As with most of my XBox games I wait a while and buy them used rather that paying £30 or £40 for a new one. I was disappointed a few times paying a lot for games that were completed in a couple of days.
This game I picked up for £4 in a used game store, at this price it was good value. It kept me occupied for a couple of hours and then I got very bored with it.
Set in hong Kong this game was based on a John Woo film (Hard Boiled), I've never seen the film but I hope it's better than the game. You play inspector Tequila and your aim is to go around shooting everyone who crosses your path. You can use objects such as tables and railings to slide along or to use as cover, you can collect health packages and ammo. Other items to collect are origami figures which fill up your rage meter.
When you kill people or collect the origami this meter fills up, when it reaches it's maximum you can choose from a few ways to use this. The ones I used most often were to fill the health bar and the slow motion shot which is very useful in boss fights as you have time to line up the shot and make sure it hits a critical spot on your enemy.
There are a few different settings in the game including a hotel, casino and streets and back alleys. One thing I did think I would enjoy with this game is the ability to shoot at objects such as signs or beams to kill people when they drop down which is useful if they are hiding behind cover but there isn't really much chance to use this feature throughout the game. The levels get harder as you progress in the fact that you have more enemies or enemies which are more difficult to kill. Other than this I find each level has the same aim which is to kill anybody you see, there are a few obstacles like laser beams but you just need to shoot at these too. There is one level which was quite difficult and involved shooting down a plane, I enjoyed this level but out of an entire game it was the only enjoyable or memorable level. I don't think the graphics are too good and in some levels it can be difficult to see the enemies. There isn't a lot of thought or skill required to play the game and I had completed it within a couple of days, I wasn't too excited to finish it and only did so as I hate to leave a game unfinished. For the price I paid the game was okay, but it is far from one of my favourite games and it isn't one I would play again.
Du to the violent nature of the game it has been rated an 18. I don't see any reason why younger people can't play as I don't find it too graphic. The game can be played in story mode which is what I did, or online against other players with network play.
== STRANGLEHOLD ==
John Woo Presents Stranglehold is an action third person shooter that has been developed by Midway. Midway are a very respectable company who made the world famous Mortal Kombat games. Stranglehold is on the Xbox 360 as well as the PS3 and PC and was released back in 2007. Stranglehold is full of fast paced action and has a lot of new features that most games can only dream about having. The story to the game is okay but Stranglehold hasn't been made to impress with its story. There are two versions of the game. A normal version and a collectors edition. The collectors edition for the Xbox 360 doesn't offer as much as the PS3 version does.
You take the role as Inspector Tequila Yuen (voiced by Chow Yun-fat) who ends up working on a case about a missing detective. Whilst in the office one day with his superiors, the phone rings and it turns out to be the kidnappers of the missing detective. This group of kidnappers demand that one cop and one cop only must go alone to Kowloon. Tequila decides to go even though his superiors tell him that its dangerous and that he shouldn't be going by himself. Upon arriving Tequila's superiors were right as he gets ambushed by a group of triads. After defeating the attackers in a fast paced action scene Tequila must find more info on the missing Cop. A bit later in the first level Tequila finds out by a photo that the detective has been shot dead between the eyes. Tequila receives information on who could be involved in the detectives death and now he must go find them and bring them back down to earth with a bang. A great thing with the story to this game is that it changes when you least expect it. From one time you could be doing one mission then seconds later it has completely changed and you face a new objective. Overall the story to the game isn't a strong one but with all the action sequences it more than makes up for it.
=== Gameplay ===
Stranglehold offers gamers a new dimension in terms of gameplay. In Stranglehold you can do things you certainly couldn't ever do in any other game. You can only play as Tequila in the game and by all means this isn't a bad thing as he is very skilled in what he does. In the game you meet many interesting characters, some are good guys and some are bad. When on the game screen itself there are numerous things to take count of. The main one is your health meter, if your health reaches zero its game over! Also on screen just below your health is how much Tequila time you have left. Now Tequila time is a basic skill Tequila can use. It slows down time and makes it much easier for you to get kills or raise your combo. When you use Tequila time manually, it starts to decrease your bar but as your progressing through the level it replenishes itself. Also at times your objectives appear on screen and also a bosses health meter. With the bosses health meter on screen this can be a bonus for you and make the game easier. In the bottom right corner of the screen it tells you what your current weapon is and you can change it with a single button, if you have any other weapons. Tequila also has the ability to use Tequila Bombs. Tequila Bombs are super moves that Tequila earns by performing stylish kills and combos with 'style points'. The Tequila Bomb gauge is located in the bottom left of the screen and it will start to fill as you gain style points.
