Hulk, The
Game Info
Platform(s)
PS2, GC, Xbox
Publisher
Vivendi Universal
Developer
Radical Entertainment
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Great cutscenes
• Destructible stages and tons of enemies
• Stealth levels break up pace

The Bad

• In-game graphics are average
• Gameplay isn't too deep

 
Grade
B

In The Hulk, players take on the role of the Jeckyl & Hyde main character, David Banner, and his brutish alter ego, the Incredible Hulk. Set roughly a year after the events of the upcoming movie, the story revolves around a plot by The Leader to use the Hulk's gamma energy to create his own army of monsters. The story really isn't anything spectacular, but it drives the game forward.

Luckily, the story is set up with some nicely stylized cel-shaded cutscenes that look to be well motion-captured and do a wonderful job at setting the tone of the story. In fact, the cutscenes went a long way to making the story feel like it came straight from the comics. When you get into the in-game graphics, you'll find them effective, if a little on the simple side. Levels don't sport a lot of fine details and a lot of the textures are average and repeated, but for delivering on the melee action, it does fine. Also, a lot of the later levels start too look pretty similar. The most impressive part of the in-game graphics is that a large part of the environments are destructible and that the Hulk has a ton of on-screen enemies to deal with at any given time. The character models during gameplay are good and the visual effects aren't completely impressive, but for full-fledged demolition, it does pretty well.

The gameplay is broken up into two sections. As Bruce Banner, you'll need to sneak around certain areas, avoiding troops and searchlights. Often, you'll be forced to hide so as not to turn into the Hulk and make matters worse. While Banner can throw punches and can even strangle enemies from behind, you'll want to keep out of combat for the most part. Luckily, a lot of the areas Banner has to cover can be handled by being patient, moving crates around and throwing the appropriate switches. From time to time, Banner will have to do some "hacking", which basically involves matching numbers in a tedious swapping manner that's not much fun.

As the Hulk, this game plays out like a 3D brawler where you need to work your way from one location to another while beating the tar out of anything and everything that gets in your way. The Hulk has the ability to jump, throw punches, grab enemies and even use "Gamma attacks", like clapping the Hulk's hands together to create a shockwave. You can also throw enemies at each other, pick up debris to use it as a weapon and even perform stronger attacks by charging your moves by holding the button down before releasing.

Along with a health gauge, the Hulk has a gauge the builds as the Hulk takes damage or picks up red orbs dropped by enemies. When the gauge maxes out, Hulk goes into a rage in which you can perform more damaging supermoves, like a ground smash. You can also pick up green orbs to restore health or blue orbs for continues.

The audio portion of the game is pretty good. Voice acting is pretty sharp in delivering the story, even in small parts throughout each level. Both sound effects and the soundtrack are good in their own right, without being particularly outstanding. Some tracks of the soundtracks get weak upon repetition, but other manage to capture the feel of the game well.

While The Hulk is effective as a brawler, it does tend to be rather simple in execution. Most of your time will be spend wailing on similar batches of enemies and working to the end of the level without very much mental challenge. The stealth levels, while a nice change of pace, really aren't much deeper and can't hold a candle up to titles like Splinter Cell of Metal Gear Solid 2. One of my biggest gripes is how the game is paced. With loading screens between each stage, the story and pace of the game often feels broken up just as it seems to get going.

If you're looking for a decent brawler that manages to capture the feel of the comic, and maybe even the movie, then at least give The Hulk a rental or wait for it to go on sale. It's a good enough game to play through, especially with some unlockable extras, like a survival mode, but it seems to cut enough corners to keep from being worth full price.

- - Kinderfeld

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