The Bouncer (video game)

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The Bouncer

Bouncerbox.jpg

North American cover art
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)
Director(s)
Producer(s) Shinji Hashimoto
Programmer(s) Taketoshi Nishimori
Artist(s) Tetsuya Nomura
Composer(s)
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release
Genre(s) Beat 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

The Bouncer(Japanese:バウンサー, Hepburn:Baunsā) is a 2000 beat 'em up video game for the PlayStation 2 co-developed by Squaresoft and DreamFactory. It was published in Japan by Squaresoft in December 2000, in North America by Square Electronic Arts in March 2001, and in Europe by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in June 2001. The game was produced by Shinji Hashimoto, co-directed by Takashi Tokita and Seiichi Ishii, and features character designs by Tetsuya Nomura, and music by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi.

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

Hepburn romanization is a system for the romanization of Japanese that uses the Latin alphabet to write the Japanese language. It is used by most foreigners learning to spell Japanese in the Latin alphabet and by the Japanese for romanizing personal names, geographical locations, and other information such as train tables, road signs, and official communications with foreign countries. Largely based on English writing conventions, consonants closely correspond to the English pronunciation and vowels approximate the Italian pronunciation.

Beat 'em up is a video game genre featuring hand-to-hand combat between the protagonist and an improbably large number of opponents. Known as fighting games before the advent of one on one fighting games like Street Fighter, traditional beat 'em ups take place in scrolling, two-dimensional (2D) levels, though some later games feature more open three-dimensional (3D) environments with yet larger numbers of enemies. These games are noted for their simple gameplay, a source of both critical acclaim and derision. Two-player cooperative gameplay and multiple player characters are also hallmarks of the genre. Most of these games take place in urban settings and feature crime-fighting and revenge-based plots, though some games may employ historical, science fiction or fantasy themes.

Contents

The game tells the story of three bouncers in the fictional city of Edge on a rescue mission to save their young friend from the Mikado Group, a solar technology megacorporation owned by the megalomaniacal Dauragon C. Mikado. The game is structured like a "playable action movie," with the plot unfolding differently depending on which character the player chooses for specific gameplay sequences. [2]

Bouncer (doorman) Security guard profession

A bouncer is a type of security guard, employed at venues such as bars, nightclubs, stripclubs, casinos, hotels, billiard halls, restaurants, sporting events or concerts. A bouncer's duties are to provide security, to check legal age, to refuse entry for intoxicated persons, and to deal with aggressive behavior or non-compliance with statutory or establishment rules. They are civilians and not employed by a security company in many cases. Bouncers are often required where crowd size, clientele or alcohol consumption may make arguments or fights a possibility, or where the threat or presence of criminal gang activity or violence is high.

Solar thermal collector

A solar thermal collector collects heat by absorbing sunlight. The term "solar collector" commonly refers to solar hot water panels, but may refer to installations such as solar parabolic troughs and solar towers; or basic installations such as solar air heaters. Concentrated solar power plants usually use the more complex collectors to generate electricity by heating a fluid to drive a turbine connected to an electrical generator. Simple collectors are typically used in residential and commercial buildings for space heating. The first solar thermal collector designed for building roofs was patented by William H. Goettl and called the "Solar heat collector and radiator for building roof".

Megacorporation

Megacorporation, mega-corporation, or megacorp, a term popularized by William Gibson, derives from the combination of the prefix mega- with the word corporation. It has become widespread in cyberpunk literature. It refers to a corporation that is a massive conglomerate, holding monopolistic or near-monopolistic control over multiple markets. Megacorps are so powerful that they can ignore the law, possess their own heavily armed private armies, be the operator of a privatized police force, hold "sovereign" territory, and even act as outright governments. They often exercise a large degree of control over their employees, taking the idea of "corporate culture" to an extreme. Such organizations as a staple of science fiction long predate cyberpunk, appearing in the works of writers such as Philip K. Dick, Thea von Harbou, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert Asprin, Andre Norton and David Weber. The explicit use of the term in the Traveller science fiction roleplaying game from 1977 predates Gibson's use of it.

The Bouncer was Square's first game on the PlayStation 2, and although it received considerable press coverage before its release, and was greatly anticipated as one of the marquee titles in the first batch of PS2 games, it was met with poor sales and mixed reviews.