There are four Tequila skills (Tequila Bombs). The first is a very important one and without it you wont get far in the game. If your low on health and cant find any med packs around, simply fill up your Tequila Bomb to the first symbol and you can regenerate a bit of health by using the health boost ability. The second ability is my personal favourite. Its called Precision Aim and with Precision Aim, Tequila can accurately target and hit an enemy from all kinds of distances, he can also target specific parts of the body. This ability is really useful if your enemy is far away and you need that all important head shot to finish him off. You can also use Precision Aim to take out the scenery in the game and make things such as signs fall down on your enemies. The third ability is Barrage Attack. A Barrage Attack is especially useful at completely obliterating cover or structures that groups of enemies that might be hiding or fleeing behind. Barrage Attack unleashes a flurry of bullets that can cause massive damage to the environment and your enemies. When you use the Barrage Attack your become invulnerable whilst your attacking with it. The last skill is called Spin Attack. Spin Attack is brilliant for when your surrounded by numerous enemies and when you find your in a tricky situation. When you use Spin Attack, Tequila spins round and fires bullets in a slow motion movement. Doing this when surrounded will kill ALL enemies in the area.
Tequila has a cell phone in which he can receive text messages. These messages are usually mission briefings and other bits to do with your story. Also in the game is an 'Unlock Shop'. Use the style points you've earned to buy unlockable features. One of my best bits for the gameplay is the Standoffs. During the standoff mini game, use the left analog stick to dodge incoming bullets and use the right stick to aim. After doing both of them you now have to take out the enemies your standing off against. These standoffs take skill and swiftness to complete but they add a new dimension to the game. When free roaming with Tequila you can use the LT button to do Tequla moves. These moves are slowed down and they look stunning. For example you can dive onto a table, whilst sliding across it and firing constantly at your enemy. You can also run up walls and fire at enemies, table slide, zip line and many more all while your firing away at the same time. Tequila can also interact with certain objects in the game. He can do things like kicking a table up to use as cover. Also you can use the environment as a weapon and shoot where ever it glows. Shooting in the glowing areas can result in some ultimate destruction brought onto your enemies. Also Tequila can pick up many different weapons in the game but he can only use two at any one time.
=== Game Modes ===
NEW GAME - New game is your main mode with a story. There are 7 mission to complete on this mode and also this game mode is really fun and can get you addicted. Whilst its not a very big game mode, it can be played over and over again. There are three difficulties to choose from at the start but if you do well another one will open later.
CHAPTER MODE - Chapter mode is just a mode for you to mess around on or even attempt to get what remaining achievements you have left to acquire. You can pick from any of the 7 chapters and also any checkpoints you received on those certain missions. Its a fun mode for a quick mess around, nothing more.
XBOX LIVE - Xbox Live for Stranglehold is probably the games best feature. There are three modes to choose from in Xbox Live. Quick match which puts you against a maximum of 6 other players. Custom Match so you can choose how you want to play and under what rules (also against a maximum of 6 players) and the last mode is Create Match which you get to pick everything including your opponents if you like. Xbox Live for this game is great but it requires you to have a purchased Gold Membership. There are also leaderboards to see how you fair against the worlds best gamers.
=== Graphics & Sound Effects ===
For a 2007 Xbox 360 game the graphics and sound effects are really good and still make an impact on the games enjoyment. With the games characters looking superbly designed and some of the action sequences expertly put in place Stranglehold features some beautiful graphics. By far the best thing about the graphics is the ability to destroy the environment. It looks and feels great and makes the game much more realistic. The levels are really well designed and the only fault I could make on the graphics is the buildings look the same. Everything else graphic wise is really good. Now the sound effects are always going to be brilliant for me because I have my surround sound hooked up to my Xbox 360. The music to the game is a little plain and doesn't make an impact like it usually can. Tequila and the other characters are all voiced by actors/actresses and I think this works to the games advantage. The best part of the sound effects is undoubtedly the sound of the action sequences. The game is made to be full of action and the sound effects to it don't disappoint. Overall the sound effects are brilliant and the graphics are equally as impressive!
=== Difficulty & Longevity ===
The games difficulty does vary. The controls are very easy to master. Tequila's running and movement can be annoying as sometimes he moves awkwardly. The actual difficulty of the gameplay varies and it all depends on what difficulty you choose at the beginning of the game. Normal is just about right in my opinion and would probably suit most gamers. The length of Stranglehold is an interesting one. Whilst there are only 7 chapters and some of the missions are a little short, you still have to go through the game more than once to unlock some secret content. Also with the online features and the achievements, your looking at about 40+ hours at least. If your playing the game just for the main mode then your looking at a ridiculous 10 hours tops. Overall there are lots of different difficulty levels for each type of gamer but the length of the game is a poor one.
=== Good Bits About The Game ===
*The game is action packed from start to finish.
*Lots of abilities to have fun with especially the Precision Aim, its fun and addictive.
*You can destroy lots of the environment and take down enemies in all kinds of ways.
*The Standoffs are brilliant and make the unique in its own way!
