On 06/15/03 by Turner 'Bulldog' Hopkinson
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Release Date: 5/27/03
Platform Played On: Xbox
Available On: PC, Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube
The Hulk is really two games in one. One game is good, the other isn't. It's as simple as that. The first game you play as the Hulk himself, smashing and utterly destroying anything that looks remotely threatening. The second game you play in the shoes of a Dr. Banner. In case you didn't guess the Banner missions are stealth based since you have no weapons and are clothed in a lab suit. Idiotically I might add, Dr. Banner wears the same lab coat regardless of where he is. I use the terminology "two games in one" very loosely because the missions are meshed together in order to form a tight and cohesive storyline. That tight, cohesive storyline is, by the way, a definite plus and does the movie justice. In the beginning of the game the Hulk missions are thoroughly enjoyable. A bit on the repetitive side but enjoyable nevertheless. As you progress into the later stages the repetitiveness begins to really get on your nerves when you take into consideration that by this point the enemies you are facing have an answer to virtually every attack you throw at them. On a side note the environment is quite fun to dink around with. See a pipe on the wall? Grab it and bash the enemy with it. How about a pillar that is supporting, say a cat-walk system? Chances are after a few solid hits it will crumble dramatically to the ground taking the entire cat-walk system down with it. And that's just the beginning. Jump up and down and you'll be greeted by a huge, realistic looking crater in the ground. In other words everything is interactive and that helps greatly in making the game, which in normal circumstances would be considered uber-unrealistic, realistic. Getting back on track you've got the Bruce Banner missions. These are the missions that involve not transforming into the hulk for various different reasons. Not only are these missions boring and puzzle like but they are poorly designed, frustrating and repetitive as well. It is my understanding that the only reason these Dr. Banner missions were included was because the developer felt the pure fighting genre had been done time and time again and in order for this game to sell they had to mix it up. They also of course wanted to follow the movie's storyline as closely as possible. Both those reasons are valid indeed but I still can't comprehend why another way could not be found to make the storyline work without including those missions. And if that couldn't be done at least throw us gamers a bone and make them enjoyable.
In my humble little opinion the graphics are what makes this game. True, the gameplay isn't half bad nor is the level design but after a while it all becomes repetitive. What saves you from this? Graphics, graphics and more graphical brilliance. All th visuals take place using modified cel-shading technology and the implementation of this technology is absolutely flawless. It truly does feel like you are wandering through an interactive comic book at times. Additionally you can pick up, smash and manipulate everything and that can be more fun that you might think. While the Hulk's character rendering isn't half bad the enemies could have been improved a bit as could some of the doodads, such as the trucks that litter the stealth based missions.
Much like the gameplay the audio is repetitive, especially the sound effects. One can only hear the same sound byte of a crate being smashed over an enemies head so many times. Not much more to say on this subject. If asked to sum this category up in a word I would simply say "average".
The bottom line is this. Personally, I loved the game. But there are a whole lot of variables that would have to apply to you as well for you to enjoy it as much as I did. Ask yourself, do you like cel-shaded graphics? Do you enjoy comic books? Do you enjoy repetitive fighting games? I realize the latter sounds like a negative but in some instances, this game being one of them, it isn't.
In a Word: Repetitive
Word to the Publisher: Beautiful job with the cel-shaded graphics.