The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
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|The Incredible Hulk:|
PAL region cover art for GameCube
|Publisher(s)||Vivendi Universal Games[a]|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, beat 'em up|
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is an open world action-adventure beat 'em up video game developed by Radical Entertainment and based on Marvel Comics' Hulk. The game was released on August 24, 2005 in the United States and on September 9, 2005 in Europe.
The player controls the Hulk in an open world environment in which the player can visit most locations and interact with the environment while not engaged in missions. The game's bosses include Devil Hulk and Mercy, and the game's main villain is the Abomination.
Boasting "Unstoppable Movement" means the Hulk can run across walls and other vertical surfaces, climb any wall by digging his fingers into concrete, leap huge heights and distances all under the player's control. Hulk's combat abilities also reflect this increased power; cars and buses are simply smashed out of the way while fully charged attacks will toss vehicles, enemies and unlucky pedestrians into the air. At his most powerful, the Hulk can perform one of five different ultra-powerful Devastator attacks including the Critical Atomic Slam and the Critical Thunderclap. These attacks will clear enemies out for a multi-block radius, flatten entire buildings, and cause massive damage to enemies.
The game's prologue reveals that Bruce Banner has exiled himself in a cabin in the American badlands as he attempts to create a machine to cure himself, transforming into the Hulk and letting off steam in an area where he cannot endanger innocent people. Banner is making little progress on the machine, and his health is deteriorating rapidly. However, Banner's friend Doc Samson contacts Banner and asks him to come to his hideout where they can build the machine together, but Banner refuses, as he does not want to endanger anyone.
Suddenly, Banner's cabin is destroyed by a missile. The Division, a specialized branch of the NSA dealing with the threat of mutated humans, is attacking. The Division is jointly led by the psychotic mutant-hater Emil Blonsky and the Hulk's old foe General Thunderbolt Ross. Banner transforms into the Hulk, easily beats his assailants, and escapes to Samson's hideout in a secluded church. As Ross berates Blonsky for allowing the Hulk to escape, Blonsky impulsively grabs a bio canister from the remains of Banner's cabin and is blasted by a massive dose of gamma rays.
As the game progresses, Samson uses a special device to control the Hulk through post-hypnotic suggestion, and sends him on various errands into the city and the badlands, either to help construct the machine or to hinder the ever-growing presence of the Division. Time is running out, as a new, darker personality is slowly taking control of Banner's mind.
Meanwhile, Ross and Blonsky's mutual animosity towards each other grows into open hostility, due to Blonsky's increasing paranoid and irrational behavior, especially his overstepping his authority to secure a mysterious prisoner, "Mission Directive", in the secret military research facility known as the Vault. After an argument with Ross, Blonsky loses control and transforms into a massive reptilian-like creature. Having become what he hates - a mutant - Blonsky dubs himself the Abomination. The Abomination goes on a rampage until the Hulk arrives, then says "Banner, what did you do to me you freak? You've turned me into an Abomination." Although the Abomination is the stronger of the two, his transformation is not fully stable, and the Hulk beats him in combat knocking him into the wall causing the wall to fall on top of Blonsky. When the battle is over, Blonsky transforms to his human form before his men can arrive and blames the Abomination's rampage on the Hulk.
When Hulk is sent to fetch fuel rods from a nuclear power plant to power the machine, he finds Blonsky's bodyguard Mercy waiting for him. The two battle, and when the Hulk emerges triumphant Mercy reveals that she had no choice but to follow orders, as Blonsky has placed a tracking device in her skull and is monitoring her every move. Mercy attempts to reveal to the Hulk the true identity of Mission Directive and why Blonsky is so obsessed with it, but before she can Blonsky orders an air strike on the area. Mercy is killed and while Banner escapes with his life, the stress of the situation takes its toll and his evil alter ego, the Devil Hulk, begins to emerge.
Under the Devil Hulk's influence, the Hulk destroys civilian buildings, killing many innocents, under the illusion that Samson is ordering him to destroy Division locations. When Samson sends Hulk on a mission to retrieve a package from Division headquarters, he is lured into an ambush, as it is revealed that Samson has been conspiring with Ross, fearing the threat of an out-of-control Hulk. Ross faces the Hulk in a gigantic Hulkbuster mech, which the Hulk destroys. Having no choice, Samson puts the Hulk to sleep with his hypnotic device.