Gameplay

Gameplay in The Bouncer. The player is controlling Volt. Sion and Kou are being controlled by the AI. The players' health is on the top left; the enemy's on the top right. The Bouncer screen1.jpg
Gameplay in The Bouncer. The player is controlling Volt. Sion and Kou are being controlled by the AI. The players' health is on the top left; the enemy's on the top right.

Controls in The Bouncer are similar to those in the Tobal series. [3] Certain buttons denote high, middle, and low attacks, whilst others are used for jumping attacks, blocking, and special moves. Players have a health meter during gameplay, which, if depleted, means the player dies. Players also have a limited amount of guard points available to them, although this is not represented by an onscreen meter. As the player blocks, the amount of guard points diminish. When they are gone completely, the player can no longer block. [4]

<i>Tobal No. 1</i> video game

Tobal No. 1 is a fighting video game for the PlayStation developed by DreamFactory and published by Square in 1996. The game was DreamFactory's first release, as well as Square's first release on the CD-based console.

Health (gaming) gaming-related attribute

Health or vitality is an attribute assigned to entities such as characters or objects within role-playing games and video games, that indicates their continued ability to function. Health is usually measured in hit points or health points, shortened to HP which lowers by set amounts when the entity is attacked or injured. When the HP of a player character or non-player character reaches zero, that character is incapacitated and barred from taking further action. In some games, such as those with cooperative multiplayer and party based role playing games, it may be possible for an ally to revive a character who has reached 0 hit points and let them return to action. In single player games, running out of health usually equates to "dying" and losing a life or receiving a Game Over.

The game's combat uses ragdoll physics, which allows characters to be launched several feet into the air, making it possible to juggle enemies by striking them repeatedly. Enemies can also be thrown or otherwise knocked into one another, causing all of them to take damage at once.

Ragdoll physics

Ragdoll physics is a type of physics engine procedural animation which is often used as a replacement for traditional static death animations in video games and animated films.

Story Mode

The Bouncer is structured as a series of short gameplay segments interspersed with cinematic cutscenes that tell the game's story. With the Active Character Selection (ACS) system, when a cutscene concludes, the player is given the choice to control one of the three protagonists and proceed onto the next gameplay segment. [5] The player then controls this character for the duration of the level, whilst the other two characters are controlled by the AI. At the conclusion of each gameplay segment, the player is able to spend Bouncer Points (BP), the game's equivalent of experience points, using the Point Exchange System. BPs can be used to boost the character's statistics (health, power and guard) and unlock new fighting moves. [6] Spending BPs allows the character to level up, with their rank graded on a letter scale from G to A, and finally, an S-Rank. [7]

Cutscene

A cutscene or event scene is a sequence in a video game that is not interactive, breaking up the gameplay. Such scenes could be used to show conversations between characters, set the mood, reward the player, introduce new gameplay elements, show the effects of a player's actions, create emotional connections, improve pacing or foreshadow future events.

In the field of computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. Computer science defines AI research as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. More specifically, Kaplan and Haenlein define AI as “a system’s ability to correctly interpret external data, to learn from such data, and to use those learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation”. Colloquially, the term "artificial intelligence" is used to describe machines that mimic "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving".

An experience point is a unit of measurement used in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game. Experience points are generally awarded for the completion of missions, overcoming obstacles and opponents, and for successful role-playing.

Typical gameplay in The Bouncer consists of the player fighting groups of enemies using hand-to-hand combat techniques. Occasionally, one of the AI controlled bouncers will do a taunt, prompting a button-press to activate a team attack ("Trinity Rush") which damages all enemies on screen. [8] However, the Trinity Rush is ineffective against some bosses. In some instances, the player will also be tasked with activities other than fighting, such as running through a series of hallways to avoid being caught in a flood, finding a keycard, or fooling enemies into thinking the player is one of them. In general, a gameplay segment ends when the player has either defeated all of the enemies in the area, has defeated a boss enemy, or has achieved a set goal.

Hand-to-hand combat is a physical confrontation between two or more persons at very short range that does not involve the use of ranged weapons. While the phrase "hand-to-hand" appears to refer to unarmed combat, the term is generic and may include use of melee weapons such as knives, sticks, batons, spears, or improvised weapons such as entrenching tools. While the term hand-to-hand combat originally referred principally to engagements by combatants on the battlefield, it can also refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more people, including law enforcement officers, civilians, and criminals.

