Trust me; you're not going to like me when I'm angry. In other words, you should steer clear of me when I'm forced to play The Incredible Hulk for the Sega Genesis. You may be tempted by its good looks, but this U.S. Gold-published mess will make you so angry that ... well, you know the rest.
Let's face it; making an Incredible Hulk game is tough. Here's a near-indestructible character that barely says anything and likes to pound stuff. He's a giant among men and able to leap huge distances with a single jump, two things that are not always easy to convey in a 16-bit action game. Probe does their best, offering a simple 2D side-scroller that has our hero punching his way to victory.
The game employs a duck and cover system, not unlike what you see in modern games like Gears of War. The difference here is that you aren't hiding behind walls, but literally ducking for cover. For whatever reason, every enemy in this 16-bitter fires just above a squatting Hulk. The idea is to duck until it's safe, walk over to the enemy and use one of your three punches to send them flying. Seeing an armored foe flying through the air is one of the few satisfying things about The Incredible Hulk.
The real problem is the difficulty, which curiously defaults to easy. But even on the lowest difficulty, players should expect to see the same stretch of levels over and over. It doesn't help that every stage overstays its welcome, making it a chore to start the game again after losing your three lives. Perhaps if there was more depth to the combat I would be willing to overlook this issue, but playing through these stages felt like a chore.
The Hulk can take a licking, but he's not indestructible here. If our hero takes enough damage he'll morph back into the mild-mannered Bruce Banner. Unfortunately, shirtless Bruce doesn't stand a chance against these armored enemies. He can pick up a gun along the way, but that's only going to get you so far. I like the idea that Bruce can make his way through small passageways, giving him access to different areas of the level. Had this been more fleshed out the developers would have been on to something.
The game's visuals are the one thing that keeps it all together. I was impressed with the background graphics and Hulk's little swagger. Unfortunately, the bosses are mostly underwhelming. Also, the music isn't very good. Despite coming out towards the end of the 16-bit era, The Incredible Hulk feels a lot like first generation games like Spider-Man.
Even when The Incredible Hulk is at its best, it still doesn't come close to honoring the hero. Here's a character that has been reduced to little more than a walking Rock'em Sock'em robot. It looks good doing it, but that isn't enough for me to recommend this 1994 misadventure from U.S. Gold.