God Of War and its terrific sequel didn't invent the third-person action genre, but it perfected it to such a degree that all future third-person action games are now measured against it. While manipulating the lumbering Hellboy around his game world—steel-toed boots, right hand made of glowing concrete, pink tail poking out from his raincoat—don't be surprised if you wind up daydreaming about the bald, angry Kratos and his far superior games.
Hellboy: Science Of Evil gets off to a molasses-slow start. Early enemies are pint-sized gremlins who don't threaten so much as annoy. The game's rhythm will be familiar to even the most casual gamers: fight through a series of low-level enemies, fight a boss character, rinse, repeat. The developers attempt to change up the formula with a few non-puzzling puzzles—example: light these lamps to open that locked gate—but those only slow down the draggy action even further. Controls are sluggish. The game's plot is a series of thin excuses to have Hellboy hit a bunch of creatures with his concrete hand. Things do look up a bit when you encounter a chain-wielding gorilla around the three-hour mark, but even hardcore fans of the comics and movies will have their patience tested by this woefully sub-par experience.
Beyond the game: The dreaded "invisible walls" appear early and often in the game. While they vex most third-person action games, Hellboy's developers make no effort whatsoever to disguise them. How to know when you've hit one? Hellboy will futilely jog in place for a few seconds.
Worth playing for: Ron Perlman's droll delivery as Hellboy. Coming upon a strange-looking enemy, he says, "Hey, pickle-head." You may keep playing just to hear his next zing-free zinger.
Frustration sets in when: Enemies gang up on Hellboy like it's his first night in Shawshank. Seeing him repeatedly knocked to his knees isn't just unpleasant, it also betrays the spirit of the character.
Final judgment: Add this alongside Sega's stale Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk games on the growing list of console-based superhero disappointments for the year.