|System: X360,PS3,Wii,PC,PS2,DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Edge of Reality||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
April 30, 2008 - Though the 2003 Hulk film received mixed reactions from both comic fanatics and the general public, its accompanying game, Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, was widely praised for its free-roaming third person action that put gamers in complete control of the green giant.
While Marvel is attempting to re-make what was considered a botched attempt with the first Hulk film, they won't be changing the video game formula too much for their upcoming Sega release. Essentially, developer Edge of Reality promises that the 2008 version of The Incredible Hulk game will build on the highly popular Ultimate Destruction. Based on screenshots and a trailer released in March, one of the first things you may notice that sets this game apart from its predecessor is the new look of the Hulk. He looks absolutely ferocious, bursting with definition in every muscle you can think of, akin to how he is designed in the film. While much of the game's design is a direct reflection of the film from character to settings and plotlines, its story will expand on the film for more in-depth and lengthy gameplay. The game will not feature actual scenes from the film, though it will include rendered scenes designed to mimic the movie. It will also feature the voices of actual stars from the film such as Tim Roth, William Hurt, Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, and Tim Blake Nelson, meaning there will be no cheesy sound-alikes trying their best to sound like the actors. Edge of Reality promises many extra characters, settings, and plot twists to the game - some of which will be taken directly from the Hulk comic universe.
Developers worked with Marvel writers to create a more involved storyline. The first part of the game takes place in Brazil, where you find yourself playing as the Hulk being hunted by special operatives. The other part of the game will take place in New York City. The Enclave has been brought into the game from the comic series and serves as large part of the storyline. The scientist/terrorist group has taken over to use the city as a training facility for their futuristic weapons and robotic troops armed with laser guns. Abomination, the Hulk's adversary in the film, will be in the game along with other external characters from the Hulk comic world. You will have to battle Bi-Beast in Times Square, a group called the U-foes, Vapor, X-Ray, and Vector. Ironclad will also appear in the game as a hard-to-beat rival matching up against the Hulk's strength. Rick Jones, who isn't in the film, will also be featured in the game and act as Hulk's voice of guidance of sorts to notify him of crimes occurring in the city, similar to acting out vigilante tasks in GTA.
Edge of Reality has created a living and breathing city with day and night cycles, loaded with pedestrians along the sidewalks and cars in the streets. It was designed after an actual model of Manhattan to help recreate a very accurate playfield. The map will include Times Square, the Chrysler Building, and Central Park locations. However, don't expect a completely true-to life recreation. In what is sure to please comic fans, Edge of Reality has put a Marvel spin on New York City, making if feel much more like a living and breathing comic book than a completely realistic city. The game will even incorporate crossover-like features as developers have included locations such as the Fantastic Four home-base Baxter Building, and some busses passing by can be seen sporting ads for the Daily Bugle. As you play as the Hulk and roam streets, pedestrians will react to you accordingly, sometimes running in fear at first sight. Drivers will also react to seeing your enormous presence, stopping their cars and even throwing them into reverse in panic while smashing into other vehicles.
Edge of Reality has also expanded on Ultimate Destruction by adding more destructible buildings throughout its free-roaming map. In The Incredible Hulk, developers promise every single building can be destroyed completely and pieces of buildings can be smashed off. Though you will not be able to enter buildings - only smash 'em - in some points of the game you will have to smash buildings apart to gain access to certain areas. Players will be able to decimate virtually anything they lay the Hulk's fists on, and for those with the "Hulk smash" mentality, the game will offer plenty of freedom to search and destroy as much as you want throughout the city. You will have the ability to pick up cars and throw them or rip them apart and use as boxing gloves to pound enemies. You will be able to break apart concrete, lift up parts of the street to use as a shield, tear down light poles, and snap off fire hydrants to let the water spray. As you play along, unlockable moves can be earned including the Hulk Smash function, which contains enough force to decimate an entire building in one thrust. You earn more Hulk moves by performing different tasks, earning points, and smashing buildings. But Hulk's ability to destroy isn't his only super power, and part of the appeal of Ultimate Destruction was the ability to make Hulk perform giant leaps and climb along the sides of buildings. Edge of Reality promises their revamped cityscape is perfect for using all of Hulk's abilities with the sense of freedom of having his power in your hands.
While smashing everything in sight is certainly tempting with the Hulk's might, the more chaos you cause will reflect how much resistance you will have to face from police and the military. Another crossover feature, Iron Man, can also be sent in by the military to stop you if your infamy rating becomes too high. As Rick Jones informs Hulk of ongoing crimes being committed, you can use Hulk's power to do good and remain on the right side of the law with plenty of people to rescue and bad-guys to bust. One way you can help pedestrians is by picking up taxi cabs and bringing the passengers to their destinations. There will be plenty of mini-games and side missions to take part in as you roam the city. One target practice game will require you to heave light posts at a giant bulls-eye from atop a building and a whack-a-mole game has Hulk pounding on enemies popping out of tanks.
For those who thoroughly enjoyed Ultimate Destruction, expect only an improved version with the upcoming game known solely as The Incredible Hulk. Sega and Edge of Reality have promised not to mess with success - only expand on it with this title - and from the looks of things thus far, The Incredible Hulk game should be promising. Only time will tell how the movie fairs.
CCC Freelance Writer