Stranglehold Reviews

Xbox Live DLC Roundup

Xbox Live DLC Roundup

Halo 3 Heroic Map Pack, BioShock, Phantasy Star, Stranglehold, Guitar Hero, more.

Every now and then, someone pops out of the woodwork to complain that the games industry isn't innovative any more. This is clearly nonsense. Certainly, publishers might have an ongoing love affair with barely distinguishable sequels and a herd mentality that makes sheep look strong-willed, but consider this - year after year, the industry invents new and previously unheard-of ways to make you part with your cash. If that's not innovation, what is?

Download Content (DLC) is a new arrival in the exciting field of wallet-stripping, and the Xbox 360 is on the vanguard. Many Xbox 360 games have content available for download sometime after launch, allowing you to hand over a few measly Microsoft points for access to new maps, models, missions and the likes. It's a great idea in theory, obviously - who doesn't want to extend the life of their favourite game a bit? In practice, though, there's some suspicion about it. Nobody wants to find themselves paying extra money for content that should have been in the game in the first place.

Hence these DLC roundup features, where we'll be looking at the bits and bobs that have made their way onto Xbox Live - and, soon, PSN - in the past few months, and checking out what's worth whipping your card out for, and what deserves to sit, dusty and unloved, in the digital dustbins out the back of the Marketplace.

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Stranglehold

Stranglehold

Gripping.

Stranglehold was never going to be a run of the mill shoot 'em up - this is extreme gun porn, with two hundred money shots before the first level is through.

With no pretensions to be anything other than a high-fiving celebration of John Woo's brand of explosive gunplay and balletic action, it hits the mark over and over and over again. From the first chapter to the crazy multiple climax of the seventh, this is a game determined to have you gurning joyously at the batshit craziness of it all. It might well be one of the most simple and hilariously repetitive games ever, but you can't help admire how Woo's demented cinematic vision has been so effortlessly translated into one of the rawest action videogames ever made. How we managed to avoid using the word intense in that paragraph, we'll never know. Whoops.

In this videogaming sequel to Woo's seminal 1991 movie Hard Boiled, you take on the role of the seemingly invincible Inspector Tequila, a renegade cop played by Chow Yun Fat who's not afraid to do things his own way. And when we say 'his own way', we don't just mean that he's a bit chippy to his boss and doesn't follow orders. What we actually mean is that he'll slaughter 1500 henchmen on the way to the otherwise noble goal of trying to save family members.

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