Hulk Hogan's Main Event Review (Xbox 360)
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I suppose a Kinect wrestling game was inevitable, but I’m not sure anyone expected this. Hulk Hogan’s Main Event is an interesting experience, with some unique ideas and concepts. It simply boils down to another mini-game collection with extremely limited options and sub-par graphics.
The “main event” is actually made up of several small events called “stunts.” Each is essentially a short -- and slow-paced -- mini-game that asks you to complete certain motions at precise times. A little Hulk Hogan pops-up in the corner to hold your hand by showing the required motion.
For instance, a chair-pounding “stunt” has your opponent raising a chair above his head. Depending on the angle of the chair, you need to block with the correct hand. Your actions, in this game anyway, need not be timed; simply get the block in before the hit lands. Block enough chairs to the face and you’ll eventually wind up in possession of the chair and an opportunity to land a crushing blow.
Most stunts give each player a health bar; lose all of your health and you need to restart. However, should you be successful, you’ll transition to another stunt. Each transition is represented by a comic-book sequence that shows what happened in the interim.
A few of the “stunts” are initially sort of fun, and require you to dodge and strike “Punch Out” style. Without spending too much time in the tutorial, it was fun to gradually see myself improve as I keyed in on my opponent actions.
The worst parts of the gameplay, though, come at the beginning and the end of each match. You need to wait through a turtle-paced entrance game, complete with “match the poses” and “dodge the trash” games. The final pin game is pretty dumb too, with little logic to be had in your motions. You simply do what Hulk commands.
Kinect-wise, I had little problems; though to be honest this game isn’t taxing the limits of the system. Most moves use only your arms; occasionally slight leg movements come into play. You don’t need to move around the room or worry about having too much space.
I some ways, this simpler approach to a game is welcomed. There isn’t a need to clear out couches or move the coffee table. Plus, the simplicity means it works well most of the time.
However, there were a few instances where the Kinect wasn’t accurately picking up my motions (the "trash game" was the worst offender). And "functional, dumbed down controls" isn’t exactly the highest praise.
Ask a casual observer, and he or she may mistake this game for a PS2 or Xbox game -- the graphics are that bad. Even Hulk Hogan -- the game’s title character -- looks like he’s made of clay. There’s a little bit of Mr. Bill in the Hulkster.
The announcer is equally terrible, and the comic book scenes -- sort of a neat idea -- are relatively worthless. The written dialogue is cheesy and each opposing character is relatively generic (look, it's the cowboy from Boise!) . The character models themselves look like an amateur attempt at mimicking the style of WWE All-Stars.
There is a career mode that takes you through various venues, unlocking options and gear to customize your character. You’ll need them, since there are hardly any character options. And regardless of how you create your wrestler, he’ll look pretty goofy.
The story is very cliche (“the unknown rises to the top”) and doesn’t offer much in the way of real story telling. The first hour or so is also a lengthy tutorial, showing you the various stunt types and how to move.
This mode -- in fact this whole game -- would be much better if it were more quickly paced.
The idea of connecting related mini-games in a narrative is a refreshing change of pace, especially since it seems pretty random. There are enough mini-games and stunts to make each match feel like a different experience, at least for a while. However, the execution is severely lacking, regardless of whether you are talking about the graphics, story, controls or the pacing. In fact, the whole game feels like a budget title or cheap Xbox Arcade game.
Too bad it’s retailing at $50 -- save your money, brother!
Learning Curve: One of the few times that a game holds your hand too much. Little Hulk never goes away; you are really just watching him.
Control Scheme: The motion controls are so limited that the game rarely doesn’t work right. Still, there are moments of frustration.
Visuals: Really poor; it’s not just the overall quality, but the style of the characters feels really amateurish.
Audio: Annoying announcer and very little Hogan.
Value: There isn’t much to do, and for a wrestling game, very few modes worth mentioning. Feels like a budget title.
Score: 2.5 (Bad)
What does the score mean? These games are just plain bad. There may be one redeeming quality about these games, but there are very serious flaws that cannot be overlooked. Think the game that plays horribly everywhere except in this instance. Something along those lines. Or maybe the graphics are good and nothing else. Something like that.