Hulk Smash? Exclusive movies, screens, play
6th Jun 2003 | 16:00
If Stan Lee is the dimestore Shakespeare, The Incredible Hulk is his Frankenstein (not, as someone below has pointed out, that Shakespeare wrote Frankenstein - and hey, we knew that. Honest). The Marvel maestro came up with the character back in the swinging sixties, but with a would-be blockbuster movie due imminently, the Hulk has never been more in demand.
While Ang Lee is no doubt poring over the final cut of the movie though, we've already got our hands on review code of the game - and we dig.
Chances are you know about Hulky's fearsome destructive power, but Ol' Green Skin also has a sensitive side too, courtesy of his thoughtful alter ego Bruce Banner.
Developer Radical Entertainment has taken advantage of these very different characters by incorporating separate styles of play into different levels - as well as playing as Hulk, smashing bad guys, leaping around like and generally tearing things asunder, you also get to play as the rather less gung ho Bruce - which is a rather handy excuse for some stealth-based action.
Pleasingly, Bruce even looks very much like Eric Bana, his cinematic counterpart, rather than the haunted, shaven-headed figure of the recent comic books.
It's Hulk himself we're most interested in though, and the big man doesn't disappoint. After a gratifyingly cinematic opener in a small town diner, it's, well, clobbering time (yeah, we know that's the wrong catchphrase).
Hulk the game doesn't follow the events of the movie particularly closely - instead there are nods to the film, but the actual experience bears a closer resemblance to some of the older comic books, with implausible super-villains popping out of the woodwork in addition to the hardly insignificant threat of the US military.
Hulk's moves are way satisfying - as you play on, you learn more combos and effective moves, so that before you know it you're picking up the bad guys in a brutish rage and throwing them around like rag dolls or else just pummelling the bejesus out of any one foolhardy enough to cross your path. The fun derived from grabbing a hapless soldier with one hand and battering him senseless with the other cannot be overstated.
Banner's stealth section's also worked well enough, providing a decent contrast to the muscle-bound carnage of the Hulk sections, though we can't help feel it's the more mayhem-packed Hulk section's players will return to let off some steam.
Neither section can be faulted for from a visual point of view though, with high quality cel shading and quality animation, Hulk himself an hilarious, strutting engine of destruction.
Once you've finished the story mode there's a number of bonus modes to wade through - endurance, time attack, and even Hulk Smash mode. Plenty to come back to, and if Hulk isn't perhaps the deepest videogame we've ever experienced, well, so what? T
his looks to be a fine translation of the more cartoonier side of the Marvel comic books - good news those of us who grew up watching Lou Ferrigno splitting his pants, but it's unlikely the younger Hulk fan will be disappointed either. We wouldn't like it if it got us angry - but it didn't. Now bring on the next Spidey game...