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Hulk Smash! Lacks Subtlety

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the needs-a-little-more-thought dept.

Games 31

Joshuah Bearman's, over at the LA Weekly, continues to impress with his 'Pass the Paddles' column. This week he offers up an analysis of why 'Hulk Smash' needs a little more thought put into it. From the article: "If superhero games are so often terrible, it's because they're saddled with the flattening reductionism of superhero film adaptations. But superheroes aren't so simple. The principal disappointment with the film version of The Hulk was that it lacked the mythical gravitas, graceful action and ultimate spiritual reward of Ang Lee's previous masterpiece, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The film Hulk's oedipal and rage complexes were ham-fisted, and the action boringly brutish. In other words: Crouching Tiger was a better superhero story. (And should have made a better video game; sadly, that title was a disaster.)"

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Teh fr0sty p1ss! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359743)

OMFGLOLWTFBBQ! i Gawt teh fr05ty piss!!

That's big news (0, Redundant)

Piroca (900659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359784)

But who could expect a different outcome for a typical dumbed-down idea for a game based on a movie whose story and direction were already lousy?

Should've gone back to the comics (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14360111)

Many players would call GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64 the Best Movie To Game Conversion Evar(tm). It was greatly improved by the fact that the level designers took a lot of their cues from John Gardner's novelization [amazon.com] , filling out details that were only implied in the movie. Likewise, the developers of Hulk video games could have referred to the comics.

Re:Should've gone back to the comics (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361005)

I'm sure the (somewhat slow) 4-player-split-screen and wide choice of vaguely-familiar/super-cool weapons helped them too. Sure helped when people came to my place.

That's the problem. Newer games try to act like movies instead of, uh, games. I played 007 and the story didn't get in the way of 1-player mode so much, and there is the obvious joy from catching player 4 with a nice snipe or headshot (it never really felt that way for me with online games). With new games, there's such a focus on plot that we'll never see more than two endings. Chrono Trigger remakes be damned.*

Besides, it's a Hulk game (apologies to http://komar.org/hulk/ [komar.org] 's owner, the poster's name escapes me). "Subtle" and "smash" just don't mix.

*Metal Gear Solid 3 is exempt from my rants (though for entirely unrelated reasons [google.com] ).

Re:Should've gone back to the comics (2, Interesting)

Intellectual Elitist (706889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361704)

> Likewise, the developers of Hulk video games could have referred to the comics.

Yeah, really. They could have maybe gotten someone like Paul Jenkins, who'd actually written the Hulk comic before, to work on the game [newsarama.com] with them. And maybe even base the game off of one of his comic book storylines [powells.com] . And they could have even gone the extra mile and done a comic book miniseries based on the game [marvel.com] . Oh, wait -- they already did.

Granted, Jenkins was hardly the best writer the Hulk had ever seen, and the translation of the story to the game wasn't the best, either -- but the game itself was extremely solid and enjoyable, and immensely replayable.

Exactly! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14359830)

Yes, a game like this should allow the player to get into the head of the superhero. They should understand Hulk's motivation for smashing. What is he trying to accomplish by smashing? Without that kind of deeper interaction with the character, superhero games will always seem like a pale shadow of the stories we all know.

Re:Exactly! (1)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361958)

Brain uplink established - transmitting...

** Hulk SMASH!!!! **

-Why does Hulk smash?

** Hunh?!?! Hulk head make funny sound. Hulk SMASH!!!!! **

Uplink terminated

Jack Thompson has an apoplexy (3, Funny)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359904)

Marvel Comics Presents Hulk Smash: A game where you play a giant monster that goes on a oedipal rage driven killing spree. Go for teh win by killing your father and fucking your mother.

ESRB : teen

yeah, sure, go for it


Despite my best efforts... (1, Offtopic)

Strell (877448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14359998)

Fitting in with my roommates continues to be quite a chore. It...confounds me!

Bonus points if you get the reference (I'm hoping /.ers would know).

And you were expecting...? (1)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14360175)

The title 'Hulk Smash' doesn't come off as being all that subtle.

Re:And you were expecting...? (1)

amrust (686727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14360340)

Was 'Hulk Smash' meant as a joke? Because I don't see anything called that, in TFA. And I didn't know the game based on the movie was all that bad.

The Freudian interpretation of Hulk's failure... (1)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14360285)

A monstrous green corporealized Id with torn-up cutoffs is fairly pointless without the fragile Ego from which it sprang.

Actually, another reason why the game would suck is because of (for those that didn't catch on yet) the "movie-to-game conversions must suck" convention of 1984 also known as the Ghostbusters [wikipedia.org] rule. I don't think Hulk sucked because of the way the psychology of Bruce Banner was interpreted by the both the movie and video game directors.

The film Hulk's oedipal and rage complexes were ham-fisted

Exactly my thought :P

Re:The Freudian interpretation of Hulk's failure.. (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14360878)

"movie-to-game conversions must suck"
The parts of spiderman 2 which didnt involve the movie were good!