A taunt is a battle cry, sarcastic remark, gesture, or insult intended to demoralize the recipient, or to anger them and encourage reactionary behaviors without thinking. Taunting can exist as a form of social competition to gain control of the target's cultural capital. In sociological theory, the control of the three social capitals is used to produce an advantage in the social hierarchy as to enforce one's own position in relation to others. Taunting is committed by either directly, or indirectly encouraging others to taunt the target. The target may give a response in kind to maintain status, as in fighting words and trash-talk.

Boss (video gaming) significant and especially strong enemy in video games

In video gaming, a boss is a significant computer-controlled enemy. A fight with a boss character is commonly referred to as a boss battle or boss fight. Boss battles are generally seen at a climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage or level, or guarding a specific objective, and the boss enemy is generally far stronger than the opponents the player has faced up to that point. For example, in a combat game all regular enemies might use pistols while the boss uses a machine gun. A boss enemy is quite often larger in size than other enemies and the player character. At times, bosses are very hard, even impossible to defeat without being adequately prepared and/or knowing the correct fighting approach. Bosses take strategy and special knowledge to defeat, such as how to attack weak points or avoiding specific attacks. A final boss is often the main antagonist of a game's story.

Survival Mode

In addition to the main Story Mode, there is also a single-player survival mode. Spanning ten stages and fifty enemies, every time the player survives a round, the gameplay gets progressively harder. At the start of each stage, the player's health bar does not return to full, but remains where it was at the end of the previous stage. [9]

Multiplayer

The Bouncer supports the PlayStation 2 multitap accessory, [10] and the game's multiplayer Versus Mode supports up to four players simultaneously in the "Battle Royal" mode. Battle Royal can also be played by a single player against three AI controlled opponents, or by two players against two AI opponents. [9]

Story

Characters

"The Mikado Building, the heart of the Mikado Group international megacorporation, overlooks Dog Street. The bars located on this dangerous street are always guarded by bouncers. Sion, Kou, and Volt are three such men, working to protect their bar, Fate, from troublemakers. Recently, Dominique, a young girl Sion found lost in the city, has become a kind of mascot for Fate. No one knows where she came from or who she really is. Time passes uneventfully for them - until one day, Dominique is abducted by the Mikado Special Forces. What are Mikado's motives? Why was Dominique taken? What is her secret? Will Sion, Kou, and Volt be able to rescue Dominique...? It's going to be a long night for these three!" [11]

Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese); Paul Stephen (English)
A bouncer at the bar Fate, Sion is the game's main protagonist. The death of his girlfriend two years previously caused him to close himself off emotionally, but Dominique is slowly getting him to open up again. [12]

Voiced by: Daisuke Gōri (Japanese); Mike D'Gard (English)
A fellow bouncer at Fate, he is a large and quiet individual, who seems to know a lot about the Mikado Group. [13]

Voiced by: Ryūsei Nakao (Japanese); David Lucas (English)
Another Fate bouncer, he is cocky and talkative, but is hiding a far more serious side.

Voiced by: Ryōka Yuzuki (Japanese); Ruby Marlowe (English)
Found wandering on the city streets by Sion, she was taken in by the staff at Fate and has become the bar's unofficial mascot. [14]

Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto (Japanese); Richard Hayworth (English)
The CEO of the Mikado Group. The adopted son of the previous CEO, Master Mikado, Duaragon has trained since childhood to succeed as head of the organization. He is responsible for Dominique's abduction, but his motives are initially unknown. [15]

Voiced by: Yūji Ueda (Japanese); Bob Marx (English)
The head of the Mikado Special Forces Unit and the man who carries out the abduction of Dominique. Due to experiments on his prefrontal cortex, designed to give him superhuman speed and strength, he is going insane. [16]

Voiced by: Ayaka Sasaki (Japanese); Melissa Williamson (English)
A supervisor in the Mikado Group. She has some kind of history with Volt. [17]

Voiced by: Gara Takashima (Japanese); Anne Sherman (English)
A mysteriously sad young woman who is always by Dauragon's side. She has the ability to morph into a panther and seems to know Sion, although he is unsure as to how.

Voiced by: Kiyoshi Kawakubo (Japanese); Simon Isaacson (English)
Sion and Dauragon's martial arts instructor and servant of the late Master Mikado, to whom he was fiercely loyal. He distrusts Dauragon. [18]

Voiced by: Asako Sato (Japanese); Wendee Lee (English)
Works for the anti-Mikado intelligence agency LUKIS as Kou's immediate supervisor. [19]

Voiced by: Miho Kunori (Japanese); Wendee Lee (English)
A humanoid robot developed by Mikado for combat situations, using illegal bionoid technology. Because they are prototypes, there are very few operational units. [20]

Voiced by: Yuu Shimaka (Japanese); Michael Forest (English)
The previous CEO, and founder, of the Mikado Group. A kind man, he adopted Dauragon when he found him wandering the city streets in a storm.

