So here’s a question for you: What types of games do you think of when you’re given a controller that can capture every subtle movement of your body? Fighting and wrestling games have got to be up there, right? Hulk Hogan's Main Event on the Kinect thinks so. The former legend and current TNA star is ready to retire, and so he’s training you to be the next wrestling superstar.
That all sounds great, at first. Then you realize the character you’re controlling has all the intelligence of a flea. How else do you explain the fact that he often performs a kick when you make an exaggerated punching motion. I wasn’t even moving my feet at all—a textbook right hook with my hand resulted in my opponent getting kneed in the groin or kicked in the stomach.
From what I was shown, your choice of moves doesn’t really matter anyway, as my opponent just stood there waiting for me to beat him up. This isn’t a traditional wrestler, like SmackDown, but more like a ‘wrestling training’ game. Other modes shown that I didn’t get to try had your opponent performing a preprogrammed series of moves, and you had to figure out the rhythm and counterattack, ala Punch-Out!! There are obvious limitations in how complex a game can be when using Kinect, since you can’t move your character around. However, Punch-Out-style gameplay only works if the controls are flawless, and this game’s... aren’t.
I was also told (though I didn’t get to see this part) that the game places an emphasis on working up the crowd. You can perform Hogan’s trademark taunts and unlike in other wrestling games, you actually control what your character does during the entrances. Apparently, you don’t have to mimic Hulk’s own entrance and can make one up on the fly. I’m not sure why the most interesting-sounding part of the game wasn’t included in my demo...
The presentation is by far the most polished aspect of Hulk Hogan’s Main Event. Instead of going for realistic characters, the developer has opted to make everyone overly exaggerated and cartoonlike. My character (who looked suspiciously like Goldberg) had hands that were as big as his head. It made me smile when every connected blow sounded like I was crushing a watermelon.
While the presentation is all well and good, the most fundamental aspect of a video game is that it does what you tell it to. As noted, Hulk Hogan’s Main Event often does not. If Majesco releases a game that kicks when you tell it to punch, gamers will have a hard time ‘bringing the pain’ to anyone. Hopefully they can turn it around in time for the game’s Fall 2011 launch.