Stranglehold is the sequel to John Woo’s bullet ballet masterpiece, Hard Boiled, and stars Chow Yun-Fat. Chow plays Inspector Tequila, a man that is as deadly with his twin pistols as he is fluid in his motions. Stranglehold follows Tequila as he blasts his way through the Hong Kong underworld, one bad guy at a time.
This Unreal based game is a third-person shooter with a twist. Inspector Tequila can slide, dive, and jump in any direction while shooting, triggering a slow motion effect much like in the Max Payne series. Slowing down allows for greater precision with your shots and actually awards you stars based on how stylish you made your kills. You can also use the d-pad to trigger moves called Tequila Bombs that give you a special power that helps take down your enemies.
The most satisfying of these is the Precision Aim Tequila Bomb. This allows you to zoom in on an enemy that otherwise might be too far away and one shot kill him. You can aim at any part of the body and the bad guy will react accordingly. I don’t have to tell you that choosing your trajectory was both visceral and painful to watch if done in a certain area.
The multiplayer portion of the game never found its legs. I tried on several occasions to play, but never found anyone else online. The online deathmatches promised to bring the single player elements such as slow motion gunplay and Tequila Bombs into the mix. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to see it in action.
The Collector’s Edition of the Playstation 3 version of Stranglehold came with Hard Boiled on Blu-ray. This is a fantastic deal if you can find a copy. Otherwise the game can be had for cheap at your local Gamestop or online.
As a side note, an actual sequel to Hard Boiled has been optioned by Lion Rock Entertainment and is reported to follow the plot of Stranglehold. Hopefully Chow Yun-Fat will reprise his role as Inspector Tequila, although he is almost too old to play in such an action-packed movie.