When I first heard that John Woo was looking into making a video game sequel to his best movie ever, Hard Boiled, I nearly wet my action pants. (And I only have 1 pair of those) I know all about the movie game curse (all movie-based games suck) but since Stranglehold isn’t a movie, I figured that the game would be kick@$$, wrapped up in awesome with tons of explosions. I was only right on the explosions part.
The game starts off with a cop being kidnap by the Triad and Tequila has to rescue him all by himself. (Where’s the SWAT?!) I wasn’t expecting anything Oscar worthy with this story, since most action games have average stories. In fact, I forgive horrible stories for having great game play (after all, I’m playing a game, not watching a movie).
That’s not the case here. The combat isn’t where I’d like it to be. If you’ve played games like Chili Con Carnage or Total Overdose you have a basic idea of how this game is going to play. If you haven’t played them, it’s just a standard 3rd person shooter. Which isn’t to say that it’s bad, it’s just not something worthy of John Woo’s name. You run, gun and shoot, just like in all the other games. What sets this game apart is the Tequila Time, which is just a fancy way to say that time slows down when you do crazy things, like jump towards an enemy, guns ablazin. (You have a limited amount of time that you can use this.) There’s also some special powers thrown in (like a sniper shot) and destructible environments but it’s nothing we haven’t seen done plenty of times before. This isn’t a game that you can play for hours on end without getting that repetitive feeling, which defiantly hurts the game. An interesting aspect of the game is the Mexican Standoffs. Where Tequila and some other guys have their guns aimed at each other and he takes em out one-by-one while dodging some bullets. This is the best part in the game. I just can’t get enough of it. Dodging iron, matrix-style (similar to) while filling thugs full of lead, it just makes me feel so bad@$$.
There is fun to be had with Stranglehold, but you'll have to endure some pretty repetitive shooting to get to it. (if you don't mind that, then, by all means, pick up the game right now!) My hopes of a great game on par with Devil May cry were lashed upon the razor-edged rocks of reality. I guess Midway is just going to have to cancel that Rush Hour game they no doubt wanted to make after this one.
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Developer: Midway Chicago
Collector's edition has Hard Boiled in HD
Some of these guys’s faces