*The game is going for an incredible price!
=== Bad Bits About The Game ===
*The game is far too short and doesn't offer a huge challenge.
*A couple more single player modes would of made the game much better.
*The game is only based on action and lacks a good storyline.
*I would of liked to see more than four special skills.
*Not enough multiplayer options to last like the usual online games.
=== Final Thought ===
Stranglehold is a quality game that offers a lot. You can tell its the type of game that is full of action. Stranglehold is one of the first games that offer the unique standoffs, some of the unique abilities and also the way you can interact with the scenery. The game doesn't have a full on story, which can be seen as the games biggest disappointment for some fans. The instructions manual is a clear one, it lists just about everything a gamers manual should list. It consists of all the basic information, controls and everything else you would need to know. Also I haven't played the multiplayer options for a while now and there might not be many people playing the game online nowadays. I would recommend the game to fans of full on action games and to fans of the third person shooting games. If you would like something that adds a little spice to its gameplay then this is it. I bought the game just recently for the second time and it only set me back an incredibly low £3.50 from Amazon. For that price you get one brilliant game and I do believe its great value because its still classed as a great game in my eyes. The game has a rating of 18+ because it does contain very strong language and lots of strong violence not suitable for the younger gamers. Overall Stranglehold will always be one of the best action games around. I would give Stranglehold an 8/10!
Review also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987
Well, I've just been given a shiny new Xbox, and it's time for me to start playing all those titles that I wanted to when I saw them reviewed, but couldn't because I didn't, er, have an Xbox.
This one fascinated me the most, as I ama big "Heroic Bloodshed" fan (this is the name of the film genre to which the source movie, Hard Boiled, belongs), and John Woo is its undoubted auteur.
The game is a third person shooter, and you navigate Tequila, through gunfight after gunfight, a true shoot em up, in that you can not only shoot people, but do a lot of collaterla property damage as well. This gives the game settings bags of atmosphere, and really captures the splendid chaos of the movies.
I played it by first watching Hard Boiled (a review will follow) to remind myself of Tequila's backstory, and then getting stuck right in to the action.
The game has very little exposition, and you can forget about any need for stealth. Its kinetic mayhem really carries you along, and although the modelling suffers in comparison with more recent 3rd person games, such as Red Dead Redemption, it really is, literally a blast, and very cheap now. Recommended.
Hard Boiled (the film) came out way back in 1992. It was directed by John Woo and stared Chow Yun-Fat as Inspector Tequila Yuen a hard as nails Hong Kong cop. Skip froward to September 2007
where John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat are back together this time in game form.
The story to Stranglehold shares many similarities to it's predecessor with you controlling Chow Yun-Fat who is playing Inspector Tequila. Tequila finds himself involved in a murder case, one where innocent Hong Kong police officers have been killed. Needless to say Tequila deals with this case like any other case, gathering witness statements, collecting evidence and building a solid case...not really instead he takes to the gang ridden streets of Hong Kong with his trusty pistols and a hell of a lot of bullets. Story is not Stranglehold's strong point but it is as enjoyable as most no frills Hollywood action flicks.
Stranglehold performs best when it comes to gameplay, it's a no nonsense shoot 'em up in the vain of Max Payne, this means lots of jumping, wall running and bucket loads of slow mo. All of this adds up to adrenaline filled gun fight after gun fight each one harder then the last. Many other action games within this genre have found it difficult to maintain a steady flow of non repetitive action sequences but Stranglehold has done well to avoid this with it's interactive and very destructible environments.
Controls are another area where these kind of games can fall down but once again Stranglehold's are mostly smooth and intuitive.
Graphically Stranglehold also stands up well with solid models, good lighting and detailed environments. Clipping (when body parts or guns poke into or through people and environments) can be an annoyance but it's easily ignored. Sound is Stranglehold's main weakness with the soundtrack being forgettable at best and the voice acting bar Chow Yun-Fat himself being flat. This is a real shame considering the big names attached to the game and could have been easily solved by leaving it in Cantonese (like Hard Boiled was) and subbing it.
All in all I found Stranglehold to be an immensely playable and continually fun game. Some have criticized it's lack of innovation, it's length (played on hard it's about eight hours) and it's (by now dead) uninspired multiplayer but I say to them why not come down off that high horse for awhile and just enjoy this game for what it is, a video game.
At A Glance.
Gameplay ~ 7/10
Story ~ 5/10
Graphics ~ 7/10
Sound ~ 5/10
Replay Value ~ 6/10
Final Score: 30/50
I am a big John Woo fan (more so of his Hong Kong films) and when I heard that a video game sequel to Hard Boiled was being released I was pretty excited. Stranglehold was the result, and I have to say I was quite impressed with it.