Re:The Freudian interpretation of Hulk's failure.. (1)

Corbu Mulak (931063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362947)

You mean except for the Mysterio parts? Worst. Level Design. Ever.

Re:The Freudian interpretation of Hulk's failure.. (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14375483)

mostly I meant "as a racing game with a spiderman instead of a car, it's good"

Re:The Freudian interpretation of Hulk's failure.. (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361241)

the "movie-to-game conversions must suck" convention of 1984 also known as the Ghostbusters rule
Sega's Ghostbusters for the Genesis, however, was a pretty good game.

Re:The Freudian interpretation of Hulk's failure.. (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14363463)

But Ghostbuster was a cool game. Come on, you got to drive around NY and capture ghosts. It even had a bit of speech thrown in. I dug it when I had my C64. No, sucky movie conversions started with ET, and then every once in a while, we got some good ones, like Ghostbusters.

Any comments from someone who has played it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14360673)

The review seems to spring from someone who is still writing term papers from
some post-modern-deconstructionist-head-up-his-ass-fail ed-writer arts professor.

It doesn't even appear that he played the game, he's just pissing on the concept!

Any comments from anyone who has actually played the silly thing?

Re:Any comments from someone who has played it? (1)

babylonian007 (846425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14372137)

I agree with what you said completely. He's clearly taking video games as a whole too damn seriously. It's a fun, mindless game that gives you more freedom of movement than any Spider-Man game could ever hope to. I'm sure the jackass who wrote this article wouldn't hesitate one bit to sing the praises of the escapist 'King Kong' movie that just came out.

Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is raw, unabridled entertainment and definitely worth a rental if you aren't too hung up on your own pseudointellectualism to enjoy a fast-paced, smart button-masher.

ZOUNDS! (2, Insightful)

Deitheres (98368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14360753)

You mean that a game titled "Hulk Smash" lacks subtlety? With a name like that, I thought Bruce Banner would be reading Shakespeare or something... ;-)

hulk movie (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14360772)

The principal disappointment with the film version of The Hulk was that it lacked the mythical gravitas, graceful action and ultimate spiritual reward of Ang Lee's previous masterpiece, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The film Hulk's oedipal and rage complexes were ham-fisted, and the action boringly brutish. In other words: Crouching Tiger was a better superhero story.

My principal dispapointment with the movie was the Hulk looked dumb and the pacing was bad.

Re:hulk movie (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14362273)

My principal dispapointment with the movie was the Hulk looked dumb

Because he always looked so smart and sophisticated before? ;-)
I thought he looked big and green, which is fine, I was disapointed that he didn't kill a single person in that whole movie. He kills a couple of giant mutant dogs, and a few people die of their own follis in his presence, but the Hulk himself killed no one.

Hulk is supposed to be like an anthopomorphic natural disaster, causing material destruction and death wherever he turns up. But they had to tone it down to be kid-friendly, so they went out of their way to show us the soldiers coing out totally unharmed of the smashed tanks and whatnot.

Meh, at least it was fun to watch him wail on a tank.

Write your own movie, then. (2, Insightful)

VGR (467274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361737)

For some reason, the Hulk movie is a movie people love to hate. I liked it. Sure, it isn't perfect, but it's damn good.

Leave it to an LA publication to compare it to Crouching Tiger. If there's a place where people are in love with rehashing the same thing until it's run into the ground, it's LA. "Take no risks! Just write and direct another Crouching Tiger!"

The movie isn't like like Crouching Tiger because Ang Lee didn't want to make another Crouching Tiger. God, it's like people telling Robin Williams to do some Mork lines.

I do feel like Banner's repressed violence should have been portrayed more subtly, but we all know how things like that hit the cutting room floor. Critics may be won over by subtlety, but general audiences can barely spell the word.

To stay on topic... I very much agree with his assessment on the games. The Banner element is good as long it's not more than a tiny part of the gameplay. For instance, I might like a game where you play as the Hulk constantly but are haunted by Banner's thoughts and must piece them together. And obviously just smashing a city is going to wear thin, for players over the age of ten. A really successful game will be one that can find a balance.

A response to Eberts Critizism of videogames? (1)

darkmayo (251580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14361948)

Usually when we see a video game review its a break down of the actual gameplay/graphics and whatnot, yet this one came at it by taking about the in game story and drawing comparisons to recent "The Hulk" movie directed by Ang Lee.

Not something you see very often which leads me to believe this was an attempt to view video games more than just a game in an attempt to legitamize the media as being an artform, which recently Roger Ebert stated video games could never be because of no real authorative.

I recall another conversation (not sure if it is the same one ebert made) that the video game reviewer often shoots themselves in the foot be focusing only on the game aspects and not the story, which in the case was the complete opposite.

Whatever the reason for his film critique like review, was picking The Hulk, ultimate destruction, really the best game to focus on?

Maybe he really likes the story of the hulk, maybe he writes essays or fan fiction based on Bruce Banners inner turmoil.. who knows, but for me The Hulk as a video game that is fun, comes out as a winner.

