30 Days of Xbox: Hulk

Hang on… didn’t I already do this one?

Marvel’s seen something of a renaissance for Bruce Banner in recent years, with starring roles in the Avengers movies, and more recently in Thor: Ragnarok.

In video game terms, though, he’s always struggled, either with genuinely odd entries like the Questprobe Videogames (one of which I checked out at London’s only retro games store), or with games that made him oddly weak, like the SNES Hulk game. The already reviewed and played Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction might just be his best videogame outing.

Hulk, based or less around the Ang Lee film might be the second-best, although like that film, it’s also somewhat divisive.

It (mostly) gets the Hulk-based combat right, because the big green guy is presented as a no-style-all-brawn bruiser, which is exactly in line with what he should be. It’s counterpointed with something that probably seemed like a good idea at the time, namely “stealth” sections where you’ve got to guide Bruce Banner through gameplay that’s fairly rudimentary, but stressful to the point where if you’re not careful Bruce will get angry. As you probably know, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

I quite like the cel-shaded look of The Hulk, and the game design in general and the action keeps me engaged for a while, right up until the game starts spamming me with its weird gamma dogs… and no, you did read that right.

One of the persistent foes you’ll face are these large pink hairless hounds that like little more than chowing down on some of the big green guy whenever they get the chance. Hulk’s combat style isn’t subtle, but you’re often simply rushed by these things to a level where it’s all but impossible not to get hit and hurt. This isn’t a Ninja Gaiden type exercise where you can simply learn precise controls, but one where you’re somewhat fighting the controls (and the camera) and getting hit. A lot.

Hulk doesn’t like being hit, and neither do I.

Fat Duck Tech Retro Xbox Game Rankings

  1. Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time
  2. Taito Legends 2
  3. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
  4. Panzer Dragoon Orta
  5. Outrun 2
  6. Ninja Gaiden
  7. Black
  8. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
  9. Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb
  10. Godzilla: Save The Earth
  11. The Punisher
  12. The Hulk
  13. SSX Tricky
  14. NFL Street
  15. Disney Extreme Skate Adventure
  16. FIFA 2004
  17. NHL Rivals 2004
  18. Rocky
  19. Spy vs Spy
  20. Combat Elite: WWII Paratroopers
  21. Rugby League
  22. Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death
  23. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball

The Hulk is visually pleasant, and it does reference back to the good old days of 3D (or faux 3D) beat-em-ups, but it’s also problematic, because you pretty much never want to be Bruce Banner when playing a Hulk game. I’m struggling to think of what the third best Hulk game would be, though…

Next time: That thing with the stuff and junk…

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