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Hulking Out

June 15, 2014

hulk_udA few years back, tired of giving up half our living space to media, we moved our DVDs and games into space-saving sleeves. Now that I’m selling some of them on, I’m having to reconstitute them into new keep cases. Fortunately, bulk DVD cases are pretty cheap, even when I’m going through this process with original Xbox games and need to buy lime green ones.

Anyway, the short version is that I had about 70 Xbox games, a number which surprised the heck out of me, and I winnowed it down to the point where I was keeping 25 of them, and then I started actually playing some of those to see if I really did want to keep them and wound up getting down to 20. It was some pretty harsh pruning, all in all.

Anyway, the game that most impressed me, and which actually cut the entire pruning process short as I got rather sucked into it, was the 2005 title: Incredible Hulk : Ultimate Destruction.

I picked this one up entirely because the online buzz back in the day was overwhelmingly positive, and I admit that I have put off playing it even despite this. I’ve never been a huge Marvel fan, and the Hulk in particular is one of those characters whose lasting popularity rather confuses me.

He was fun in the Avengers, I’ll give him that.

Anyway, while I’m not sure that he makes a terribly enthralling character on the printed page, he makes just about the perfect videogame character for when you’re in the mood to break stuff and hit things, which I find quite compelling on occasion.

There IS, for the record, a storyline. It can be ignored if you feel like it, because the point of the game is to run around environments picking up big rocks and hitting tanks with the big rocks, then picking up the remains of the tanks and throwing them at helicopters.

Some of the levels are in a city, which transforms the objective into running straight up the side of a skyscraper, grabbing the water tank off the roof, and throwing THAT at a helicopter, or breaking the sign outside a burger joint in half and then smashing tanks with a giant burger.

Also you can rip cars in half and use them as boxing gloves? I’m not sure where this concept came from but damn if it isn’t fun.

Finally, there are invulnerable cows. You see, letting the player kill harmless farm animals might be seen as cruelty, so you can pick up a cow and, oh, throw it into an assault helicopter and it will land next to the wreckage of the helicopter, get to its feet, and moo. It’s OK!

If you don’t have a massive smile on your face while playing this, it is my considered opinion that you are dead inside.

Technically this is also a stunning game for its generation. It’s one of only a few Xbox games that supported 720p, and the majority of the ones I’ve played have been top-down RPG sorts of things like the X-men Legacy games, which are attractive enough but don’t really seem to be pushing all that many polygons. This is a free-roaming game with a full 3D environment, a ton of destructible objects and a surprising degree of freedom on the Z-axis, and it really makes me curious to see what developers could have done with the system if it hadn’t gotten unceremoniously dumped in order to devote full attention to the 360.

Anyway. Fabulous game, pity about the untimely death of the system, I’m not sure if it’s supported on the 360 in BC mode but it makes a strong case for spending 10 bucks on an original Xbox at your nearest local thrift store to play it if it isn’t.

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