Stranglehold PS3 User Reviews
For the gamers who have played this and were able to get used to the various functions and features of the game, only one thing comes into mind. Yes, I know its Max Payne. Although what the producers really wanted was a video game remake of the movie Hard Boiled, but the game was able to become more than just a movie remake and borrow many elements from Max Payne and use it for its own advantage.
You take on the role of Inspector Tequila, a well known cop in Hong Kong who is brave enough to take on any case. Well with the same situation as that of the movie, stranglehold is a third person shooting game that's well, let me see, allows you to shoot people, and what else? Ah yes shoot some more. Believe me, that is all that you are going to need in this game as the body count piles up as you proceed from chapter to chapter.
Of course the game would be plain boring if it did not had nothing else to offer rather than a plate full of bullets, so it has Tequila time, which is in other words moving in bullet time as you gain more flexibility in dodging bullets and getting a better aim and also an improved firing rate. (I told you it is Max Payne plus John Woo)
But aside from the matrix ability to avoid bullets, you can also make use of the different things in the environment to aid you in your cause. You can run up to a table and kick it so that you can have a temporary cover against bullets. Or you can also shoot the wooden signs over an enemy to make it fall on him. You may not notice it, but really these small details make action movies way cooler than just shooting people and getting away with it. But that feature also means the fall of the game. If you would take on missions, you need to find certain points and shoot them to be able to make way for yourself or solve puzzles. Which in one point really frustrating, you just killed all the enemies in the stage and what you are looking for is just a piece of wood to shoot and make a new path for yourself and if you are not keen enough to find it, then good luck for the next hour.
Furthermore, there is another gauge that fills up as you shoot your enemies. Upon filling that gauge you get access to the tequila bombs, an option that allows you fill up your health or even spin around like tazmania and shoot the heck off the enemies. These are all useful, and the option on which one to choose lies on your perception.
The last feature of the game are the stand offs. In this part of the game (which many people would call a mini game) tequila is going to meet up with a number of enemies and after a small talk they will draw their guns and see who shoots faster. This part may get tough as you need to avoid and shoot the enemies at the same time by using the analog sticks. But this portion may not suit your taste in reality, because the enemies shoot one person at a time which defeats the purpose of them becoming a group. Like why would 5 people take turns in shooting an enemy if they all had their own guns? But nevertheless this is an interesting part of stranglehold that may challenge most players.
The games features are good but they cannot get away without a stain. For instance, the AIs are smart enough to run towards you if you take cover for a long time (which I doubt if you can do so as most things in the surroundings are fragile and they break quickly). This means, that you should get a hold of the controls before you proceed with the other levels, not a really newbie-friendly game. The producers put a lot of detail to the environment which is both the good and the bad point of the game. The falling glasses and things crumbling down are nice to see, but the character themselves are not well designed. The multiplayer is not also a good experience as the game play in multiplayer is pretty much the same with the single player mode. Not to mention that players cant use tequila time if they do not have a full tequila meter, with that, who needs to use tequila time if the multiplayer game is too fast for you to fill up the meter?
Overall, with the features of Stranglehold it seems that it is not going to fire up the entire action genre of video games. It is nice in its own right but I wish there was more to it than just shooting people in the face and falling billboards for an attraction. But the action that it offers can spice up that boring living room and give you entertainment for as long as it lasts.
The game takes place quite a few years after the events of Hard Boiled. Your character, Inspector Tequila, is a rogue officer of the Hong Kong Police. After a member of your force is found murdered, it's up to you to find out what happened, snaking your way through the plot twists of gangs backstabbing each other in search of some goal. In the process, your previous girlfriend and your daughter get kidnapped and held hostage, which your character, of course, won't stand for. There is actually a pretty good crime drama story in there, in between all the shooting.
And there will be a lot of shooting. There seems to be enemies everywhere in this game, and they're all out for blood. That might be a problem, but you get bullet time, and they don't. If you've never played Max Payne, bullet time is when time slows down so that you can actually watch your bullets, and enemies flying around. This gives you the chance to get a bunch of extra shots off at the opposition, as well as get out of the way of their waves of lead. Implementation of bullet time in this title is done well, in that they didn't change much in the way it works, and it does the job of keeping the enemy count down.
There are also some other special moves in the game, called Tequila bombs. These four different special moves can help you get out of any sticky situations you should happen to get into, by providing capabilities like healing you, or providing invulnerability for a period of time while simultaneously spinning and killing every enemy in the room. These moves add an additional fun factor to the already rewarding gameplay.
The gameplay becomes even more rewarding when you start to realize just how much the environment is going to play a part of your battles. Almost everything in Stranglehold is destructible, leading to situations where the important thing is finding a clever way to destroy an object so you can get the guy behind it, or other situations that require the destruction of the scenery. You don't have to just bash stuff, though. You can actually interact with a lot of the things in the levels, like tipping a table on its side to be used as cover, or sliding down a railing. Creative use of these capabilities makes the already-enjoyable gameplay a blast.
While it's true that Stranglehold has taken its cue from other third-person shooters, it has done what not many derivative games have done and maintained the most enjoyable portions of the original game, while successfully enhancing them without adding a lot of new capabilities and features. This game tries to do again what Max Payne did years ago, and it doesn't fail at it.