The story mode in The Hulk clocks in at well under 10 hours, and though the Hulk sections are good fun, the sheer simplicity of the gameplay will probably leave you pleased that it didn't go on any longer. Though, if you want to deal more damage as the Hulk, the game also offers a survival mode, a time attack mode, and the aptly named Hulk Smash! mode, which gives you a train yard full of destructible objects and a time limit.
The most striking visual aspect of The Hulk is the way the characters are rendered. The game uses a sort of modified cel-shading effect that gives the characters a distinct comic book feel, but with a darker, grittier edge. Whether they're in cutscenes or in-engine, the characters look sharp and move in an exaggerated but believable fashion. The environments, which are primarily indoor locations like office buildings, laboratories, military compounds, and underground bases, look clean and sharp. After a while, though, all these federally funded compounds start running together, and the structural differences between the government base at Alcatraz and the Leader's underground lair are mostly nominal. Make no mistake, there are some cool set pieces, though the game's coolest moments happen early on, and it seems like the developers started running out of ideas as they got nearer and nearer to the end.
The action is simple, fast-paced, and fairly brutal.
The game is pretty sound technically, and it maintains a fairly smooth frame rate throughout. The only time there's any serious slowdown is when there are some serious particle effects onscreen, which seems to be a pretty rare occurrence. All three console versions of The Hulk look basically identical, though the GameCube version looks somewhat worse than the other two. The Xbox version is all around the best-looking of the three, featuring the cleanest textures, the best-looking particle effects, and the least-prominent aliasing. The PlayStation 2 version has a bit more aliasing and some occasionally blurry textures. The GameCube version has the same deficiencies as the PlayStation 2 version, just to a slightly greater extent.
The Hulk looks a bit better than it sounds. Certain elements of the game's sound design, including the voice work by actor Eric Bana, who plays Bruce Banner in the movie, and the variety of appropriate crunches you'll hear when smashing stuff, lend an extra level of weight to the whole experience. Other elements, like the repetitive cries of your enemies, the average soundtrack, and the underwhelming roars of the Hulk, are just there, not really adding to or detracting from the experience.
For all that The Hulk misses on, like the repetitive level designs and the clumsy stealth action sequences, the game gets enough of it right to tip the scales in its favor. The action sequences are fun, but the combat is so simple and the story mode so short that the game's lasting appeal is limited. Unless you're a huge fan of The Hulk, you'd be best off renting and beating the game over a weekend. It won't take you very long, but it'll still be a largely satisfying experience.
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