Saturday, April 03, 2010

Video game number eighty nine: The Incredible Hulk

Video game review number eighty nine in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "The Incredible Hulk".

December 26th, 2007:

Interior: A drab conference room, there are white boards on the walls filled with illegible text. 12 middle-aged executives are sitting around a giant conference table, drinking coffee and having a discussion about their new Hulk movie tie-in game. Six of them are participating in the meeting, the other half are checking email on their laptop, texting or chowing down on some of the free food that catering has brought in for the meeting.

Executive 1: Marvel says they need this game to ship at the same time the movie comes out.

Executive 2: That leaves us with exactly 16 months to develop a game for it.

Producer: 16 months, eh? Can we double my staff, lease some new office space and authorize the vendors to hire some extra folks to program for us?

Executive 3: Actually, Ed Norton's agent says he's in for the voice acting. So are Liv Tyler and Tim Roth. We are this close to getting William Hurt. That's right. William fucking Hurt. You're welcome. So, anyway....this is great for your game, but we're also going to have to chop your budget by about 50% to pay those salaries.

Producer: So you're telling me we have 16 months and only 50% of my budget to make this game.

Executive 4: Correct.

A cell phone rings. The ringtone is "Stronger" by Kanye West. You know, because it's 2007 and that song is a big hit at the moment.

Executive 5: (Loudly). "Scuse me guys, I gotta take this. It's the guys who made the Iron Man game. They're talking tie-in".

Executive 1: Awesome, people love tie ins! Anyway, look...there's already a script for the movie, and we get to see it a whole 3 months ahead of the release date! All you guys have to do is follow the script and you've got your game, right?

Executive 2: Besides, how complicated could it be to make a Hulk game? He's a green guy, and he smashes things.

Executive 6: What if we took a slightly different direction with this game? Perhaps the Hulk could solve mysteries like those CSI games? I really like those CSI Games.

Executive 2: He could do puzzles.

Executive 3: Like Bejeweled?

Executive 2: Bejeweled is awesome. And all the gems could be shades of green and purple!

Executive 3: I don't think that would work for people who are color blind, though.

Executive 6: What if he drove cars? Or tanks? Or a giant truck?

Executive 3: What if that truck turned into a robot?

Executive 1: Like Optimus Prime? Now you're talking. People love tie-ins! Get Michael Bay on the phone.

Executive 4: I've got two words for you: "Jet Pack"

Executive 2: For who? For the Hulk?

Executive 4: Yeah. He's already a high jumper, but what if he could fly around the city? Jet Pack games are going to be hot next year.

Executive 3: What if the Hulk flew a big plane instead? What if the plane could transform and into a mech and fight?

Executive 1: Like Starscream! I'll add that to my notes for the Michael Bay call.

Producer: Guys, guys, guys. Slow down. We've only got 16 months and half the budget of our last Hulk title. These ideas sound fun, but I think we're going to have to keep this one centered around the Hulk smashing things.

Executive 6: No transforming trucks?

Producer: No trucks.

Executive 2: No gem puzzles?

Producer: No gem puzzles.

Executive 1: So cancel the call with Michael Bay then?

Producer: We probably want to cancel the call with Michael Bay.

Executive 1: What about the tie ins? We gotta have the tie ins. People love those!

Producer: We'll work on a tie-in.

Fast forward to April 3rd, 2010. I've just gotten done playing this masterpiece for a few hours.

My two word review: HULK SMASH!

Overall score: 5/10. Exactly what you expected. There are no puzzles, or jet packs, or transforming trucks...or anything that might surprise you. Instead, you run around in a sandbox that somewhat resembles New York City. You smash things. You repeat. FOREVER. Nothing can kill you, unless you suck. The plot is loosely based on the movie, but most of the just run from point A to point B, smashing things. If you get tired of running, you can jump. If you get tired of jumping, you can always take the subway. Yes, the Incredible Hulk can take the subway. Oh yes, and there's an Iron Man tie-in. People love those.

Achievements. I got three. I suppose I could always smash some more stuff if I want more.

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