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The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Score: 93%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: VU Games
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is a Hulk game the way it should be done. After a less than spectacular Hulk, based on the motion picture, the green goliath deserved another change, and Ultimate Destruction does the the brute justice.

Graphically, everything from the buildings to the vehicles, enemies, characters and the giant himself come off exactly as they should. The in-game graphics, though not necessarily bleeding edge, come off clean and with enough detail to make you believe that this is the Hulk and you are tromping through a large city or military base.

The Green Menace is large, bulging and full of enough detail that when you do things like make him roar or throw missiles from a rocket launcher, you can see his face actually twitch or move the way you would expect it to. The destructible environments also display an impressive amount of detail. I was most impressed when I started pounding away at a building and saw that the broken wall texture didn't just reset and show the same image, but added to the existing visual damage. This made it look a lot more like I was actually doing irrepairable damage.

Ultimate Destruction's music has an uplifting, super-hero sound that makes you feel like you are a part of the comics and living the adventure. The rest of the game's sound effects also come off nicely. Nothing is as satisfying as hearing a car crunch between your fists as you make them into boxing gloves, or the sound of the ground being torn apart as you slam your fists into it. As for the voice acting, it was okay; stiff at times, but overall it was good enough to explain the next part of the game's story.

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is an elegant blend of Spider-Man 2's free-roaming, mission-based environment with the wanton destruction of War of the Monsters.

Bruce Banner has been hiding out and slowly working on a cure for his Jekyll-Hyde disease. Now that he is very close, the military has zeroed in on his hideout and has forced the good doctor out and away from his possible cure. Now Banner has joined forces with a psychotherapist friend of his, Dr. Leonard Samson, and they must try to recreate Banner's machine that was destroyed when the government moved in.

Samson hypnotizes Banner and gives him the ability to turn into the Hulk at any time. This false rage also gives Banner enough control to help guide the green giant and get what he needs. You will roam the city completing both story-advancing missions and extra missions. The Story Missions will move you along in the overall game. The Extra Missions will help to earn you points that can be used to buy new moves and abilities or you can just run around destroying cars, buildings and anything that moves, if you desire.

The Story Missions will have you saving people from burning buildings, gathering necessary equipment while keeping that cargo from being destroyed, knocking out power sub-stations or facing bosses like The Abomination, Devil-Hulk or 50 foot mechs.

Ultimate Destruction also features a Destroy All Humans-like threat evaluation system. In Destroy All Humans, as you made yourself more visible in the eyes of the locals, the enemies you would face would be both more frequent and more powerful. In that game, you would start off facing locals, then police, then military and finally secret men-in-black like characters. Hulk borrows a page from their book with a similar system. If you cause too much trouble while roaming the city or completing your mission, you will first have cops after you, then the military and finally the bad-assed secret ops people under the command of General Ross.

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction has its ups and downs in the difficulty department. Typically, you can run through most missions (both side and main story missions) without getting killed. I found that whenever I ran up against a boss, those missions would take a few tries. But as for the rest of the run-of-the-mill tasks, if you can stay out of the military sites -- you should have no problem completing the presented goals.

Game Mechanics:
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction's greatest game mechanic is the Hulk's combat abilities. Not only can you use combinations of the face buttons to unleash massively powerful combos allowing you to destroy anything in your path, but you can also pick up pretty much anything and throw it, swing it or use it in a special manner for added effects.

For instance, you can pick up a car and transform them into "Metal Fists" to make your punches that much more effective. Not every item will be used the same way - the bottom part of a destroyed tank can be used to pummel and pound your surroundings, while the turret on the same tank can be swung like a baseball bat. Other context-sensitive environmental weapons include picking up rocket launchers and lobbing the missiles at your opponents.

Ultimate Destruction is a must buy for any fan of Spider-Man 2, or other free-roaming mission-based action games. Its open-ended gameplay and destructible environment all but makes up for the previous Hulk digressions.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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