Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction


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"It should have been called "The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Improvement of the Last Hulk Game."










The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
The Masked Reviewer

How many games let you run around and pound things into a pulp?  The answer is: not nearly enough.  This game, published by Vivendi Universal and Sierra and developed by Radical puts you in the tattered bluejeans of the Big Green Guy. 

Unlike Radical's last Hulk game (titled "Hulk", which is less incredible and not as full of destruction as this title), this Hulk game does not suck.  That game was based on the sucky Hulk movie, and followed that movie's sucky plot.  It forced you to spend a lot of time as Bruce Banner, sneaking around, not smashing things.  It also didn't allow the Hulk to punch through everything.  If you're the Hulk and something is blocking your way, you don't have to find another're the Hulk.

Those problems have all been fixed in "Ultimate Destruction"...ironic, isn't it?  It should have been called "The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Improvement of the Last Hulk Game."

Much like Radical's other free-roaming game "Simpson's Hit & Run", this Hulk title gives you giant cityscapes to play in.  Imagine "Grand Theft Auto" but instead of being a petty thug, you're the Hulk.  You can do just about any Hulky thing you would want to: punch things.  Pick up cars.  Hurl them at helicopters.  Rip streetlamps out of the road and use them as baseball bats.  Pick up boulders and bowl with them.  Catch incoming missiles and hurl them at people.  Punch the ground and cause earthquakes.  You can even pick up soldiers and chuck them across town. 

There's a lot of cool atmospheric touches, too.  As you walk down the street, your controller vibrates with each massive footstep.  Oncoming traffic will often panic, veer out of control, and smash into walls.  Other cars will hit the brakes, then back up to get away.  And at any time you can walk up to a civilian and hit a button to growl. 

The gameplay is very similar to Treyarch's "Spider-Man 2" game.  In fact, despite being released by different publishers and created by different developers, the games are so similar that players of "Spider-Man 2" may get Deja Vu.  Both feature story missions that can be picked up at any time (while you spend the rest of your time finding "challenge" icons, or just running around smashing things).  Both feature the ability to buy new skills with experience points, so that you can choose which moves you want to focus on with your Hulky rage (although eventually you'll buy them all).  Not only that, both games are a heck of a lot of fun.

Now, the Masked Reviewer was never a huge fan of the Hulk -- but this game is a lot of fun to play.  Like GTA, if you're just walking around causing trouble, you'll have an increased "wanted level", that will eventually cause the military to come after you.  Fight them off and you'll go back to normal. 

The game is challenging at times, but even repeating the big boss battles never becomes frustrating.  Controls are simple, and the moves are varied.  The graphics are beautiful and the world gives you lots of toys to play with. 

What's best about "The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction"'s fun.  If you liked "Spider-Man 2", you'll almost certainly like this game too, even if you're not a fan of the main character.  They really give a sense of awesome strength.  While it's not truly unlimited (you can't destroy every building in the game, but you can knock down many of them) it is limitlessly fun.  The decision not to include a Bruce Banner mode seems to be founded in complaints from their first Hulk game, though it would've been a cool addition for fun...not forcing you to play as Banner, but maybe giving you the ability to change into the Hulk once or twice would have been a cool touch.

Oh, and let's not forget that you can "weaponize" many objects in the game.  If you rip a missile pack off a military truck, you can rip it in half and hurl missiles at your foes.  You can turn a tank into a discus, you can convert a bus into a shield, and many other things! 

If you want a game that's great to just pick up and run around in, this is a fine choice.  It's also fun (and highly addictive) to play through the story missions.  Even the challenges (which tended to be a little boring in Spider-Man and GTA) are varied and excellent.  From "Hulk Golf" (played with a giant club and building-sized ball) to "Hulk Football" (punting cars through goalposts a mile away), the challenges keep you coming back for more.

Hulk Smash?  You betcha.



Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Hulk smash, and while smashing is generally not a very nice thing to do, Hulk smash good.

The Pros: Fun. 

The Cons: Not many spring to mind.  No Banner mode at all, and the plot element that explains why Hulk accepts missions is kind of weak but forgivable.

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Copyright 2003, Michael D. Lynn