The Hulk may hate puny humans but this puny human loves Hulk's newest video game. Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is one of the best comic book games of all time. Perhaps second only to last year's Spider-man 2. Like Spider-man 2, Ultimate Destruction uses the Grand Theft Auto, free roaming style of gameplay to give you the best Hulk experience to date.
Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is packed with appeal for all sorts of gamers. It is easy to pick up and yet challenging through out the entirety of the game. Most of all, it is just pure fun. Hulk fans especially will enjoy this fully engrossing game. As a huge comic fan and a passing Hulk fan I can think of nothing I would want from a Hulk game that you can't find in Ultimate Destruction. (Ok, it would have been cool to have an all out brawl with Wolverine. But, you can get that from the new Ultimate Spider-man game.)
Unlike the similar Spider-man games, Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction has a near fully interactive environment. This is the main thing that really gives the game the feeling of controlling the actual Hulk. Just about anything you see on the screen can be picked up, smashed, or otherwise destroyed. It really does earn it's name, Ultimate Destruction. The variety of ways you can destroy each object is amazing. In fact as you progress you can unlock new ways to destroy various things. Smaller cars can be hurled as opponents, or refashioned into fists you wear (perhaps a reference to the generations of Hulk fist toys for kids), or just pummeled until they explode. Larger vehicles, like buses, can be hucked as well or turned into an extremely useful shield. Eventually you will be able to grab tanks by the barrel, just like in the movie, swing them around, battering enemies, and then toss them. This comes in real handy as you battle through some of the harder missions, with the most power enemies. Light poles and radio towers can be used like baseball bats or thrown like javelins. You can grab airborne enemies out of the sky, once you unlock the ability. Even innocent bystanders aren't safe. You can pick them right up off of the street. Hurling them at opponents does do much damage but it is funny. You can slam them down, flick them with your finger, or simply set them down and pat them on the head. It makes for some pretty great little Hulk moments. There are even some buildings that you can bring toppling down and some you have to keep from toppling down. It really is a wonderful environment for the Hulk to explore and produces a bounty of "Hell ya!" and laugh out loud moments.
The cityscapes look amazing, especially at night. The hulk also looks great as he leaps and bounds through the city and the desert. Boy does he jump too. By charging your jump you can send the green, gamma irradiated monster flying through the air. When he lands the ground cracks. If he hits a building, he doesn't have spider powers, he forcefully digs his fingers into the side of the building. Or he will just run right up the side.
Ultimate destruction sounds good too. The music is perfect and the sound effects make full use of surround sound. Hearing missiles sneak up from behind you in the rear speakers wasn't just cool but useful. There are a couple of moments when you know missiles are being fired but you can't stop to look for them. With surround sound you are able to hear the missiles come up from behind you and act accordingly. Things like this always take the gaming experience up to the next level.
There are a lot of great enemies for the Hulk to face. You'll start off fighting police men and soldiers. Soon you'll be battling tanks, helicopters, and jets. Just when you get used to the missile barrages, General "Thunderbolt" Ross unleashes his Hulk busters. These are a lot of fun, Hulk sized mechs that team up on you. And the mechs just keep getting bigger, culminating in a boss fight with Ross himself in the biggest mech yet. It is a huge mechanical monster and the ensuing fight is epic. Entire city blocks are destroyed as Hulk squares off with the obsessed General. It can be frustrating, definitely challenging, and ultimately perfect.
The boss battles all together are wonderful. The main antagonist is Dr. Emil Bronsky. The story follows Bronsky as his experiments with Gamma radiation lead to his transformation into the Hulk's arch-enemy, The Abomination. The Abomination, being akin to Hulk's big brother, makes for some superb fights.
To flesh out the look and the story for Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the developers brought in some top notch creators. Writer Paul Jenkins (who has written just about every one in the Marvel universe including Spider-man and the Hulk himself) and superstar artist Bryan Hitch (The Ultimates) were brought in to make the game really in the spirit of the comics. The story is good and really shines in the CGI sequences. One draw back though is half the story is told through narration over static backgrounds. It is kinda lame, especially in contrast to way the rest of the game, which is so well presented.
There are a lot of bonuses. You can unlock roughly a million new moves, abilities, and combos. Well, not a million, but a lot. There are also character bios and comic book cover images you can unlock. It is always fun to reward yourself with a new super move after a trying mission. On the other hand I found most of the mini games to be tedious and silly. Luckily completing them isn't a necessity to the game. I mostly ignored them but they always there for the people who will enjoy them.
One problem I had with Ultimate Destruction is that the missions could be repetitive at times. The game pretty much consists of three mission types: go fetch, protect, and kill 'em all. The go fetch missions require Hulk to go out and get an object and return it to the sanctuary with out it or Hulk being destroyed. The protect missions usually put Hulk between the army and an important building. You must then protect the building. Lastly, the kill 'em all missions, well I think you probably get the idea. It is a little repetitive and quite a few of the missions degenerate into button mashing mayhem. Many missions do invoke a certain amount of rage as you just pound away at countless enemies, with little variation. Or worse yet they pound away at you. There are a number of times when the player will want to Hulk-out himself. Still the sheer madness can be exhilarating and the fun factor keeps the player pushing through the rough moments.
Of course I was able to play through the entire game in three days. Three glued to the seat except to eat or pee days. Still it could have been a little longer. Hulk fans will get lots of replay value and there are lots of mini game type missions. For them this will be a buyer. If you just want to have a really great three day experience I think you'll get buy fine just renting. Either way this game is well done and it is apparent that it was made with love and hard work. I couldn't have been more happy, and I hope my favorite comics get this kind of care in their adaptations.