Videogame review: ‘The Incredible Hulk’
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
(Sega, multi-platform, Teen)
I almost feel bad for the makers of this Hulk-smash-in-open-NYC-sandbox game: If it didn’t come out on the heels of Grand Theft Auto IV, it might be able to exist purely as a relatively shoddy licensed game and just vanish into the retail ether. But its failings are brought into even sharper relief when you look at The Incredible Hulk‘s barely rendered version of Times Square. But even if you don’t compare it to GTA IV, there’s not a lot of joy to be had here: Once you get past the juvenile thrill of tossing busses and super-ball bouncing around Manhattan, most adventures find you playing a rather domesticated version of the Green Meanie, going on missions for Rick Jones (who rides the Hulk a bit like a pony), or facing off against the easy-to-defeat army drones and sci-fi baddies who try to stop you. The voices of Edward Norton, Tim Roth, and William Hurt add little to what is, essentially, a simple pleasure for the simpleminded. C —Marc Bernardin
(Codemasters; PS3 and Xbox 360; Everyone)
Next-gen consoles need another racing title like Jay Leno needs another car in his garage, yet GRID makes a very convincing case to get behind the wheel one more time. It does so by offering something for every kind of motorhead. You can hug the curves on street courses or racetracks in everything from muscle cars to Formula One land-rockets. You can also slip and slide in the drifting events or compete in Touge battles (harrowing dashes up and down narrow mountain passes). There’s even a demolition derby for those in the mood for fender-bending.
What’s surprising about GRID is it not only offers a hodgepodge of car types and racing styles, it’s adept at every one of ’em. This is probably because some well-executed common threads tie everything all together. The menu system and overall presentation are smart and intuitive. The difficulty level won’t scare off novices but can up-shift for experts just as easily. Generally, cars handle realistically, but, when needed, the laws of physics can be made very flexible. Unlike many racing games, GRID will show the physical damage done to your vehicle — hoods will bend, side panels will crumple, and hanging fenders will fall off in a shower of sparks. And when you find yourself in a pile-up three turns from the checkered flag, you can always use a ”rewind” option to go back to the moment where you zigged instead of zagged and undo your gaffe. You’ve seen most of these features before in one game or another, but GRID makes it seem like you’re seeing them for the first time again. B+ —Gary Eng Walk