reviews\ Aug 23, 2005 at 8:00 pm

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction - PS2 - Review

When one thinks of The Hulk, one does not suppose a being skipping lightly through a meadow, stopping to smell the flowers in a most dainty fashion. We are talking Bambi meets Godzilla here; a mean, green oversized destruction machine that only meets monsters bigger than itself, takes a licking, goes nuclear and ultimately always wins.

Hulk titles in the past have soft-peddled the destruction, giving levels to Bruce Banner racing about. Banner is still a part of The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, but rarely is he seen, and the camera is fixed 99% of the time on The Hulk.

Radical Entertainment? Thank you. This is the way the Hulk is supposed to be. VU Games, this is a title to be proud of. With destructible environments, missions and side-missions, and a few collectibles thrown in, Ultimate Destruction turns the Hulk loose on the world – one which gives the green giant due fear and ‘let’s all run away’ respect.

The game has a few stumbling points, some minor clipping problems that rarely pop up, and a challenge level that ramps up as you progress through the game – which is driven by the story and actually gives a reason for the destruction.

However, it should be noted that the game has a built-in threat meter. The more destruction Hulk lays down, the higher the meter goes until eventually there will be a major military response. Geesh, a guy can’t even tear down a few buildings with his bare hands in peace anymore before some authority figure steps in.

But let’s backtrack a bit, and talk about the storyline.

“I’m a big green time bomb, and I’m ticking.”

Branson Military Base. A former NSA operative named Emil Blonsky has taken joint command of a military division bent on the destruction of the Hulk with Gen. Thaddeus Ross as sort of a co-commander. Blonsky has a profound hatred for all Gamma-irradiated creatures, and that puts The Hulk at the top of the list of his personal targets. When they destroy a cabin where Bruce Banner was trying to conduct experiments to quell the beast within, Blonsky spies in the ruins a container of bio-material. He grabs for it before it is destroyed and, as a result, he is flooded with a massive dose of Gamma radiation.

Ok, it may be predictable, but you just know that Blonsky is going to turn up as a variation of that which he hates the most.

Meanwhile, Bruce’s friend, Dr. Samson has come up with a way to tap into Bruce’s psyche and unleash the energies that turn Bruce into the Hulk. This, apparently, is a way to understand what triggers the change and learn to control or eradicate it. It is also a way to use the Hulk to acquire what is needed to build a machine to, perhaps, eradicate the Hulk from Banner.

(And we just know that is not going to work, but hey, give them props from continuing the underlying theme of all Hulk properties.)

Samson’s little hideaway is a church, and the Hulk uses jump points to leap into the city and then back to the church. The church not only serves as a drop point for stolen items, but the Hulk can convert accrued smash points into new abilities at the store there.

Players can also find comic book covers (or icon representing them) scattered about and that translates into more cool stuff. There are a variety of power-ups and special attacks, and the Hulk will need them as the game progresses. Each step of the way he will be harangued by military helicopters, tanks, soldiers firing bazookas and other missiles. It is so nice to be able to rip a car in half and then wrap the sections around the fists for an impressive power boost. Those enhanced fists do wear out though.

Also, each time you destroy one of the humans, they emit a green glowing orb that helps restore life to the Hulk. And each time you return to the city, all that you destroyed has been restored, to some degree, meaning you can destroy it some more.

Because of his raw power and leaping ability, the Hulk is able to run up the side of buildings, jump from the upper reaches of the city and land with devastating force on the ground. The first time you land on a bus, and watch it disintegrate is truly a pleasurable moment.

The sound is spot on and the controls are very simple to use and grow accustomed to. About the only problems are the rare clipping problem and the camera that, again it is a rare thing, gets a bit hung up. The missions are a nice variety, from getting in to steal an item by breaking through barriers and snuffing the opposition, to a timed mission in which you have to accomplish a task (like early on when you must destroy the tanks trying to demolish a building) within the time limit.

Some of the side missions are a little on the young side, and lack a little creativity, but hey, you didn’t play the game to record the fastest time on an obstacle course – the draw is the destruction, and that is here in spades.

While it may be a little simplistic in tone, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction makes up for it in just entertaining gameplay. This is a title that is fun because of what it presents, regardless of what it is missing.

Marvel fans in general, Hulk fans in particular, and all those craving a good PlayStation 2 comic-book adventure should definitely check this out.

Review Scoring Details for The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

Gameplay: 8.3
The camera can be a little obstinate at times, but the game is very easy to pick up and learn to play. The developers made certain that the joy of this title is in playing the game, not mired in trying to learn how to play it. And the game does have a fair share of load times.

Graphics: 8.7
A few stumbles but jumping from the top of a tall building to land in the midst of several cars and watching the devastation that it causes is a ton of fun.

Sound: 8.0
Solid audio supports the mood and style of the game.

Difficulty: Medium
The game has a couple of difficulty settings, but by the time you run into Blonsky’s alter ego, you should have the tools for the ramped-up challenge.

Concept: 7.8
The side quests are too simplistic and detract from the story, and the missions seem pretty short. The story is also somewhat predictable, but give Radical props from creating a Hulk game that is about the Hulk and does a very good job of representing his abilities.

Overall: 8.5
Jumping, landing and destroying in raw, unabashed fashion – that is what the Incredible Hulk is and that is what is presented here. If you are a fan of the Incredible Hulk, you will be happy to know that a game has finally done him justice.


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