[Thanks to my good friend AwrySquare for the banner art!]
Stranglehold is a third-person shooter developed by Midway Games and released for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC in 2007. The game was developed in collaboration with famed movie director John Woo, known for his Hong Kong action films like A Better Tomorrow and The Killer, as well as a number of Hollywood productions such as Hard Target and Face/Off. The game acts as a sequel to Woo’s 1992 film Hard Boiled, his last Hong Kong film before moving to Hollywood. Stranglehold reprises actor Chow Yun-fat as Inspector “Tequila” Yuen, a rough-and-tumble cop tasked with taking down several Triads and mob groups across America and China.
The game takes a lot of influence from Woo’s directing style, focused heavily on style and cool gunplay. The player can dive and slide around obstacles, as well slow down time for dramatic kills. The game is loaded with large Mexican stand-offs and features a modified gameplay engine called “Massive D” that allows for almost every object in the game to be destroyed. There are also several special moves that are taken directly from some of Woo’s most iconic scenes. Everything about Stranglehold’s gameplay is meant to evoke a sense of flair and pizazz present in the best of Woo’s action scenes.
Plans were to produce a film adaptation of Stranglehold under John Woo’s company Lion Rock Productions, though it was later announced that the film would act as a prequel to Hard Boiled. No further news has been reported since the announcement, and the closure of Midway Games seems to imply that this project is dead, like all enemies of Inspector Tequila.
I’m the loose cannon ChorpSaway, and my partners on this case are TheJayOfSpade, FutureFriend and Taoc. Together, we’ll be running and gunning our way through Stranglehold’s brief but action-packed story mode. While we’re on the case, we’ll discuss connections to Hard Boiled for those who may not be familiar with the film, as well as other John Woo films as we see fit.
The game’s grading system is arcane and seemingly finicky, so I will not be getting a perfect score in this game, but my performance will at least be good enough for a passing grade.