The story follows Inspector Tequila (modelled on and played by Chow Yun Fat) as he is assigned to the case of a murdered cop. While there is no need for having seen Hard Boiled prior to playing the game, it does add a bit more familiarity with Tequila and makes it just that much more fun. I have to note though that all the characters speak English (sometimes in weird garbled accents) which make it a bit awkward in cutscenes, when you consider that Cantonese, like Hard Boiled was, would have made a lot more sense.
The gameplay is quite similar to a lot of shoot-em-ups (the obvious genre of choice for something by John Woo), but it's notable that it's a very distinct John Woo shoot-em-up, with the ability to go into Tequila Time - a bullet time mode which lets you perform fast shots and dodges. You earn points and style stars if you kill in stylish, cinematic ways - which could involve sliding down banisters, swinging on chandeliers, leaping from buildings or any number of other moves. The points can then be used to unleash super moves. There is also the "stand-offs" in the game where you have to dodge bullets from stand-offs. As entertaining as it is it can get a bit repetitive, although they try to vary a bit the style, with aspects like helicopter missions.
The graphics are, sometimes, a bit sub-par compared to other PS3 or 360 games, but most of the time you don't notice it as you're too busy killing off your enemies in the most entertaining way possible.
I'd play it once, especially now as it's gone down in price a lot.
The early levels of stranglehold are littered with restrictive design such as being blocked by invisible walls to easily accessible areas, for example you see a gap between two crtaes that tequila could easily fit through but you're held back by an invisible wall. It's clear that the whole point of Stranglehold is to meet the enemy head on. Midway may not have designed the game with total player freedom in mind but whats wrong with wanting to shoot the enemy from where I want to shoot them rather than making me shoot them from where you think I should. The concept of playing a Hong-Kong era John Woo movie is completely beguiiling, but midway seeems to have take the idea to an Illogical conclusion, and the resulting game is as consistent with woo's flaws as his strength. Every last scrap of story forced through int the impressive cut-scenes, making the action and narrative seem completely seperate. The complexity of the tasks presented to you never rise above shooting enemies and planting bombs: no puzzles to solve, no NPC (Non Playable Character) interaction, no deduction, you kill everyone. Tequila takes a phone call telling him where to go next. He arrives at the location and recieves another phone call giving him another reason to to cause carnage, Rinse repeat and you've completed the game, Stranglehold does have a few tricks up it's sleeve like slow mo shooting whilst fling in the air or swinging on a chandelier, but this can quickly get very repetitive and stale. Overall Stranglehold is like a John Woo film viscerally exciting but, more often than not, cerebrally vacant but that doesn't necesseraly make for a great game.
Stranglehold is an action based third person shooter for the Microsoft Xbox 360 games console.
Stranglehold is the successor to the film Hard Boiled, it stars digital version of Chow Yun Fat, it tells the typical story of corruption, the Chinese mafia, wife and daughter kidnapped, cops.. but you don't really need to pay any attention to the story.
The game is all about the shooting, the shooting is so fun in this game because you can destroy absolutely everything, you can also slowdown time which has been done many times before but it is still fun to use it from time to time.
Disappointingly there is little variation to the gameplay, all you do is shoot things then you shoot some more, the only variation is an on rails helicopter shooting section.
If you enjoy occasionally mindlessly blowing everything up you will enjoy this game, just play every now and again and not all in one sitting.
You can get this game for about £20.00 which is a reasonable price.
Back in 2001, Remedy Entertainment released Max Payne. Since its release, it has still been remembered by its thing known as Bullet Time, where you slowed down time and shoot enemies in the face while everything is slowed down. It has spawned a lot of rip-offs, mostly bad, but Stranglehold is one of the good ones.This is the game sequel of the 1992 classic Hard Boiled, directed by John Woo and starring Chow Yun-Fat. They both return here too, as John Woo has collaborated to create this, and the main character is played by Yun-Fat. While some may be upset that they decided to create a game sequel rather than a movie sequel to Hard Boiled, you can't deny this game is very fun.
The game takes place years after Hard Boiled and follows Inspector Tequila is a rogue cop and a loose cannon. The Dragon Claw is the most powerful Triad gang in Hong Kong and is led by James Wong. But now, the clan is being threatened by newer gang. So, in a desperate act, Wong uses his 'connections' with the Hong Kong police to force Tequila to help him. There's some bad blood between the two as the past hasn't been good for them. Will Tequila play ball and help find Wong's daughter and grand daughter, or will he just blow? The plot is like a Hong Kong movie, and also captures the atmosphere of one. This stays so true to Hard Boiled that you will probably love the plot.
The game controls like most shooters, as you shoot with the right trigger and throwing grenades is done with the B button, picking up a weapon is mapped to the X button and switching weapons is done with the A button. But then there are controls for things like acrobatics and Tequila Bombs. You can dive with the left trigger, run up a wall with the left bumper and use tequila time manually with the right bumper. You can use Tequila bombs with the directions on the D-Pad, meaning they are easy to access as you simply press a button on the D-Pad. Overall, the controls are responsive; it just takes some getting used to the camera which is a bit finicky at times, though not game breaking.