Plot

As each bouncer has their own unique story, how the game develops depends on which characters are selected for each level. Only by playing through the game as all three characters can the complete story be revealed.

The game begins with a news report on Mikado's new solar powered generator satellite, which uses a large mirror to generate electricity from solar rays. It then converts the electricity to microwave radiation, which it beams back to a ground station on Earth, which subsequently converts it back to electricity and distributes it around the planet. [21] Meanwhile, Leann receives a message that Mikado have located Dominique. She expresses surprise that "they beat us to it," and rushes out.

At Fate, Dominique celebrates Sion's one year anniversary as a bouncer by giving him a pendant. However, Mikado Special Forces led by Mugetsu storm the bar and abduct her. Volt says they will have taken her to the Mikado Building, and Kou calls Leann, learning there is a train heading for the building in thirty minutes. Leann promises she will back him up in her ship, the Orage. Kou, Sion and Volt catch the train, which is carrying rocket fuel for the launch of the satellite. On board, they meet Echidna, who is shocked to see Volt. They fight and defeat her, and she jumps from the train into a river.

Meanwhile, the Orage attacks the train, causing the brakes to malfunction. The trio detach the car containing the rocket fuel and jump from the train, which crashes into the station underneath the Mikado Building. They work their way up the building and find Dominique in a dome structure. Nearby, Kaldea is playing the piano. After a moment, she gets up and morphs into a panther. Meanwhile, Dauragon orders Wong to transport Dominique to the shuttle Galeos. Wong protests, telling Dauragon he is using the Mikado Group for evil, something of which his father would not approve. Dauragon attacks Wong as the trio enter, and the dying Wong tells them Dauragon must be stopped. Dauragon then reveals that Dominique is his sister. He and the panther attack the trio, defeating them, and the floor falls out underneath them.

The game then cuts to the past as a young Dauragon arrives at a hospital, telling them his sister is dying. However, they turn him away. As he walks though the rain, a limousine pulls up alongside him, and Master Mikado and Wong get out, taking Dauragon and Dominique with them. Later, Mikado adopts Dauragon as his heir. After Mikado dies, Dauragon takes over the company, with Wong praising him for the man he has become, saying he would have made his father proud.

Meanwhile, Sion wakes up in a storage room. Fighting his way through the building, he encounters the black panther, who leads him to a computer terminal, where he finds a file on Kaldea. Vaguely remembering her as childhood friend who was supposedly killed in an industrial accident at Mikado, Sion realizes Dauragon has been experimenting on humans. However, she is now older than him, with the file stating "the one drawback with our present technology is the treatment ages the subject cells approximately 10 biological years." Sion also finds a picture of Dominique under a locked file. Meanwhile, Volt wakes up strapped to a table. He breaks free and also fights his way through the building. Elsewhere, Kou wakes up in a locker room and steals a guard's uniform, sneaking through the corridors to the upper floors.

Sion soon finds Dominique, but is ambushed by Mugetsu. Volt and Kou arrive and Mugetsu is defeated. The trio escape with Dominique but are soon confronted by a group of PD-4s. However, a signal is sent from an orbiting satellite, and Dominique is revealed to be a robot. She easily destroys the enemies and then collapses. Mugestsu arrives and once more takes Dominique, heading to the Galeos. Volt reveals he knew Dominique was a robot, explaining she was created in the image of Dauragon's dead sister. He also reveals that he was once the personal guard of Master Mikado.

As they head to the Galeos, they encounter Echidna. They fight and defeat her, but Volt spares her life as she admits killing Master Mikado and framing Volt for the murder. The Galeos takes off, but as it leaves, it is attacked by a group of fighters led by Leann, who tells the trio to use an airship to catch up to it. They again confront Mugetsu, this time killing him by knocking him into the Galeos' engine. Meanwhile, on board the Galeos, Dominique is hooked up to a computer, with Dauragon using her circuitry to have the satellite fire massive lasers down onto the earth, beginning with the hospital that turned him away as a boy.

