There's something a bit off about Bloodstroke. All of its gory action is flighty, lacking a connection to the gameworld underneath or the inputs that you're making. Goons explode in splashes of gore, but you rarely feel like it's your fault.
It's very much a case of style over substance, but even the style feels a little flat and detached, with great empty spaces and strange animation giving the whole experience a lacklustre, unfinished feel.
As John Woo productions go, it fits more into his Hollywood period than his Hong Kong heyday.
Doves and guns
You play as a bodyguard with the codename Lotus, tasked with protecting a computer developer. The pair of you run through a series of levels, you cutting bloody swathe through the triads and assassins sent to stop you, him sort of cowering and getting shot.
Lotus doesn't take any damage - so you're free to run around as you like, murdering anything that gets too close. Melee attacks are automatic if you're within range, while your guns are fired with a tap on a button, and always target the closest bad guy.
It's a strange setup, and makes for some ungainly play as you stomp around, butchering anything nearby until you get stuck on a bit of scenery or miss out on a bike-riding crazy who ploughs into your charge and brings the level to a premature end.
You get cash for each completed mission that you can spend on upgrades, new weapons, and a variety of ordnance from grenades to rocket launchers. You can toughen up the scientist too, giving him bulletproof vests and extra hit points.
It's certainly an interesting premise, but it lacks the spark it needs to remain interesting. You never really feel in jeopardy - especially not for the first few levels - and if you're smart with your upgrades you can waltz through most of the game.
Although 'float' might be a better word for it. You'll spend most of Bloodstroke running around like a headless chicken, frictionless and free to slaughter anyone who gets in your way. And after about five minutes that gets really, really old.