Last month I ventured into the debatable legacy left by the Iron Man video game, which coincided with the monumental launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not long after, the big green angry member of the Avengers received his own video game in tandem with a blockbuster film. Now, ten years on, it’s time to look back at SEGA’s The Incredible Hulk to find out if he lived up to the ‘Incredible’ moniker!
The year was 2008 and on 13th June, in Europe, The Incredible Hulk smashed his way onto Xbox 360 courtesy of the now defunct developers Edge of Reality, alongside a Nintendo DS release by Amaze Entertainment who have also since ceased trading. It was later distributed on PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii and PC, but I remember the 360 version most vividly. Following in the footsteps of the wonderfully destructive and entertaining The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction was always going to be a tough job though; however it didn’t even come close to that high standard.
There was a really common theme in that era of games rushed out to market to fuel the hype of a film and to cash in on it – in this case, the not so jolly green giant of Marvel. The Incredible Hulk brought a third-person action experience to the table, loosely based on the film of the same name, featuring Hulk as the protagonist. The voice cast was strong, seeing Fred Tatasciore take up the role of the Hulk, alongside actors reprising the movie performances such as Ed Norton (Bruce Banner), Tim Roth (Emil Blonsky), William Hurt (General Thaddeus Ross) and Liv Tyler (Betty Ross). Despite this, the cutscenes were lifeless, with below standard visuals and phoned-in voiceovers letting it down massively.
As for the gameplay, and well, with destruction the order of the day, smashing and bashing was only enjoyable for so long, becoming incredibly repetitive. The sheer amount of destruction within the open-world environment of New York City also fell short of expectations too, with its predecessor The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction surpassing it by far. It would’ve been nice to see more variety in the levels, instead of jumping from skyscraper to skyscraper within the bland setting, watching enemies and vehicles get swatted away by a mere footstep of Bruce’s alter-ego.
The only positive came in the inclusion of many additional Marvel comic book villains that weren’t in the film, especially the lesser known U-Foes. The super-powerful U-Foes were a four-piece villainous outfit, featuring the extra-strong metal man Ironclad, the telekinetic Vector, the heavily radioactive X-Ray, and Vapor, who can turn into gas. One of the levels actually threw the entire group in front of you, tasking you with taking on all four at once. Other villains lying in wait included Bi-Beast, the Enclave organisation and, of course, Abomination.
That point in time saw the end of the Hulk getting his own video games and even in the movie business things didn’t go so well, with Ed Norton eventually replaced by Mark Ruffalo. Since then, this beast has been restricted to appearing as just another character alongside many others in fighting games like Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, toys-to-life experience Disney Infinity, as well as the LEGO Marvel Avengers and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes series, to name only a few.
So whilst he’s not been completely forgotten, the time must come when the Hulk gets another shot at that starring role and given that it’s been ten years, why not now? The technology has come so far over the years to allow for pure, next level type chaos; the destructible environments found in the likes of the Battlefield games would be brilliant for letting him run rampant in. What we do know at least is he’s set to play some part in the upcoming Avengers Project from Square Enix – in development by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal – but who’s to say when that’ll come to fruition given that there were no updates at the most recent E3 event.
Whilst The Incredible Hulk was easily forgettable for many, what were your memories of this movie tie-in, if any? What would you say is your favourite game centred on the Hulk and what do you think the future looks like for him? Do let us know by reaching out on social media or even in the comments below.