The Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction
The Hulk is back in The Incredible
Hulk Ultimate Destruction. The last Hulk game fell a bit short in my
mind to what it could have been. While it did have some fun points the
last Hulk game seemed to be chained down with movie license limitations.
Not so this time around. Vivendi universal and radical Entertainment
have turned it around, The Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction leaps
and bounds into the instant classics circle with a smashing good game.
The game comes in at one size gamma radiated HULK size. The game weighs
in at over 30 main missions and something like 40 or so side missions.
The free roaming experience was mastered in Grand Theft Auto and hit the
ultimate fan boy dream when SpiderMan 2 used it; now in a masterful
pulse pounding ride the Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction uses a free
roaming system. Run, leap and smash everything in site, now I’m happy.
Now I can unleash the true Incredible Hulk Moves that I grew up seeing
in the comics.
Before I get too far ahead of my self drooling over the visuals and
laying down some minor gripes about some of the sounds, let me break
down some of the gaming goodness that is to be had in this game.
Vivendi Universal Games and Radical have produced the best Hulk game out
there, I may even go out on a branch here and say it is maybe one of the
best super hero type games to date.
The basic gist of the story around The Incredible Hulk Ultimate
destruction is that Bruce Banner is searching for a cure, a cure to get
rid of his jade giant alter ego the Hulk. This time he has a little help
from Doc Samson. Together they hope to be able to gather parts for a
machine that will be able to cure Banner’s psyche and modify Banner’s
subconscious and in turn subdue the raging man monster known as The
Hulk. Now it would not be much of a challenge if everything was all
Champaign and roses. The military has other plans and is on Banner’s/The
Hulk’s trail. If that was not enough, throw in some sneaky shadow
conspiracy type government agency and an agent from this agency named
Emil Blonsky who happens to have a hate on for any and all mutant like
beings and there is plenty of action to be had.
The Hulk has a lot of ground to cover in the game, the maps are
pleasantly expansive, while at the same time not being too huge to run
around in….While there are only two main maps, three if you count the
church hide out…don’t let that fool you into thinking there isn’t a lot
to this game. Free roaming and smashing the crap out of things has never
been so much fun. The Hulk starts out with some pretty basic moves,
running, a couple of punches, nothing really to get to excited about,
and truth be told I was more than a bit worried until I soon found out
that the Hulk is not just stuck with these simple moves through the
whole game. As the Hulk smashes things, the player is awarded points;
these points are appropriately called smash points. Using the smash
points a player can upgrade, buying new moves and power levels for the
Hulk. Much like buying new moves in Spider Man 2, the player after a
time and depending on the chapter of the game story has some truly
awesome moves and attacks that they can upgrade to.
Now here’s the rub, and it of course would not be fun if it where
otherwise…but as the Hulk smashes things there is a threat level
indicator of sorts on the upper right of the screen. As this threat
level increases due to the Hulks activities (Smashing and destroying
things) the threat level increases. Whole response teams are dispatched
to try and take care of ol jade jaws. The response teams start out
pretty easy to handle with just some ground troops and a tank or two
once in a while, but later there are attack copters and even Hulk buster
mecha enhanced troops. Gaining new moves and power is the only way to
handle this upper grade enemy; since if the Hulk is not careful even he
can be over whelmed with numbers and multiple attacks.
Some such enhancements to the Hulk are bigger and better moves, smashing
a car and using the parts as brass/steel knuckles to enhance Hulk
attacks is pretty fun to use. Then of course there is the tried and true
double fist pound to the ground, which depending on the Hulks levels of
built up energy, can do some pretty darn devastating damage.
That is the great thing about the game; almost anything can be smashed
and turned to a smoking bunch of rubble or debris, or better yet used as
a weapon. Rocks, cars, trees, light posts among other things…a cow…can
all be picked up and thrown at an enemy or used to smack them around. In
the end there are over 100 upgrades that will help the Hulk do his
thing. Including upgrades to the level of power the Hulk can generate,
Major Hulk moves do some massive damage when the Hulk is in Critical
Mass, and such moves as Atomic Slam and Critical Atomic Slam are a real
blast to unleash against the enemy. These moves are even better to use
against multiple enemy when the Hulk has to lay down some bashing on a
Game play controls are a big surprise and well done. Buttons serve
multiple functions depending on what combination of button presses are
used. There is so much that the Hulk can do and the button presses at
first are a bit daunting but the player is sure to soon find his or her
favorite moves and will be smashing things like a jade locomotive in no
The camera that follows the action once in a while goes a little nuts if
the Hulk is too close to a canyon wall or building, this can get
annoying, but for the most part it follows the action pretty darn well.
Sounds in the game including music are actually not too bad. Music in a
movie or game should be designed in such a way as to draw a player or
audience into the moment, and also know when to be so in the back ground
you notice the music but are so absorbed in the game or movie, you
almost don’t know it’s there. The Incredible Hulk Ultimate destruction
hits this balance rather well. The not often spoken of music and score
in games these days are the unappreciated children of the game industry.
Bill Brown’s work with the Music and arrangements are dead bang on.
Teamed with all the animators and the composing and visual effects of
Josh cole and Geoff Richardson, really place The Incredible Hulk
Ultimate Destruction into the level of a soon to be classic game. There
is some voice over effects that happen every time a certain interaction
takes place, and earlier in the game these can be rather annoying. Later
in the game they are not noticed as much because there is so much
happening. Voice over and voice acting for the most part is not bad.
Some lines come off a bit wooden but the instances are rare and far
between. The rest of the time the cut scenes and voice acting do a darn
good job at emerging the player in the world of the Incredible Hulk.
Why wouldn’t they? The team of voice talent, writing and art team put
together for this game are. well Incredible! Emil Blonsky is voiced by
Ron Pearlman (HellBoy). Neal McDonough voices Bruce Banner, (Also played
Banner in a late 90’s Hulk cartoon); Richard Moll is in there too as a
character called Devil Hulk, a truly evil character.
The Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction story line is penned by none
other than Paul Jenkins an Eisner Award winner who writes the comics
Hulk, and also Spider Man.) Team this up with some of the visual art of
Bryan Hitch who does the Ultimates and Ultimates 2 Comics and you have
one hell of a team.
Now as noted before it does not stop there, sound effects are handled by
Dane Tracks who also did “The Matrix” film. Then of course there is Bill
Brown composer extraordinaire, Brown worked with the Los Angeles
Orchestra and created the original score for this game. Brown is also
known for composing such hit TV shows as CSI: New York.
Wrapped with this much in house and out of house talent Radical Games
and Vivendi Universal Games could not and darn well better not have
dropped this jade ball. The Incredible Hulk ultimate Destruction May
well be the Ultimate Super Hero Game. With Ultimate Spider Man and
Marvel Nemesis Rise Of The Imperfects all coming in the next month or so
I think The Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction is going to be able to
stand toe to toe and still come out as one of the top games to date.
Have fun, play games