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Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 5.5
Replay: 5.9
Overall: 7.5

The Bouncer
Released: 20010306
Publisher: Square Electronic Arts
Developer: Dream Factory
Genre: Fighting

Review by: King_Mightystud

The Bouncer was Squaresoft's (makers of the Final Fantasy series) first main title this side of the ocean (America) for the PS2. The game is an attempt at taking the great side scrolling genre, made famous through games like Final Fight and Streets of Rage, and bringing it into the modern world of gaming, through he PS2’s power.

With its flashy graphics, smooth animations, catchy music, and outstanding cinemas, Square fully succeeded in leaving the primitive look of these games behind. The truly unfortunate thing is that most of the gameplay elements found in its oldschool predecessors have also been left behind. It’s not so much what's there, it's just that there isn't enough of it.

Nonetheless, The Bouncer is certainly an impressive game to look at. There is as much fighting fun as the heart could desire, here, in a bunch of cool looking locations. With up to four players being able to be on screen and fight at once (but not in the main mission mode), it's a great party game. Each character has an original fighting style, complete with spectacular moves. True to form for Square, there are characters with spiky hair, and that whole FF look is all over this game.

This game starts off in a bar called Fate. Sion, Volt and Kou are the names of the three bouncers who protect the bar. At the start of the game the bar is stormed by a group of soldiers loyal to Mikado Group. This kind of reminds me of Shinra from FF7. (I told you there are a lot of similarities with Square's other games). Sion is basically the main character and Dominique's love interest. After trashing the bar, they kidnap Dominique, a pretty girl who works at the bar. The bouncers go after them, and discover all kinds of evil goings and experiment on along their way.

When playing the single player mode you have a choice before every action sequence between controlling any of the bouncers (while the computer controls the other two). The storyline will change depending on which bouncer you use. Before each fighting sequence there's a cinema, which often takes longer than the action itself. For this reason the game begins to feel more like a movie than a game.

The Dual shock controller is more than adequate to handle the high, medium, and low attacks, as well as the blocks, jumps and combos that you'd expect to find in this game. The moves are extremely well animated, and there's enough variety to avoid excessive repetition. Still, the game inevitably turns into a blow for blow with the numerous enemies that usually fill the screen. These moves are reminiscent of Tobal 1, another of Dream Factories' games. (Note: Dream factory is a subsidiary of Square, and their names are often used interchangeably).

This game’s RPG elements come into play through points that you are awarded every time you defeat an enemy (why they didn't make it so that the points are fairly distributed, not just to the guy that pulls off the finishing blow I'll never know). These points are used towards leveling up your bouncer’s life, attack power, and defense. Points can also be used to purchase special moves, which are all incredible by the way. I recommend that you play through the game with only one character, and use the points on that bouncer only, since there isn't enough to level them all up, and three medium characters aren't sufficient to easily beat the game.

Strangely the main mission is not multi player. You can however throw up to four players (each controlling a bouncer) in a room, in versus mode, and let them duke it out amongst each other. Some of the bosses you’ve defeated are playable characters in this mode. There’s also the survival mode, where you try and fight through as many endless hallways as you can, using only one life bar.

The graphics in this game are its strong point. The pre-rendered cut scenes are amazing, and the normal cut scenes and action sequences aren't far behind. I have yet to see another game where the facial expressions are as realistic as the bouncer. The mouth movements match the words of the excellent voice action to a T. A highly appropriate and catchy soundtrack round out this amazing showpiece.

The biggest problem with this game is that after the initial wow factor wears off, there's not much to do here. I only put half a dozen hours into this game before trading it in, and I don't think there was much left in the game that I didn't do and see. This is highly atypical of Square, who usually make incredibly long games (I put in a hundreds hours with Final Fantasy 7). Most of the people I know who have played this game back me up on the matter that this game is very short. The game also has occasional camera angle problems. The enemies do not even carry weapons that you can use against them.

For these reasons I can't recommend this game as a buy for most people, but it's definitely a strong rental. If you know what you're getting into, as far as a lack of length, and you've got cash to blow, by all means go for it. If you don't get out of the house much, the graphics in this game are the next best thing to the real life outside world.

- We have 1 review for The Bouncer (1 Staff, 0 Member)

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