Newest Review: ... You can pick one of the three bouncers, each having their own fighting style, and if you play as each of them, you'll eventually be able to... more
Who knew Bouncers were so good at brawling? It's like Final Fight, but with spiky hair!
The Bouncer (PS2)
Member Name: Stunt 101
The Bouncer (PS2)
Advantages: Beautiful graphics; excellent sound; decent replay-ability; gameplay isn't half bad
Disadvantages: Short; simplistic gameplay is very easy; short; camera is problematic; SHORT GODDAMIT!
About a year after the Playstation 2 was released, ‘Square’ released their first game to appear on Sony’s new console. No, it wasn’t the sequel in the hit ‘Final Fantasy’ series, nor was it a sequel to their many other games like ‘Vagrant Story’ or ‘Secret of Mana’. In fact it wasn’t even a Role-Playing Game. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…’The Bouncer’! While at times it felt like an interactive action movie, the story and characters are so great (and the presentation is so freaking awesome!) that it makes the whole game much better. And the gameplay itself, while very simplistic, is half decent.
The story follows three bouncers (that’s where the title comes in)-Sion, Volt and Kou. Sion has a hot girl called Dominique at his side (even if he doesn’t appreciate it that much) and the bar is doing just fine, until one night, Special Forces of a group called Mikado come and take Dominique. Now, the group decide they’re going to save her from them, travelling everywhere to get to her. Obviously, a key part to the game is the story as, like the Final Fantasy series, there are tons of cut scenes throughout the whole game. Luckily, the plot to me was really engaging and the ending was satisfying, if a bit of a cliché.
’The Bouncer’ has some unique controls here. Basically, the harder you push an attack button, the harder the attack will be. It’s unique, but sometimes it doesn’t tell how hard you’re pushing it so it reads it wrong. But that’s minor. You move with the left analog stick, attack with all the buttons on the right face of the controller, block with the R1 button and do a extra move by holding down the R2 button and pressing one of the attack buttons.
If you’ve played ‘Final Fight’ or ‘Streets or Rage’ then you’ll be familiar with the gameplay in ‘The Bouncer’. It’s a beat em’ up at its core, but very simplistic. You have High, Mid, Low and Jump attacks to use, but you can’t use these in combos. You can only do a High three attack combo. You can also guard so you don’t get your rear end fully kicked. Aside from the basic moves, you’ll also get access to extra skills, which you can purchase during the story mode. You basically hold down the L1 button and then push the button to perform a move. These can be helpful if you’re in a tough situation and need help. That’s about all there is too the combat system. The combat is very simplistic, so you’ll like it depending on how you take to simplicity.
The main attraction in ‘The Bouncer’ is the story mode, but even that is simplistic. Here’s how it works: You’ll watch a cut scene at the beginning, fight, upgrade (if you want to), save, watch a cut scene, fight and so on. It sounds repetitive, but the cut scenes are great and the fighting can be fun in short bursts. You usually have two allies with you (which are computer A.I. controlled) but if you run out of health (known in the game as ‘Stamina) then you’ll have to retry fights again. Unlike ‘Final Fantasy X’, you can skip cut scenes so if you want to fight and that’s it or you don’t want to watch them anyway you can skip them, even if it’s your first time viewing them.
Before each fight you choose one of three characters. Rather than just having different moves for them, ‘Square’ made it so that changing your character changes the story mode a bit. You’ll hear dialogue unique to each character. While it doesn’t sound like much, playing as different characters fills you in on the entire story. An example, if you’re playing as Volt or Sion then you won’t hear Kou’s phone conversation after Dominique is taken. But if you play as Kou you’ll actually hear the conversation in full. There are also different endings for each character. Plus, there is a level in the game that changes, depending on which character you play as.
There are two other modes of play. There’s the survival mode and versus mode. Versus mode is the area in which multiplayer comes into play. Basically, you can set up a fight with 1-4 players in one of two modes. There is the Battle Royal mode where up to four players can go at it in a last man standing match. You can set up to 5 rounds in this game. Then there’s the Team Battle mode in which two players will have two on their team and the first team to take down the other team’s leader wins. I had some good times with the multiplayer, but it’s a shame there’s no co-op play for the story mode.
Then there’s the survival mode. If you’ve played the ‘Tekken Force’ mode from ‘Tekken’ games (particularly ‘Tekken 4’) then you’ll be familiar with this. Basically, you get placed in a room with a bunch of enemies. You have to kill these guys. Once that’s done, you’ll be moved to another room with maybe more enemies. But the catch is that you don’t get any health packs, meaning if you get hurt you can’t recover from it. So it’s challenging and quite a bit of fun, but pre-set leader boards would have been nice.
