H:FR did it entirely wrong.

The main issue I realized after playing is several fold but directly related to the fact that enemies A) take multiple hits to kill (just like GNY and LAMG which is fine) B) appear in groups most often C) shoot you instantly, not with a rocket that you can shoot down, D) do NOT stop shooting you when being shot by you.  So in sum, on each half of the two-player screen I was on, three covenant would show up, and each would fire.  There was literally no way to stop from being hit, at all.  No matter how fast you can take down all three, they're going to shoot you many times.  Basically, the challenge and skill of shooting the most important target accurately and quickly provides almost no benefit to extending your life or the game; your life will drain at nearly the same rate regardless of your performance or skill level.  It's simply a $ muncher, you get a few minutes for each $ you put in.  And again, it's kind of fun but...frustrating in that you are just kind of a helpless cog that will die no matter what you do after a relatively short amount of time.  

It's a shame, a Gunblade style Halo game is a very solid idea that I like a lot.

But they just really don't seem to have gotten any gamer feedback on it at all, because the issues are pretty glaring and really weaken the whole product immensely.

As much fun as I did have giving it a go, I really can't think of a reason I'd ever wish to replay the game.  It really just made me want to play some Halo: Reach or similar at home.

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The game was designed by Play Mechanix, which is presided over by George Petro (of Midway fame - he did stuff like Terminator 2, Revolution X).


On the hardware, it was the first non-indie arcade game to operate at 4K; Uses an HP PC, although not 100% sure of the spec. Whatever is needed to do [email protected] ;)


On the software, unfortunately that's been PM & Raw Thrills' MO for the past several years - "skill kills." All their games operate on a "time to die" feature, making the chance of 1ccing a game virtually impossible 😕  Places like Dave & Busters really likes this setup, but it's not gamer friendly, as you witnessed. 

The 4-player version is pretty neat, at least for the spectacle of a 4-person gun game, and interestingly enough the gameplay is slightly different from the 2p model (2p has more targets that show up on enemies) 



If you are looking for a modern game that is a bit more like how they were in the 90s, Sega is still around making games. They launched their new House of the Dead at the same time as Halo:



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I had heard about HOTD: Scarlet Dawn, but haven't yet been anyplace that had it to play.  Looks awfully fun, will keep an eye out for it.  I bet the force-feedback on the SMG makes that a pretty special experience :)

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Posted (edited)

This game is EVERYWHERE. All the arcades in Lake George had it. Dave & Buster's at the Palisades Center has it. Even Studio 28 Arcade at Six Flags Great Adventure has it. It's like what the Dino kiddie ride was to the '90s. I tried playing the damn thing at one of the LG arcades, but the thing WOULDN'T ACCEPT MY TOKENS. Master Chief sounds like an older Snake, so I don't think he's hot, anyway. Bring back Nicktoons Racing and Spider Stompin' and all the other arcade classics, not this meandering borefest you can play at home.

Edited by Syzygy1

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