GameSpot may receive revenue from affiliate and advertising partnerships for sharing this content and from purchases through links.

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction Preview

Radical Entertainment's latest take on Marvel's angry green guy lets you bust up everything in sight. We smash our way in for a deeper look.


Given the lukewarm response which met Ang Lee's The Hulk in theaters a couple of summers ago, the reputation of Marvel's big, pissed-off green dude may have been sullied a bit in the minds of most gamers. But if you've been thinking the Incredible Hulk has been put out to pasture, think again. We've been playing an Xbox preview version of Ultimate Destruction, his latest rampageous romp through the urban jungle, and we can safely report that despite the shortcomings of his cinematic debut, the Hulk's latest outing on consoles should deliver one jolly, destructive good time.

Since we last played Ultimate Destruction, we've gotten an even better feel for the riotous destructive capabilities the Hulk possesses here. For instance, we've gained a new appreciation for his sprint ability, which lets you run at breakneck speed directly through any obstacle short of a building, smashing it to pieces. Cars, buses, cattle--they're all sent skyward by the Hulk's lumbering gait. And we just recently delivered a spotlight on the game's weaponization feature, which gives the action an even more open-ended, playground-like feel.

The game is set up in a free-roaming fashion, such that you can explore a vast metropolitan sprawl and destroy things at your whim. When you're ready to move the storyline along, you'll seek out missions denoted on your minimap that pertain to specific plot-oriented objectives. These missions often task you with the simple destruction of one or more targets, though we've seen some more varied goals as well. One mission had us defending an important building from an onslaught of tanks, while another had us chasing down and neutralizing a convoy before it reached its destination. Optional challenge missions are also on offer at any time to break up the action, as well.

Superman ain't the only one who can leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Superman ain't the only one who can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

But the game isn't just one long series of missions. While the story missions do proceed in sequence, they're grouped into a number of chapters that represent discrete sections of the storyline. Once you've reached the end of a chapter, you'll engage in an epically destructive boss battle, in which you and your opponent utterly demolish whatever area you happen to be fighting in. When you complete the chapter, you'll gain access to a new free-roaming area, along with a whole new set of story and challenge missions to move the game along.

The more we've played Ultimate Destruction, the more we've come to appreciate the combat variety offered by the game's wealth of special moves and abilities. You'll accumulate "smash points" as you play through the game, and these can be traded in between missions for a huge number of new techniques. Some are linear button combos that make the Hulk perform, say, an uppercut and then an elbow drop. Others are more of the special-move variety and let you unleash an area-of-effect attack, for instance. Still others enhance your basic abilities, by letting you do things like grab objects while in a full sprint or recover immediately from an air attack. As you progress through the game, you'll have to stop relying on mindless button mashing and actually start taking advantage of the many purchased abilities to win out against the waves of police and military trying to stop you (not to mention the occasional Gamma-mutated opponent).

The content of Ultimate Destruction's visuals on the Xbox is basically identical to that of the PS2 version, but the presentation is noticeably cleaner and smoother, as we've come to expect from Xbox games. This is a game that throws an enormous amount of debris, smoke, and explosions around the screen as you're guiding Hulk through his latest violent rampage, and whereas the admittedly early PS2 version we've played suffered from the occasional frame rate hitch, the Xbox build has generally presented no such blemishes. Hopefully Radical will be able to bring the performance up to par on Sony's console, but for now, we prefer the Xbox's cleaner graphics.

Just how many 'Hulk smash!' jokes can we make in one preview?
Just how many 'Hulk smash!' jokes can we make in one preview?

Since we last checked in with the Hulk, the game's voice cast has been revealed to include Neal McDonough (Minority Report, Banner in the Hulk animated series) as the voice of Bruce Banner, and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, a bunch of other sci-fi geek staples) as antagonist Emil Blonsky and his mutated alter ego, Abomination. So far, the pair has delivered a suitably brooding, understated performance, giving some subtle depth to the tortured rivals rather than painting them as simple overblown comic book characters (which, admittedly, they sort of are).

The joy of playing Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is a visceral one that's a little hard to verbalize. You have to get your hands on the controller and really smash your way through the cityscape before you can really appreciate just how destructible everything in the environment is. There are few joys quite like hoisting an entire city bus aloft and hurling it directly into an oncoming attack chopper. Luckily, PS2, Xbox, and GameCube owners everywhere will be able to experience that joy for themselves when The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction hits shelves later this month. Stay tuned for a full review.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are no comments about this story