The Incredible Hulk: The Official Videogame. I’ll be honest, this is exactly the type of game that I love to review with a furious, two-handed type of passion. I lie awake at night, lusting over the chance to review a game like this for reasons that are almost entirely selfish.
Firstly, I’m a big fan of comics and I think the best thing in life other than reviewing computer games for a living would be to live in the Marvel Universe. It’s awesome. Mutants, super soldier serums, Skrulls and lots and lots of flexible young women in Lycra. It doesn’t get any better.
The fact that the game is an official videogame of the movie is a good thing too. Not for customers and consumers especially as games like this have a tendency to be overwhelmingly awful, but as far as I’m concerned games like The Incredible Hulk are an excellent way for me to flex my sardonic muscles and spew some wrath because, let’s be frank, you always have to approach a tie-in game like this with a healthy pinch of salt.
In some ways, you’d probably be disappointed if it wasn’t awful – and bear that in mind when we tell you that, in the end, The Incredible Hulk did turn out to be just a little disappointing.
Reboots are the in-thing these days, it seems. Everybody is doing it – taking their established franchises with years of backstory and history and then wiping them clean in one fell swoop. Prince of Persia and Far Cry 2 have done it and now even The Hulk has fallen victim to a case of comic-book continuity.
So, just as the new The Incredible Hulk film starring Liv Tyler and Edward Norton is completely detached from the previous Eric Bana and Ang Lee Hulk film, so too is the game. Consider it off-the-grid and under the radar. This game is so non-canonical it’s practically waving a white flag and wearing a daisy chain.
Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t closely follow some aspects of the original story lines. The Incredible Hulk still casts players as that torn and tormented anti-hero/fiend, Bruce Banner – a scientist who turns into the monstrous Hulk whenever he gets angry as a result of a gamma radiation experiment gone wrong.
As a video game plot, it’s perfect and already has everything it would need laid out wonderfully; a geeky hero with awesome powers (the strongest Marvel Hero there is), a natural series of antagonists in the army and a main character driven by the most angsty of motives in that he just wants to be left alone, dammit!
Also, there are plenty of catchphrases that make reviewing the game so easy to fill with puns that we could probably write these jokes with our eyes closed (Though it does make fixing the spelling much harder – Ed.)
This time around though the Hulk has more to worry about than just the US Army out to get him and, although the multiple plot lines and sub quests do start to focus on the Hulks confrontation with the military and the antagonistic Abomination, there are plenty of other quests to go around. There are also lots of other super villains to fight, such as Ironclad and the U-Foes.
The actual story surrounding the Hulk and his ‘core’ adventures though is pretty much as you’d expect – Dr. Banner, on the run and in-hiding does everything he can to rid himself of his green alter-ego by secretly meeting with scientist allies and trying all manner of extreme methods to banish the neon beast. At the same time however twists of fate and co-incidence bring him into conflict with outfits like the Enclave and it’s only through teaming up with sidekick Rick Jones that he is able to redeem himself for the damage he has wrought by kicking some robotic ass.
Sounds deep, doesn’t it? Redemption, fate, the inexplicable bond between man and monster – that’s all pretty interesting stuff for a video game, but don’t get carried away just yet. This is still a movie tie-in don’t forget, so the gameplay is as predictable as it comes.