Review by wetwillies
"Lots of Thrills, Lots of Kills"
This game is so exciting. It's like playing an action movie. What is cooler than diving away from fire, swinging on a chandelier whilst shooting baddies or gunning the environment till all you have left is little bits? Barely anything is cooler than that.
Stranglehold is the sequel to John Woo's Hard Boiled. Both star Chow Yun Fat. I must say, Chow does not look like much of a badass at first, but after the game he comes across as a kickass, pistol-toting Chinese man. The story is a pretty thin action movie plot that isn't too exciting. What it does do is set up the action. And boy, is there ton of it.
The main point of the game, of course, is the shootouts. But the best part is the style meter. The style meter basically grades you on each of your kills. For example, if you kill a person while just standing in place, you get a score of 1. But if you kill this person while diving out of cover, or sliding down a banister, then you might get 4 points. The whole goal is to string together kills, while doing actions like hanging from chandeliers, sliding down banisters or diving onto rolling carts. The sheer amount of crazy crap you can do is what makes this game badass. Besides doing physical actions to get more style points, you can use the environment. That's because your firepower shatters pretty much anything. You can shoot signs, which fall on people heads, or barrels, which in one level take down whole houses. These two mechanics are what make the game fun. Besides these, you have Tequila Time. Tequila Time is activated while doing something like sliding down banisters or diving to cover. The world slows down and you have a short time window to aim at the head and pull the trigger.
One more feature is Tequila Bombs. You can fill up the meter by doing stylish kills or collecting paper cranes. Paper cranes are littered about each level and if you pick one up, they fill your Tequila Bomb meter quickly. The Tequila Bombs are essential to having a chance of survival. Besides the first one, which gives you more health for a small chunk of your meter, there are three special moves. The first and definitely the most entertaining is the Precision Aim. The camera zooms in on the baddie of your choice and you get to aim at any body parts. The result is generally bloody and hilarious death animation that, depending on where you aim usually involves grabbing the head or crotch. The next, more powerful bomb is the Barrage. You become invincible. You don't ammo. You just take the gun of your choice and for a short amount of time get to blow everything to bits. This is very entertaining. The last bomb is the Spin Attack. This activates a small cutscene. Doves go flying as Tequila, the main character, spins around and fires, taking out a few enemies. This attack is pretty boring and kind of useless too, because you can still take damage.
One last gameplay element is the standoff. Standoffs are exciting. Basically, Tequila walks in and 5 guys pop up aiming their pistols at him. A small mini game starts. The goal is to shoot each assailant in a small amount of time, while dodging bullets. This proves challenging.
The multiplayer is not very fun. There is no challenge and nothing tactical either. The Tequila Bombs are horribly implemented and so is Tequila Time. But, going one on one with someone is quite enjoyable. Especially while using Barrage Rockets the whole game. Do not expect much from the multiplayer.
The graphics in this game are nothing special. The explosions are nice, but don't blow away like LostPlanet, for example. The people are not nice. The faces are odd and I noticed a weird flickering in some faces. The water looks horrible. The destructible environments are cool. The graphics are really not a strong point. The gun shots sound like guns. The voice acting is pure cheese. Explosions sound like explosions, music doesn't really stand out. You really don't focus on the sound except for the millions of gunshots fired.
Stranglehold is a game that you can run through pretty quickly. Rarely do people ever play multiplayer, so that doesn't add to your playtime. Buy Stranglehold used or rent it, because it is a game for fans of thrilling action movies. I highly recommend it, even if you end up bringing it back.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/02/08
Game Release: Stranglehold (US, 09/05/07)
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