The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction Review

Developer: Radical Entertainment Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Release Date: August 23, 2005 Also On: GCN, PS2, and Xbox

Superhero games have long been decried as an ineffective sub-category of usually action games. From Batman games (with the exception of Batman Begins and the NES-era Batman), Superman, and Aquaman, all have failed miserably. Spider-Man would be a special case, with The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction an incredible exception to this rule of superhero-based games as not being of acceptable quality.

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For those that played Vivendi’s The Hulk from 2003, which received mild acclaim from the gaming media, you should be pleased to know the Bruce Banner stealth missions are gone. Replaced is a sandbox of a world waiting to be explored, and ultimately destroyed. You’ll venture across two main environments, featuring times of day and varied weather conditions; the two being the City and the Badlands.

Ultimate Destruction is a massive open free-roaming world for you to play in. Unlike games such as Grand Theft Auto, which this can largely be inspired by in its openness, there are no load times between parts of the city, though the load times from city to mission or city to the church can be lengthy. Another difference is that Ultimate Destruction is a game that you can look at and be impressed with. The grand scale is most impressive, but the weather effects, physical damage, etc. is all extensive in detail.

Basically, Ultimate Destruction frees players from the leash they are tied to with most games. You can jump anywhere you want, you can climb anything you want, and smash anything you want. This game isn’t about violence, gore, or sex, it’s about causing destruction on a massive scale. To survive the onslaught of police, be it tanks, helicopters, or rocket-launchers, and cause as much havoc as possible.

The only game mode (there is no multi-player) is the Story, which seems fitting for a game of this type. Vivendi claims over 30 story missions, 40 side missions, and 150 chargeable Hulk moves, spanning 8 chapters and as I said, two enormous environments. We’re talking about minutes when go from one part of the city to the other. Thankfully, to counter the possible frustration of this, there are ‘jump markers’ that will let you jump from parts of the city or badlands.

Something worth mentioning that I found interesting was the use of vehicles or other objects in the game to defend or attack. See that street pole? Oh wait, that’s not a street pole anymore; it’s a baseball bat! Trees, poles, whatever you can grab and swing will cause damage to something, or fling a few people on the ground. Hey look, there’s a car. Grab, rip, and smash; now you have a weaponized punch. How about that bus driving down the street? You can’t weaponize it, it’s too big, but you can turn it into a shield.

Two bosses that I’ll mention are The Abomination, a genetic freak like yourself, and the Hulkbuster, a mechanized unit that can also fly. The bosses in this game take some effort, so be prepared to spend several minutes. This connects to one of the complaints I have with the game, so I’ll make it in this paragraph. The robots that appear in the Badlands, but more predominately in the city, where they’re faster, could have been tuned down a notch or two. Little time is given for recovery, which leads to cheap deaths.

If you’re easily discouraged by failure, this might not be the game for you. If you’re the type that feels liberated by overcoming a tough challenge, Ultimate Destruction is right up your alley. It’s easily an experience that everyone needs to check out with a weekend rental. The side mission mini-games alone are worth playing the game, which vary from simple follow-the-markers, golf variation, field goal kicking cars, to lifting cars and trying to put them as high on a tower as possible. For the hardcore, this should be a pleasure to have in your collection.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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