STAFF REVIEW of Hulk (Xbox)


Wednesday, June 11, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Hulk Box art I would assume at this point in time not too many people don't know who the Hulk is. Which is to bad in my opinion...why you ask? Because if you put aside the Saturday morning cartoon, the TV series (Sorry Mr. Ferigno), the Comic Books, and even forget that there is a movie coming out, you would probably enjoy this game allot. But I think the hype machine may damage this exciting little game. Now if your like me and really like the Hulk from years gone by, you'll get a charge out of "Becoming" our large green machine (No, not an XBOX). This game does deliver the feel of being the Hulk, feel every earth stomping, fist pounding, thunderous handclap you can muster up. To make things more interesting you are also treated to playing as Bruce Banner. The combination of stealth, puzzles, and bonuses and challenges keep you glued to this game. What this game lacks in replay value (sigh?), it makes up in flat out fun.


The game is broken up into 2 basic scenarios. Play stealth levels as Bruce Banner, and action levels as The Hulk. The control layout is very simple to understand and learn for both characters, and the use of forced feedback has never been better. Your mission, as most of you know, is the cure. You?re confronted with enemies of various sizes, shapes, power, and numbers. You also need to solve a few puzzles along the way to gain access to rooms and labs. As you work your way through a mission, defeated enemies leave health ?Orbs? behind temporarily for you to recharge, they also occasionally leave behind ?Rage? orbs. When in rage mode The Hulk can do some pretty intense damage. This is not to say that he doesn?t already, no, no, no?about 90% of what you see is not only destructible, but it can also be picked up, kicked, thrown or used as a weapon. You can even pick up some enemies by the throat and hurl them into other groups. The physics in this game are absolutely amazing, nothing is pre-determined, falling debris, water, you name it, and it?s always different and reacts as it should in the real world. You can also find ?Blue? orbs which will save your game at that point if you parish before ending the level. There are also a nice array of hidden goodies, and un-lockable ?Hulk Challenges? to add to the fun. All in all I was really pleased with the game, it?s a lot of fun and will keep you going for a while?unfortunately the good times will eventually come to an end, the replay value isn?t here aside from the usual 3 difficulty levels. Now the bad stuff?camera angles, we have a major issue with camera movement. You can only look around in 1st person mode (L. Trigger) but you can?t move, and if you?re crouching as Bruce (A) and you?re behind a crate your not going to see much any way. This became a big problem on levels were enemies were perched above you. Still worth checking out in my opinion, if you?re a fan you won?t be disappointed, if your not, I think you?ll still enjoy it over a weekend.


Visually The Hulk is pretty impressive, the characters are cell-shaded and the rest of the game is nicely rendered and accurate. Again, physics of not only the environment but of the characters movements are spot on, when Hulk smashes into the ground you know it, the pavement cracks and debris flies. When characters perform holds, punches, kicks they just look smooth and accurate. Moving from area to area is relatively seamless and the cut scenes help to keep the game flowing. All this across 25 fully destructible and interactive environments. Not really meant to be a ?realistic? looking game, but it does have that fantasy, comic book feel to it. I liked it.


In the sound dept. Hulk is nothing spectacular, but it?s well done for the game itself. In game Dolby Digital helps the ambience when in tunnels and labs, the echo?s are cool and the voice acting isn?t terrible. Solid, but nothing new and exciting.


Suggestions:
Some sort of Multi-player set up could extend the life of this game, but i'm not sure how to implimant it. Otherwise, I think the game is solid fun.


Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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