The gameplay for the most part is like a standard shooter. You control Tequila in a third-person view and shoot on foot, with about one section where you hop into a helicopter and use a turret to shoot enemies from the sky. Then you do your first leap near an enemy, or accidentally press the Right Bumper and you enter Tequila Time. This is basically Bullet Time, introduced by Max Payne. You an either go into it manually, or enter Tequila Time by doing an acrobatic move near an enemy. When that happens, you can shoot enemies in slow-mo time, which gives you an edge and means you can dodge enemy fire like Rockets. You don't go into Tequila Time by diving into air with no enemies, meaning if you need to leap a gap you won't have to sit in slow motion. This will probably mean that everybody will just yap on saying 'Oh, this rips off Max Payne!' They are right, but the game does add plenty to make it unique in its own right.
First off, there are Tequila's abilities. At first, you can only heal yourself, but as you progress, you'll have a grand total of four once you've unlocked them all. First, there's Precision Aim (my personal favourite). Basically, you can zoom in and shoot a bullet at an enemy. This means you can aim for body parts like the head, arms, legs and even their privates. The reason this is my favourite is not just because I can shoot someone in their nuts, but because the animation is realistic depending on where you shoot them. Hit them in one of their eyes and they will cover their eye. Shoot them in the leg and they will fall to the ground. Shoot them in the balls and they will grab their balls in serious pain.
My personal favourite was when I shoot someone in the foot at the top of the stairs and they went tumbling down them. Next is barrage, which makes your weapon more powerful and you invincible. This makes clearing out rooms easier, but not particularly satisfying, except for the cool animation before as he reloads his gun. Finally is the Spin Attack which makes Tequila spin in circles as he fires his weapon, which kills all enemies in the firing area. It's helpful and pretty cool as you see doves fly in the air. Most of the tequila bombs are satisfying, meaning you'll have a lot of fun using them.
Even better is the way he can interact with the environment. Tequila may not be the next Prince of Persia (in terms of acrobatics), but he can do some cool stuff. For example, he can grab onto a light shade and swing onto the other side of it. He can also jump onto other objects like rails, carts and pipes. Also, he can destroy the environment to his advantage, for example if an enemy is standing under a neon sign, you can shoot it down and crush them. There's also lots of exploding barrels around, meaning you can cause some explosive destruction. Unfortunately, there are a couple of these really lame puzzles in the game where you have to find that stupid object that will cause another stupid object to clear a path for you. It's annoying because it's not really shown where to find these objects. Thankfully, there are very little of these puzzles, meaning the frustration won't happen much.
There are also moments in the game where you are surrounded with only two pistols. These are called Standoffs, and they can be rather hard. It's all about fast reflexes, as the enemies are shooting at you quickly. Plus, the aiming cursor starts off a little far away from your target, meaning you have to move it quickly before enemies shoot you. While you have full health at the beginning, you lose health quickly as you get shot. You have to use both analog sticks to aim and dodge bullets, which is quite awkward at first but once you get use to it these can be fun, if a little contrived. Basically, only one enemy will fire at you, even if there are five guys surrounding you. That is a wee bit stupid, but it's forgivable because these are fun.
There aren't a whole lot of guns in the game. You start off with two duel pistols, but as you progress you get assault rifles, shotguns, sub-machine guns and even a rocket launcher. They are all satisfying to use, but it's a shame there aren't many more. There's this weapon called the Golden Gun which pretty much kills enemies on one shot. It's hard to find these, but they do a lot of damage when you do find them. The weapons don't make the games easy though. This game won't challenge you for the first few levels, but after that the difficulty ramps up a lot. This is due to a few things. For one, the game throws lots and lots of enemies at you, meaning you'll be outnumbered a lot and sometimes overwhelmed. Also, the health system isn't the best, as rather than having rechargeable health like Gears of War or Timeshift, the game uses a health meter and there aren't too many health packs. While you can heal yourself, you have to have Tequila power, which you'll probably use for Tequila abilities that damage enemies.
Unfortunately, Stranglehold tries to make a two hour action film into a seven hour game, which means repetition will occur at some point. It's a matter of tolerance for when you find it repetitive. The mission objectives usually revolve around killing everyone, and the missions which ask you to do stuff like blow up drug tables or protect a band until they finish the song still involve killing. The game is all about shooting people in the face, crotch or wherever you can, and not much else. The game tries to break up things with sections where you go into a first-person view and must shoot from a helicopter, but in the end of the day, it is still about killing. Another complaint I have is that the levels are a bit overlong. Sometimes I spent more than an hour in one level, which became tiresome. While the game is shallow, repetitive and a bit stretched out, Stranglehold is undeniably fun. The environmental destruction and cool tequila moves help.
