Popular culture’s widely believed, clinical definition of schizophrenia, is the staple mentality of pretty much all super heroes and villains. Bruce Wayne refers to Batman as a separate entity, as does Clark Kent with Superman – strength and prowess at odds with inept weakness. And then there’s The Hulk, which depicts the battle for control, civility and order against unbridled animalistic rage, the dark, inherently violent beast that resides, suppressed, within us all.
And in terms of personalities, this game is as schizophrenic as any lonely, maniacal, depressed, misunderstood mess of a hero or villain. It does make a fairly good first impression when you begin to get acquainted. ‘Being’ Hulk feels as satisfying as it should be. He can smash his way through groups of soldiers armed with machine guns that may as well be pea-shooters. Hulk can pick up iron girders and bat away enemies as though swatting flies, and smash his way through much of the scenery, then pick up the pieces and hurl massive slabs of concrete at anything in his way. He can grab an enemy and you can watch them squirm in his massive fists, whilst you decide whether to lob them or just beat the unfortunate soul senseless. There are still indestructible walls and doors, which detract from the sense of playing as Hulk, but we knew there would be, and perhaps at this time boundaries are needed to give a game focus – especially a game that revolves around beating, smashing and throwing things. As the game progresses you come up against more and more enemies who are almost as Hulk-ish as Hulk, which is also detrimental to the point of playing a game as Hulk. But overall, it’s quite a laugh, if somewhat mindless and repetitive.
Then you meet the game’s other personality, the ‘stealth’ bits, thrown in to remedy the aforementioned mindless repetitiveness. And it’s an unpleasant little turd whom you won’t be wanting to spend much time with. In these sections you play as mild-mannered scientist, Bruce Banner. Not only is he crap at fighting, meaning that if you do get spotted you have practically no chance of survival, but he’s also a bit chop at being stealthy. All of these sections are dull and irritating. Imagine this. You creep up to a box that you need to climb onto, and there are sleeping guard dogs that you mustn’t wake up. There are also patrolling guards somewhere, but you can’t see where due to the useless ‘look’ function. When you get to the box, Bruce sort of tries to get on it, but decides to just moonwalk into it. You try from a different angle, without success. So you try again, and again, and then your moonwalk accidentally slips into a moonrun, and the dogs wake up. And you’re dead. After five or six attempts at this, the violent beast within this reviewer very nearly emerged.