John Woo's Stranglehold hands-on

Ken Weeks
K. Weeks|05.14.06

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Ken Weeks
May 14th, 2006
John Woo's Stranglehold hands-on
John Woo's Stranglehold hands-on


Take the gun out of your mouth folks. John Woo's Stranglehold looks like more than just a shot-to-sh-t cash-in on the Hong Kong action auteur's single-syllable last name. Senior Game Designer Patrick Curry (a loyal Joystiq reader) pulled me out of the crowd  for a little quality time with Midway's homage to Woo's bullet ballets and I came away impressed. This 360 game is from the same team that did Psi-Ops: Mindgate Conspiracy, an awesome Xbox title that was on everybody's "best game that no one played" list. After commiserating with the staff over the inexplicable disappointing sales of that game, I picked up the controller to try out  its "spiritual" next-gen sequel. Stranglehold plays like Max Payne with, better graphics, more style and more ridiculously cool slow-mo moves. Midway's pitch focused on the destructable environment, which allowed me to blow up everything from wall tiles to frozen pigs. Combined with an array of Woo-ish bullet-time maneuvers, the level I saw did a good job of recreating the vibe from the tea house shoot-out scene in Hard-boiled. I asked executive producer Brian Eddy for the honest truth about Woo's involvement and was told he really did write  the script. He also personally nixed blown off limbs, which sadly aren't his stylistic bag. Fortunately, he does prefer  that perforated enemies stack up a la The Killer rather than disappear, so the team is working on that feature. They're also adding melee moves beyond the standard pistol whip present in the current build. Employing a common E3 tactic, Midway is keeping multiplayer details close to the shoulder holster, but I was assured that bullet-time will be implemented in an innovative way. Oh, and no warehouse levels. 

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