VIDEO GAME REVIEWS
by Glenn Given
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (PS2/XBOX/GC)
Vivendi Universal Games. Rated T.
Marvel Comics franchise
games are frequently cringe-inducing affairs. Not that they are all bad
by necessity; this past year alone produced two absolutely stellar
Marvel titles (the free-roaming Spiderman 2 and the multi-player
RPG/Brawler X-MEN Legends). Sometimes, though, Marvel seems to have it
in for their own product line; witness Fantastic Four or The Punisher’s
movie tie-in games.
As a matter of fact The
Hulk film tie-in game was particularly atrocious. So much so that when I
play The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction I am tempted to knock a
half-star off the rating simply for its association with one of the most
poorly developed adventures games of my life. (I’m not that jaded,
though, so the *** above is the accurate rating).
Thankfully in this case
Marvel seemed to learn from its former atrocities. Gone is the “play as
Bruce Banner” B.S. that plagued the prior Hulk foray and present is the
“run rampant and throw cars at helicopters” mayhem.
Imagine Grand Theft
Auto (minus the hookers and street racing) but with about 300 times as
much gamma-radiation-borne super strength, a little less virtual
drug-running and a lot more running up the side of buildings and
dropping the atomic elbow on tanks. Then pick up the tank, use it as a
shield, rip off the turret and bat missiles back at the 60-foot robot
that the Army set against you in an ill-conceived attempt to stop your
personal Sherman’s march across the digital city. Why won’t they leave
And it’s fun. The Hulk
is quick and responsive, you move like an acrobat and the accessible
control interface allows for a remarkably easy time battling foes from
every direction. You’re free to roam the desert and city completing
story-based missions (blah blah something about not being so angry and
green), earning new combat maneuvers (like making boxing gloves out of
cars) by attempting various skill challenges and racking up “smash
points” by, you guessed it, smashing the bejeezus out of stuff.
Ultimate Destruction is
strikingly similar to Spiderman 2 (which is a favorable association for
certain) in its concept and execution to a fault. However much fun
picking up soldiers and throwing them at tanks may be, the ground is
well-treaded. In the end Ultimate Destruction begins to wear you down
with it’s “Space Invader in 4-D” style of relentless pursuit and you
find yourself wishing for a bit more story. Surprisingly, that story is
somewhere in the game but you’re likely to have ignored it in favor of
rampant rampaging until you grow bored with the game, never to find out
the fate of Dr. Banner. (Psst! I seriously doubt that at the end of the
game Banner is cured of his Gamma-induced curse). Smash, rinse repeat.