Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Review: Stranglehold

Ted Nugent would be fine with this game - When I went to E3 in July, one of the games that caught my attention was Midway's Stranglehold. I got some hands on time with it and it seemed like a lot of fun but I was concerned that the game play might be a little simplistic and it might get old quick. Could endless levels of shooting mafia goons be enjoyable after more than one level? Yes, yes it can. Stranglehold may have simplistic game play but it works like a charm.
The official title of the game is "John Woo Presents Stranglehold" and because gamers get to play as the well known Inspector Tequila from the action film "Hard Boiled" it has John Woo's signature style all over it with plenty of gun play and doves to make an action fan giddy. While Woo didn't design any levels or write any code, he did aid the development team with the storyline, camera placement and cutscenes. He's even in the game's store and can be unlocked as an online character. Chow Yun-Fat is also onboard, lending his voice and likeness.
While the big name talent of Chow and Woo are certainly a draw, what makes the game so much fun is its almost guilty pleasure game play. Stranglehold is filled with gun battles as gamers kill more bad guys than Patrick Swayze did in Red Dawn. Armed henchmen crawl out of the woodwork and blowing them away is your job. Sure you play as a cop, but more of a shoot first, don't ask any questions later type of cop.
This constant gunplay could get old but thankfully Stranglehold offers gamers a myriad of ways to kill people. Whether sliding down or running on a rail, swinging on chandeliers, sliding over and under tables, or leaping onto moving objects, gamers can pretty much fire from any position. As you progress through the game Tequila earns four super moves called Tequila Bombs. Health Boosts (where you can boost your health) and Barrage Attacks (a rage attack where Tequila inflicts tons of damage in slow mo while taking none) are useful but the best super moves are the Precision Aim and Spin Attack. With Spin Attack Tequila whips out his dual wielded pistols and spins in slow motion blowing guys away as doves flight dramatically by. In Precision Aim the game again slows down and allows you to target goons specific body parts. And no, it never gets old shooting guys in the groin.
Throw in the fact that you can use the surrounding environment to drop objects on opponents heads and the very addictive standoff minigames and what gamers get is a title thats easy to play but has very high replay value. It reminds me of an old school NES title, a simple yet fun game that you just like to play over and over.
John Woo Presents Stranglehold
Price: $49.99 - $59.99
Formats: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Rating: M (Mature 17+)
You take the good: Shooting people in the groin
You take the bad: Short game
And then you have, the grade: B+

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