Stranglehold Impressions

Midway shows an action-packed trailer for its John Woo-directed action game at an event in Hollywood.



Currently in development at Midway's Chicago studio, Stranglehold is a third-person action game that will see Chow Yun-Fat reprising the role of no-nonsense cop Inspector Tequila, from the movie Hard Boiled. Like the movie, Stranglehold is being directed by John Woo, so when Midway showed a new trailer for the game at a recent press event in Hollywood, it came as no surprise that dual-wielding gunplay, destructible environments, and a slow-motion system that we're supposed to refer to as "Tequila Time" were heavily featured.

Tequila was doing this stuff long before Max Payne or Neo.
Tequila was doing this stuff long before Max Payne or Neo.

Stranglehold is being developed using a modified version of the Unreal 3.0 engine integrated with the Havok physics system, the upshot of which is that the environments look great and promise to get destroyed more realistically and more completely than any that we've seen in a game to date. Also worthy of note are the character models featured in the trailer, which were very detailed, well animated, and, in Tequila's case, instantly recognizable.

As Inspector Tequila, you'll spend much of your time waging a war against crime lords and gangs in Hong Kong and will also travel to Chicago, where at some point in Stranglehold's storyline your ex-wife is kidnapped by the Russian mob. As you progress through the game, you'll see Tequila struggling to balance his duty to uphold the law with his desire to save his family, though it's not yet clear whether you'll have any input where his decision-making process is concerned.

Based on what we've seen of Stranglehold thus far, its gameplay will be quite reminiscent of Max Payne, although your arsenal of moves will be far more varied and acrobatic than those of Rockstar Games' film-noir hero. In addition to the requisite slow-motion shots of Tequila flying through the air with guns blazing, we got to see him running up a banister, swinging from a chandelier, and hiding with his back to a pillar that was rapidly getting torn apart by enemy fire. The building in which much of the trailer's action took place was a Hong Kong bar or teahouse, and we were also shown concept art for a number of other environments during the presentation, including a large warehouse, an outdoor marketplace, a floating restaurant, a hotel lobby, and a museum, complete with giant dinosaur skeletons and other destructible exhibits.

Shoot the enemy or shoot the environment, either way you'll know you hit something.
Shoot the enemy or shoot the environment, either way you'll know you hit something.

Shooting up the environments in Stranglehold, it seems, will be every bit as satisfying as putting holes in the enemies that inhabit them, but more satisfying still might be engaging in John Woo gunplay with friends. At the time of writing we've been unable to confirm details of Stranglehold's multiplayer features, but the latest fact sheet for the game does mention that "The environmental interactivity and two-fisted gunplay all come online, bringing the experience to a whole new level."

Stranglehold is currently scheduled for release this winter and is headed to the PC, the Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3. We'll bring you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.

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