It takes a great company to design, create and bring a title such as the Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction to life; in this case, that company is Radical Entertainment. Many superhero games have come and gone over the years, but none have ever captured the image of the Incredible Hulk with as much style as this one. In a time when the flow of superhero titles seems nearly endless, this game has managed to definitely stand out from the competition. As such, the Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction truly lives up to its title.
Incredible Hulk plays much like a game of Grand Theft Auto in the sense that it's free roaming and the choice is up to you whether to advance the story by selecting particular missions. The developers have added side missions as well, but like those found within GTA they do not advance the plot. They do however, show you some amazing tricks you can do as the Hulk, smashing up almost everything in your path. Cars, vans, busses, ambulances are all fair game, just to name a few. Light posts, trees and traffic lights can also be used as a bat or javelin depending on your mood of destruction. As you smash things up in the free roam area, you're rewarded with smash points which can later be used to purchase new moves and abilities. This is when the game truly starts to become exciting. If you buy a move that is somewhat complex, the game even offers you the ability to try it out in the test area - a good idea when the move is a challenging one.
When you first start in the game, you're in the test environment where you can practice some basic Hulk moves. These can be learned at your own pace since the game allows you to spend unlimited time perfecting the art of bashing stuff to a pulp. When you get started in the actual game, you initially feel as if you can do almost anything. But after a few minutes of game play you'll probably wish you could do more (which will come in time when you earn enough smash points). Rest assured, complex moves are well worth the time and effort.
In the Incredible Hulk, you play as Dr. Bruce Banner and the point of the game is to find a cure for your terrible affliction. For those not familiar with the comic strip, this affliction is what triggers Banner's godlike mutation and super powers when he becomes angry; in other words, he goes from Underwhelming Bruce to Incredible Hulk in under sixty seconds. You do not actually get to play Bruce Banner (but seriously, would you really want to?), meaning you can only control the Hulk. As a public menace, many people naturally want to hunt you down because of all the destruction you wreak. As you progress through the missions, expect encounters with police, SWAT teams, military helicopters, tanks, robots, missile launchers and many other 'annoyances' charged with the goal of ruining your fun. With this in mind, you must neutralize them as fast as possible in order to complete the mission at hand. And believe me, there is nothing more exhilarating than beating the crap out of a SWAT team member and throwing his body at a nearby gas station, which you then totally level by throwing a huge bus at it. The Hulk, however, is not totally invincible. The game does provide an awesome feature, though, in the form of an "Adrenaline Rush" as the Hulk's life is about to expire. While this just makes him stronger for a few short seconds, it gives you a bit more leeway in case you lose track of Hulk's health amidst all the devastation. Another convenient feature is when you kill an enemy a green orb is dropped that actually revives the Hulk's life counter. Collect enough of these bad boys, and it unlocks special moves that kill pretty much anything around you - this is called "Critical Mass" state. Let's just say that you have not seen the Green Machine in action until you have reached this state…enough said.
If running around the map, climbing buildings, and jumping from rooftop to rooftop seems to be a trend that can become repetitious, this game offsets any possible boredom with a strong sense of freedom. If you feel like ripping apart a car and using it as steel gloves, do it! Want to jump in the air and smash apart a military helicopter? Nothing's stopping you. It really boils down to common sense; if its there and you can pick it up, you can probably kill with it. The whole look and feel of the game brings me back to my Diablo 2 days. The maps are just so big that if you have killed everyone in your present state, simply go down about two blocks and you'll find more people to kill - the enemies will always come back.
The Incredible Hulk has great realism and remarkable in-game effects; it really makes you feel like your right in the middle of the action. With all the chaos you create, the characters around you also acknowledge your awesome presence and react appropriately. For example, when you pick up an innocent civilian and decide not to kill him, they run away screaming their little head off. The facial expressions are a blast.
During the game, you will come across green icons floating around in hidden and hard-to-reach spaces. Some represent comic books while others may unlock additional options or award you with free smash points. You can also find jump circles here and there which allow you to go to other points on the map or to go back to the church where you are putting together the machine that will cure you. As you progress through your missions, you'll be asked to retrieve data and other things. These unlock secrets about what the local police force and others plan to do with you once you're captured in the form of beautiful cut scenes that advance the story line. It also gave my hands and brain the much-deserved rest needed from the sheer chaos of this game.
Of all the superhero games I've played, Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction is the one that saves the day; it's one of those that once you get started with it, you simply can't stop playing. If you haven't typically enjoyed superhero games in the past, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction may be the one that changes your mind.