Meanwhile mission design and pacing is a big disappointment. Too many fit the classic escort this guy/defeat these baddies/dispose of these bombs formulas, and most mean doing the same basic task several times until the game decides you’ve done enough. There’s little of the strategy we saw in Ultimate Destruction, and the combat just isn’t as varied or exciting. There’s no sense that you’re building your abilities and combos to match the growing powers of your enemies, and when upgrades are dished out, they seem to be served up without much rhyme or reason. Even the mini-games don’t have the wit we saw from Radical’s effort. Smashing 25 cars or battering so many soldiers in a minute is fun, but where is the equivalent of the car kicking, fire rescue or mini-golf challenges? The Incredible Hulk can do mindless destruction, no problem, but the earlier game still holds onto the ‘Ultimate Destruction’ tag.
But this game’s biggest bugbear is repetition. It doesn’t help that where Ultimate Destruction had two different environments – the badlands and the city – to work your way through, The Incredible Hulk has just one. Nor does it help that so many missions seem to take place in the same small districts. Put this together with The Incredible Hulk’s heavier combat focus and you have a game where what you’re doing in hour five or six isn’t that different from what you were doing in hour two, and bar the odd spike the difficulty won’t really have increased. By this point it’s all beginning to get a bit tired. Also, for much of the time there simply aren’t enough missions available. There’s always somewhere to go and something to wreck, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a map that was buzzing with opportunity?
Does this make The Incredible Hulk a bad game? No. It’s better than Iron Man for instance. Nor would it be fair to criticise it too harshly just because it fails to live up to one of the best superhero games ever made. All the same, it’s not a game I would recommend shelling out £30 to £40 on, just because I think you could easily see the best of it within a couple of afternoons of play. There’s some good, simple fun in all that dumb destruction, but very little else going on beneath the surface, and The Incredible Hulk badly misses the exuberance and playfulness that made Ultimate Destruction such a great experience. The result is a half-decent movie adaptation, but a pale green shadow of the superior Hulk game.
Wisely, The Incredible Hulk opts to clone the existing, excellent Hulk game. Sadly, technical issues and a general lack of inspiration mean it’s little more than a competent blockbuster tie-in.