The Bouncer
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
Square Electronic Arts
Developer
Dream Factory
Genre
Fighting/Action Movie
ESRB Rating
Violence
Grade
The Good

• Beautiful FMV and in-game graphics
• Good use of the analog controls
• Excellent sound

The Bad

• Way too short
• Seriously needs a continue option
• Fight segments are not that much of the game

 
Grade
C

Square's The Bouncer is a case of great visuals but flawed gameplay. Touted as an "Action Movie", the intention of the Bouncer is to be a fighter/brawler like Streets of Rage. Telling the story of three Bouncers (Sion, Kou and Volt) who go to rescue a captured girlfriend from the evil corporation Mikado. A lot of the backstory of the characters is hinted at and more is revealed each time the player goes through.

Graphics
The Bouncer
has probably the best in-game visuals to date. Most of the game is down with in-game graphics instead of CG-rendered FMV, but telling the difference between the two is sometimes hard to do. Characters express emotions with their bodies and facial expressions. They move and act like real people would. The game interface is laid-out beautifully and the character design is great. Visually, the Bouncer is a stunning tour de force.

Sound
Square has managed to utilize Dolby Surround Sound to add a fine soundtrack and decent, yet sometimes cheesy, voice-acting to fuel this game. Also, if you want, the player can switch between English and Japanese voice-overs and subtitles.

Gameplay
The gameplay of the Bouncer is a tale of two extremes. On one side, there's a fairly well-developed fighting skill (like Ergheiz and Tobal) which makes great utilization of the analog buttons of the PS2 DualShock controller. With a light tap on the Triangle button, you can throw a jab or with a hard tap, you can do a roundhouse kick. On the other side, though, is the extreme shortness of almost every battle. Most fights are three on four or five, meaning battles last no more than a minute.

Another problem with The Bouncer is that the game is so short that it's often over before you know it. Most players will finish the game the first time through in around 2 hours. And since most of that will be spent in cut scenes or FMV, dedicated gamers will probably feel cheated.

While the main gameplay of the story mode seems relatively short, additional endings, a Survival Mode and Versus Mode have been added to give more playability to this game. But, that in itself has issues. While the Versus Mode is great with a couple of friends, there in no real interface for one player to fight a series of enemies (like in your standard fighters). So, once you beat one enemy, it's back to the Title Screen.

This also raises another problem. Never has a game so needed a continue option. Lose a fight - back to the Title Screen. From that point, you have to endure a series of load screens and previously viewed cinemas that you will probably skip. This wouldn't be so bad if some bosses and areas of the game weren't so difficult on the first time through the game.

All in all, The Bouncer is a decent game. For it's visuals alone, I would suggest renting this game. The short and flawed gameplay do not warrant shelling out 50 bucks. If you have a few friends and a Multi-tap, be sure to give this one a try.

- - Kinderfeld

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