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When it first came out, Max Payne was a spectacular innovation in action shooter games, with it's slow motion baddie-blasting action 'blowing' similar games at the time out of the water.
Since then, a lot of games have toyed with the idea of time manipulation, specifically slow motion shooting. Stranglehold is one of these games.
Max Payne was influenced by John Woo. John Woo Presents: Stranglehold was in turn influenced by Max Payne. I mean, the implementation of slow-motion action is nearly identical to the groundbreaking title - bullet time is switched on and drains from a recharging meter, but also comes on when you dive.
I'm not really criticising this though, because Max Payne and its sequel are increasingly dated, and this gameplay was always excellent fun. Stranglehold is no exception, and it's a delight to swoop around blasting enemies in slow-mo in glorious HD.
The one major addition in Stranglehold is the implementation of the Havok physics system, and general manipulation of the environment. Unlike Max Payne in which vases appeared glued to weirdly static tables, Stranglehold has the full realistic physics and destructive potential that we now expect from action shooters. And combined together, these two aspects, pilfered from many a game that has come before, make for a spectacularly fun gaming experience.
For added ease in creating over the top cinematic situations, Stranglehold does it's best to make the opportunities clear. For example, your eyes may be drawn to a chandelier due to it's eerie white glow, and with a cluster of enemies beneath, unloading their assault rifles in your direction, you'll be glad that the game pointed out a rather impressive way out fo a tricky situation (shooting down the chandelier to land on their heads, that is).
Yes, this game is shallow. There is very little to do here beyond shooting people, whether you're shooting them in real time or slow motion. Perhaps, like a John Woo movie, this game is a bit of a one-trick pony. But similarly, like a John Woo movie, it performs that trick very well, and stands up as a very fun if short lived third person shooter title.
Engage the enemy in Tequila Time by targeting and firing in real-time while the world dramatically slows and enjoy the exhilaration of running up railings, swinging from chandeliers, and leaping onto moving objects - all without complex controls.