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The Bouncer (PS2)

Written by Jazzking2001 - Owner on . Posted in Video Games

{tab=Story} The Bouncer, is a beat 'em up for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console. It was co-developed by Squaresoft (now Square Enix) and Dream Factory. The game features character designs by Tetsuya Nomura and music by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi.

The Bouncer tells the story of three bouncers on a rescue mission to save their young friend from a megalomaniacal solar technology corporation. The game is structured like a "playable action movie" and the plot unfolds differently depending on which character the player chooses for specific gameplay sequences. {tab=Review} I will admit. I am a fan of The Bouncer. When it came out all those years ago I had a blast and wondered why the game was judged so harshly. After going back and play it after so many years I can understand some of the criticism the game received however I still remain a fan of the game. Many have said that The Bouncer is in some ways the spiritual successor to Ehrgeiz and it's pretty easy to see why. The game has alot of similarities.

For those that don't know The Bouncer is the story of Sion. A young bouncer. One day his otherwise peaceful life is shattered when his close friend Dominique is kidnapped. Sion vows to get her back and so he ventures forth into the territory of the Mikado. Along the way Sion meets people from his past and discovers shocking truths about his friends.

The great thing about the story is that depending on who you choose to play during each sequence be it Sion, Volt or Kou. You will experience the story differently. For example Kou often talks to someone over the phone to get intel. Normally you don't hear the person on the phone however if you choose Kou you will hear the other person therefore giving you more info related to the story. This is just one instance of how choosing a character changes the story.

Game play is rather deep the combat system has plenty of moves you can learn and unlock along the way as well as the ability to raise HP, Attack and Defense. After each fight you will earn BP or bouncer points that can be used to up the previously mentioned stats or unlock new moves. I do have to admit that the game control's feel abit sluggish and the camera seems to sometimes be out of place making it difficult for you to be able to see what you are doing or were you are supposed to go. But in terms of game play that is really the only problems.

The big complaint about the game is that you don't play it all that much. Indeed it would be far more accurate to have called The Bouncer a interactive movie rather then a game. Game play unfolds in quick bursts between cut scenes and rarely lasts for more then 5-10 minutes at a time. The game is also very short. The average player could complete the entire game in about 3-4 hrs or about 1hr if skipping all the cut scenes. However this is a game meant to be played through many times to get the full experience so that is most likely the real reason behind it's length.

Graphically I have to say the game holds up rather well. Animations are nice and smooth and character models and backgrounds alike are very detailed. This game was quite the visual feast in it's time and it's impressive to see how well it has held up over the years.

The game is also quite good in the sound department as well. The game has a soundtrack that perfectly suits the mood and feel of the game and easily adds to the fights and most of the cut scenes. The voice cast as well is top notch. With some very big names such as Steven Blum, Wendee Lee and Bridget Hoffman having roles within the game.

The game also has some extra versus modes to add to the fun in which you can fight friends that you unlock along the course of the story. The modes are decent fun but only if you have a few friends around to play with.

All in all The Bouncer has held up quite nicely over the years. The games criticisms are certainly viable. The game is extremely short and there is far to little game play compared to cut scenes. There are also a few things that were promised for the game that never made the cut like destructible environments. The controls could have been alot tighter and the camera could have been tweaked to make it work with the play alot more then it did. Perhaps a player controlled camera you be nice.

It's sad that The Bouncer fared so poorly as there are hints of a deep history with the characters but we will never learn of any of it as the game failed to live up to Square expectations and was quickly forgotten. However I would recommend picking the game up for a few bucks and giving it a go. It would certainly provide a afternoon or two or entertainment.

{slide=Graphics - 8.5} Even today the game looks great. Detailed character models and environments alike add to the feeling of playing a movie. {/slide} {slide=Sound - 9.5} A soundtrack that perfectly suits the game as well as a very strong voice casts again adds to be feeling of playing a movie. {/slide} {slide=Gameplay - 7.0} As with Ehergeiz before it the controls are a bit still and the camera often times cuts of the players view. Combat is quite deep and enjoyable when the other problems don't appear. {/slide} {slide=Fun Factor - 8.5} Once you get used to the combat sister it can be quite fun to try out your own custom combos and unlock all the characters moves and max their stats.{/slide}

8.5 Overall (out of 10 / not an average) {/tabs}