Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

Developer: Radical Entertainment
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Release Date: Aug. 23, 2005
Systems: Xbox, PS2, GameCube
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web Site

In honor of my broken Xbox 360, all this week I'll be going through some old original Xbox games I have lying around.

In a nutshell: Er, The Incredible Hulk causes Ultimate Destruction

0:01 The intro. is a cool vignette of actual in-game scenes. Nice to see developers showing off something besides pre-rendered bullshots for once.
0:02 "There's a thin line between good and bad. I walk that line every single day." Bruce Banner is "a big green time bomb... and I'm ticking." Nice, short summary of the backstory. The controller rumble is going nuts with every step. I hope this doesn't keep up in the real game.
0:03 I like the crunching imprints Hulk makes in the ground when landing from his insanely large jumps. I don't like having to hold R to run. It should be the default.
0:06 Hulk can climb walls remarkably fast. In fact, so far everything has been incredibly fast and fluid. I'm loving it.
0:08 Holy crap. The Hulk is a one-man missile launcher, throwing them at helicopters all on his own. This game is officially awesome.
0:09 Collecting hidden comic book covers is a cool extra, but it's a bit of a jarring break of the fourth wall.
0:13 The targeting and throwing controls are also very simple and intuitive. It's nice not having to fight with the controls for once.
0:15 OK, so when I run my Xbox controller emits this weird little periodic whine. Like it's trying to rumble, but can't quite do it. Kind of annoying.
0:17 The Hulk just made boxing gloves out of a CAR. This game just got ten times more awesome.
0:19 My doctor is telling me to come home to avoid some evil guy who's taken over an army division or something. "Don't worry, nobody knows I'm here." Yeah... sure...
0:21 So here I am, trying to play the level, but every two seconds the game pops up with a useful tidbit like "You have taken damage... look at your power meter." Grumble.
0:23 The goal of my first mission was to run to a jump marker and escape. Lame. I want to destroy, not run away! Also, in a cut scene, the bad guy picked up a burning bio-container and then started writhing in pain. Let this be a lesson kids... don't pick up burning bio-containers!
0:24 My doctor has green hair and a ponytail. More updates as they're warranted.
0:25 From the story recap: "Blonsky exhibits a profound hatred of all Gamma-irradiated creatures." ALL of them? Even the lovable Mr. Fantastic?
0:27 So now I have a push button device that transforms me into the hulk. I'm not sure why... something about curing me maybe perhaps somehow? Who cares? DESTROY!
0:29 When Hulk jumps in the water he stays under for a few seconds, then jumps out with a grunt and perfect comic timing. I do this five times before I start to get tired of it.
0:30 My new mission is to "destroy the police resistance?" Er, isn't that something that the bad guys do? I thought the Hulk was ostensibly a good guy.
0:32 It's incredibly easy and fun to walk and jump along the city rooftops. The only way to travel.
0:33 Now I have to destroy substations to reroute power to the doctor's machine. Seriously, how is the Hulk anything but a public menace here? Am I supposed to identify with this criminal property destruction?
0:38 Well that was easy. The substations went down with, like, three punches each, and
the helicopter and missile support couldn't touch me as long as I stayed on the rooftops. I'm still waiting for an objective that tells me to "Take out an entire militia" or something difficult.
0:40 Time a for a "challenge mission." Hopefully they're harder than the story missions thus far.
0:43 Ugh. The first challenge missions ask the Hulk (that's me) to transport a car across the city without picking it up. This is the polar opposite of fun. I quit before I finish.
0:44 "Gently carry civilians amublances before the building collapses." Are they kidding? The game isn't called "The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Gentle Carrying." Seriously, I'm all for mixing things up, but at least make it interesting.
0:50 Challenge Mission #3 is a quick race through some markers. This one is at least fun, though it still doesn't really fit the "destruction" in the title.
0:52 I get a silver medal on the challenge, but it doesn't tell me what I need for a gold. Lame. I manage to get the gold the next time through, though. So there!
0:55 It's really hard to impart how fun it is just to run around, jumping between walls and rooftops and smashing stuff. I could do this all day.
0:59 Another story mission complete: I just delivered a mainframe computer to Blonsky. I feel like an errand boy more than a giant green killing machine.
1:02 I just purchased some nice moves, like running grab and throw. On the on hand I feel like this should have been available at the start. On the other, it's nice to feel like I'm earning something.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Yes
Why? Being the Hulk is awesome, even if doing what the game asks him to do is, so far, not.

This review based on a used retail copy purchased dirt cheap from a Blockbuster going-out-of-business sale.


Nikolas Payne said...

The game isn't called "The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Gentle Carrying."

But I, for one, would be interested to see that...

Mike said...

Mr. Fantastic got his powers from *Cosmic* Radiation. Come on.

Kyle said...

@mike: Was it cosmic "gamma" radiation? Even if it isn't, come on! That's splitting hairs.

Jamez said...

You're famous Kyle. Check Kotaku.

Kyle said...

Yeah, I saw Jamez. It's great to get attention, but famous? Is a link from Kotaku all it takes these days?

Anonymous said...

it's a shame you didn't get to the soldier baseball/golf challenge mission in your review...

Zak8022 said...

As much fun as the game is at first... it got very tedious to me in the later levels. The difficulty does ramp up... and things start getting crazy. Personally, it didnt have enough to keep me playing it more than a few hours.

Good review though, i love your blog.

Icupnimpn2 said...

The desert part was really fantastic. It's like the developers started off to create a kick-butt action game with multiple environments. Then somewhere along the way in development, the higher-ups said "You've got to put Hulk in a city and make him do missions. Missions and cities are where the money's at! Just look at GTA!" Then, the game fell apart, much like the recent Spider-Man travesties.