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PC Gaming Review: The Incredible Hulk

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Marvel Entertainment seemingly can't go wrong. They've published hugely successful comic book franchises (The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, countless others) and have had tremendous success with movie adaptations of those comic books (Iron Man has grossed over $311 million so far, according to Rotten Tomatoes).  Sadly, things go downhill quickly once you enter the world of video game adaptations.

There are a few words most gamers hate to hear when it comes to video games: "movie tie-in" is one; "console port" is another.  With Sega's The Incredible Hulk for PC, gamers get the worst of both worlds: a bad movie tie-in and a horrible console port.

On the heels of the recently released Iron Man video game (Metacritic average score of 44 out of 100), The Incredible Hulk is wreaking havoc on the PC, but not in a good way.

The game's plot vaguely ties in with the film, with some moments of the film recreated, but the majority of the game is sandbox style, with the player in Manhattan, free to roam about the city as the Hulk, scaring pedestrians, smashing taxi cabs, or taking missions.

The Incredible Hulk features voice acting by the stars of the film: Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, William Hurt as General Ross, and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky.  This is perhaps the one good thing about this game.

First off, let's get this out of the way: the graphics are horrible.  Ugly.  This seems to be a port of the PS2 version.  The Hulk himself is the only element nicely textured and animated.  Everything else is plain.  The PC port of Spider-Man: The Game from 2002 did a better job of presenting a believable Manhattan.  This Manhattan is sparsely populated (and you see the same NPC characters all over the place) with some vehicles driving around the streets.  Yes, there are lots of buildings but they are just sort of there.  Couldn't we have gotten some reflective window textures on those buildings? It would have been nice to see sunlight reflected off of those windows.

There are no adjustments to be made for the game's graphics; the only thing you can change is the game's resolution.  This is a game that has not heard of such things as HDR lighting and normal mapping.  Believe me, this is not the game to show off on your killer gaming rig.  I'd go as far as to say 2003's video game tie-in of Ang Lee's The Hulk is a better looking game, and that's a game using an engine that's over five years old.

You can control the Hulk with a mouse and keyboard, but the best option is a game controller (I used the Xbox 360 wireless controller for Windows), this being a console port and all.

Most missions seem to revolve around the Hulk battling various armies, while tossing in video game standards like escort missions, protect a Person of Importance, etc.  It all gets a bit repetitive after a few minutes.  

As you progress you unlock power upgrades, attack combos, and the like.

Most of the environment is destructible, but even that's not much of an incentive to play.  There really is nothing here to enjoy.  Skip this game and see the movie instead.  Better yet, hunt up Amazon or Ebay for a used copy of 2003's The Hulk.

Pros: Voice talent from the movie; game controls well using an Xbox 360 Wireless controller;The Hulk is nicely textured and animated.

Cons: Dated graphics; horrible gameplay mechanics.

Replay value: none.

The Incredible Hulk is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Blood, Mild Language, and Violence. This game can also be found on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and Wii.



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About scottcsmith

  • Mark Buckingham

    Don’t forget about Hulk: Ultimate Destruction on the PS2. It’s widely considered to be the best Hulk game ever.

    I played the PS3 version of the game reviewed here and found it to be frustrating at first, but once I started picking up new abilities and powers, not to mention the compulsion to unlock all the achievements, it became quite a bit more fun. The PS3 outing also seemed to sport some better reflective/HDR properties. Standing on the Hudson River pier in Chelsea and watching the sun set over New Jersey looked a lot nicer in the game than it ever has for me in real life…but I blame NJ for that. 🙂

    I don’t doubt that the PC version was a lazy port. It was the first version to see a significant price drop, that’s for sure. It’s just a shame they didn’t try harder to make it good since the PC is probably the most adaptable and most capable gaming platform.

  • The “Iron Man” PC port is even worse…