The trio make it inside the Galeos, where they again encounter the panther. They defeat it, and it transforms into Kaldea. Depending on character selection:

In the command center of the Galeos, Dauragon explains that he plans to provide unlimited energy to those who will follow him and destroy those who will not. The trio attack and kill him, releasing Dominique from the computer. If Kaldea survived the previous fight, she tells them the Galeos is designed to split into two after leaving Earth. She leads them to the back half of the ship, and sacrifices herself to save Sion and Dominique. The front half of the ship rams and destroys the satellite, with the back half returning safely to Earth.

Several weeks later, all has returned to normal. Sion says he will tell Dominique she is a robot when the time is right. Depending on character selection:

If Sion has been selected as the playable character in the final fight against Dauragon, the game ends with a scene showing his initial meeting with Dominique.

Development

The game was announced at the Spring Tokyo Game Show in March 1999, where it was revealed as Square's first PlayStation 2 title. [22] On July 12, 1999, IGN reported that Square was working on three PlayStation 2 games; an unknown game, a Final Fantasy game and a fighting game, which was thought to be Ehrgeiz 2. [23] Footage of the game was subsequently shown at the SIGGRAPH Convention in August, at which time the game was still thought to be Ehrgeiz 2. The footage showed the three main characters, which at that time were two men and one woman, fighting a group of ninjas in a café. [24] However, on August 23, MagicBox.com reported the game was not a sequel, but an original story. [25] The title of the game was revealed on September 10, when Sony announced the PlayStation 2 launch titles. [26]

A non-playable demo was shown at the Fall Tokyo Game Show in September. IGN reported "Square's "Seamless Action Battle System" means that players will roam from adventure sequence to fighting sequence without intermittent FMVs or cutscenes that look out of place; the adventure aspects blend seamlessly into massive street brawls involving as many ten characters." [22] GameSpot were also very enthusiastic about the early footage from the game, writing "The Bouncer is arguably one of the strongest visual demonstrations of the PlayStation 2 hardware thus far. Designed to appear as though you're controlling characters in a movie, The Bouncer's camera movements and special effects truly appear as though they're straight out of a Hollywood creation." [27]

At the Spring Tokyo Game Show in March 2000, Square showed only a ten-second clip of the game, and revealed no new screenshots or information. They also had no release date, leading some journalists to speculate there may be problems behind the scenes. [28] At E3 in May, Square showed some new footage from the game, although they still did not provide a playable demo. IGN was underwhelmed with the new material, feeling there appeared to be too many cutscenes in relation to actual gameplay. [29] On July 13, GameSpot revealed the game's character designs were being handled by Tetsuya Nomura, and the game would receive a simultaneous North American/Japanese release in late 2000. [30] However, on September 1, IGN reported DreamFactory were having difficulty working with the PlayStation 2's hardware, and the game had been pushed back to January 2001. [31]

On September 19, IGN revealed that the game would feature Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound for the FMV cutscenes, and Square were attempting to use 5.1 sound for gameplay sections as well. [32] GameSpot revealed more details about the game on September 20, including the three available modes of play: Story, Versus and Survival. They reported that Square expected the story mode to take players roughly seven to eight hours to complete thoroughly. [33]

"The selling point of an "action game" is the feeling of oneness with the character, but on the other hand, action games lack characterization and story development. RPGs can cover most of these narrative factors, but command input-type RPGs sacrifice the tempo, thrill factor, and the feeling of immediacy. The Bouncer's system is a combination of the best elements from these two genres."

Takashi Tokita; co-director [34]

On September 21, IGN published a roundtable interview with members of the development team; character designer Tetsuya Nomura, composers Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi, and co-director Takashi Tokita. The developers outlined the gameplay mechanics, the branching story, the versus and survival modes, the music, the character design, and the challenges of working on the PlayStation 2 for the first time. [34] Tokita claimed the most difficult aspect of the game's creation was working with the PlayStation 2's hardware. [35] The team also said the gameplay was partially derived from DreamFactory's Ehrgeiz and Tobal games, while graphically, the atmosphere was developed with the use of filters and lighting. [2]

On November 13, Square announced a Japanese release date of December 23. [36] On December 18, they confirmed a North American release date of January 30, 2001, [37] although this was quickly pushed back to March. [38]

Audio

The Bouncer was the first PlayStation 2 game to feature Dolby 5.1 sound, which was used specifically for the FMV sequences. [2] [39] In addition, it features voice acting with subtitles in both English and Japanese. Because the game was being considered for North American release early in production, the English voices were recorded first. The Japanese voices were recorded and incorporated later to "provide more of a DVD quality to the game." [2]

