Games of Summer: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Upon hearing the news about Radical Entertainment yesterday, I couldn’t help but be a little bit sad. The studio, currently going through staff liquidation and halting game development almost entirely, was responsible for a number of great games over the years. Sure, the Prototype games were awesome, but we dare not forget about other offerings, such as Jackie Chan Stuntmaster (not bad for an underrated PS1 favorite), The Simpsons Hit & Run and Scarface: The World Is Yours.
But perhaps out of all of Radical’s noteworthy titles, none really took me by surprise like The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction did back in 2005. Literally coming out of left field into the GameDaily office where I used to work, the game slipped into my game system, and I was eager to see what it had offered. Ten hours later, after I had destroyed countless pieces of traffic, helicopters and various enemies within the Marvel universe, I came away impressed.
Unlike the previously made Hulk movie-licensed game (which was also put together by Radical), Ultimate Destruction was a lot faster and looser than most comic book fare. Instead of sticking you to a strict goal and limiting your movements, the game literally let you run wild with whatever you wanted to do with the big green guy. You could go nuts through New York, hurling cars and causing explosions everywhere. You could run up the sides of buildings, leap to extraordinary heights, and bring down helicopters SIMPLY BY PUNCHING THEM. It was a thing of beauty. And the more trouble you got into, the more enemies that would come after you, challenging your superior strength with everything they could throw at you.
Ultimate Destruction also did away with most of the “wimpy” Bruce Banner segments, instead giving you exactly what you want out of a Hulk game – unbridled, over-the-top action. The various missions provided throughout the game have utmost challenges to overcome, whether it’s tacking the various robots that stand in your way, knocking the Abomination into the middle of next week, and even challenging the Devil Hulk. Yep, the Devil Hulk. (Sadly, no sign of She-Hulk.)
In addition, Ultimate Destruction paved the way for the engine that would eventually find a better place in the Prototype games, as you can literally move around anywhere you want – save for water, oddly enough – and do some major damage. Running is a breezy activity that never gets old, especially as you knock cars aside; throwing objects is thoroughly entertaining, especially if you’re taking out a helicopter in the distance with a dumpster; and forming the cool car-based boxing gloves is phenomenal, and a recommended tactic when facing a group of enemies.
What’s more, Radical got the essence of Hulk down with the game’s presentation. The open-world looks fantastic with this game, with plenty of people running about through the city streets, and explosions that just go non-stop. The audio is great too, with plenty of Hulk screams and booming noises that rip through your stereo speakers.
The good news is you can still find the game for PS2, Xbox and GameCube at a rather affordable price, and, right alongside The Simpsons Hit & Run, we can’t recommend it enough. Between these two games, Radical Entertainment really established itself as a quality studio, one that made the most from its licenses and made you feel the worlds that you were dwelling in, rather than just serving as background fodder. It saddens me we won’t see magic like this again – but at least we have Hulk to celebrate with. HULK SMASH!
See you next week for another Games of Summer!