Macho Geeks of the World, Unite!

Gamemakers are really becoming proficient in making remarkable offerings based on comic books. It's probably because both industries employ the same kind of macho geek (which also explains the failure of movies based on games; the big budget movie industry is all macho and no geek).

Take The Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, a game that actually portrays the lunking green monolith as a complex and frightening monster, not some dim-witted Frankenstein clone. From the moment you begin to play, tossing 18-wheelers at helicopters, you're struck by his varied abilities, the expansive graphics and the true-to-the-comic cut scenes that are both full of hubris and melodrama. It's one of the year's best games.

Ultimate Spider-Man is certainly no slouch, either. With better writing than The Hulk (Activision employed the comic book writer and artist team) but not quite the astounding gameplay, you feel like you're inside the comic book itself. No, you don't feel flat and two-dimensional. You feel some how free to take on the criminals in New York (where's the Jr. Gotti character, though?). Pumped full of teenage angst, spider silk with unbelievable tensile strength and a big mouth, you'll deal with everyone from Nick Fury to Venom. Plus, the cel-shaded graphics make me want to own some of the original art from this game.

Details

The Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
Publisher: VU Games
Developer: Sierra
For: GameCube, PS2, Xbox

Ultimate Spider-Man
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
For: GameCube, PC, PS2, Xbox

X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox/Raven
For: GameCube, PS2, Xbox

Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Nihilistic
For: GameCube, PS2, Xbox

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    If you want a deep, comic book-inspired RPG that lets you adjust your mutant's abilities to your steely heart's content, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse might tickle your fancy. You've got 100 enemies, well over a dozen mutant heroes (not Tom Dale Delay, but Wolverine, etc.), and you have to (big shocker) stop the world from begin taken over. If you like a lot of ability-tinkering with your hack and slash, this game gets it right.

    The tough geek in me, the one who savored Remnick's King of the World, really wanted Marvel Nemesis, the fighting game based in the Marvel universe, to work. Hey, who wouldn't want to use The Human Torch to punch out The Hulk (especially when he seemed so indestructible in Ultimate Destruction? But this ain't no Soul Calibur. It's not even Rocky Legends. There are just not enough fighting styles and depth of story for this to work, even as a one-on-one punch 'em up. Note to the developers for the sequel: Soul Calibur, Soul Calibur, Soul Calibur.

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