Soundtrack

The Bouncer was scored by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi. The game contains several vocal themes, including the original Japanese ending theme song "Forevermore" ("Owaranaimono"), performed by Reiko Noda, and English language theme song "Love Is the Gift", performed by Shanice Wilson. Takashi Tokita has commented that the lyrics of "Love Is the Gift", heard during the closing credits, signify the game's overall theme. [40]

Two separate soundtracks were released; one in Japan and one in North America. The Japanese version, The Bouncer Original Soundtrack, is a 2-disc, 29-track album, published on March 23, 2001 by DigiCube. [41]

The North American version, The Bouncer Original Video Game Soundtrack, is a single disc, 21-track album, published on March 26, 2001 by Tokyopop Soundtrax. [42]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic 66/100 [43]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Famitsu 31/40 [44]
GamePro Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [45]
Game Revolution C+ [46]
GameSpot 6.7/10 [3]
IGN 7/10 [10]
OPM (US) Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [47]

The Bouncer received "mixed or average reviews," and holds an aggregate score of 66 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on twenty reviews. [43]

With the consideration of its high-profile development team, as well as the fact that it was a front-runner PlayStation 2 release, The Bouncer was highly anticipated. However, the game was perceived as a disappointment by many, and was largely seen as mediocre. Numerous aspects from the E3 trailer, such as destructible scenery, were removed in the final game, possibly in order to get the game out in time to be among the first batch of PlayStation 2 titles. Much of the criticism, however, fell on the gameplay. IGN found the controls average and the camera angles to become a major issue in the later portions of the game, where the player is confined to tight spaces. [10] The game was also seen as having an excessive amount of cutscenes and load screens. GameCritics' Brad Galloway, for example, argued actual gameplay constitutes less than one third of the game's length. [48]

IGN's Douglass C. Perry reviewed an import version of the game prior to its release in North America, and was disappointed with the lack of depth, but impressed by other aspects. He praised the graphics, character design and CGI cutscenes. He was also impressed with the "glowing" effect used throughout the game; "DreamFactory employs a Playboy -like filter that smoothes out every single bit on the screen. The effect is consistent throughout the game, and rids the PS2 of aliasing or flickering, but also provides a unique gloss that's never been used before with such success." He concluded that, "despite the disappointments, I am absolutely having a great time with The Bouncer." [49] In his official review of the game upon its North American release, Perry scored it 7 out of 10, writing "The game is a letdown, but not a catastrophic one. [...] It's a good game, not a great one, and it's worth a look." He referred to Story Mode as a "mixed bag of good ideas executed ineffectively," although he praised multiplayer mode. He concluded "The Bouncer is not the next messiah, it's not the next wave of fighting, and frankly, it's not the paradigm for anything really new, except perhaps incredible-looking graphics. These things said, The Bouncer is a decent game. It's not horrible, it's not brilliant. It's pretty average." [10]

In his look at the import version, GameSpot's Miguel Lopez called the game "little more than a glorified and highly cinematic version of Final Fight using dated Tobal animations." He called the graphics "quite competent," but was highly critical of the game's length, estimating a player could play thought the entire game in forty-five minutes or less, if they skipped cutscenes. [50] In his full review, Jeff Gerstmann scored the game 6.7 out of 10. Of the graphics, he said "Everything, from the characters to the backgrounds, looks absolutely incredible." However, he concluded "The Bouncer makes a great showpiece for the PlayStation 2. It looks and sounds incredible. However, the ease and extremely short length of the game, matched with other problems like horrific camera angles and lack of a multiplayer story mode, make The Bouncer fair, at best." [3]

Game Revolution's Brian Gee awarded the game a C+. He wrote, "It's easy to tell what the developers focused on, because The Bouncer is obviously one of the best-looking games on a console to date. Near flawless animations and picture perfect visuals make it a great choice to show off the sleek Sony super machine to your friends. Once the game begins, though, The Bouncer sheds it's [sic] pretty boy image and gets down and dirty." He was critical of the controls and the absence of a lock-on feature. Like other critics, he also had problems with the camera and the ratio of cutscenes to gameplay. He concluded "Though many will undoubtedly be disappointed by The Bouncer's inability to live up to the hype, others will find a fancy beat 'em up to pass a few hours. Its flashy graphics are at least worth taking a look at, but its many problems just might keep it from a place in the collection." [46]