Games are about gameplay. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14364641)

Hulk Smash was a weak game, not because it lacked subtlety, but because it wasn't sufficiently fun. Like most games derived from movies it's just an attempt to cash in on the movie's success, and developers rarely seem to put much effort into these sorts of games.

As for the movie itself, I see no justifiable reason to compare The Hulk to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Those are entirely different movies. And while I enjoyed Crouching Tiger very much, I don't think it's the be all and end all of action movies. In fact, I can't think of a single friend in Taiwan who liked that movie; Ang Lee is Taiwanese himself and that genre comes from Asia. But the movies of that genre produced in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan are far more cartoony, and have generally weaker storylines. They're much closer to what you'd expect from a comic book. But the point is they're fun in their own right and melodramatic.

Ang Lee tried to inject too much substance into The Hulk, but probably was hindered by the need to still make the movie work with it's comic book roots. The movie would have fared a lot better if it had been more like Spider Man.

I don't think games need to provide some kind of dramatic cinematic experience. When I play a game I'm not looking for a movie-like experience. Most game developers are nothing but hacks when it comes to story. They take a contrived theme and stuff it into a generic world. Hollywood has quite a production line going for this sort of drivel and the game industry is already bad enough, we don't need it to get any worse by merging the two.

The people in the game industry who truly innovatived for the most part did so because they provided a particularly compelling gameplay experience. Absolutely there were those who pushed the limits of story-telling in games, but that in itself didn't define those games, and it certainly didn't define an entire genre.

We have the next-generation console developers spewing marketing crap that hardware advancements are going to open up new vistas in gaming. A more realistic rendering doesn't necessarily make for better gameplay, nor does it inherently create a more immersive experience. I've felt more for 16-color pixelated characters at 320x200 than I have for any pixel shaded, bloom lit 1280x1024 character.

I mean, by the reasoning of these developers books are complete crap because they provide nothing more than text on a page and you actually have to visualize everything in your own mind!

Developers were more innovative when they were stuck with bricks for graphics on the Atari 2600. Perhaps not innovative in terms of graphics or content, but in terms of sheer gameplay absolutely they were pushing the envelope.

Re:Games are about gameplay. (1)

Vacuous (652107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14370012)

We have the next-generation console developers spewing marketing crap that hardware advancements are going to open up new vistas in gaming

Seems to me like Microsoft is well on their way to that.

Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#14364689)

Well, first of all, The Hulk has always been one of my favorite superheroes. When I was a kid, one of my favorite Hulk comics involved the Hulk versus Tyrannus, at least one comic in that story line was called Sic Semper Tyrannus! [leaderslair.com] . The fun thing, for me, about those comics was that here you have one of these Dr. Evil type villains, Tyrannus, with his over complicated plans and constant monologuing [mindspring.com] versus the Hulk, a childlike giant with devestating strength, "Hulk is the strongest one there is." It's fun the way that Tyrannus is actually frustrated that he's explaining how the machine he seized was from an ancient superadvanced civilization and that it has given him godlike powers and the Hulk says something like, "Hulk knows that when Hulk hurts machine, Hulk hurts Tyrannus," with all the technobabble flying over his head.

Well, the point of that is that one of the things that I find entertaining about the Hulk is that he is not subtle and not complex. (Yes, I realize that there have been a few storylines since the 70's that made changes to this formula, but I hadn't kept up with it by then.) This comes through at some points in the game, such as when you hear a police report saying, "Be on the look out for Dr. Bruce Banner, suspect is approximately 12 feet tall, with green skin, suspect is considered armed and dangerous."

Of course, I'm a throwback, I think that if a game isn't fun to play then it is pretty irrelevant whether it has a great storyline or not. (Although I have plowed through a small number of games based on story and not game quality.) The Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is fun to play. It's fun to pick up a city bus and throw it at a helecopter. It's fun to watch the puny humans running in terror and screaming. It's fun to run up the sides of building and jump long distances crushing the concrete under your feet.

As to the cinemas, Ron Perlman does his usual creepy villain voice for Emil Blonsky. The storyline is good enough to drive the storyline forward, and the poor Hulk has plenty of opportunity to be persecuted by General Ross and wreak havoc on the city. Here's a review I find pretty accurate, http://www.pro-g.co.uk/review/221/ [pro-g.co.uk]

So now, here's hoping that the come out with The Tick: Ultimate Destruction next...

My own thoughts (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14373460)

I think that the Hulk movie failed because it took entirely the wrong approach to the character.

Audiences were expecting to see a large green giant kick ass all over the place. This did not quite happen. We got a few decent action sequences, but the villian, and the primary conflict, just did not deliver on the expectations we needed.

I think that the movie would have done better if they had made the movie focus on Banners guilt for the damange caused by the Hulks rampages. It also would have been intresting if they stuck closer to the comic, and had Bruce accidently kill his father.

It would have also helped if they used a different villian. The Absorbing man is not a bad villian, but they re-working of the origin so that Banners father was a super powered villian was frankly quite excruciating.

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