Hey all? Last week, I wrote an article which should not be taken seriously.
Today, it's back to business as usual, as I replay Stranglehold.
Stranglehold was released for the 360 and PS3 in 2007. For those of you who don't know, it's a video game sequel to John Woo's classic action masterpiece, Hard Boiled. As such, you play as Hong Kong Police Inspector "Tequila" Yuen (Chow-Yun Fat) as he investigates the disappearance of a fellow police officer. Receiving a ransom call, Tequila goes to Kowloon City (alone, of course) and that's when the bullets start flying. And they just don't stop-ever-until the end.
Stranglehold is your basic third-person-shooter, at first glance. You have abilities taken for granted these days, like a cover system and such. Tequila does not have to reload (because this is a Hong Kong Cinema-style game) any of his modest selection of guns.
Tequila can dive, too. In the style of Max Payne, diving while aiming at your enemies triggers "Tequila Time," or, slow motion. Everything takes a cool sepia tone when you do this. But it's the contextual actions that make the game. See, as you run around the environments, things like railings and pushcarts highlight. Pull the Left Trigger/L1, and Tequila slides down the railing or jumps on the pushcart, triggering the slow-mo and enabling you to kill the hundreds of bad guys with style.
There's tons of different things to interact with. You'll find yourself sliding down various things, swinging on chandeliers...it's so easy to look like a total badass as you play. The game is an absolute riot.
There's also "Tequila Bombs," special abilities that you can trigger as you earn points for kills. The first one heals you (boring...), but the second one is Precision Aim, which lets you snipe a dude with your pistol, leading to a variety of death animations.
Next is Barrage, in which Tequila angrily reloads his guns and gives you unlimited ammo and invulnerability for a time. And there's the game's smart bomb, somewhat boringly called Spin Attack. Fire this up, and Tequila wastes everyone in sight, spinning like a maniac while music plays and doves fly. Classic John Woo.
Stranglehold remains a blast to play. Environments are highly destructible; you leave nearly every place in ruins. It looks better than I remember it, likely because I didn't have an HDTV at the time. Nonetheless, it's still a solid looking game, though you won't confuse it for something that came out yesterday.
Track down a copy if you haven't played Stranglehold; you can probably find it for ultra-cheap. If you're a fan of Hard Boiled (you should be) or just a fan of Hong Kong action movies, or fun, you gotta check it out. If you have played it, dust it off. It's still a blast.
Questions, comments, and future article suggestions are more than welcome!
Next week, I talk about one of my favorite artistic games. Play it while listening to the radiooooooooo!