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Review: Breaking tension, cars with the Hulk

By Marc Saltzman
Gannett News Service

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The Hulk leaves a path of destruction in New York City.

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Review
Video games

"The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction" serves as a fun way to blow off steam at the end of a bad day. Based on Marvel's comic book hero, this action game lets you play as Dr. Bruce Banner's alter ego -- a mean, green fighting machine who must take on a never-ending assortment of baddies with brute force.

As taught in the game's mandatory tutorial, the Hulk can punch with incredible strength, smash and throw objects, rip vehicles in half to create steel mits, jump from rooftop to rooftop or even run up or alongside buildings with extraordinary speed.

As early as the second mission, you can stomp down a street while screaming pedestrians flee, then pick up a parked bus and toss it at a hovering helicopter. When the copter explodes and falls to the ground, you can pick it up and use it as a shield or throw it into a convoy of enemy vehicles like a bowling ball smashing through pins.

"It's like being a bull in a china shop, and the china shop is New York City," says one of the game developers in a DVD-like making-of featurette available on the disc.

The story follows Banner's quest for a cure to the affliction that causes him to transform into the Hulk. Working with his friend and therapist, Dr. Leonard Samson, Banner attempts to subdue the beast within by building a machine that he believes can curb his aggression. The tale introduces Emil Blonsky, the head of a shady government agency, and Gen. Ross, who is determined to track down Banner and neutralize the Hulk once and for all.

While "Ultimate Destruction" is only a single-player adventure, the more than 70 missions vary in objective. They range from simple "attack and destroy" and "escort and defend" tasks to minigames that challenge you to run through an obstacle course or hunt for hidden objects in the huge metropolis.

The game's graphics and animation are suitably cartoon-like and the action is quite smooth -- even when a number of people, vehicles and buildings are rendered on the screen at the same time. Nearly everything in the game is destructible.

The 150 total moves, epic fights and bonus goodies -- such as unlockable vintage Hulk comic book covers, movie clips and behind-the-scenes images -- all help add depth and replayability to this over-the-top action game.

"The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction" does a great job making the player feel like an invincible superhero and is a perfect tension-breaker for those days when you need to relax and unwind.

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