The early 1990s was a great time for comics. The industry was still energized rom the indie wave from the 80s, while the established companies pushed it all a notch higher with incredible artists and more adult orientated, complex story lines. Marvel comics seemed to be particularly riding high during this time as it seemed anything with Wolverine or the Punisher on it just sold like gangbusters (sadly Marvel would be humbled greatly in the years to come.) Thus during the 16 bit era we got several games based on various Marvel franchises, which ranged from the incredibly awesome ( X-men vs. Street fighter (arcade,) Marvel Super Heroes (arcade) to the incredibly lame (Punisher -Genesis, The Silver Surfer -Nes.) The Incredible Hulk falls somewhere in the middle.
The game is of the typical side scrolling/platforming/beat people up type. You start as the hulk and basically walk left to right and smash stuff until it's game over. Hulk can do a straight punch and an uppercut as well as grab bad guys and throw them or headbutt them. You also get to toss around the occasional heavy object like a phonebooth. It would have been nice to do a couple of more moves (earthquake stomp perhaps? Or that clapping-the-hands thing he always does in the comics would've been cool too.) Your main enemy types are these generic robot people who fall to pieces when killed. Bosses include Marvel Comics staples like the Rhino and Leader, boss battles follow the usual 16-bit patterns and such and aren't too difficult once you learn them.
The problem with any game that stars an invincible superhero is that in order to have a decent game you can't in fact have an invincible superhero. To get around the fact that the Hulk is pretty much invulnerable to anything they have you revert to Bruce Banner if you take too much damage. Banner is a weakling and bites the dust pretty quick. An ingenious workaround, even if it does ignore the "madder he gets, stronger he gets" angle.
Actually, the Hulk doesn't seem very strong in the first place. Each of the little pathetic robot dudes takes a good two or three punches before eating it. Also the hulk is stopped by ordinary objects - brick walls, pieces of machinery, etc. It's the incredible Hulk, for crissakes, he should be tearing down buildings and eating these little robot bastards for lunch.
Take away the maddened unstoppable engine of destruction from the Hulk and what you're left with is a semi-mediocre platformer that never really accomplishes much. The result is a watered down, generic side scroller where the main character could be anyone. Pass.
Graphics: Nicely detailed. Good sprites and backgrounds. The characters could use a bit more animation, especially the Hulk's punching animations.
Sound: Digitized explosion sounds suffer a bit from the Genesis' weak sound chip. Background music isn't very memorable but does the job.
Gameplay: A tad unexciting to be a Hulk game. A Hulk game should be about you as the Hulk destroying everything in your path, not badly jumping from rooftop to rooftop and getting beat up by robots.
Back to Game Reviews