Hulk Review

Ben Silverman
Hulk Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • N/A

Publisher

  • Vivendi

Developer

  • Vivendi

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • GameCube
  • PC
  • PS2
  • Xbox

rating

It ain’t easy being green.

As we struggle to keep up with the lightning-fast progress of modern technology,

as our relationships buckle under the weight of countless self-help books, as

our lives get more and more complex each passing day, you have to admire simplicity.

And as superheroes go, it doesn’t get simpler than The Hulk, whose entire thought

process, daily business and reason for living can be summed up in just two words.

Hulk Smash.

I mean,

even Hulk nemesis The

Thing’s ‘It’s clobberin’ time!’ contains a conjunction and a multisyllabic

word. But The Hulk just wants to smash, and for that the big guy earns a top

spot next to Solomon

Grundy on my Favorite Dumb Superhero list.

So
it
goes
that
The
Hulk
game
(technically
just
called
Hulk)
is
a
study
in
simplicity.
You’re
The
Hulk,
and
you
smash,
and
then
you
smash
more,
and
then
you
might
grab
a
drink,
but
then
you’ll
be
back
to
smashing
in
no
time.
For
the
most
part,
it
nails
the
concept
well.
The
thing
is,
gamers
sometimes
want
to
do
more
than
just
smash
things,
and
while
the
carnage
is
prodigious,
the
game
is
repetitive
and
a
little
boring.

Though released only a few weeks before the film, the game takes place one
year after the events in the movie. Your friend Dr. Crawford has turned traitor
after promising to cure you of your gamma poisoning, instead stealing some of
your power, sealing it in a Gamma Orb, turning into a sort of mini-Hulk and
creating an army of mutants. You set off to straighten out the mess, ultimately
clashing with the mysterious Leader behind the shenanigans. It might not be
as compelling as the comics or the television show
(which changed Banner’s first name from Bruce to David, oddly), but it’s a decent
enough backdrop.

You play as the not-so-jolly green giant for most of the game’s 25 levels,
stomping from linear mission to linear mission, absolutely obliterating everything
you see. Enemy guards? Hulk smash! Doorway made for normal-sized person? Hulk
smash! Piping, windows, cars, oil barrels, gun turrets and helicopters? Hulk
smash! Hulk smash!

All this smashing is accomplished by a different kind of smashing, called
“button-smashing.” Though the game gives you a few combos and a nifty long-range
handclap, you’ll do just fine punching and kicking idiotic enemies until they
stop moving. You can pick up all kinds of things to use as effective bludgeoning
tools, but it’s still just a smashfest. Though you’ll see things like “Brutal!”
and “Enraged!” flash across the screen when you string together some hits, they
only exist to tell you that you’re being “Brutal!” and that you’re “Enraged!”

Along with the typical health bar, Hulk has a Rage meter that increases as

he takes damage, inflicts damage or picks up flashing Rage orbs. Fill up the

meter and Hulk can perform one of only two uber smash moves that – you guessed

it – lead to increased smashitude. More moves and depth here would have been

great.

Presumably to break up the flow, several levels force you to play as wimpy Hulk host Bruce Banner, who is about as intimidating as an unripe banana. The Banner levels require stealth gameplay, but fail to offer any of the staples like wall hugging, leaning around corners or even a little enemy light-of-sight indicator. Instead, you crouch when you have to sneak by something or run like hell when no one is looking. You can also punch and grapple, but this rarely does any good.

It’s also
rarely done easily thanks to a terrible camera, which is placed in fixed locations
and cannot be manipulated at all. This leads to occasional directional goofs
as well as the usual object obstructions. It’s not as bad during Hulk levels,
at least.

Every
so
often
you’ll
have
to
open
a
door
or
something,
which
usually
requires
the
exact
same
letter-shifting
puzzle.
Oh
sure,
the
letters
change,
but
there’s
only
one
kind
of
puzzle.
Weak.

They validate these awful Banner levels by coming up with odd reason why you
can’t turn into The Hulk – you’re too weak, there’s electrical interference,
you left your Hulk soda in the car,
etc. – so it boils down to a lot of trial and error and trips to the bar for
a beer. Seems like it would have worked much better had they encouraged you
to TRY to turn into The Hulk more often, since no one wants to play as a 50-pound
scientist.

But for the most part, you won’t have to, as most of the game’s main Story

mode is spent as the Jade Giant. Progressing through this will open up Time

and Endurance options in Challenge Mode, as well as the aptly named Hulk Smash

in which you in fact Hulk Smash all over the place. You can also unlock goodies

including movie art, making-of FMV and cheats.

I think the new Hulk looks like a beefed-up version of Jim

Carrey in Dumb & Dumber, so I’m not really thrilled with the modeling.

However, the overall graphical style is pretty cool, featuring a sort of watercolor

texture effect, plenty of big explosions and a steady framerate on all systems.

The Xbox version runs a bit smoother than the other two, but the three games

are otherwise identical.

Coolest of all is the fact that the game environments fall apart beautifully,

the perfect canvas for your smashing behavior. You’ll bash all kinds of objects,

which react fairly realistically thanks to a good physics engine. You can smash

piping off a wall, then use it as a club. Whack a guy with a car. Walls and

floors crack and crumble as you hammer them with your fists and feet. The sense

of destructive power is palpable and really drives the game along.

It all sounds okay thanks to adequate effects, though the music grows annoying and the voices (Banner’s is handled by the film’s Eric Bana) grow tiresome and redundant.

And
sadly,
so
does
the
game.
While
it
genuinely
makes
you
feel
like
The
Hulk
(more
than
I
can
say
for
recent
comic
book
duds
X2:
Wolverine’s
Revenge

and
the
shameful
Batman:
Dark
Tomorrow
),
it
doesn’t
make
you
feel
much
like
playing
once
you’ve
gotten
through
the
Story
mode,
which
should
take
you
all
of
about
two
days.
For
that
matter,
the
bad
enemy
AI,
poor
enemy
variety
and
extreme
linearity
makes
it
hard
to
want
to
play
any
of
the
levels
more
than
once.
In
the
case
of
the
Banner
levels,
you
won’t
want
to
play
them
at
all.

But
that
shouldn’t
stop
fans
from
giving
Hulk
a
spin
as
a
weekend
rental.
The
constant
smashing
is
actually
pretty
fun
for
a
while.
Just
don’t
drop
any
green
on
this
green
giant,
or
you
might
wind
up
smashing
your
TV.

 

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

2
Rating
Hulk smash!
Hulk pretty!
You feel like Hulk!
Banner stupid! Me hate Banner!
Hulk enemies stupid, too!
Hulk finish already?
Hulk still smash!
Hulk need hug