Aside from the 7-10 hour single player, there's also multiplayer on Xbox Live/system link. Unfortunately, it's probably the weakest part of the game. It's too cramped and limited to really satisfy. You have your standard deathmatch and team deathmatch modes...and that's it. Seriously, that's it. And it's not just that the game has limited multiplayer modes. You can use Tequila time in the game, it's just broken. Put it this way, you can only use Tequila time when everyone in the game has a full meter. This means it's not very helpful, and that it turns it into a completely generic multiplayer component. The lag was mostly stable and there wasn't too much slowdown, but the multiplayer just isn't fun.
The game is rated 18+, and for good reason. There's lots of blood and violence, and in case you hadn't noticed, there's drug references (in case you didn't, Tequila is a drug). The game can be really violent at times, meaning it's not for the youngsters who can't handle it. On top of that, younger people may not be able to handle the challenge. They will probably be overwhelmed by the amount of enemies, and get killed a lot. So, if you're younger than 15 then you shouldn't be on this. On top of that as well, if you're younger than 15 then you've probably never seen Hard Boiled, so you're probably not interested in this anyways.
Stranglehold looks stunning. The best thing about the graphics are the environments. They look beautiful, and they break apart beautifully. The texture work is great, and the geometry is great too. You'll travel through Casinos, Hotels, Industrial Buildings, Sewers and more. It's a shame they have to be destroyed, but boy they destroy beautifully. The particle effects help this as they look great. It's also worth noting tons of objects in the background break apart. Tables, poles, wooden slates and more can be destroyed and they break apart excellently, making it a really satisfying game. The character models are decent, though there are some deformities here and there. The animation is great, as like I said before, if you Precision Aim in certain areas they react in different ways. Plus, the animation in cutscenes is great and realistic.
'Tequila, I told you not to go alone!'
'I didn't (pulls out pistols), I brought my two friends with me'
If you though that bit of dialogue was cool, then you'll love Stranglehold's sound but if you thought that line was lame prepare to cover your ears, as Stranglehold is full of action film banter. The voice acting is solid for the most part, with Yun-Fat putting in a good performance, but the English with a Chinese accent is hard to understand sometimes. You may want to turn on subtitles in case you miss some of the dialogue. The music is a mix of Asian strings and orchestral scores, which is nice, even if a little too subtle. The effects are excellent. The guns sound fantastic, as they sound quite powerful making them satisfying. Other effects like when you hear tables crunching and poles smashing are really satisfying.
-(The Replay Value)-
Unfortunately, this is the weakest area of the game. The single player is too short at about 7-10 hours long. This means the game moves at a fast past, but is over fast. There's some replay value, even if it doesn't come from the multiplayer. You'll replay to get the achievements, which consist of completing the levels in the game, finishing the game on the difficulty levels and doing an amount of kills with the Tequila Bombs. And you'll replay the game because it's just so damn fun. Still, you can't deny this could have been better value for money. Though considering it's cheaper now, that's easier to forgive.
-(The Ending Comments)-
Stranglehold is a very fun game, thanks to how the environments break up, satisfying weapons, lots of enemies to kill and cool Tequila Weapons. It captures the flair of a John Woo movie, shooting people in the balls never gets old and the tons of environment destruction will definitely satisfy those who loved the environmental destruction in Bullet Witch, but hated everything else. It's not perfect, thanks to weak multiplayer, a short single player, some rather overlong levels and repetition, plus the fact it's a total rip-off of Max Payne. Still, if you have a love for violence, weapons or action then this is the perfect game for you. And if you watched and loved Hard Boiled, then you're in for a treat (unless you hate video games). Just don't expect much depth or value for money-kind of like a Hong Kong flick.
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by Midway and developed by Tiger Hill games.
This was released on September 14th, and is also on PC and PS3.
This is available from Amazon for £24.97
Thanks for reading. Stunt 101
Ok, John Woo, next generation game, action, shooting, guns, slow motion control at your fingertips, sounds great yes, well it isn't. Don't get me wrong its not awful and possibly worth a play at budget price or rental but don't waste £40 on it. The story is ok with your character voiced and modeled on action movie start Chow Yun Fat an interesting role all be it the usual role. The games looks ok but nothing stunning and the controls are ok but sometimes frustrating when you find yourself stuck in the corner of a room with the camera causing walls to disapear etc, annoying. The levels are interesting when you can see what your after and you can gain new abilities although they seem limited and come quickly and easily. I have been playing through on the normal difficulty and its not particulary challenging. The destructable environments are entertaining though and you can use this to your advantage shooting signs down for example on top of your rather dim enemy.
I'm not sure this game lives up to it's intended interactive action movie status but is a time passing blast em up of a game but nothing special.
