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Labeled With  stranglehold xbox360 midway
Written by DM on Monday, October 01 2007

John Woo is one of those movie directors that you either love or hate. His movies are timeless, if you are an Asian action fan, that is. Hard Boiled is a movie you may have heard of, but more than likely you only know him from his domestic outings, such as Face/Off and MI: 2, both admittedly mediocre at best. The essence of Woo movies basically involves an unbelievable hail of bullets, and not much of the room left standing when the firefight is over. Oh, and the protagonist miraculously avoids getting a scratch on him while managing to slay all the baddies. Sounds like the perfect fit for a video game does it not? Well Midway thought so, and came up with Stranglehold starring Chow Yun-Fat.

The game has everything that any Woo or mindless gunplay fan could ask for. More rounds of ammunition than a small South-American country, gunplay that lasts for hours, cinema-stylized sequences, classic gangster dialogue, and, of course, Max Payne-esque bullet time, called Tequila-time in this game (not named after the drink, more on this in a bit). The bottom line is, the enemies die, you go diving and sliding across the room, and when it finally ends, you will be lucky if you can find the exit through all the debris, by which I mean corpses.

In case you did not know, and I am sure the hardcore fans already do, Stranglehold is the spiritual successor to one of Woo’s most popular movies, Hard Boiled. Yun-fat reprises his role as Inspector Tequila, which really adds an entire level of authenticity for those who are aware of the back-story. It is going to be a bit hard to not spoil some of the story for you with this review, so try to skip ahead if you are a spoiler-stickler. In Stranglehold, the story begins with a dead cop, as Woo’s stories so often do. As the story progresses, add two kidnapped girls, a load of drug territory and money, and a generous amount of double-crosses, shake vigorously, and there you have the basic idea. I will not reveal exactly who the girls are, but Woo fans should be able to guess. Heck, even the cut scenes in the game are dripping with the Woo melodrama that some of us have some to love, and it really does help to immerse gamers in the over-the-top Stranglehold world.

Inspector Tequila is mainly a shoot-first, don’t-really-ask-any-questions- later-since-no-one-is-alive, type of man. The game consists of seven chapters which range in location from Hong Kong to New York and back again. The main objective on every level is worded differently, but really, it is always the same task. Murder everything that moves that isn’t friendly; murder some more, then just a few more for good measure. Once you have done that, move on to the next part of the level and do it all again. The cast of characters that Tequila has on his side during the game do not really help at all, so it is pretty much all Yun-Fat, all the time.

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