Hello, hello everyone, and welcome back to my humble little feature. “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn Part 24” will focus on my time with the unfortunately few games based off the big, green, temper tantrum-prone goliath known as the Hulk, or the Incredible Hulk as most of us know him by. While the Hulk falls in second place behind Spider-Man on my list of favorite Marvel comics superheroes, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s freaking legendary in my eyes. The whole “inner beast” quality Hulk represents is something that’s always appealed to me, for reasons I will leave to your imaginations, so getting to play as the Hulk and just destroy everything in sight was something I couldn’t pass up. I’m actually surprised there aren’t more games out there focusing on the big green fella, but that could change in the future. For now, let’s go over the few Hulk games I actually did play on the PlayStation systems.
This game didn’t get much attention, but it was surprisingly good, especially for a movie tie-in. Normally movie tie-in games are guaranteed disasters, and I certainly thought this would be one of those since it was connected to the god-awful Ang Lee Hulk movie starring Eric Bana (who actually did the voice for Bruce Banner in this game as well). Taking place after the aforementioned movie, Bruce Banner finds himself trying to have the gamma radiation in his body drained out of him so he could finally be rid of the curse of the Hulk. An expert on gamma radiation known as Professor Crawford uses a special device to drain some of the gamma radiation out of Banner, only for Crawford to become exposed to it and turn into his own brand of gamma monster known as Ravage. From there, Bruce “hulks out” and goes after Ravage in order to stop him and the Leader from misusing his own gamma energy for malicious purposes.
But who cares about the story that much, right? What we want out of a Hulk game is the smashing of enemies, and there’s plenty to go around. Soldiers, tanks, battle mechs, and gamma irradiated dogs and soldiers round out the main enemies, while somewhat reimagined versions of Hulk villains like Half-Life, Madman, Flux, and others round out the bosses. These enemies are actually challenging, this is not the type of game where you just cruise through a bunch of lame enemies and defeat them by button mashing, actual skill and strategy is required. Aside from different punching and jumping attacks, Hulk can unleash ground slam and shockwave attacks to affect multiple enemies at once, as well as grab even the toughest of enemies and follow-up by throwing or slamming them to the ground. Some of the fights in this game gave me some real trouble on my first playthrough, challenges that at the time I thought were kind of cheap, but I just hadn’t fully “manned up” as a gamer back then. Needless to say, this game helped me out in that regard.
Hulk is not perfect though. Certain levels forced you to play as Bruce Banner sneaking his way past enemies so he could hack into computers and access secured areas. Getting caught would normally lead to a quick death since Bruce was understandably incapable of defeating more than one armed soldier, let alone able to deal with the gamma dogs and soldiers should they spot him. Some of these parts weren’t all that bad, and I would especially get nervous and on edge in the levels where I had to sneak past sleeping gamma dogs. But for the most part, the stealth sections were annoying and made me long for the next smashing session as the Hulk. This coupled with the game’s linearity and so-so story kind of hold it back from greatness, but when it comes to Hulk video games, there isn’t much out there better than this. Hulk gets a score of 75%.
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (PS2)
This was pretty much the pinnacle of Hulk video games and makes you really feel like the strongest one there is in the Marvel Universe. Radical Entertainment, who also developed the previously discussed Hulk game, were the masterminds behind this green gem. This game is more closely based off the comic book incarnation of the Hulk character, despite the fact he still does not wear the classic purple pants we all know him for, but as far as gameplay goes it builds off of the control scheme and move-set of the previous game, as well as adding free-roaming elements. The Hulk himself controls like a dream, able to sprint super fast and even up the sides of building, cover very long distances in just a couple of jumps, and decimate groups of enemies with the same types of groundsmash and shockwave attacks from the previous game, only they’re much more explosive this time. And let’s not forget the debut of Hulk’s ability to crush vehicles and form metal boxing gloves out of them to increase the damage of his attacks. The story is, again, nothing out of this world. Bruce Banner is still trying to come up with a cure for his “Hulkiness”, so he teams up with Doc Samson to try to get the necessary equipment to remove all that nasty gamma radiation from his system. To do this, the Hulk will have to go on fetch quest after fetch quest while smashing his way past armies of enemies.
There is definitely some repetition with this game since most of Hulk’s objectives revolve around him either guarding a friendly target or acquiring something important and taking it back to the church he and Doc Samson are hiding out in, which is the main hub of the game. Thankfully, the repetition is somewhat diluted by the game’s very high level of challenge, which was even higher than that of the previous Hulk game. In pretty much every mission, the Hulk will have to deal with the military and smash apart their tanks, helicopters, and all manner of Hulkbuster mechs that come in many different sizes, and they’re not shy about dog piling the Hulk incessantly. The bosses are even more merciless, which include a telekinetic powerhouse named Mercy, General Thunderbolt Ross piloting an enormous Hulkbuster mech, Hulk’s evil alter-ego (a.k.a.= “inner demon”) known as Devil Hulk, and multiple encounters with the Abomination.
