Stranglehold is the sequel to the movie Hard Boiled, and sees the game pick up where the movie left off. The plot itself is different however many of the characters in Hard Boiled appear in Stranglehold, including the hero: Tequila, voiced by Chow Yun-Fat. Other Hollywood actors lend their voices to the other characters in the game while the story is told through real-time cutscenes. In Stranglehold Tequila aims to take revenge against the Chinese and Russian mafias that have killed a fellow police officer and kidnapped a girl. In traditional John Woo style the story is melodramatic and light on narrative and serves more as a vehicle to push the action along.
Watching Hard Boiled will give you a good idea about the gameplay. Tequila enters an area, dozens of enemies attack him who must be killed to proceed. It's the fashion in how you kills the enemies that Midway tries to set Stranglehold apart. Taking cues from Max Payne, you can trigger what is called "Tequila Time" where everything but your aiming goes into slow motion giving you an advantage. The slow-mo can be triggered manually through the press of a button, or happen automatically when Tequila performs a stunt such as a diving move.
Stunts play a big role in the game as dozens of objects in the environment provide you with cover, and obstacles. Running up to a table or counter will see Tequila automatically slide across. Pressing the dive button when near a highlighted object will see Tequila do a special stunt such as running on banisters, swinging from chandeliers, and riding carts. The same environment is also destructible, meaning cover gets destroyed, and pieces of wood and concrete fly all over the place obstructing your view. Often times the environment can be destroyed to kill an enemy. Signs, barrels, and awnings will have a highlight over them and if you shoot them will kill whoever is standing underneath.
Multiple weapons are available, though there is only one weapon in each class. There's the iconic dual hand guns, a machine gun, shotgun, and rocket launcher. The guns have a set amount of ammo that can be exhausted and replenished but no reloading is necessary.
Performing fancier kills builds up a special move meter that trigger "Tequila Bombs". Four in total, the bombs allow you to kill a larger number of people in a shorter amount of time. One ability heals your life, and another ability lets you target specific body parts resulting in custom hit and death animations.
Tiger Hill has included a bare bones multiplayer mode that lets you combat up to five other players online. Deathmatch and team deathmatch are the only two game types available. All of the moves from single player are available, with slow motion activating only during Tequila Bombs which slows down the game for everyone.
Stranglehold is available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Games for Windows. Both the 360 and PS3 version have a collector's edition available. The collector's edition contains extended cutscenes and four making of featurettes, including an MTV tour of the development studio. The PS3 collector's edition features the full Hard Boiled movie remastered in high definition contained on the same Blu-Ray disc.