Let Me Introduce You To My Little Friends

Watch out! There are a couple of very angry men about to burst onto a gaming console near you.

Last week I was invited to the Soho Hotel in London by Vivendi – curiously the same venue used by Apple for its Tiger preview. Unlike Gordon, I didn’t bump into (literally) Robert Downey Jr on my way in, but we can’t expect to assault celebrities every time we attend press briefings.

Located in the basement of the Soho Hotel is one of the best private screening rooms that I’ve seen – and I’ve seen most of the screening rooms in London at one point or another. So, regardless of anything, Vivendi definitely got the venue right.

The reason for this event was to brief the press on a couple of forthcoming games developed by Radical for Vivendi. First up was a rolling and playable demo of “The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction” and I have to say that I wasn’t holding out a great deal of hope for this one. First off, the choice of licence is a strange one, especially considering how awful the movie was – despite having a superb cast and director. Also, a name like “Ultimate Destruction” sounds like a dodgy wrestling game, rather than a superhero title.

However, my initial preconceptions were proved completely unfounded, because Hulk looks like it could be a hugely entertaining game. Hulk is based in a completely free roaming city environment, where you can do pretty much anything you want to. Now, although the game structure is mission based, you can choose to completely ignore the missions and just spend your time destroying the city.

This is where the title “Ultimate Destruction” comes into play, since the Hulk can, quite literally destroy everything in the city, including demolishing some of the buildings themselves. Obviously you need to decide whether you’re going to be a good or a bad Hulk – you can kill the innocent bystanders, or maybe just run around with one in your hand for a while before putting them down and giving the a gentle pat on the head.

Pretty much everything in the city can also be used for one purpose or another – rip a car in half and clad each of your fists in steel for extra smashing power, pick up a bus and use it as a shield and my personal favourite, flatten a truck and use it as a surf board! It looks like Hulk could be hours of fun before you even start on the missions.

The missions will be what drives the story along, and you can expect to meet some pretty massive opponents along the way – the “Hulk Buster” that the army has built to take you out is pretty cool for one. There are even sub games to discover while you’re battling your way through the missions – how about a giant game of golf using a huge pylon as a club?

So, try to dispel any your fears about a Hulk licensed game, even if you had to suffer through the movie – Hulk: Ultimate Destruction just might be the sleeper hit of 2005.

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