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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Square

 

Developer

Dream Factory

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q1 2001

 

 

- Nice visuals

- Great CG Cutscenes

- Good sound effects and music

 

 

- Too short!

- Very halted flow

- Generally poor voice acting

- Some songs with Hot Guitar Licks

 

 

Review: MDK2: Armageddon (Playstation 2)

Review: Shinobi (Playstation 2)

 

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The Bouncer

Score: 6.2/10

 

Nice graphics or even spectacularly jaw-dropping drool-fests are always a nice treat in a game. Nonetheless itís the gameplay that will save the day. Weíre in an interactive entertainment medium here and, unfortunately, it seems that the folks at Dream Factory decided to turn away from this while developing The Bouncer. It has some positively unbelievable graphics that make for a great showcase of what the PS2 can do, but boy howdy, it sure would be nice if there was more to do in the game. All together most players can expect to plow through this game in less than an hour the first time and around five hours to finish it with everyone and getting them to full strength. Thatís just crazy-short, relegating The Bouncer to the oft dreaded Just Rent It category.

 

bouncer-1.jpg (41421 bytes)          bouncer-2.jpg (50153 bytes)

 

So what are you supposed to do in this game? Without giving too much away, you play as one of three bouncers (insert smarmy "hence the name of the game" comment here Ė oh wait! That was it just there!). They run a small bar called Fate and have taken in an orphan who named Dominique, who turns out not to be an orphan, gets kidnapped so the brawny chaps guarding the bar go off to save her. Head bashing and clever (well, marginally clever) plot twists ensue.

 

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The Bouncer certainly doesnít let you forget that thereís a lot of plot because every couple of minutes that action stops and itís time for three or so minutes of CG cutscenes. Yeah, it looks gorgeous and all, but what it boils down to is making the game way too halted. If the cutscenes could be distributed differently, or at least the action sequences were longer, it would have made the whole game a lot more enjoyable, but as it stands the distribution of action and cutscenes 

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makes The Bouncer have an annoying vibe to it like stop-and-go traffic. Adding to the frustration is an atrocious camera system which often leaves the enemies out of view where you get hit, but canít fight back because you donít know where to hit. The action sequences are also very nice to look at with its smooth animation and a ton of detail with some pretty nice lighting effects thrown in for good measure. It looks fantastic, but itís all downhill from there.

bouncer-3.jpg (52675 bytes)          bouncer-4.jpg (43300 bytes)

Because after soaking in the graphics players hit a giant brick wall when they come up on the gameplay. The problem is that there is hardly any gameplay. All you need is five hours and poof! thatís it youíve done all there is to do. Time to move on and find a new game. The chopping up of the game between cutscenes and action that are around two minutes each is maddening. For a little extra niftiness the characters gain Bouncer Points (essentially experience points) that can be saved up to enhance a characterís physical attributes and to open special moves. Itís a valiant effort, but could have used some tweaking. You get experience for finishing off an enemy, so if one of the other bouncers does all of the work you can go in and finish the job, claiming the points, but it goes the other way too. The other bouncers can steal your points by getting the kill just before you do. It is also way better to go right through the game with one character, because splitting the experience between them will leave them all too weak near the end of the game where the enemies will be too strong. Control-wise itís very solid, allowing the special moves to pulled off easily. Nothing fancy, but they get the job done.

The game sounds quite good, rounding out the package. The sound effects are solid and feel appropriate, and jump out at the player well. The music is an odd mix of very cinematic orchestral pieces, techno, and hot guitar licks. The guitar work is very annoying, but the orchestral pieces are very, very good. The Bouncer also uses voice actors, but as is often the case in games only some of them are good. Kouís English actor sounds an awful lot like Spike from Cowboy Bebop, while Volt sounds suspiciously like Optimus Prime from the original Transformers series. But other than that itís a big no thank you for the games voice acting.

All in all gamers can get all of the enjoyment they could possibly squeeze out of The Bouncer on one rental session. There just isnít enough meat on this gameís bones. It looks good and it sounds good but itís over way too soon.

- Mr. Nash

 

(April 23, 2001)

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