In the story mode there’s an upgrade system to be found. Basically, every time you kill enemies or win matches, you’ll get Bouncer points. These points can be spent on upgrades. You can upgrade your characters strength, health and defence. These can be helpful to you in the game. Like I mentioned before, you can also buy extra skills, which are also helpful. As you buy upgrades, your character will go up a rank. The three main characters will start at rank G but you can go up to rank A. This doesn’t change much to be honest, it’s just to tell you your upgrading and getting better.
The camera can be a bit of a problem at times. The game has the same view from ‘Final Fantasy X’, except in ‘FFX’ the camera view changed when in combat. With ‘The Bouncer’ it stays in the same view. It’s at a far away distance, but you can’t control the camera so enemies may attack you before you can see them on the screen. Also, if you change direction it can be a bit awkward. Aside from the troublesome camera, ‘The Bouncer’ is very easy. If you upgrade all your main stats, you’ll thrash the enemies and the ‘boss’ battles are laughably easy. Though with the weakest character, Kou, the last fight was a little hard. But the game was still laughably easy.
The A.I. isn’t that good either. They just do the same thing-come at you! They just persist in attacking you up close, but then you can kick their rear ends as they hardly block. The team A.I. is about the same, which means they can die a lot if they aren’t upgraded much. But if they are, they will thrash the enemies. This just makes the game even easier. Topping that all of is the combat’s simplicity, which makes for a easier experience than ‘Kingdom Hearts II’.
This game is beautiful. The graphics are simply incredible. ‘Squares’ talent for CG is here, with incredible looking CG cut scenes here and there are plenty of them to be found. But the amazing thing is that the CG and the In-engine cut scenes look almost identical, which is incredible. The animation is outstanding, the characters are exquisitely detailed, the environments are top notch and the setting was really appealing. It’s sort of futuristic with flying vehicles and high tech buildings, yet it has a sort of old town feel to it, which is good. The characters look like they were ripped from an Anime cartoon, with spiky hair and funky clothes (similar to ‘Squares’ other work).
The game uses a high level of blur effect. It may be off-putting at first, but this effect is unique and gets rid of nasty flickering and aliasing. Plus, it suited the games tone. But the facial animation really steals the show. ‘Square’ have been able create some outstanding facial expressions. So when a character is happy, sad or angry you can tell. Plus, the lip synching is great as well. One thing I don’t get though is that the game is rated 15+, yet it has no blood whatsoever. It’s odd, but you’ll get over it.
The sound is also outstanding, though it’s not as good as the graphics. The voice acting is available in English or Japanese and both are outstanding. The voices suit the characters personality, for example Volt (a huge gruff man) has a really deep, gruff voice. The dialogue is good too, though it’s sometimes a little corny (for example Sion says ‘I’m a Bouncer, I put my life on the line for a living). The effects are great, with sounds of punches, crashes to the floor, slams etc. The music is great too, but it just repeats a bit too much.
This is perhaps the weakest part of ‘The Bouncer’ is its value. Let’s just say this; I received ‘The Bouncer’ from Amazon and two hours after first playing it I finished the game. That’s how short the main mode is. But in terms of replay-ability, there’s a decent amount here. First, there’s the fact that there’s three different playable characters. Basically, the dialogue will change depending on which character you play as. It might not sound like much, but if you play as different characters, you’ll get more of the story. Plus, there’s the different level to play for each character. Other than the main story mode, there’s the two other modes-survival mode and versus mode. Both of these could last you a long time, or they won’t depending if you like them or not.
The Bouncer didn’t do too well when it was released in 2001. Obviously 6 years later it might have been worse. In my opinion, it’s a good game from a gameplay standpoint but an outstanding game from a presentational standpoint. The graphics are outstanding and the sound is excellent as well. But the game lacks value, as its short and doesn’t have co-op play for it’s story. But if you can find it cheap I recommend you buy this as I really enjoyed playing through this. If you’re a die-hard fan of beat em’ ups you may want to go with this, it will depend if you like simplicity or not. And if you love games with excellent stories then this is great for you. ‘Square’ fans though; there are better games from the guys at ‘Square’ so you may want to go with their better games.
You can buy this off Amazon for £29.99 or in the used and new section from £1.36
I paid £1.30 from the Amazon market
This was published by ‘Square’ and developed by ‘Dream Factory’
This was released on June 22nd 2001 and is exclusive to the PS2.
Summary: Short but sweet...