Stranglehold: Well, that sucked.

I’m not going to claim outright that Hard Boiled is the best action movie of all time. There are an awful lot of movies I’ve never seen, after all, so that would be unfair.

I think it’s likely, though, that even when you take the entire film output of every film producing country on this earth since the first strip of cellulose went through a film camera… it’s got to be in the top ten.

So, hearing that they were doing an official sequel in the form of a game and both John Woo and Chow Yun Fat were involved with it? How much joy can one fanboy hold?

Of course, I’m cheap, so I didn’t pick it up on day one.

And I bought the PC version because, well, I have a decent PC, I’d like to show my solidarity with PC gamers and it will presumably look better than the console versions.

I understand the game is supposed to be fairly short. I’ve seen references to a play length of about 8 hours, which is not too bad for an action game.

I decided I’d install it last night, since I’d gotten home from my economics class early and had a little more time than I usually do on a weeknight.

I’ll run down the process for you:

1.) Install. This took about a half hour and took 13 GB of hard drive space.

2.) Download and install the 1.1 patch. About another half hour.

3.) Launch the game. Get a loading screen. Screen goes blank. Wait, that’s my BIOS screen. My PC just rebooted. What the hell? Probably just a glitch.

4.) After reboot, let’s try this again. I get introductory movies and menus now.

5.) Getting graphics options set is kind of odd. My mouse pointer doesn’t seem to be interacting with buttons. I can kind of use the keyboard to get things set up, though. It’s really jerky, and these are just the configuration screens. Oh, well, it’ll probably be fine once I’m playing.

6.) Start the game.

7.) Opening cutscene plays. Yay! It’s Chow. He’s going to go shoot people now. Opening movie stutters a lot. Weird. Oh, well, it’ll probably be fine once I’m playing.

8.) First level starts loading. Loading. Loading. Loading. Loading. Loading. Uh. Loading. Loading. Loading. Wait! The screen went black! The game must be starting.

9.) Uh, where’s the first level? Oh, there’s a picture of some buildings.

10.) It’s been a few minutes and I still don’t have a first level. Sometimes the clouds behind the buildings move. Sometimes the lights flicker.

11.) OK, it’s off to the official support forums… and when those fail me, it’s off to the web at large for advice. I’ll spare you the details here.

Long story short: It took me nearly four hours from the time I put the install disk in to the point where I could actually play the game, and even then I was only able to get decent performance in 1280 x 720… and you’re limited to mouse and keyboard play, even though the manual makes reference to using the “D-pad” to select things… and the manual also talks about some features that the official support FAQ admits simply aren’t in the game.

I think, instead of continuing to fight with it, I’m going to eat the cost of this and wait until I can get a cheap copy of the PS3 or 360 versions.

If this is the state of PC gaming, bring on our console overlords.

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