The Bouncer Image
Metascore
66

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Summary: A typical evening at a local bar erupts into chaos as members of a Special Forces strike team descend through the roof to kidnap a young girl, Dominique. Three bouncers--Sion, Volt, and Kou--come to the rescue, only to see the invaders grab Dominique, retreat through a window, and escape.A typical evening at a local bar erupts into chaos as members of a Special Forces strike team descend through the roof to kidnap a young girl, Dominique. Three bouncers--Sion, Volt, and Kou--come to the rescue, only to see the invaders grab Dominique, retreat through a window, and escape. Now it's up to you to save Dominique either alone or simultaneously with three friends. With The Bouncer's 3D combat environment, battles can take place anywhere. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. 90
    Brings more than just fierce punches and kicks -- it features an engaging story and plenty of gameplay modes that offer a high replay value. Hands down, this is one of the best PS2 games.
  2. Likely to elicit plenty of "Oooohs!" and "Ahhhhs!" from your friends, The Bouncer simply doesn't have enough substance to satisfy diehard gamers.
  3. It is lacking mostly in the game play department, which frankly, isn't very exciting. It presents little variability and this allows it to get old fairly quick.
  4. 68
    It is one of the sharpest looking PS2 games out right now, but the lack of actual gaming content leaves it with an overall mediocre feel.
  5. Quite possibly the prettiest game I’ve ever seen...But presentation isn’t really the problem here. It’s the gameplay.
  6. The Bouncer is here and it's not any good. We know how much that hurts, but it's time to move on. The game is less than three hours long -- less than 30 minutes if you skip the movies -- and what's there isn't fun.
  7. One hell of a disappointment and one of the worst experiences I've ever had to endure on my shiny DVD-playing black box.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. SionB.
    Nov 19, 2004
    10
    This Is A Great Game. Good Graphics Great Characters And Great Way Of Puting There Fighting Skills.
  2. RyanM.
    Apr 28, 2003
    10
    I love this game. I just recently got it, and wow this game is great. There are times when the game seems to easy, and by all means this game I love this game. I just recently got it, and wow this game is great. There are times when the game seems to easy, and by all means this game is far from long. Even if you do play it with all the different characters the story stays basically the same. But overall, I can't find anything wrong with this game. Once again, Squaresoft never lets me down. Expand
  3. BrettS.
    May 30, 2003
    10
    Squaresoft games are the best there ever was. And I say this is the greatest one. I don't care what people think about it. Great Squaresoft games are the best there ever was. And I say this is the greatest one. I don't care what people think about it. Great grapics, ultimate gameplay, and a sweet story. They have to make a second one. Expand
  4. Will
    Aug 14, 2001
    7
    Great presentation and graphics, but not much in the way of gameplay. It's a nice showpiece.
  5. Feb 23, 2015
    7
    The Bouncer is a beat-em-up game with mechanics that would have been revolutionary had they not been buried behind idiotic design choices. ItThe Bouncer is a beat-em-up game with mechanics that would have been revolutionary had they not been buried behind idiotic design choices. It reminds me of "Die by the Sword," in that the precise hit detection should have spawned a new genre of sequels and copycats with procedural action gameplay, but was instead lost and forgotten.

    REVOLUTIONARY:
    1) The game has PERFECT hit detection. It feels pixel-based, and it's better than what we have 15 years later today. What this does is it really makes the differences between each attack stand out so you can apply them to the situation, shifting strategies as enemies cluster, or flip. It keeps everything feeling procedural and organic, because the impact angles are always different.
    2) Rag-doll physics for all human and cat characters (but not robots). Some beat-em-ups today do this (not enough), but the ragdoll in this game is probably the best I've seen, and at the time any real physics was novel, and they actually affect gameplay.
    3) Enemies knock each other over when they collide. In combination with the perfect hit detection and rag-doll-physics, this opens up a world of strategy and replayability.
    4) Two NPC allies stay with you almost the entire game and help in fights, although they can knock you down when they're hit.