Banner is taken to the Vault, where Blonsky prepares to peel open Banner's mind, as he has become obsessed with discovering the secret of controlling gamma-based transformations. The agony of his interrogation draws out the Devil Hulk's power once more, and the Hulk breaks free. When Blonsky is cornered by the Hulk, the stress causes him to become the Abomination again, and his identity is revealed in front of the entire Division. Blaming the Hulk for ruining his life, the Abomination flees the Vault, as does the Hulk.
Back at the church, Banner confronts Samson for betraying him, but forgives him when Samson reveals that he used Banner's captivity as a diversion to secure a vital component of the machine. Before the machine can be completed, however, Ross discovers the church and orders it destroyed. The Hulk defends the church as Samson makes the final adjustments. Now Banner journeys into his own tortured psyche to defeat his inner demon. The Devil Hulk mocks the Hulk, calling him a frightened child crying out to be loved, but the Hulk stands his ground saying "Hulk is not Afraid, Hulk is strongest one there is.", beating the Devil Hulk in combat and banishing him from Banner's mind.
Emil Blonsky is not so fortunate. An outcast from society robbed of his dignity and position, he pleads with the Abomination for his life back. Instead, the Abomination appeals to Blonsky's obsession with Mission Directive, saying it will be the only way for him to get his revenge. He then mutates into a larger and much stronger version of the Abomination and heads for the badlands. The Abomination breaks back into the Vault, destroying all in his path. The Hulk follows, expecting a fight, and is surprised to find a heartbroken Blonsky cradling the dead body of a heavily mutated woman.
In tears, Blonsky reveals that Mission Directive was his pregnant wife, Nadia. Early in her pregnancy, Nadia was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and Blonsky exposed her to gamma radiation in hopes of curing her. Instead, it transformed her into an aquatic mutant, and his reasons for obsessively pursuing the Hulk were in hopes of learning how to control the transformation and change her back. Banner tries to comfort Blonsky, but Blonsky, having lost everything he loved, blames Banner for his misery and transforms back into the highly mutated Abomination. Vowing to "return the favor a thousand times over", the Abomination heads for the local dam, as during his tenure with the Division Blonsky deduced that the destruction of the dam would destroy the city before it could be evacuated.
Both the Hulk and Ross' Division forces pursue the Abomination, and they have a final battle on top of the dam. After being beaten by the Hulk, the Abomination plays his final card. "You didn't win, Banner. Nobody ever wins when you're involved. When they print the morning edition, do you know what the headline is going to say? No survivors." With a final whisper of "Nadia...", the Abomination smashes the dam apart, disappearing underneath the massive wall of water and presumably drowning. However, Blonsky is denied even a pyrrhic victory, as the Hulk creates a landslide to stop the flow of water, saving the city in the nick of time.
Despite this heroic act, Ross sees to it that the world blames the Hulk for the dam's destruction. Samson laments this turn of events, as he and Banner were nearly successful in curing Banner. Samson offers his help again, but Banner turns him down, as the world will never trust the Hulk, and he sets off on his own. The game ends as it begins, with the Hulk rampaging mindlessly across the badlands.
The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction received critical acclaim on all platforms according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. It remains as the most well-received and most popular Hulk standalone video game to date.
GameSpot praised the game's graphics, sound, boss fights, movements and weapons customization, but criticized the short story, enemy AI and difficulty. IGN enthusiastically praised the game graphics and gameplay, stating, "The move set makes Spider-Man 2 look like Super Mario Bros. and the boss fights are among the most satisfying this year. Mission variety could have been better, though."
CiN Weekly gave it a score of 93 out of 100 and called it "an almost endlessly entertaining game with tons of fun and gratuitous destruction." Maxim gave it a score of eight out of ten, praising it for "a compelling Story mode, written by former Hulk scribe Paul Jenkins, who gives the big guy a reason to use his considerable crushing skills." The Sydney Morning Herald also gave it four stars out of five and stated that "While the battles can get exhaustingly repetitive, most players will have monstrous fun." The Times likewise gave the PS2 version four stars out of five and stated, "Leisurely plucking helicopters out of the sky can be immensely satisfying, as can grabbing a handful of trees to toss around like darts, damning the consequences."
- Prototype, a 2009 video game from the same developer with similar gameplay
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- Released under the Sierra Entertainment brand name