|The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (2005)
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Available for: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube
The comic book film explosion of the past five years has delivered superhero movies that fans can finally enjoy, but the video game genre is a little different. There hasn’t been a first-rate superhero game to hit shelves in a long time, but with each passing year – and with it a handful of bad games – the industry has managed to gradually excel with its latest offerings. Vivendi Universal’s most recent attempt at scoring with a superhero game, “The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction,” is by no means a shining gem of excellence, but it does show signs of improvement for gamers eagerly awaiting a worthy product. You’ll still find your usual kinks, like bad camera controls and monotonous gameplay, but audiences may just enjoy themselves a little more with the comprehensive freedom of the Hulk’s superpowers.
There’s not much to the story because, honestly, it’s a Hulk game. Bruce Banner has already experienced his science project gone awry and has transformed into the Hulk. His scientist pal Doc Samson is working alongside him to cure the “disease,” but Emil Blonsky, the director of a shadowy government agency called The Division, has teamed up with the notorious General Ross to take him down. That’s about it. Take it for what it’s worth because you won’t be hearing much more throughout the game. Instead, you’ll be too busy smashing… well, everything.
The environments throughout the game are nearly 100% destructible, and this is undoubtedly the most appealing element of the gameplay. As the Hulk, the player can smash through cars, climb buildings, jump extraordinary distances, and even pick up helpless citizens and flick them across town with your pinky. And that’s just scratching the surface. Some of my favorite actions included catching missiles and throwing them back at the enemy, grabbing the giant hamburger atop the fast food restaurant sign and using it as a weapon, and knocking down helicopters only to use them as projectiles to throw at other helicopters. The options are seemingly endless, with the Hulk also able to earn new moves by collecting Smash Points, but this becomes incredibly tiresome after an hour.
And you won’t even use any of the new moves you’ve earned. You probably won’t even use the basic moves (punching) that you begin with because simply running around and smashing through things with your shoulder is much easier and a hell of a lot quicker. And when you’re in trouble, either because there are too many enemies surrounding you or because you’re low on health, all you need to do is run away and take a breather. Run away? As the Hulk? That shouldn’t be necessary should it? Far too much, unfortunately. Still, the destructive gameplay element is very addicting, and its open environment is very similar to the “GTA” series and the “Spider-Man 2,” both of which got positive nods in the past. This isn’t a bad choice for gamers who don’t quickly become bored with fighting games, but if you have the patience to wait a few more weeks, then be sure to hold out for “Ultimate Spider-Man.”