Monday, September 24, 2007

A Shot of Tequila

Here I was getting all set to make a Zelda review and then my copy of Stranglehold came to my house. Between Stranglehold, WoW, creating a comic to publish, and reading the wonderful novel “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke; Zelda has sadly been neglected quite a bit. But this will give me a chance to talk about John Woo’s Stranglehold!

First of all let me tell you I am a huge fan of Hong Kong cinema and during the heyday of Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Chow Yun Fat (Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Tony Leung Ka Fai get mad props from me as well!) I bought more VHS and VCDs than I should have. My father, who is one of the wisest, toughest men on the planet, always gives his wisdom in great sound bites. For example about my movie buying habits “What the hell is a black man doing with all these Chinese movies. You are either fluent in Chinese or like watching people kick the s&% out of each other.” And after that I started studying Japanese.

Anyways I digress, when I heard that the two legends Chow Yun Fat and John Woo were teaming to do the “sequel” to “Hard-Boiled” I was overjoyed but still had doubts for it was being developed by the people who brought us the gem of a game, “Fight Club.”

However, I am happy to say I am glad I stayed the course and bought Stranglehold. While it has a host of problems, it is extremely fun and satisfying. The biggest complaint I have had with the game as far as playing mechanics are concerned is that they put all this great action into the game, like sliding on a food cart and doing “drive-bys” from it, but the camera and targeting doesn’t always keep up with you. This becomes rather irksome when diving back and forth between the hordes of triads trying to kill you. Also while I am nitpicking I sometimes found the level designs (from the levels I have seen so far) to be a bit of a mess. It is hard to describe, but the levels themselves look good, but are just laid out poorly with few landmarks to help you find your way through them after you have killed every single soul around you.

But even with that Stranglehold is very much like playing a John Woo movie (his good ones!) complete with doves, Chow Yun Fat and standoffs. The things that are so appealing about this title for me is that I can play it for 2 hours or 20 minutes. It isn’t a time commitment, but it is still fun and enjoyable. And it is really quite simple. I think of it in someway a 3-D version of the classic shooters I used to play, like Contra or Rush N Attack!

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