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Having the imagination and ambition to create a game like this is one thing, having the technical skill to pull it off is quite another. Luckily, the team at Radical has done a fantastic job. The controls should be a lesson to most developers – they allow a huge variety of actions while never proving too confusing, and make shifting the Hulk around steep canyon sides or up, down, across and through the city a wonderfully fluid experience. Even when there is an enormous amount going on onscreen, the camera rarely makes a mistake and the frame rate hardly seems to falter. This isn’t a beautiful game in terms of detailed textures of gobsmacking effects, but it has a strong, colourful comic-book character that really brings the whole thing to life. And the audio, from the pounding score to the sound effects to the super voice work is equally impressive.
I’m not going to pretend this game is perfect. There is a tendency in later stages to throw a little too much firepower at you, making it almost impossible to stay on your feet long enough to start taking out the Hulk-Buster mechs and swarming tanks. Arguably, the ease with which you can afford new moves makes it unnecessary to do anything much in the challenge missions, and it has to be said that the boss battles are a bit of a chore. All I can suggest if you end up having trouble is to persevere, and look for a way around the problem. One convoy-destruction mission seemed impossible until I realised I could use jump points to outpace and ambush the trucks. A boss battle proved equally difficult until I discovered that you had to take out the radar towers first. One of the strengths of the game is that it’s not the dumb brawler it first appears: without a strategy, even the mightiest monster can get mashed.
Let’s go straight to the bottom line: if you misspent your youth reading comics or just like super-hero movies, then it’s hard to imagine that you won’t have a ball with this game. It’s one of the finest and most inventive action games this year, and if it doesn’t sell double what Fantastic Four did I’ll be annoyed. Really, really annoyed. So be warned: don’t make me angry – you won’t like me when I’m angry.
Finally – a super hero game that gets it right. Fast-paced, fun and more sophisticated than it looks, Ultimate Destruction delivers the most satisfying large-scale tantrum in town.
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