The Let's Play Archive

John Woo presents Stranglehold

by UnknownMercenary

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Original Thread: Let's Play John Woo presents Stranglehold (VLP)



Background info
John Woo is an action film director who became famous in the Hong Kong cinema scene for making the 1986 film A Better Tomorrow which spawned several sequels and its own genre, the Hong Kong blood opera. Around a decade or so later, Hollywood would begin using some of his signature film making techniques (such as slow motion and firing a gun in each hand) once they were popularized by The Matrix.

Around the same time, Max Payne popularized the use of slow motion in action video games. After Max Payne and its sequel came out a third game was teased but remained unheard of until recently. In this void, Woo set up his own video game development studio and had them develop Stranglehold, a sequel to one of his more popular movies, Hard Boiled. Hard Boiled is about a lone police officer battling against gun smuggling Triads. Stranglehold only takes the setting (Hong Kong) and the main character (Inspector Tequila) from the movie, although certain levels and game mechanics are related to the Hard Boiled or John Woo movies in general. Practically everything else is unrelated and you don't need to have seen the movie to enjoy the game. However, if you enjoy action movies it is worth watching.

So what does this mean for the LP?
Stranglehold is a fun, underrated third person shooter that ends up largely aping a lot of gameplay mechanics from Max Payne but with an extra emphasis on environmental destruction and faster paced action. The game introduces a lot of what it has to offer very early on, but the level destruction is very fun and the game does put in an effort to add something to the general scenario of shooting lots of criminals in the face.

I'll be playing through the story on Normal difficulty to show off as much of the destruction and stunts as possible (an LP where I spend a lot of time taking cover would not be as fun to watch). It is highly likely that I won't be showing off the multiplayer. I have no idea how it works, but it seems to rely on player matchmaking, and I've never been able to get a match going whenever I've logged into it. I will be the one playing, and will be co-commentating with my friends TBZ and ZuljinRaynor.


Video: Youtube Blip Download

Part 1
Video: Youtube Blip Download

Part 2
Video: Youtube Blip Download

Video: Youtube Blip Download

Video: Youtube Blip Download

Video: Youtube Blip Download

Video: Youtube Blip Download

Video: Youtube Blip Download

Video: Youtube Blip Download

Video: Youtube Blip Download

Unlockable Videos
Zipline Prototype: Youtube
Level Prototype Pack #1: Youtube
Stranglehold teaches us how to fold a paper crane: Youtube
Stand-off previsualization: Youtube
Spin attack previsualization: Youtube
Level Prototype Pack #2: Youtube
Stranglehold Gameplay Prototype: Youtube
Level Prototype Pack #3: Youtube
Facial Animation Prototype: Youtube
Killer Sign Demo: Youtube

Concept Art


With update #3 the game dumps a bunch of exposition onto us so I've decided to write up some character profiles which will be continuously updated.

The main character of Stranglehold and the one you'll be controlling for the whole ride. A Hong Kong cop with experience, street smarts, and a fondness for Jazz and Tequila slammers that has earned him his nickname. The movie Hard Boiled portrayed Tequila as a cop who has been driven to his limit having to deal with Hong Kong's ruthless Triad gangs as violence erupts into the streets. In Stranglehold, Tequila is investigating the disappearance of a fellow police officer and stumbles into another erupting gang war, this time between the Golden Kane and Imperial Nines.

Tequila's superior and a Hong Kong police captain. Lee is your standard by-the-book chief who gets in Tequila's way and has such compelling lines as "stay away from that case" and "turn in your badge".

Jimmy Wong
Wong is the head of the Dragon Claw Triads, the largest Triad gang in Hong Kong. Wong and Tequila have an uneasy past. Tequila used to date Wong's daughter, Billie, before he chased Tequila away. In Hard Boiled,  Tequila also killed Wong's son, Johnny.  Billie and Teko, Wong's daughter and grand-daughter, respectively, have been kidnapped as part of a blackmail plot to force Wong to give up part of his heroin trade to his competitors the Golden Kane. The other half of the plot involved framing the Imperial Nines, a branch of the Dragon Claws, with a cop killing to bring increased police attention to their organization.

Jerry is Tequila's ex-partner and is working as an undercover officer in the Dragon Claw Triads. After Tequila has been asked by Jimmy Wong to rescue his daughter and grand-daughter, Jerry partners up with Tequila again. Jerry is mainly there to move the plot along as he gives Tequila leads on how to find the missing girls, and then promptly disappears whenever the shooting starts.

Billie and Teko
Billie (pictured in the foreground) is Tequila's ex-girlfriend and Wong's daughter. She's been out of Tequila's life for over a decade after having moved to Chicago to get away from both Tequila and her father. Now she and her daughter Teko have been kidnapped by a gang known only as the Zakharovs. Billie and Teko haven't gotten much characterization and screen time, but at least now we know who the two women in the intro are.

Yung Gi
The leader of the Golden Kane and the man behind the whole plot to take down Jimmy Wong. He had the Zhakarovs kidnap Billie and Teko from their Chicago apartment to get leverage from Wong. He's been mentioned before by some other characters, but update #4 is the first time we see him in person. He's understandably upset: so far this really complicated plan has totally backfired on him.

Damon and Vlad Zhakarov
The leaders of the Zhakarov crime syndicate. Based in Chicago, they are Russian gangsters as noted by their really goofy accent. Vlad (on the right) was seen in the intro kidnapping Billie and Teko. The Zhakarovs own a museum in Chicago, presumably because being a high society snob can make people ignore or forget that you are a drug dealing mob boss.
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