The master martial
arts choreographer arrives on the XBox 360 that is aptly titled Jon
Woo presents Stranglehold, based on the movie with the same name.
The title is your classic first person shooter meets the Matrix as
gamers control Inspector Tequila Yuen (Chow Yun-Fat), a deadly Hong
Kong cop who is caught amidst two warring Triad gangs in the Hong
Kong criminal underworld.
Tequila Yuen's partner is killed, Tequila vows revenge on the
killers and is caught up in an international crime syndicate.
Although the story is quite clichéd, it features the John Woo trade
mark on the action which this title is not lacking as the gamer is
taken on a journey across a variety of exotic locales.
In its essence, John woo presents Stranglehold is reminiscent of
game such as Max Paine, the Matrix and more recently F.E.A.R. which
allows the gamer to slow the action down in order to perform a
variety of Matrix-like maneuvers as you dive into battle with two
guns blasting simultaneously at your enemies.
satisfying experience and to make things even more entertaining, the
developers have allowed you to interact quite successfully with
inanimate objects while using "bullet time". Apart from "bullet
time", the gamer has access to a variety of other functionalities
such as precision aiming (sniper) or Barrage Attack which lets you
unleash a myriad of firepower on your enemies which is pure bliss.
My personal favourite is the Spin Attack which uses "bullet time" as
your character spins around with two guns in the air.
Although you will spend the majority of time eliminating your
enemies, there is enough originality in the title to keep you
engaged from the minute you start playing the game and match that
with a variety of boss characters and some situations where every
bullet counts, Stranglehold is definitely a frustratingly
entertaining title. The title itself contains a variety of different
chapters, each set in a different location and even though the
storyline is sometimes clichéd, the action of the title will keep
you glued to your TV.
Stranglehold makes good use of the XBox 360 wireless controller with
most gamers having no problem in mastering this title. The
artificial intelligence of the title is extremely accurate and even
on a lower difficulty setting, your enemies will have no problem in
lining your body with slugs. Even though some aspects of the combat
is frustratingly difficult, the satisfaction you will gain in
eliminating your enemies when the odds are against you is more than
enough reward in its self.
Stranglehold also contains an online multiplayer mode that allows
for up to six players which include Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch
modes that are unfortunately a little lacking when compared to the
crux of the game but it's still an enjoyable challenge.
Graphically, Stranglehold is a good looking game on the XBox 360 and
the special effects of the title will leave you slack jawed and
amazed, especially a few particular scenes. Without spoiling the
storyline, if you remember the last scene in the original Matrix
just before Neo and Trinity enter the elevator, then this is what
you can also experience. The background environments are extremely
well made and detailed and match that with some realistic character
models and there is little to complain about this title graphically.
The soundtrack of Stranglehold suits the genre perfectly as does the
professional voice acting. The star of the sound department is
definitely the sound effects which appear to have been taken
directly from the movie itself and you really need to play this game
In conclusion, John Woo Presents Stranglehold is a highly tuned game
that successfully implements "bullet time" into the title with its
own distinct personality. My one gripe of the title is the length of
the game which is unfortunately on the short side. Good graphics,
clichéd storyline but definitely very addictive and enjoyable
gameplay, Stranglehold is recommend to all lovers of the first
person shooter genre. BANG!