The Incredible Hulk was released a little over a month after Sega’s first Marvel Cinematic Universe title, Iron Man, to coincide with the film of the same name. The game can be best described as a sort of follow up to Sierra’s 2005 well received Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (PS2/GC/Xbox).
The title loosely follows the plot of the film with Dr. Bruce Banner (lazily portrayed by Edward Norton) trying to cure himself of his alter ego, the Incredible Hulk. Out to capture him is the US army led by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and Emil Blonsky, who you later face as his alter ego the Abomination. To expand the plot of the film, the game also included subplots not featured in the movie, featuring Rick Jones and villains such as Bi-Beast, the U-Foe’s and the Enclave.
For those unfamiliar with Ultimate Destruction, the Incredible Hulk is an open world sandbox game where as the Hulk, the player is free to roam New York City and pretty much do (or should I say, SMASH) whatever they please. Outside of the story missions, you can scour the landscape for collectibles, smash famous landmarks like the empire state building, and complete side missions such as creating a certain amount of destruction in a set period of time, racing and even taxiing whole taxi’s.
The Incredible Hulk is one of the best releases in Sega’s partnership with Marvel, one can only assume that the developer just used the template set down by Ultimate Destruction, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There are a few things holding it back from being truly memorable, however. The missions themselves are rather repetitive, boiling down to one of four types, break, smash, transport and protect. The city itself is pretty barren and lifeless as well (I know New York has a lot of cabs, but that can’t be all EVERYONE drives). The voice acting is pretty solid, and has all of the cast from the film (with the exception of Lou Ferrigno as the voice of the Jade Giant). The large exception coming from Edward Norton who sounds like he’s reading his lines directly from the page. I’m thinking they recorded the voices after he found out he wasn’t going to be in the Avengers.
The game also has a few technical issues I encountered during my time with it. On countless occasions the game would freeze and the only way to correct the problem was to turn off my Xbox 360, losing progress within whatever mission I was doing. The other problem was the loading of the world itself. After a large jump, the city would load as I was falling or traveling, transforming from a bland texture-less environment to the fully realized world as the game was being played.
As far a movie tie-in’s go, the Incredible Hulk is one of the best. Sure, it may be a little repetitive and have a few bugs, but it’s definitely worth a playthrough for fans of either the film or the character.