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The Incredible Hulk

Okay, Marvel fans... we know many of you weren’t happy with the last Hulk movie. Maybe the director of Brokeback Mountain wasn’t the best choice, but... All hail Ed Norton! He’s here to make all things right in the land of Banner, as the star (and writer?!) of the upcoming film, The Incredible Hulk. And as you might have expected, he’s also lending his charisma to the game, along with Liv Tyler and other principle members of the cast. Cool beans indeed, as we’re big fans of the last Hulk game.

Games based on comics tend to operate under the notion that every hero’s primary superpower is punching robots, but rest assured that Sega’s The Incredible Hulk is striving to translate the surly green giant’s set of “skills” into the game. Hulk, well, Hulk smash. And so will you, with two buttons for light and heavy attack to deliver combos aplenty.

Even better, you’re given a grab button that let’s you snatch damn near anything. Hulk can scoop up soldiers and deliver intimate bitch slaps, or even leap into the air and drill them into the pavement. Thank goodness for those brave and foolhardy men, because quite frankly, we were sick of beating up endless swathes of pastel cyborgs, since every other superhero/movie tie-in game cravenly omits any human element to keep everything locked in T for Teen territory.

You can pick up nearly any object in the environment and use it to whatever violent measure you choose, and that includes enemies and military vehicles. Light poles become elongated baseball bats, and you’re free to pound an android into dust with a taxi cab. Why not pick up a Humvee... and throw it at another Humvee? And there’s just something about grabbing a guy and hurling him into a squad of his fellow soldiers that just feels too right to be wrong. Hell, if projectiles are in short supply, a quick button combo digs your fists into the ground, and rips out a ginormous chunk of earth that can be used as a weapon, at any time.

If that weren’t enough carnage for you, the D-pad is home to Hulk’s special powers. A quick press can give you a health boost, unleash a devastating ground pound, or tear unfortunate cars in half. And of course, there’s Hulk’s signature thunder-clap. Bringing those mits together sends a shockwave of green chaos in all directions, capable of damaging everything on screen, and even reducing entire buildings to rubble.

Yes, we said entire buildings. Although there are numerous settings, such as the Brazilian laboratory where the movie kicks off, who doesn’t want to see Hulk bulldozing through New York City? We witnessed the big guy scale the Chrysler building with his bare hands... and then tear it down! Best of all, it’s Marvel’s NYC, so you’ll be able to see things like the Baxter Building, and even destroy Marvel’s real-world offices. That should alleviate some fanboy rage, as will the expanded comic universe, which we’re told will extend beyond the events and characters of the film.

Climbing skyscrapers is as simple as holding a button, and Hulk’s majestic moon-jumps are an equally entertaining way of getting from Point A to Point B. Again, we’re big fans of the last Hulk game, so the next-gen anticipation compensates for the disappointment of Sega’s Iron Man game. But they’re vastly different characters. Hulk’s damn near unstoppable, so in an open-world environment similar to Grand Theft Auto, the player is given the tools, and the freedom, to create mayhem unique to themselves. The Incredible Hulk hits every platform in the universe this June.

May 16, 2008

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