For those of you anticipating that Stranglehold will be the continuation of Tequila’s story post-Hard-boiled, here’s a spoiler alert: I have no idea what the hell is going on. But everything’s shiny and slideable and shooting a gun, so the game’s definitely true to the spirit of the film.
The surprising thing here is the variety of cool things you can do while firing a gun in slow motion, or “Tequila Time.” You can slide across a table shooting dudes in the head while you pass them. You can shoot your guns really fast, destroying the surrounding environment, while shooting dudes in the head. You can have a shoot out, shooting several dudes in the head while dodging their shots at your head.
And if you, for whatever reason, get tired of shooting dudes in the head, you can take a break and blow up meth labs. (Note: The explosion will probably give several surrounding dudes fatal head injuries.)
All I know about the story here is that Frédéric Chopin is the main character and the game takes place inside his head as he’s dying, so music is somehow involved. But the implied musical theme is mostly lost in the game’s total weirdness — you use
your baton to fight
giant geese witches and luminescent mice, not to conduct a symphony (actual in-game trash-talking: “Go back into a nebulous dream!”).
Sure, characters are called “Beat” and “Viola” and a town gets saddled with the unfortunate name “Ritardando,” but this arcade-ish RPG is all about the smooth combat system. The perfect combination of timed and turn-based combat and the variety of characters’ cool light- and shade-attack styles makes the almost unholy amount of battles enjoyable enough to distract you from the fact that Chopin is using his last hours on earth to imagine a world of small children in school uniforms and sailor outfits. Now that’s a nebulous dream.
A PITHY GUIDE TO RIDING THE WEB
Peoplefallingover.com: We may say that America’s Funniest Home Videos and its spawn are beneath us, but when you get right down to it, there’s a kind of dark pleasure to be had in watching people fall over (or watching The Office). For example, the incident I described in a Curblog post last week, wherein a kid on Heelys bit it at the mall. Funny. Ergo, video website Peoplefallingover.com