When not completing main missions, you can do regular free-roam and have the Hulk just go on a rampage by running and jumping all over the place in both the sizeable city and desert maps, and the more carnage he causes, the stronger the military will respond with more and more tanks, helicopters, and mechs. There are also side-missions which include rescuing citizens from burning buildings and taking part in silly mini-games, which include grabbing a large balloon so the Hulk can float to a specified target, or a very cruel “golf mission” where the Hulk hits soldiers with a metal beam out into the ocean to see how much distance he can get in each hit. This is definitely the best Hulk game I’ve played, and I’d even go so far to say that it’s probably the best one in existence. It’s rather uninteresting story and issues with repetition hold it back a bit, but it’s still a very fun game. This game was also clearly the basis for Radical Entertainment’s later Prototype games, which I will also discuss at a later date. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction gets a score of 85%.
The Incredible Hulk (PS3)
This game was based on the movie of the same name starring Edward Norton, but unlike the first game I discussed in this article, this movie tie-in was not very good. Developed by Edge of Reality, this game clearly tried to build off the gameplay of Ultimate Destruction, but it failed to live up to that game’s far superior standards to the point where this game could have believably been given the title “The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Mediocrity”. The story is hardly worth mentioning as it loosely follows the story of the movie its based on, though it also adds other villains to the mix like the U-Foes, Bi-Beast, and the high-tech criminal group known as the Enclave, as well as movie villain the Abomination. Hulk’s comic book side-kick Rick Jones was included as well…..yay.
Hulk himself controls well enough, with his ability from Ultimate Destruction to run and jump long distances still intact, though the feeling of speed is drastically reduced since Hulk no longer sprints for some reason, and he feels floaty when he jumps. He also no longer runs up the sides of buildings, instead he now climbs up them like a big, green gorilla, which further reduces the ease of motion Hulk had in Ultimate Destruction, though I suppose it is somewhat more realistic. Probably the best thing about this game was the fact the city of New York was fully destructible. Every vehicle and building in the city can be reduced to a pile of rubble, and that’s actually kind of impressive. The downside to this though is that much of the environment reacts to Hulk like a bull running through a china shop with faulty hit detection; should Hulk even go within a couple of feet of vehicles, light poles, hot dog stands, satellite dishes, or even people, they’ll be knocked aside or destroyed as if he ran directly into them at full speed. Since destroying too much of the environment attracts the military, you could find yourself being hassled by them more often than you’d like.
The combat also lacks the “oomph” displayed in Ultimate Destruction. Due to Hulk’s reduced speed, combat mainly consists of running up to enemies and blocking their attacks, then hitting them back with Hulk’s less impressive looking punches and slams. Certain bosses are also immune to all but a couple of Hulk’s strongest attacks, forcing you to spam the same moves over and over again in order to damage them. Some of the enemies are at least challenging, but that doesn’t save the game’s combat from being slow and lackluster. There are plenty of side-missions revolving around winning territory back from the Enclave which I found to be surprisingly addicting, but they were still repetitive and only the more obsessive completionist gamers like myself would be willing to finish all the side-missions in this game. There were collectibles to find and racing missions to complete, but not even I bothered with these, and I never will since I traded this game in a while back……two playthroughs were enough. The Incredible Hulk gets a score of 60%.
The Hulk is a Marvel hero that I feel should have a bigger video game presence, but I’m not sure who’d be worthy of developing another Hulk game since Radical Entertainment went under a few years back, and I’m not even sure if the demand for another Hulk game is even that high. Given the capabilities of our current gen systems, another Hulk game in the hands of the right developers could be lots of fun, but as of now it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting anymore games revolving around my favorite, bad-tempered green monster-man. Join me next week for Part 25 of “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn” where I will discuss Rockstar’s Red Dead games. In the meantime, take a look at more of our site’s material below (once again, we’ve got a lot for you this week):
If you’re like Michael and have only recently decided to try out Heavy Rain, then it might behoove you to check out his review of the PS4 edition of the game right here.
Also, Michael has at long last ended his month-long dedication called “Footy Month” where he discussed a bunch of recently purchased soccer/football games in his “Retro Respawn” feature. If you’re like me and you’ve been waiting for Michael to go back to discussing (or bashing) non-sports games, then check out his recent article on the original Tekken right here.
Boy Jorge has prepared his own review of 2D side-scrolling game Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, which you can find here.
Our very own Stephen Jackson, “Captain Respawn” himself, lives out what is possibly his secret dream of being the best bus driver he could possibly be, and he does this by playing Bus Simulator 16. Check out his review of this unusual game right here.
The mysterious James returns once again with a review of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii-U, so plunge your Master Sword right here to check it out.
Kane has tried his hand at the new title known in the video gaming community as a “2D Dark Souls“, which would be Salt and Sanctuary. Take a look at the K-Man’s review right here.
And Will has prepared a review of Fallout 4‘s new Automatron DLC, which you can find here.