The Game: Hulk Smash. Okay, he runs, jumps, punches and throws stuff too in this action-packed game, but mostly he just smashes. Instantly theraputic for anyone who’s ever wanted to hit anything, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction allows players to use the Hulk (and just about any item he comes across) to destroy his enemies and the environment around him. (Vivendi Universal, 2005)
Memories: Within five minutes of launching this game for the first time, I had destroyed a dozen tanks with my bare fists, knocked two helicopters out of the sky by throwing boulders at them, and killed an enemy soldier by beating him to death with a cow. If that’s not a recipe for fun, I don’t know what is.
Many superhero-based videogames are as predictable and linear as the films they’re based upon. In games like Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men and even The Incredibles, you’ll have to first learn how to harness all the powers your hero is capable of (usually by working your way through a tutorial level) before heading off into the big city to face your nemesis and his hoarde of evil henchmen. And in that respect, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction isn’t much different than its counterparts. Where Ultimate Destruction stands out is in the, well, ultimate destruction.
While The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is ultimately another level-based superhero game, Vivendi has gone out of their way to make the levels (which are large) as interactive as possible. If you see a rock, you can pick it up and throw it. If you see a vehicle, you can smash it. If you see a soldier, you have several options – punch him, attack him with a combo, pick him up with one hand and pummel him with the other, throw him as far as possible, or pick a target and use the poor screaming fellow as a projectile weapon. And yes, if you see a cow, you can even pick it up and use it as a weapon (melee or projectile – your choice). Once the action begins, the game plays like one big three-dimensional version of Rampage. And unlike the previous current-gen Hulk game, there are no wimpy Bruce Banner levels to be played here. This time around, it’s all about breaking stuff as the green guy.
A big plus for this game is the uncomplicated controls. While there are combos and other complicated moves which can be learned and mastered, my eight-year-old nephew did pretty well by simply button mashing his way through levels. The targeting system for throwing projectiles is simple to learn (pull the right trigger to cycle through targets) and easy to use when things get frantic. On more than one occasion my nephew would do something like pick up cars and use them as boxing gloves. When I would ask how he did that, he would just shrug his shoulders and say, “I have no idea.” The variety of moves and weapons is so great that I often found myself surprised at what the game would let me do (tree + Hulk = batter up!).
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is a blast to play – of course, with hundreds of tanks, army men, helicopters and other enemies closing in on you, you won’t have too much time to think about it until long after you’ve quit playing. Fans of the comic books will appreciate the in-game references to characters, while casual gamers won’t need a history lesson in order to enjoy the mayhem. Hulk smash, indeed.