Gameplay 9.5
Graphics 8.5
Sound 9.0
Value 9.0
Distributor: Vivendi Universal
Review Date:
September 2005
Edwin Millheim


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 grand scale.

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 time.

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

Edwin Millheim



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