    IDIOTIC Design Choices:
    1) No cooperative gameplay. The only multiplayer was the versus mode (up to 3-on-3 with 2 computer-controlled allies per, or free-for-all with 4 players). I would have killed for coop gameplay in the survival mode especially.
    2) Encounters are way too short (3-5 enemies) before a frequent, overly-long cutscene and another upgrade/save/character-select point. The plot is so insipid you skip cutscenes on the first playthrough, but even that takes time. The characters are dressed for Final Fantasy, meaning they all universally look stupid aesthetically.
    3) Walking movement in 3D was stiff, constantly arrested by an auto-lock-on mechanic that made it difficult to position yourself with the precision that the hit detection required.
    4) Characters have 8 basic attacks (and paltry few combos) from 4 face buttons; this was one of the only games ever that distinguished between light and hard press on the PS2 controller. Picking attacks like that, rapid-fire in sequence, is just too much to ask from a player in a fast-paced beat-em-up.
    5) There are no environmental hazards, ring-outs, or destructible/interactive objects in the environment. It's like the entire game takes place in one room where the background art shifts.
    6) An RPG upgrade system, which never works in action videogames because it's always hard to calibrate how upgraded you need to be. So if you save up to buy new moves (which is my bias because I want to see everything...at least get the throw because it looks cool with the ragdoll effect) or switch characters midway to upgrade them, the game becomes impossible.
    7) Then there are a few pointless sections without enemies or puzzles, just corridors with only one exit and literally nothing to do but proceed there; it's bizarre.
    8) There's no "continue" option when you die (you have to load a save from the main menu) which just aggravates the steep difficulty curve and cheap bosses that begin appearing at the halfway point.
    9) The game lasts 3 hours, although only 1 hour is actual new gameplay, the rest is cutscenes and restarting the same section over and over because of a super-cheap boss.

    The upshot is a relatively fun game (worth a playthrough or two) with enormously squandered potential. In the 15 years since, only dinky indie games have attempted procedural/organic beat-em-up gameplay, and not nearly as well.

    What probably went wrong is too much of Square's traditional Final Fantasy RPG influence. It's a shame, "The Bouncer" could have fixed itself into a superb 9/10 game just by adding cooperative play and deleting "features": delete the cutscenes, delete the RPG mechanics (spawn every character with all his moves), delete the robotic enemies, delete the invisible wall that keeps enemies from "ring-outs."
    One more step beyond that--add in environmental hazards, make the arcade (not "story"; literally zero cutscenes would be better) mode longer, and maybe design characters that didn't look like they were caught inside a Lisa Frank warehouse explosion--and we're talking a perfect 10/10 game.
    Expand
  6. Hades
    Mar 6, 2003
    6
    Hmm...half assed sums it up rather nicely i suppose... Let me explain why i think so though: So after waiting to play the bouncer for quite Hmm...half assed sums it up rather nicely i suppose... Let me explain why i think so though: So after waiting to play the bouncer for quite awhile i finally found it somewhere available for 10$ so i figured what the heck why not pick it up. Sadly, the game didn't impress me much. Sure the graphics are good, not fantastic, but good. The music and voice acting is also well done (well...the voice acting is ~okay~) and sound effects match whats going on on screen. But the areas where the game really dissapoints are length, replay value, and gameplay. The game only took, at most, 5 hours through the first time. Sure you can play through as the other 2 alternate characters but the stories arent all that different. There's also a 4 player mode but the fighting engine is kind of wack anyway so i dont think youll have much fun with it. Overall, The Bouncer could have been great with a better storyline, MUCH longer game, and a better fighting engine, but without those it has to settle for simply being mediocre. Pass this one. Expand
  7. Ray
    Feb 4, 2008
    0
    This game is a total piece of crap. SquareSoft fanboy reviews here are total lies. Hey morons, just because it is from Japan doesn't This game is a total piece of crap. SquareSoft fanboy reviews here are total lies. Hey morons, just because it is from Japan doesn't mean you have to give it a 10, especially when 90% of the game is watching crappy anime. Go rent a movie. Expand

See all 14 User Reviews