John Woo Presents Stranglehold Xbox 360
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Released on 14/09/2007
Play a John Woo directed action blockbuster: Stranglehold presents gamers with dual-wielding,stunt-laden gunplay combined with massive destructible environments, ensuring Stranglehold will be a true tour-de-force. The environmental interactivity and two-fisted gunplay of Stranglehold all come online, bringing the experience to a whole new level.
Experience Woo-style smooth-flowing cinematic gameplay: Send Tequila running up railings, swinging on chandeliers and leaping onto moving objects, all without interrupting Stranglehold's intense gun battles.
Hollywood-level production: 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, Stranglehold's cast is also comprised of other A-list Hollywood talent.
Innovative physics engine: Stranglehold presents 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 John Woo's signature destruction.
robust gunplay: 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 violent, kinetic authentic John Woo style vehicular battles.
Epic presentation: Using a highly modified version of Epic Games' Unreal 3.0 engine integrated with the Havok physics system, John Woo's Stranglehold will breathe new life into game environments and characters with stunning graphics, and present an ever-changing battleground depending on how players approach different scenarios.
Woo’s world! Tequila time! Excellent!
There’s a few, what you would call ‘rough neighbourhoods’ in my hometown – but none quite like the opening level of John Woo Presents Stranglehold, where people will shoot at you so much as look at you, for no apparent reason. Luckily, Stranglehold places you in the shoes of hard-as-a-hammer cool-named cop Inspector Tequila, played by none other than Chow Yun Fat. And Stranglehold’s liquor-monikered main man knows a thing or two about shooting back.
Like its cinematic predecessor, Hard Boiled, Stranglehold is an all-out action spectacular with gunplay, acrobatic stunts and slow-mo shootouts firmly at the forefront of the experience. Stranglehold also presents a fair amount of bloodshed and not a small number of gruesome deaths, too, making Stranglehold deserving of that prominent front-of-box 18 rating.
A lot to live up to
With Hard Boiled widely considered Woo’s finest film to date, Stranglehold has a lot to live up to. Likewise, the list of games paying ode to Woo’s signature shootout direction is not small, with the likes of The Matrix: Path of Neo, Red Steel and Max Payne all offering slow-mo pistol-packing gunplay. So what sets Stranglehold apart from the rest of the action game genre?
From the first level alone, the answer seems to be the sheer cinematic scope and pure busy on-screen brilliance of Woo’s premier interactive action piece. Stranglehold sets the scene with Tequila following a tip-off to track down a missing cop, only to receive a full frontal ballistic assault by hordes of gun-toting bad guys, swiftly thrusting the Stranglehold first-timer into the thick of things with panicked, adrenaline-pumping aplomb.
Indeed, the irony of Stranglehold’s gameplay is that is owes a lot to the aforementioned Woo-inspired Max Payne. Tequila moves, dives and slows down time with much the same fast, fluid gun-focused feel, and, taking things a tumble further, slides along tables, takes cover against walls, grinds down rails, swings from chandeliers and even sprawls horizontally onto moving trolleys with effortless gun-waving grace.
Slide along tables, take cover against walls, grind down rails, swing from chandeliers and even sprawl horizontally onto moving trolleys with effortless gun-waving grace.
Handily for such a stylish shooter, Stranglehold’s health and Tequila Time meters are intrinsically linked by the panache with which you polish off your foes. Shooting enemies at normal speed is liable to see your health drop rapidly and won’t present many style points, but will let Stranglehold’s Tequila Time meter recharge – and the more Tequila Time gets used, the more stylish your kills and the more points you accrue on the Tequila Bomb gauge, for which the first special power is a health boost. It’s a fine balancing act, and makes improving your Stranglehold slow-mo skills rewarding from the get-go.
Furthering the sense of achievement in the Stranglehold demo on Xbox Live are Stranglehold’s additional three Tequila Bomb powers, one of which is unlocked with each consecutive play through. The first, a zoom function, lets you pinpoint an enemy’s limbs and see your bullet fly to its target in cool authentic John Woo slow motion, while Barrage gives you rapid fire, and Spin Attack is Stranglehold’s uber-move, seeing Tequila blowing away every bad guy on screen in a stunning spinning in ballet of single shot kills.
Cinematic flair at its finest
And that’s not Stranglehold’s only cinematic gunplay novelty. Every so often Stranglehold throws up Standoff situations, seeing Woo’s cinematic flair at it’s finest as the camera pans in close behind Tequila and the player frantically flicking the analogue stick, dodging slow-mo bullets whilst aiming to pick off a crowd of firepowered thugs. It’s simple but slick, stylish and highly enjoyable, which about sums up the Stranglehold demo on the whole.
Except, perhaps, to say that Stranglehold packs the visual oomph to match Woo’s cinematic ambition. The Unreal 3 Engine has been put to phenomenal effect with fantastic character animation, level detail and a huge level of environmental destruction, making Stranglehold amongst the most promising action titles of the entire year. And with an online multiplayer mode also promised on top, John Woo Presents Stranglehold will be one rough neighbourhood which John Woo fans and action game aficionados alike will all wish to visit.
Preview by: Mark Scott
Preview Published: 15.08.07
John Woo Presents Stranglehold Preview (15/08/2007)
Woo’s world! Tequila time! Excellent!
There’s a few, what you would call ‘rough neighbourhoods’ in …
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