Featured Columns

September 30, 2010

The Comics Console: Hulk

Now I know years ago we all took that oath never to speak of Ang Lee’s Hulk ever again, but if there was at least one good okay thing that came out of the fiasco, it was the video game. Just like every character from the Marvel movie boom from earlier in the decade, a video game adaption embellishing the movie’s plot was developed, and for the hardcore Hulk fans (assuming Jeph Loeb hasn’t scared off all the Hulk fanboys already), it’s a much better way to experience the Eric Bana Hulk.


Publisher: Universal Interactive
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Released: May 27, 2003
Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube
ESRB: Teen

Just like the Iron Man, X-Men, and Daredevil video game versions of their films, Hulk strays far away from the movie story line, and, for obvious reasons, for the better. In this version of Hulk, unlike the film, the Gamma Goliath battles a pantheon of rogues pulled right out of his comic book roots, such as Madman, Flux, Ravage, Half-Life, and the Leader.

Though the game’s plot is very different from the film, it’s still not very deep or compelling, but simply used as a way to explain or set up reasons for Hulk to cause so much destruction. There isn’t anything wrong with this method of story structure for this game, because the story is not at all why we’re playing this title. While a Peter David quality narrative would have been great, the real fun is running rampant and blowing crap up.

As the Hulk, you run around closed environments bursting through doors and smashing down walls. You take on a decent variety of enemies in the form of military soldiers, tanks, Hulk Buster units, and gamma-dogs (that’s right…remember the gamma-dogs?). None of these enemies are particularly troubling on their own; it’s their numbers which provide the challenge. Hordes of enemies come fast and heavy, and the action on screen can get pretty intense. Boss battles are pretty straight and forward arena brawls that do little to challenge you mentally, but thankfully, even with your TV screen covered in explosions, the game’s frame rate stays constant, almost never slowing down the action.

Just about everything in the game can be picked up and used as a weapon, which is fun, but just using Hulk’s basic and special attacks hardly wears on you. Hulk can charge his attacks and punches to give them that extra wallop, and he even has a rage meter that fills while taking or dishing out damage that, when activated, allows Hulk to cause maximum destruction.

And just when you’re having a good ol’ time as Grumpy Green, along comes that wimpy Bruce Banner to ruin Hulk’s fun. The action is broken up with a few stealth missions where you play as Banner sneaking around military facilities avoiding guards, hacking doors, and recovering data. The stealth isn’t exactly on par with anything like Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, and the hack mini-game that was such a trend in 2003 is more of a hassle than it is fun. No wonder Hulk hated Banner for all those years.

The game’s graphics are pretty good for the era, all the characters and settings having a dark comic book edge to them. The sound is a bit dull, with explosions looking prettier than they sound, though Eric Bana does a decent job at voice overs for Banner. The game’s environments look great at first, then all seem similar by the end of the game. One of the big faults here is the game’s indoor stages that somewhat hinder the out-of-control-like monster feeling the developers strive for, but this problem is solved in later Hulk games.

The campaign can be finished in about 8-10 hours, but once completed unlocks some pretty standard, but fun extra game modes. Survival and Time Attack modes — nothing special — but most enjoyable is the Hulk Smash! mode which puts you in a train yard full of destructible objects with a time limit to cause as much mayhem as possible. Personally, I enjoyed just going through the campaign again, but with some of the game’s many cheat codes activated.

If you can compare the two, the Hulk game is much more satisfying than the Hulk movie, maybe because the game has so little to do with the film, but I’m positive Hulk fans will much more fondly remember the game than anything they saw involving the Hulk in theaters in 2003.

Though the game is fun, it’s still not the best Hulk video game experience. In 2005, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction solved all of Hulk‘s problems and is arguably one of the best video games based on a comic book ever made.

If you’re just a huge Hulk mark who is up for playing anything gamma related, you’ll definitely enjoy Hulk, but if the site of the game’s box art just brings back too many bad memories, I really can’t blame you.

For more segments of The Comics Console, click here!

Andrew Hurst



  1. At least it was better than that horrible Superman game! lol

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