The Hulk hasn't had the best of luck with his presence in video games for the past...21 years. With each new title, developers have failed to realize the Hulk's talents
The Hulk hasn't had the best of luck with his presence in video games for the past...21 years. With each new title, developers have failed to realize the Hulk's talents— for instance, his full strength capabilities. He's a wrecking ball...how hard is that to get? Well, the folks at Radical Entertainment FINALLY released a game that does one of the most legendary comic book characters justice. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is just as the title describes..."Ultimate Destruction." Hulk is no longer confined to boring levels, trapped and forced through ridiculously repetitive stages. Now, he is free to roam wherever and do whatever he pleases. The world is his playground, and everything in his way is nothing more than a toy.
First thing's first— the game looks fantastic. The environment is well detailed, along with the characters. The levels themselves are huge. For instance, in the first level you're placed in a city. You will see how large the city is, even for a creature as massive as the Hulk (the guy that stands at 13 feet tall and can jump over buildings without much effort— that's pretty big). Not only that, but areas are riddled with civilians, police and plenty of traffic.
Your environment is highly interactive. Almost everything you see can be ripped down, and even the rubble can be used as a weapon. For example, you can pick up a car, tear it in two, and then use the two halves as steel gloves, increasing the damage you dish out. Or, you can flatten a truck and use it as a shield. Then there are poles that can be used as clubs or as javelins. There are many items just begging to be used to bash your enemies' heads in. Just by moving around the Hulk can cause damage. By jumping and landing, the Hulk causes damage to the ground, leaving indentations everywhere. Even better, every time you do a charged jump and land, there's a good chance you'll knock away items within your immediate vicinity. When you're carrying items or weapons, you can damage buildings by dragging an item against the wall. It's subtle, but it just goes to show how fragile everything is when the Hulk's around.
The basic control map is pretty easy to manage. Attacks are based on two buttons: the square button (weak attack) and the triangle button (strong attack). When you hold down these buttons, you charge up for an attack, increasing the damage you do. As you progress throughout the game, more moves are available to you, requiring button combinations to dish out some spectacular moves that cause an incredible amount of damage.
My gripes with the game's controls are with the camera. At times, it can be cumbersome to deal with when you're trying to get a good view of everything around you (especially when you're trying to bunny-hop and navigate at the same time). But overall, it's not too much of an issue.
The voice acting is commendable, and the background music is fairly well done. It's in a similar vein to other comic based video games (e.g. Spider-Man 2). However, it's funny to hear NPC's suddenly scream when they see the Hulk, especially when he grabs them and throws them. You'll hear the chatter of police and military as they plan their take down ("call for backup", "destroy the item in his hand", etc). All in all, a job well done.
Gameplay [ 9/10]
The game revolves around Dr. Bruce Banner and his ongoing struggle against his wild alter-ego, the Hulk. Banner was researching a cure to subdue the Hulk when the US government (under General Ross and Emil Blonsky) came crashing in. His research was taken, and now, he seeks the aid of his long time friend, Dr. Samson, to help him continue his research to stop the Hulk before he completely overtakes Banner. At the same time, Banner must utilize the Hulk through hypnotic suggestion, to "convince" him to do what Banner asks. However, Banner is being hunted by the US Army and other unexpected foes. Can Banner find a cure before he loses control? That's what you're here to decide.
The core gameplay element of Ultimate Destruction is being able to free-roam. The world around the Hulk is a massive playground. Don't want to do a mission? You don't have to. You can just run around and smash everything in sight. You even get points in doing so. These points (called "smash points") can be used at the game's store to buy new moves. So in essence, the game encourages you to break everything you see with reckless abandon.
In terms of missions, it's "suggested" to perform quests, such as build Banner's machine, break something, defend something, or fight someone. This isn't very original, but it's very fun considering you have the Hulk's brute strength at your disposal. You'd think smashing things would get very repetitive after a while, but it's actually a blast.
You can be creative with your path of destruction. For instance, you can take helicopters down by throwing a pole at them, or jump on and smash them to the ground (or ride one for awhile before breaking it). When fighting groups of opponents, you can use an opponent as a weapon. Pick up a soldier and hurl him at another, or grab an oil tank to clear the way. Even while running, the Hulk can be used as a battering ram (while running, the only thing that can stop Hulk is a straight missile blast or a building, but you can run UP buildings if you wish).
The boss battles lean on "epic," since most of the bosses are much bigger than the Hulk. In these instances, battles will require a bit more creativity instead of charging in head on. This is where expanding your move list comes in handy. If you don't feel like doing a mission, there are plenty of mini-challenges scattered throughout the levels. Challenges range from racing from point to point, to smashing things within a certain time limit, to hitting humans like baseballs to see how far they will fly.
In the end, Radical Entertainment has finally given gamers the chance to unleash the Hulk in all his raging glory. If you don't mind mindless destruction (accompanied by a good Hulk story), then Ultimate Destruction will appease the rage within.