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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Exercise Bikes and Strangleholds

I started my Pounds for Pixels challenge last night. After putting the kids to bed, I grabbed some water, fired up Stranglehold on my Xbox 360, and started pedaling. Despite my sedentary lifestyle over the past year, it felt pretty good to get back on the stationary bike and do a little exercise.

I only played through the first 45 minutes of Stranglehold during last night's session. I'm sure I'll get my stamina back to the point where I can cycle for an hour or two without stopping. I'm sure I could have gone a little longer had it not gotten so late. It's hard to fit in a full night with the kids then jump on an exercise bike and shower - all in the space of a couple hours. I anticipate that tonight will go a little more smoothly as my wife and I try to find a routine that works for us.

As for Stranglehold, I think the game is pretty good. The graphics and character animations are a little old-school at times. But there is something pretty satisfying about watching an enemy gunman's head explode as a falling air conditioning unit takes him out. Stranglehold's gameplay is a little reminiscient of the original Max Payne: walk into a room, get swarmed by enemies, take out all enemies using slow-motion dives. Sounds dull and repetitive but it's actually quite fun when you're pulling off crazy moves to take down anything that moves while also destroying as much of the environment as possible.

In terms of story, I'm not too sure what's going on. Something about a cop getting killed, Tequila (a.k.a. Chow Yun Fat) goes to investigate, and all Hell breaks loose. I finished off the first chapter (7 chapters total) of the game last night. Chapter 2 started with Tequila busting up drug dens or some such thing. All I remember is sliding down a zip line and causing a massive rock slide to take out a large group of aggressive gunmen. And then I shot a couple guys in the face. And then I went into a Barrage frenzy to take out a bunch of guys and a rickety drug shack. Pretty awesome!

Overall, I'm going to say that Stranglehold will be fun to play. It's already brought a smile to my lips on a couple of occasions and the gunplay is definitely intriguing. I'm not sure whether or not it will be a memorable game when all's said and done but it's definitely worth the $20 I paid for it. I'm looking forward to jumping on the exercise bike and shooting a hundred more bad guys tonight.

Have a good one!