Computer games have become big business in recent times making as much money as many feature length films. However, the increases in profits have combined with an increase in costs. Whilst once upon a time a game could be made by one man in his bedroom, now it takes many people many work hours. When 'Stranglehold' was first announced they proclaimed it to have cost over $30 million. Not only was it costing as much as a medium budget film, but it was to be directed by John Woo and star Chow Yun-Fat. These names may not mean that much to you, but too many computer game enthusiasts who are interested in Hong Kong action movies, their names stand for quality. With top dollar and top talent on board surely Midway could not fail to create one of the best experiences on the 360?
You take control of Tequila (Yun-Fat) a maverick Hong Kong cop who starred in earlier film 'Hard Boiled'. Your ex lover and daughter have been kidnapped as part of a gangland war and you are out to get them back no matter the cost. This takes the form of 6 or so levels of 3rd person action (the camera is situated behind the character). You must use a variety of different guns to shoot the various bad guys that swarm at you. So far so generic, but there is more to this game.
John Woo's films are famed for their style which usually consists of copious use of slowdown, doves and two handed gunplay. Midway have worked with him to try and mirror the style of films such as 'Hard Boiled', 'Face Off' and 'Mission Impossible. Therefore, any time that Tequila runs up to an object he slides over it causing time to slow and allows him to pick off enemies at his leisure. He is also given powers called Tequila Bombs that are earned by killing enemies stylishly. He can zoom in on an enemy, go into a shooting frenzy, use a spin attack (with added doves), or simply heal himself. These bombs stop the game from being just continual shooting.
However, do they do this enough? I believe that the gameplay was far too generic to be fun after 2 hours or so. You did the same things over and over again and even the powers became bland after the 50th use. There was also a problem with the controls and enemy AI. Firstly, the controls would often have you jumping into the wrong place or opening yourself up to fire, whilst the AI was incredible dumb, the enemies waited to be killed most of the time. The game also had monster closets which is the lazy gameplay mechanic were a number of bad guys appear when you hit a certain point. The use of monster closets is a prime example of why 'Stranglehold's' gameplay fails - its dated and not good enough for 2007. I was deeply bored by the final part of the game so it was almost lucky about the length (more on that later). (2 out of 5)
Having drafted in two stars of cinema you would expect the storyline and characters of 'Stranglehold' to be something special. Recent games such as 'Bioshock' and 'Mass Effect' have shown that games can have great stories. Therefore, it is doubly disappointing when you have to watch the lazy drivel on offer here. The plot is generic 80s action film and the dialogue is just as bad. However, despite the nonsensical nature of it all it is kind of the point as they were deliberately trying for that cheesy 80s feel. Tequila is a fun character as he often spouts funny one-liners. When asked who is going to take on the bad guys he replies, "Just me and my two friends" as he taps his guns. If you take it in the tongue and cheek nature that it is written it's not too bad. (3 out of 5)
Like many modern games 'Stranglehold' is a short affair. At $30 million you should be expecting a lot of bang for your buck, but it seems that money must have been spent on actors rather than game length. At around 6-8 hours there is nowhere near enough here to make you buy it rather than rent it. I was amazed at how fast I was able to complete the entre game. There are several different difficulty levels that you can tackle if you wish, but the gameplay is so mundane that you are unlikely to want to play the game through twice. There is an online mode, but as you will read later this will not be used much. Even the achievements are not that inspiring as you can get most of the solo ones in your first playthru. (2 out of 5)
The online games of 'Stranglehold' are no fun to play. They should be great as you are able to use the various Tequila Bombs but in an online environment. Unfortunately, the game feels broken with only 4 players on a map they also seem empty. I tried to play it several times and each game ended up with me dying cheaply and full of lag. I imagine that no one is currently playing this online as there are many better and more fun online experiences available since. (1 out of 5)
Here is an area that will split opinion. The original screen shots of the game showed that it was pretty spectacular in places and this is true. The games uses the Unreal Engine in a way that no other has yet, Chow Yun-Fat looks incredible, especially when he is doing a special move. However, when you are out of the special moves the game looks ugly in places. There is far too much glitching and clipping on show as if the graphics were half finished. If the 360 version of the game is suffering from these issues its clear to see why the PS3 version is taking so long to get out. (3 out of 5)
When you begin to play the first couple of levels of 'Stranglehold' you start to think that you are in for a treat. You have seen from the box art that there are several different locations that you get to visit from rainy cities to beachheads. However, by the time level 3 comes along you realise that they are all essentially the same and that there is no real variation. You spend your time walking to one area, then shooting 20 or so bad guys only to rinse and repeat. I was happy that they had included a lot of destructible backgrounds that could be used to kill people, but even this became a little bland towards the end. (3 out of 5)
With a top director and leading actor you would think that the game would have Hollywood quality sound, music and vocals. This is not the case. The music is satisfactory as are the sound effects; it is the vocals that suffer. Firstly, the entire cast is easily understandable except for Tequila, as voiced by Yun-Fat. His accent is too strong in places and he seems to mumble, this is a characters that appears in almost every scene. The other parts in the game are voiced to better effect with a clear tone. However, why they choose the voices they did was beyond me - they were all strange regional accents that jolted you from the game. (2 out of 5)
This is a prime example of a game that is a cheap buy or weekend rental. At only 6-8 hours long there is not enough here to justify £50. If the online aspect of the game had been better perhaps this would not have been the case, but unfortunately it was. However, this is not the biggest issue as I have bought and rated many short games with higher scores, the problem is the gameplay. Any more than 8 hours of the same gun and run gameplay would be too much for anyone. The style of game felt so dated that it became a bit of a chore by the end. My advice would be to avoid it unless you see it for very cheap. (2 out of 5)
Maker: Midway RRP £50
Amazon uk £24.98
For me, Stranglehold is the Game of the Year. Being an action-junkie, this game was a must-play and the wait was testing my patience Now Ive got it and I wont let go of it any time soon. The weapons arsenal is huge, the variation of enemies and the completely destroyable surroundings are just too much fun! Its incredible how realistic everything looks and feels when objects are being destroyed, each in its individual style. At last a game that leaves nothing to be desired.