GamePro were more impressed, scoring the game 4.5 out 5, and writing "The Bouncer slickly combines copious amounts of hard-hitting moves with a stellar story line all in a visually stunning world." [45]

Sales

The Bouncer was not a commercial success. In its debut week in Japan, it sold 158,727 units, debuting as the fifth highest selling game across all systems. [51] It went on to sell 219,858 units by the end of 2000, finishing as the 53rd highest selling game of the year, across all systems, [52] and the 9th highest selling PlayStation 2 game of the year. [53] It sold an additional 126,123 units in 2001, for a total of 345,981 units sold. [54]

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Final Fantasy X is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square as the tenth entry in the Final Fantasy series. Originally released in 2001 for Sony's PlayStation 2, the game was re-released as Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in 2013, for PlayStation 4 in 2015, Microsoft Windows in 2016, and will be released for the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One in 2019. The game marks the Final Fantasy series transition from entirely pre-rendered backdrops to fully three-dimensional areas, and is also the first in the series to feature voice acting. Final Fantasy X replaces the Active Time Battle (ATB) system with the "Conditional Turn-Based Battle" (CTB) system, and uses a new leveling system called the "Sphere Grid".

<i>Ico</i> video game

Ico is an action-adventure game developed by SCE Japan Studio and Team Ico, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, released for the PlayStation 2 video game console in 2001 and 2002 in various regions. It was designed and directed by Fumito Ueda, who wanted to create a minimalist game around a "boy meets girl" concept. Originally planned for the PlayStation, Ico took approximately four years to develop. The team employed a "subtracting design" approach to reduce elements of gameplay that interfered with the game's setting and story in order to create a high level of immersion.

<i>Kingdom Hearts</i> (video game) 2002 video game

Kingdom Hearts is a 2002 action role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation 2 video game console. It is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts series, and is the result of a collaboration between Square and The Walt Disney Company. The game combines characters and settings from Disney animated features with those from Square's Final Fantasy series. It follows the adventures of Sora, a cheerful teenager who fights against the forces of darkness alongside Donald Duck, Goofy and other Disney characters.

<i>SaGa</i> Wikipedia disambiguation page

SaGa (サガ) is a series of science fiction open world role-playing video games formerly developed by Square, and is currently owned by Square Enix. The series originated on the Game Boy in 1989 as the creation of Akitoshi Kawazu. It has since continued across multiple platforms, from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the PlayStation 2. The series is notable for its emphasis on open world exploration, non-linear branching plots, and occasionally unconventional gameplay. This distinguished the series from most of Square's titles. There are currently ten games in the SaGa series, along with several ports and enhanced remakes.

<i>Sonic Adventure 2</i> 2001 video game

Sonic Adventure 2 is a 2001 platform game developed by Sonic Team USA and published by Sega. The sequel to Sonic Adventure, it was the final Sonic the Hedgehog game for the Dreamcast after Sega discontinued the console. It features two good-vs-evil stories: Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower and Knuckles the Echidna attempt to save the world, while Shadow the Hedgehog, Doctor Eggman and Rouge the Bat attempt to conquer it. The stories are divided into three gameplay styles: fast-paced platforming for Sonic and Shadow, multi-directional shooting for Tails and Eggman, and action-exploration for Knuckles and Rouge.

<i>Dragon Quest VII</i> role-playing video game

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past is a Japanese role-playing video game developed by Heartbeat and ArtePiazza, and published by Enix for the PlayStation in 2000. It was released in North America in 2001 under the title Dragon Warrior VII. The game received a remake on the Nintendo 3DS on February 7, 2013 in Japan, which was released in North America and Europe for the Nintendo 3DS under the title Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past in 2016. A version of the game for Android and iOS was also released in Japan on September 17, 2015.

<i>Brave Fencer Musashi</i> 1998 video game

Brave Fencer Musashi is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1998 for the PlayStation home console. The game involves real-time sword-based combat in a 3D environment; it also features segments of voiced over dialogue and role-playing game elements such as a day-night cycle and resting to restore energy.

<i>Tales of Eternia</i> 2000 video game

Tales of Eternia, known as Tales of Destiny II in its original North America release, is a role-playing video game published by Namco as the third main title in their Tales series. Initially released for the PlayStation in November 2000 in Japan, an English version was later released in North America in September 2001. It was developed by members of Telnet Japan's "Wolfteam", who had previously worked on its predecessors Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Destiny. The game's producers gave it the characteristic genre name RPG of Eternity and Bonds. A port was released for the PlayStation Portable handheld in Japan in March 2005, and the PAL region in February 2006.

