User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
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  1. Apr 30, 2016
    10
    This is one of the greats! A game you can blaze through, Play the action movie as it were. But the fighting is unlike anything else.
    Grab this game play through it I am sure you'll have a blast.
  2. 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. 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
    The 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.
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  3. May 6, 2014
    5
    I used to love this game when I was a kid, but I was kind of disappointed when I picked it up to play it again after so many years. This game is good actually, for its graphics. This game was made back in 2001... Back then this, this was pretty revolutionary to me and some other people, but graphics was not the only thing that was good; the sound was also great. With all that said, thisI used to love this game when I was a kid, but I was kind of disappointed when I picked it up to play it again after so many years. This game is good actually, for its graphics. This game was made back in 2001... Back then this, this was pretty revolutionary to me and some other people, but graphics was not the only thing that was good; the sound was also great. With all that said, this makes it a decent game, but does that make it a great game? NO. The gameplay was definitely awkward and not entertaining, the game felt really fun back then, but now I think it was not really enjoyable... And I see that some people agree. I think the gameplay is mediocre, which is disappointing being that this game could've been great if the actual game was... What a shame. Expand
  4. Oct 26, 2012
    8
    The Bouncer is an odd, atypical sort of fighting game. Unlike its traditional brethren - Street Fighter, Tekken, Soul Calibur - The Bouncer assumes more of the feel of a RPG with the same traits as a fighting game. In fact, this game could be more akin to an old-school side-scrolling fighter from the days of yore if one has an open imagination. Nevertheless, Square's attempt at a trendyThe Bouncer is an odd, atypical sort of fighting game. Unlike its traditional brethren - Street Fighter, Tekken, Soul Calibur - The Bouncer assumes more of the feel of a RPG with the same traits as a fighting game. In fact, this game could be more akin to an old-school side-scrolling fighter from the days of yore if one has an open imagination. Nevertheless, Square's attempt at a trendy Japanese spiced fighter is a true sleeper, even when it was released. The graphics are fantastic considering when it was released, everything clean and well polished, with a similar feel in visuals to that of Square's Final Fantasy X. Combat is limited to only a handful of different attacks for each of the three playable characters in the story mode. However, these do not inhibit for some heated combat with multiple attackers at once.

    The story is short, and you can breeze through The Bouncer in speedy fashion. But there's a huge replay value, with lots of backstory told through the loading screen. Playing as each character offers a different perspective on the story, allowing for some conversations to be heard, while other details are left out for a separate playthrough with another character. And of course, there's a nifty multiplayer mode that allows you to control any of the characters you earn throughout your main-game adventures.

    A final nifty feature is the leveling system, giving the game an added feel of role-playing. Experience points are earned with each battle, allowing you to learn new attacks and improve your health/defense/power. You're forced to spend them wisely as you level up your characters. Though this is by no means a popular game, The Bouncer offers an unique take on a fighting game that few other games have attempted. It's worth it!
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  5. Nov 13, 2010
    2
    I was really disappointed in this game when I got it and I was a kid. I was thinking that it would be like Streets of Rage. Square really screwed up. Terrible fighting game. People who like this don't own sega genesis and its many fighting games that are far superior. This game made me depressed because it was supposed to be a promising launch title. Bad controls bad fighting.
  6. 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 mean you have to give it a 10, especially when 90% of the game is watching crappy anime. Go rent a movie.
  7. SionB.
    Nov 19, 2004
    10
    This Is A Great Game. Good Graphics Great Characters And Great Way Of Puting There Fighting Skills.
  8. Dontworry
    Jul 27, 2003
    5
    This game is hmmm...i would have 2 say corny its 2 much story talkin ab after u beat like 4 bad guys its time 2 get back 2 the story tellin. but the graphics r great. thas y i gave thius game a 5.
  9. 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 grapics, ultimate gameplay, and a sweet story. They have to make a second one.
  10. 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 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.
  11. 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 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 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
  12. sk8r
    Aug 20, 2001
    10
    I don't care what anyone else says this is one of the best PS2 games I have ever played!! The graphics are amazing and the characters are cool. So what if the game is short! There is an awsome story to it! The story is well-explained through cut scenes! I rate this game a 10!
  13. Will
    Aug 14, 2001
    7
    Great presentation and graphics, but not much in the way of gameplay. It's a nice showpiece.
  14. KouL.
    Jun 29, 2001
    10
    This game is by far the greatest game ever made for the PS2. I've played this game a million times, and I've never gotten bored of it. Other PS2 games are worth buying but this has to be the best of them all. If you hate it then you just expect too much. This game is a GREAT success!!
  15. Nov 13, 2010
    2
    I was really disappointed in this game when I got it and I was a kid. I was thinking that it would be like Streets of Rage. Square really screwed up. Terrible fighting game. People who like this don't own sega genesis and its many fighting games that are far superior. This game made me depressed because it was supposed to be a promising launch title. Bad controls bad fighting.

Awards & Rankings

49
#49 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2001
25
#25 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2001
Metascore
66

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Quite possibly the prettiest game I’ve ever seen...But presentation isn’t really the problem here. It’s the gameplay.
  2. Daily Radar
    50
    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.
  3. Great graphics, good sound, mediocre gameplay. We were soooo close.