Stranglehold is a game I was looking forward too for a long time. Being a John Woo fan and an action game fan in general so I was hoping it could live up to my expectations.
Stranglehold sees Inspector "Tequila" Yuen fighting crime and corruption in Hong Kong and Chicago in thrid person action game inspired by John Woo's classic action movie 'Hardboiled'. With Chow Yun Fat providing his likeness and voice for the role of Tequila which he played in 'Hardboiled' The plot revolves around the kidnapping of a cop in Hong Kong and two women in Chicago and Tequila sets out to find the truth about whats happening.
The object of the game is basically to run round a level destroying everything in sight with your handy pistols. What sets Stranglehold apart from other similar games is its style. Tequila has the ability to activate a mode called 'Tequila Time' during the game which means everything around him is slowed down to a snails pace allowing for some fancy gun battles and bullet dodging which is unlike anything seen in a game before. A lot of comparisons have been made to the Max Payne series and its bullet-time claiming it too be a rip off of that series but Stranglehold implements it with a lot more character freedom than in Max Payne as you can do more than dive. And seeing as the Max Payne bullet time and cinematic gun battles were inspired by John Woo's movies such as 'Hardboiled' I feel John Woo's Stranglehold has a right to use this in its gameplay. Tequila also has 4 'Tequila bombs' available to use, which are available when you fill a style meter. These 'Tequila Bombs' are health boost, precision aim, barrage and spin attack and are used to cause even more death and destruction in the level than usual.
The levels in Stranglehold have a certain battle arena type feel to them where each area you move to is a large open area where you are given the freedom to wreak havoc in however you please. You can move around it by running, sliding down railings, swinging on chandelier, diving onto roll carts or using ziplines to get where your going. Being able to shoot the enemies while your doing these actions makes it even more rewarding when your running down a railing in slow motion shooting scores of bad guys only to jump on a roll cart and continuing your rampage rolling through the level.
One other small point about the environment, its totally destructible. If you cant get a shoot on a guy behind a wall blow the wall up, simple. If you don't fancy doing that you can shoot a nearby pole to fall on him or scaffold to collapse. This is immensely fun but can backfire when you are the one looking for cover and take cover on a wooden hut only to see the roof,walls,doors and occasionally the floor fall apart under continuous enemy machine gun fire.
Graphics and Sound
Graphically Stranglehold is good but not great, the environments are very similar looking and are not visually appealing but maybe the developer had to comprise a bit in environmental graphics if they were too make it interactive and totally destructible. The character model are reasonably good with Tequila looking very similar to his real life counterpart Chow Yun Fat.
The sound in Stranglehold is very good with decent voice acting and a superb soundtrack similar to John Woo's films.
The online aspect of Stranglehold is a bit hit and miss. Xbox live allows up to 6 players play in a deathmatch or a team deathmatch 3 on 3 but these are the only two modes available at the moment. There are a small amount of online arenas and they are reasonably small but like the single player are fully interactive. Despite these problems online there is no xbox 360 game that compare with the thrill you get from diving from a balcony as the room goes slow motion with a guy on the floor below you shooting at you, one hanging from chandelier with a shotgun and another diving from through a window as grenades explodes behind him as you all try to get the killer shot on each other. Fantastic.
The replay value of Stranglehold is pretty high as the game offers bonus like multiplayer characters and 'making of..' videos available to purchase using points earned from playing the single player game which lasts for between 5 - 10 hours depending on difficulty and although it gets repetitive in later levels it is still great fun to play and the online game is also fun.