Review: The Hulk

Like Spiderman before it, The Hulk teaser trailer was seen by millions of film fans months before the big screen outing was penciled in and, like many movies we'll see over the next few years (Hellboy, X-Men 3, Batman) the adventures of the angry green man are based on a comic book. You're likely to see more of this type of game too with the majority of these movies raking in a handsome profit for the studios. The game franchise has become an essential part of the overall product and a hit movie usually means a hit game. Actually even a bad movie can spawn a hit game and while The Hulk certainly broke even it was far from well received critically and gained only a lukewarm response from fans.


Visually the game has kept very close to its original comic book feel and it's difficult to criticize the application of cell-shaded graphics even though their current over use is getting a little tiresome. The animation is good too, with characters storming around the levels just as you'd expect inhabitants of a comic book world to. The cut scenes are equally as impressive pushing the story along nicely and featuring a level of planning and cinematography which could only have come from a big screen outing. Most impressive though is the physics engine, which drives the whole game, with everything disintegrating in a realistic and unique fashion. Thankfully the whole game speeds along at an impressive frame rate with absolutely no noticeable slowdown regardless of how much is going on.


Something that appears to be happening more commonly now is that Hollywood contracts not only cover the movie and publicity but also the spin off game. The Hulk is one such product with Eric Bana, no relation to Bruce Banner (spelt differently see) returning to voice the main role. This adds an air of authenticity to the proceedings whilst the other voice actors fill in the gaps nicely. The soundtrack and sound effects are not nearly as impressive though and to say that you've heard it all before would be something of an understatement.


The Hulk consists of two main types of gameplay: 'smash and punch' absolutely everything and the more thoughtful stealth sections. As you'd expect when you're transformed into The Hulk destruction follows in your wake and the fact that you can destroy anything makes you feel more like the angry green one than you can possibly imagine. Cleverly the developers have employed a type of dream sequence to allow you to get to grips with the controls making your general mayhem much easier to deal with. The Hulk has a vast array of combat moves, which are introduced at various stages in the game, and mastering these really is the key to success. In addition to wiping out seemingly endless waves of foes you can also destroy almost everything around you including many concrete structures and buildings. This is highly enjoyable stuff as swiping at one of the many bosses with an object that's just lying around (like a tank, car or steel beam) can cause a significant amount of damage.

It's not all mindless destruction though and transforming to Bruce Banner indicates a more stealthy approach to the gameplay. Best described as a poor man's Metal Gear Solid in this section of the game you must sneak around military installations avoiding soldiers and searchlights while trying not to disturb the rather vicious mutant dog things that also appear in the movie. This also brings up the puzzle-solving element of the game where you must match numbers and letters to crack a code. It's a shame there's not more variety here as recent GameCube titles such as Dead to Rights proved that this kind of feature could be integrated seamlessly without detracting from the main game. Unfortunately here it becomes a hindrance and you start to dread the next one. Bruce is a lot weaker in combat but he does have the ability to creep up behind soldiers and take them out. One aspect which appears a little strange at first are the 'consoles' that appear periodically throughout this section. The only point of these appears to be to unlock extra features in the main menu although why they aren't all available once the game is completed is anyone's guess.

The Hulk also contains a Challenge Mode, which is basically a handful of time-limited mini-games letting you indulge in some of the more mindless pursuits of the main game. The Endurance and SMASH Modes are self-explanatory really whilst the inventively named Time Attack option simply challenges you to defeat as many enemies as possible before time runs out. There's also a Special Features section which deals with the making of the game and movie and if you're a fan there are no doubt enough movie clips and artwork here to keep you happy.


Whilst the balance between stealth and action appears to be just right, the mindless punching and smashing your way through seemingly hundreds of enemies can become a little tedious. This is because rather than introducing new characters the game simply throws lots of the same at you, so you eventually end up tapping the 'B' button repeatedly just to get rid of them. Whilst this can give you severely blistered fingers it also generates a less than addictive gaming experience. It's still worth playing but you get the distinct impression that the developers simply ran out of ideas.


A: Jump/Crouch.
B: Punch.
X: Action.
Y: Gamma.
L: Free Look.
R: Target.
Z: Not Used.
C: Movement.
D-Pad: Menu Movement.
Control Stick: Change Target.


Unfortunately once you discover the various characters' weaknesses and master a variety of killer fighting moves it's all over rather quickly. This refers to the Story Mode though and the developers were wise enough to add a few more mini-challenges to spin out the gameplay quite significantly. These are best described as practice modes but, to be honest, everything you encounter here has already been played to death in the main game, which you'll need to complete before you unlock these games. The big mystery is the absence of a two-player mode with the option to battle in an arena-based challenge playing as the Hulk or one of his many foes is a serious missed opportunity.

Final Say:

The developers no doubt had a few tough decisions to make when the idea of a Hulk video game first came to their attention. Do we make it an all out action romp or do we offer something a little different? Clearly they went for the latter and while I'd usually applaud this type of game design this one is simply too repetitive to truly recommend. There are more than enough good ideas here; they just don't appear to have been combined with the gamer in mind. If that isn't bad enough, it's all really over rather too quickly and the absence of any multiplayer bouts means you're unlikely to revisit the game once you've played it. It's a shame really but, like the movie it's based on, what you're left with is an average product based on a very good initial idea.

N-Europe Final Verdict

The mixture of Smash'em Up and Stealth Tactics makes a refreshing change from the usual Movie Tie-in Fodder.

  • Gameplay2
  • Playability2
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Looks Wonderful
Original Actors Dialogue


No Multiplayer
A Little Repetitive
Too Short

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