The first issue of The Incredible Hulk was published in May 1962, written by movie cameo addict Stan Lee and featuring spectacular art by the great Jack Kirby. The cover depicts a familiar-looking but grey behemoth looming over a skinny, scared guy in a lab coat. "Is he man or monster or... is he both?" asks the blurb, clearly in rather an existential tizzy. In the five decades since, the Hulk has survived various character evolutions and a series of hard reboots. But if we know anything about Marvel's brawl-y green giant, it's that the monster and the man co-exist, or at least time-share. An aggravated Hulk will kick the tar out of baddies all day long, but once his famous anger dissipates the big guy visibly deflates like a parade balloon with a slow puncture, returning to his other, slightly less imposing form: puny Bruce Banner.
Wanton, gratuitous chaos and mayhem? Check. Undiluted carnage and unflinching destruction? Tick. The entire US military raining unlimited death on your gamma-mutated ass? Ding. More explosive button-mashing in the opening chapter than most games put-together? Nod. Tortured, sensitive scientist's quest to reverse gamma mutation makes it okay to kill several thousands of civilians and cause the systematic annihilation of an entire city? Uh-huh. But when you're dealing with a Marvel superhero game we demand bucketfuls of crazed nonsense that makes us grin like Jack Nicholson (and probably cackle maniacally like him too) That The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction delivers oceans of the stuff is precisely why we enjoyed the palpitating romp from start to finish.
As ever, Bruce Banner's unending search for a cure to the gamma ray mutation goes on. It can't be a whole lot of fun having to replace your wardrobe every time you lose your temper, but life for the genius scientist gets a whole lot worse once his secret research base/hideout is discovered by nosey government official Emil Blonsky.
To stop the secrets of his mutation research falling into the wrong hands, Banner flees the scene, destroying all his equipment in the process. Worse still, Blonksy's curiosity is met with a dose of the same gamma radiation that causes Banner to mutate into The Hulk - only Blonsky doesn't have the presence of mind to do the right thing. In the hands of Blonsky's mutated altered beast, The Abomination, the whole city is under threat, and so begins the fun.
For years licensed properties have met with suspicion. Whether film or comic, many have been smothered by creative restrictions imposed by cautious license-holders; unique abilities and familiar events shoehorned into existing game design.
After the movie-based Hulk game from a couple of years back proved to be so utterly underwhelming we were slightly puzzled why the world needed another one. All it seemed to prove was that stealth-lite and destructive beat-'em-ups don't mix. And that movie-based games are the root of all gaming evil, at least most of the time.
In the smouldering foundry of cacophonic excess that is E3, a good first impression has to be wrought in seconds. Otherwise the masses predictably just saunter (or sauna) on by.
"Jump anywhere, climb anything and smash everything!" screams the blurb on Radical Entertainment's forthcoming console title The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. In a gratuitous attempt to prove that the angry green giant is the most powerful superhero of them all, Radical Entertainment is readying a relentless display of comic book carnage that takes The Hulk's superhuman strength to new extremes.