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John Woo Presents Strangehold XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.8
Graphics 8.8
Sound 8.8
Value 8.8
Distributor: Red Ant
Review Date:
September 2007
James Wright


John Woo Presents Strangehold

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.


  • Stranglehold allows gamers to play a John Woodirected action blockbuster movie. dual-wielding,stunt-laden gunplay combined with massive destructible environments ensures that Stranglehold will be a true tour-de-force. The environmental interactivity and two-fisted gunplay all come online, bringing the experience to a whole new level.

  • Gamers will experience smooth flowing gameplay, such as running up railings, swinging on chandeliers and leaping onto moving objects, all without interrupting intense gun battles.

  • Featuring the cinematic flare of acclaimed action director John Woo, Stranglehold will also benefit from Woo’s direction on storyline, camera placement and cutscenes. Starring international action-star Chow Yun-Fat as Inspector Tequila, the game’s cast is also comprised of other A-list Hollywood talent.

  • The innovative physics engine will provide gamers with an unprecedented level of interactivity. With two huge areas to explore (Chicago and Hong Kong), the interactions will be infinite with each level offering massive amounts of destructibility.

  • Stranglehold’s inventive combat camera and Tequila Time™ slow-motion system allow players to simultaneously aim and shoot at the current target while driving, providing for robust gunplay combat between vehicles.

  • Using a highly modified version of the Unreal 3.0 engine integrated with the Havok physics system, Stranglehold will breathe new life into game environments and characters with stunning graphics, and feature an ever-changing battleground depending on how players approach different scenarios.

When Inspector 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.

Definitely a 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 loud!

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!


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