Review: The Hulk (XB)
After the success of Spider-Man in 2002, it was inevitable for another comic book hero to make a jump to the big screen. The latest Marvel creation gone Hollywood is The Hulk, and just like Spider-Man the movie has a video game of the same title. It probably isn’t surprising when I tell you that the two games are quite similar, and that isn’t exactly a bad thing.
Although you play some levels as weak, innocent Bruce, the majority of the game you play as the Big Green Machine known as The Hulk. The story mode features short but impressive cut scenes, which may or may not be taken from the movie itself. We’ll have to wait until the movie’s release later this month to determine just how much is similar.
When playing (and fighting) as The Hulk, your moves are based on a three-button combo system. The X and Y buttons are used primarily for attacking, while the B button allows you to pick up either an opponent or an object. When these buttons are pressed rapidly, The Hulk will go into a tear, fairly easily taking out as many as 5 or 6 guards in a matter of seconds. The longer you are able to press the buttons and hit opponents in succession, the larger your combo total will be, very similar to most fighting games. The A button is used to jump, and a cool effect in particular is that usually when The Hulk lands from jumping, the ground cracks and shatters. As you progress in the game, you learn more advanced controls such as the ability to throw enemies at targets or other opposition. The learning curve for the controls is fairly easy, and can easily be mastered within 10 minutes of playing time.
The most frustrating feature of the entire game is the use of the camera. The game tries to create a cinematic feel, and at times the camera will focus too closely or in the wrong direction, causing you to run into walls or worse yet, into enemy fire. Pressing the L trigger allows you to go into first-person mode, but you cannot move as it is only used to look around. You do tend to get used to the aggravating camera, although the ability to control the view yourself would have been a very welcome addition.
Graphically, the game looks as if it was a well-drawn comic book brought to life. The visuals compared to other games can best be described as a cross between Spider-Man and Jet Set Radio Future. The Hulk in actual gameplay looks just as good as during in game cut scenes, a feat which is rarely seen in any video game.
The only complaint with the graphics could possibly fall with level design. In a level where you must jump building-to-building, each looks very similar and bland. The same could be said about the underground level. Each enemy is well done, but better environments would’ve made the game even more incredible visually.
The sound is pretty much what you’d expect from a movie-based video game. The character voice acting is well done and the in-game music has a cinematic feel. The developers also did a good job of mixing sound with The Hulk’s movements. In other words, when The Hulk jumps, kicks, punches, or simply moves, you hear it! Overall, the sound is well done, but nothing that you really didn’t either expect or haven’t heard before.
Like last year’s Spider-Man, the game doesn’t have a lot of depth. The Hulk only features two modes, Story and Challenge, which both are fairly short and easy to either complete or become tired of quickly. The good news is that while the game is short, it is very good while it lasts. As compared to some games, where countless enemies eventually cause you to avoid out of boredom, it is fun kicking ass as The Hulk! Although you may not being playing this game one year from now, the timing with the movie will give you some short-term summer fun.
Fun Factor: 7.0