Betty Ross' Verdict: Why wasn't I in this game? How much green cock do I have to suck?
The Hulk's Verdict: THIS WARE SUCKS! HULK SMASH!
My Verdict: In terms of the long history of superhero games made for the computer? Uh, advantage Frenetic Five.
Game Type: Custom
Author Info: Scott is a longtime IF veteran who headed up Adventure International from 1978 to 1984. For the last eleven years he's been working at Avista, Inc as a senior programmer.
Other Games By This Author: Questprobe: Spider Man, Adventureland, Bukaroo Banzai, etc...
Download Link: http://www.msadams.com/advgames.exe
I used to be quite jealous of my friends that had a Commodore 64 when I was growing up. They were able to play what I felt were some absolutely kickass games that I didn't have access to, being on a PC and all. Questprobe Featuring The Hulk was one of those game I always had wished I had a chance to play. The fact that there was a VIDEO GAME out there with the Hulk in it was a pretty cool concept to my hyperactive imagination back in the day. I could just imagine how solid the game could be. The Incredible Hulk has a ton of backstory and history -- the Jeckyll and Hyde aspect, the hunted-by-the-military ascpect, the fact that General Talbot -- the guy who wanted the Hulk dead more than anything else -- was SCREWING Bruce Banner's sweetheart Betty Ross. Great stuff. Angry stuff. So my expectations were probably a little out of whack for this game when I finally played it this year. I was really just hoping for something along the lines of Transylvania -- dated, but true to a concept and sure of itself.
Instead my eyes and fingers have wandered about one of the worst games sitting on the GMD archive.
I can't believe how badly this was fucked up. I feel should quantify that precisely: I had no problem with the two-word commands. None. I knew of that going in, and it is a technological limitation. But gameplay this bad is never excusable. I've played Z80 games on a TI calculator with more going for them. Most of the game is spent collecting a bunch of worthless gems so that I can appease the Chief Examiner. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Most times, in games, I have trouble getting excited about graphics representations of real-world wealth. Admit it -- you've played Gauntlet before and tried grabbing those piles of gold because they were so shiny and glimmery. However, the fact that I was now supposed to pop a stiffy over treasure that responded to nothing aside from "LOOK" in a text adventure? Too much sheer financial abstraction for me to handle. I mean, I am incredibly disinterested in my own 401(k) statement each month, so the gems in this game don't stand a chance.
The other characters in the game are nothing to write home about. In fact, I avoided drafting a long letter to my parents on the east coast until I was calm enough to personally ensure that I would not mention them. I do get the whole concept of the Chief Examiner -- he was trying to study earth's superheroes and all to further his own ends -- but he came off as possibly the most useless and wooden NPC I have ever seen in a video game. Trying to go back and forth from the "time warp" to the Examiner's office is accomplished by hitting the "s" (south) key over and over again. At least when I did this in Annoyotron I knew how many rooms I had left to explore. A half-assed appearance by Ant-Man later in the game doesn't begin to save it. Much too little, much too late.
Alas, bad games based on super heroes have always plagued the industry. This isn't the first and it won't be the last. Adams seems to have been squeezed by the sheer number of graphics that were included in this game, which are probably the high point of the game... and at an unacceptable cost. Adams had done better games before and after this one (which is great from a techno-sociological standpoint) but in case you're feeling nostalgic for the good old CGA days, avoid this one and grab Oo-Topos or Roadwar 2000 instead.
Simple Rating: 2.4 / 10
Story: 0 / 10 (I am going to have to go back and bump all the other games that have a zero for stories up to 0.1, because this story is so bad)
Writing: 1 / 10 (Adams seemed to have nowhere near enough space to do anything here)
Playability: 0.8 / 10 (You turn into the Hulk by biting your lip. Riiiiiiiight.)
Puzzle Quality: 1 / 10
Parser Responsiveness: 3.4 / 10 (It does reportedly know 200 words)
Graphics: 7 / 10 (They actually hold up well; much better than many other games from 1984)
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