The Incredible Hulk Review: The Beast Within

The Incredible Hulk is the living, breathing embodiment of mankind's rage. An unstoppable engine of fury and destruction, obliterating anything and anyone that stands in his path. When you get right down to it, a developer couldn't ask for a better main character in a video game. Just ask Radical Entertainment, who in 2005 created one of the best video game to comic book adaptations of all time with The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.

Now Sega and developer Edge of Reality have taken up the task of gamifying the green goliath, creating The Incredible Hulk to coincide with Marvel's new movie of the same name. Does this new game live up to Ultimate Destruction's legacy, or does it just make us angry? You wouldn't like us when we're angry...

Loved

Ultimate Destruction: New York is the Hulk's playground, and he isn't know for being easy on his toys. Everything in the city can be destroyed – every car, every tree, and every building is a target. One of the achievements involves razing an entire neighborhood. Sorry Spanish Harlem, but you had to go.

Moving It: Traveling through New York as the Hulk is a joy, cars being knocked out of his way, fire hydrants shooting gouts of water as they shatter, pedestrians flying. Climbing buildings almost as fun as destroying them.

Incredible Feats: The feats system presents an excellent, relatively entertaining way of unlocking new powers. Rather than merely spending points, each feat has a variety of conditions that need to be met in order to unlock it, from killing enemies certain ways to using certain powers a set number of times.

Dirty Little Secrets: There's a ton of secrets hidden within The Incredible Hulk, from comic book covers and concept art to 200 power ups scattered around the city Crackdown style. There are even a handful of hidden characters to unlock, including earlier incarnations of the hero and some of his most powerful foes.

Hated

Hulk Program Puny Game: the Hulk very well could have programmed a bit of this game himself, judging from some of the glitches I ran into. Getting stuck in an animation when you are shot while climbing, enemies popping in and out of the architecture, and the jumping hilarity that ensues when you accidentally fall into water all make the game seem a bit rushed.

Loud Noises: Is it possible that everyone remotely involved with sound in this game was having a bad day when it came time to record? The voice actors sound bored and the music, when there is music, is an uninspired mess.

Limited Engagements: Not only are the enemies in the game repetitive, the bosses in the game are repetitive. One of the major storylines involves battling an shadowy scientific organization known as The Enclave, whose four bosses all fight almost exactly the same way. Very anticlimactic.

Mini-games: While some of the mini-games aren't too shabby, I found the majority of them to be either frustrating or simply boring. Mini-games shouldn't feel like gameplay padding.

Very Cut-Scenes: Two things about the cutscenes in The Incredible Hulk. First, they look absolutely hideous. Second, with few exceptions they all last under 15 seconds, making me wonder why they even bothered including cutscenes at all.

There is a great deal of fun to be had in The Incredible Hulk...just not nearly as much as there was in its obvious inspiration, Ultimate Destruction. It's almost as if Edge of Reality took Radical's original game and filtered out the charm and wit that made it a complete experience, delivering something more serious and visceral but ultimately less entertaining. I did enjoy playing the game, but I felt that it could have been so much more.

While the comic book has always been about the balance between the man outside and the beast within, Sega's The Incredible Hulk lacks the human qualities that could have made it a classic.

The Incredible Hulk was developed by Edge of Reality and published by Sega. Retails for$60 on Xbox 360 and PS3, $30 on PS2 and PC, and $50 on Wii . Played to completion on the Xbox 360. All secret characters unlocked. All side stories resolved.

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