A ‘sequel’ to John Woo’s film Hard Boiled (1992) that has you stepping into gun-happy cop Tequila Yuen’s scuffed and bloody shoes. I seem to remember there was some plot about something or other. In between that I was ducking and diving with twin pistols in cinematic slow-mo, shooting punks that existed solely for gratuitous entertainment.
A press of the L1 button causes Tequila to dive. If there's a body in your sights the game will automatically go slow-mo letting you load a full clip into them with the trigger button (R1). The slow-mo is called Tequila Time, which is another way of saying Max Payne/Bullet Time, etc. The more stylish and inventive your kill (e.g. executing a head-shot while swinging from a chandelier) the more stars you earn. Stars enable you to perform special techniques called Tequila Bombs, or to heal yourself. Progress further into the game to learn more Tequila Bombs.
Some moments attempt to break the repetition. The Mexican stand-off is the most obvious. I was so bad at it. I gave up trying, so just took a load of bullets in the face until it was over. That’s perhaps my biggest gripe with the game: you can pump an ass-full of lead into someone’s face and they'll stand and take it like it was cake. A bullet in the head (see what I did there?) should be enough to put anyone down.
Boss battles are a pain. Shoot, run, find health, pant a lot. You can snap to cover by hitting a button, but almost everything is destructible, so cover won’t last long.
John Woo is the bar man who sells you stuff. Both he and Chow provide voices.
The game is primitive. The variety of guns available is small. It came out early in the PS3’s life, so was perceived as being better than it actually is. There's still some fun to be had trying to get a perfect nut-shot while trundling along like a grounded Superman on a food trolley, but when you can pick up something like Uncharted 2 (2009) for less than the price of a pizza there’s really no reason anyone would buy Stranglehold any more. It’s old hat. There's online multiplayer, but it’s always deserted.
The PS3 Collector's Edition includes the film Hard Boiled in HD. The Xbox 360 Collector's Edition doesn’t. Take that, Bill. Head-shot!
1½ doves out of 5