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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Vivendi Universal

 

Developer

Radical Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Hulk SMASH!

- Lots of different moves

- Playing as Banner breaks up some of the action

- Some good action

 

 

- Camera problems

- Annoying timed puzzles when playing as Banner

- Continues don’t work well

- Simple

 

 

Review: X2 Wolverine's Revenge (GC)

Review: Spiderman - The Movie (XB)

Review: X-Men Next Dimension (GC)

Classic: The Incredible Hulk (Genesis)

 

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Hulk

Score: 7.1 / 10

 

Next to Wolverine, the Hulk is my favorite comic book hero.  There’s something extremely appealing about being able to grow to gargantuan size and start pulverizing everything on the pretense of being angry.  Plus, that emerald green color just makes Hulk stand out in a crowd.  Of course, Hulk hasn’t always been green – he went through that gray period where his transformation was affected by the phase of the moon.  But I digress…

hulk gamecube review          hulk gamecube review

 

Hulk the game doesn’t have much to do with Hulk the feature film.  Bruce Banner, Betty and Hulk are all accounted for but that’s about where the similarities end.  The game doesn’t follow the film’s plot, even loosely, and spins out a yarn about the Leader, bent on creating an army of gamma soldiers.  But that’s not really important.  What’s important is being able to cause lots of property damage, slap around puny humans, destroy robots and tanks, and perform some classic Hulk moves.  This is the saving grace of the Hulk, otherwise it would be hard to overlook (or even gloss over) the glaring problems.

 

Chief among Hulk’s problems is the frustrating camera.  For the most part, the camera positions are fixed or ride on predetermined tracks.  This results in some really frustrating camera flips.  One second you can see what you’re facing, the next you’re trying to figure out where you are.  This happens most often when playing as Banner.  The camera goes all “Metal Gear Solid 2” on you, which never feels right even though I can see where the developers were going with it.  As the Hulk this problem is less obvious, mostly because you can take damage, and subtly and stealth go the wayside in favor of steel girders thumping bodies into walls.  But there is still lots of getting shot from an off-screen enemy.

 

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Actually, the Banner sections of the game are almost completely tiresome.  The camera is at fault for some of it but most of the blame can be placed on mind-numbing “random digit code challenges”.  This is exactly as it sounds.  Banner is supposed to be more cerebral but the code challenges completely knee-cap the pace of the game.  It doesn’t matter how long the code is you only ever get 20 seconds to succeed.  You’ll play the code challenges over and over again, getting more frustrated with each failure.

 

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When you’re in control of the Hulk, you’re having fun and any problems become less noticeable but one that remains glaring is the way Continues are implemented.  I’ll ask an obvious question, what’s the point of having continues if you start from the beginning of the stage after you die?  I could point out only two spots where using a continue actually allowed me to pick-up about midway through a level.  Otherwise, selecting Retry will put you in the same place using a Continue would.  Even more head scratching is the chance to pick up more continues!

 

The levels are linear and you don’t get the option of replaying them at your leisure.  In place of this, Challenge modes can be unlocked.  There are a few different types but the best pits Hulk against wave after wave of enemies.  This is where you can really practice your combos and technique.

 

hulk gamecube review          hulk gamecube review

 

The developers did a good job incorporating signature Hulk moves including the gamma clap.  He has a ton of moves and combos at his disposal, which are all available from the start – no unnecessary effort to “unlock” new moves.  Hulk can bash and smash just about everything in the environment and can use many objects as clubs and projectiles.  Destroying a tank creates chunks of debris that can be picked up and used to swat infantry, gamma dogs, robots, and gamma troops.  While it’s always most satisfying to wail on an enemy with your bare hands (even punting them into walls), grabbing objects and heaving them is the only way to approach some situations.

 

Hulk faces off against Half-Life a couple of times and if you’re a fan of the comics you’ll know that Half-Life can drain Hulk’s energy with a simple touch.  It makes the battle a little more difficult when you can’t actually touch your opponent directly.

 

The graphics actually took me a while to grow accustomed to.  I expected the style to follow the movie, but instead it’s somewhere between the comic book and the movie.  The influences of the movie are definitely noticeable, especially the layouts of some levels which are taken directly from the movie.

 

Another deviation from the movie is the way Hulk doesn’t keep getting bigger as he gets angrier.  In the movie, Hulk gets truly massive and isn’t hampered by machine gun fire.  In the game, Hulk’s always the same size and machine-gun toting soldiers can be a major concern.  To address this, there is a rage meter that, when filled, double’s your attack strength for a limited time and gives you a couple of special attacks.

 

Hulk is good, clean clobberin’ fun.  It’s got its problems, mostly with the Banner sections, but it’s fun.  And sometimes that's all I want.

 

- Omni

(June 29, 2003)

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