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XBox  Review: Hulk


Hulk Screenshots

The Final Say!

 - reviewed by Edwin Millheim
Review Date: 01 July 2003
Review Score: 8.5/10
Not based on an average 
Distributed By:
Vivendi Universal

Marvel Comics characters have been enjoying the advantages of the advanced technology in todayís entertainment industries, by bringing the characters to life like never before. Thankfully we all can benefit from it as well as the game industry feeds our insatiable need for gaming entertainment. 

Hulk Features

  • Players 1
  • Genre: Third Person Action
  • Rating: M15+

The latest comic book character to make the jump into new and sleeker gaming and film technology is Marvelís big green guy, The Hulk. The last time the Hulk was featured in any console games was back in 1997, The Incredible Hulk Playstation game, subtitled the Pantheon Sage. In that game the player fights different members of the Pantheon along with Trauma, Piecemeal, U-Foes, and finally the Maestro. A was expecting something better from the company that has made the Tomb Raider games, even back in 1997! Never fear the new game (this time by Universal Interactive and Vivendi Universal Games) really delivers the goods and a whole bunch of Hulk pounding goodness true believers. 

The game, simply titled ďHULKĒ covers the full spectrum of gaming systems, on the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube entertainment consoles and of course the PC.  In Vivendi Universal Games, Universal Interactiveís HULK game the action takes place one year after the events in the film. 

There is some semblances of a story line, but of course it is lost for the most part on most players since getting in there and smashing your way along levels is fun, for the first few levels anyway. After a while smashing the cookie cutter soldiers and Gamma soldiers gets a bit tedious. Would have been great to see a wider variety, hmmm maybe in the next game since they are already talking about a sequel to the film. Thankfully enough there are a few robots in the game to spice it up just a bit. 

The story line as noted early takes place a year after the films events, scientist Bruce Banner is betrayed by a long time colleague one Professor Crawford. This snake in the grass tricks Banner into a trap that captures some of the Hulkís Gamma energy in some kid of Orb. Crawford in turn seems to be in league with the Leader who has plans for the Hulkís energy. The leader plans to create a army of Gamma enhanced beings on the world. Thankfully enough Bruce Banner has such a strong desire to stop the Leader that the single minded thought echoes within the brutish brain of his alter ego the Hulk. Using a mix of Bruce Bannerís brain smarts and stealth, combined with the when needed destructive force that is the Hulk can the Leaderís plans be stopped.

All the action takes place in third person in over 25 levels of comic book fun. The game uses an interesting style of animation that at first glance you either love or hate it, but soon grow to love it as you smash your way along. The animation pays very generous tribute to both film and comic book, the HULK game sends the player along in so many environments, from San Francisco, on into Alcatraz, and even heavily guarded military installations and the very strange hide away of The Leader. 

This is where it gets a little tired for me, I really did not want to play Banner as much as I did. But for the story line it is understandable that it happens. Using Banner the player will find themselves sneaking around, avoiding search lights and trying not to wake up packs of Gamma enhanced dogs. Even later when gaining entrance into a base and Banner is in disguise you have to stay a good distance from other characters or you will be discovered. How this is even possible with the big gas mask looking thing Banner is wearing at the time is unknown to me. But trust me. Donít get too close to guards or scientists at this stage. Also during some stages as Banner the player must solve this games version of a puzzle. In this case you must place a set of numbers and letters set up in little boxes on the screen, in order with the lines above it. Simple enough and really a no brainer. In fact the only real challenge comes when the numbers and letters get longer and you only have 20 seconds to do it in. Bothersome, but one can see that they wanted to make sure a younger audience would be able to play the game, in spite of the TEEN rating the game gets for violence. Banner can fight, but he is a real wimp when it comes to toe to toe fighting. Best to avoid all confrontations as Banner all together. 

On the flip side there is of course the HULK. Playing as the Hulk you end up doing some really impressive and fun moves. There are several basic moves used by the HULK including fifteen strikes, some grappling moves and throws, some powerful slams and pummels. Whatís a pummel? well avid reader itís not a small endangered North American fuzzy animal. Picking up a soldier the Hulk can back hand then followed by a slap and then head butt the soldier into oblivion. Other moves include the Sonic Clap, this is really good for clearing a corridor. 

During play as the HULK there is a rage meter, when this fills up the player can let loose with RAGE MODE attacks. Entering rage mode only lasts for a short time, during this time all the standard attacks deliver more damage and the player can also release even more specialized moves. The Gamma punch or over head smash causes extreme damage with a shock wave that generates out in a circular pattern. Also the Gamma Action and Super Sonic Clap. This clap is a bit more focused and can clear long corridors. 

Nearly everything in the game can be smashed or turned into a big weapon by the HULK.  Smashing a car shows body damage, or better yet pick it up and use it as a club! Just about anything seen can be smashed at or used as a weapon. 

Wrapping it up, graphics and locations are ok. The style of animation gives the game a real comic book feel to it. Which is not a bad thing. It grows on you. After a while the locations tend to start to get an overly similar feel to them. 

Control is not over done and the character movements are easy to learn. No huge amounts of button presses to learn to do all the cool moves. So thatís a plus. 

With Dolby 5.1 pumping out of the speakers, every smash growl and explosion is pretty loud and impressive. Voice acting is better than I even expected, Actor Eric Bana lends his voice when Banner is on the screen so that in itself is a big plus for the game. 

In the end the HULK game is a keeper, but unless youíre a hard core fan once played there is not much to come back for. Maybe a second round is merited with the secret codes that unlock different secret features, but the game for the most part is a happy summer romp diversion. Donít expect too much beef here, just a whole lot of gravy.
Have fun, play games! 

Edwin Millheim

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