Making the case for a new Hulk video game

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Why is it that the Incredible Hulk hasn’t received his just due yet?

OK, let’s take a step back for a second. Yes, he is finally being depicted by an actor who will apparently stick to the role in Mark Ruffalo, who took over for Eric Bana and Edward Norton. For those who don’t remember, those actors portrayed the scientist-turned-green-“monster” in Hulk (2003) and The Incredible Hulk (2008), respectively. With all fairness to Norton, it’s not exactly like his portrayal of Bruce Banner/The Hulk was necessarily maligned like Bana’s. According to IMDB, fans and critics have given The Incredible Hulk an aggregated score of 6.9/10—not great, obviously, but not bad at all, either.

So why is it, then, that we’re not hearing any real headway on the next Hulk film? Film Fad notes in a recent article that the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, apparently has the inside scoop on a movie and TV series about the big green guy. But he doesn’t reveal any concrete information about either project; he simply states that they’re in the works. Great, but where does that leave everyone who thinks that Ruffalo could actually pull off (another) reboot of the Hulk franchise? Nowhere.

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The same, sadly, can be said for those of us craving some proper video game action starring Banner and his angry side. The thing is, maybe Marvel just needs to see that a film about the Hulk can be successful before they pump more money into a gaming adaption. It’s a fair assumption to make, especially when you consider that creating a game based on such a destructive character can’t be cheap. There is surely a lot of CGI work that would go into capturing the essence of both Bruce Banner and the Hulk, particularly the latter during one of his more explosive moments. But so what? Consoles, computers and even smart devices (tablets and phones) are more powerful than ever, a sentiment that also rings true for the popularity of comic book characters.

And yet, video games based on the Hulk have failed to really inspire or, more importantly, entertain the general public. The reviews for 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, based on the film of the same name, are abysmal—55/100 for the Xbox 360 version, for example. Some critics argue that the game is still fun despite all of its technical flaws, but they’re just being kind. This is a game that should have been so much better, and it just wasn’t.

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It almost goes without saying that more straightforward takes on the Hulk have fared better. This includes the arcade version, which is also based on the 2008 film. The game, which you can play here through Betfair, is more a slot machine experience than anything else, but it captures the essence of the film (particularly the Hulk’s rage) without any technical glitches or frustrating moments. In a way, it helped pave the way for another simplistic and noteworthy offering, Marvel’s Hulk And The Agents of Smash, for iPhones and iPads.

Perhaps the team behind the supposed in-the-works Hulk film could learn a thing or two from these games. Ditching all the flashiness and over-the-top action, albeit not completely, might be just what a movie about Bruce Banner needs. With the right screenplay and direction, the Hulk will get the film (and as a result, the video game) he so greatly deserves. Let’s make it happen, Marvel.