<i>Unlimited Saga</i> 2002 video game

Unlimited Saga is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation 2 as the ninth game in their SaGa series. Originally released in Japan in December 2002, the game was later made available for North American players in June 2003 and in Europe the following October. The game was designed by series veteran Akitoshi Kawazu who is given a byline on the cover of the game's packaging, with music composed by Masashi Hamauzu who had previously provided the soundtrack for the game's predecessor, SaGa Frontier 2. A special limited collector's edition was made available exclusively in Japan and was released alongside the regular edition.

<i>Romancing SaGa</i> video game

Romancing SaGa is a role-playing video game originally developed and published by Square as the fourth game of their SaGa series. The game was designed by Akitoshi Kawazu who had served as head developer for the previous SaGa titles, with fellow series veteran Kenji Ito providing the game's soundtrack. Set in the fictional world of Mardias, Romancing SaGa allows players to assume the role of one of eight main characters who must journey across the world to prevent the resurrection of an evil god named Saruin who was sealed away a millennium previous.

<i>Silent Hill 2</i> video game

Silent Hill 2 is a survival horror video game published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 and developed by Team Silent, part of Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo. It was released in September 2001 as the second installment in the Silent Hill series. An extended version containing an extra bonus scenario and other additions was published for Xbox in December of the same year. In 2002 it was ported to Windows. A remastered high-definition version was released for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 in 2012 as part of the Silent Hill HD Collection.

<i>Clock Tower</i> (series) Horror adventure video game series

Clock Tower is a survival horror point-and-click adventure video game series created by Hifumi Kono. The series includes four games in total. The first entry, Clock Tower (1995), was developed by Human Entertainment and released on the Super Famicom exclusively in Japan. Human Entertainment developed two more entries, Clock Tower (1996) and Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within (1998), which were released on the PlayStation and localized outside Japan. The fourth and most recent title, Clock Tower 3 (2002), was co-developed by Sunsoft and Capcom for the PlayStation 2. Gameplay in the series generally involves the player hiding and escaping from enemy pursuers without any weapons to defeat them. Scissorman is a reoccurring antagonist and sometimes the sole enemy in the game.

The Chrono series is a video game franchise developed and published by Square, and is currently owned by Square Enix. The series began in 1995 with the time travel role-playing video game Chrono Trigger, which spawned two continuations, Radical Dreamers: Nusumenai Hōseki, and Chrono Cross. A promotional anime called Dimensional Adventure Numa Monjar and two ports of Chrono Trigger were also produced. As of March 31, 2003, Chrono Trigger was Square Enix's 12th best-selling game, with 2.65 million units shipped. Chrono Cross was the 24th, with 1.5 million units. By March 2012, the two games sold over 5.4 million units combined. The games in the series have been called some of the greatest of all time, with most of the praise going towards Chrono Trigger. The series' original soundtracks, composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, have also been praised, with multiple soundtracks being released for them.

<i>Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes</i> 1998 video game

Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes is a crossover fighting game developed and published by Capcom. It is the third installment in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, which features characters from Capcom's video game franchises and comic book series published by Marvel Comics. The game debuted in Japanese and North American arcades in 1998. It was ported to the Dreamcast in 1999 and the PlayStation in 2000. The game was re-released in 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as part of the Marvel vs. Capcom Origins collection.

<i>Maken X</i> video game

Maken X is a first-person action hack and slash video game developed by Atlus for the Dreamcast. It was published by Atlus in Japan in 1999, while Sega localized and released the game overseas in 2000. Gameplay has the Maken—a sentient sword-like being—"brainjacking" or taking control of multiple characters across a variety of levels; combat is primarily based around short-ranged melee attacks, with some characters sporting additional abilities such as ranged attacks.

<i>Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance</i> 2001 video game

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is a 2001 action role-playing/hack and slash video game developed by Snowblind Studios for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It was ported to GameCube by High Voltage Software, and to the Game Boy Advance by Magic Pockets. The game was published for PlayStation, Xbox and GameCube by Black Isle Studios, a division of Interplay Entertainment, and distributed by Vivendi Universal Games. The Game Boy Advance version was published by DSI Games. CD Projekt was developing a version for PC, but it was ultimately cancelled.

<i>Super Smash Bros. Melee</i> video game

Super Smash Bros. Melee is a crossover fighting video game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. It was first released in Japan on November 21, 2001, in North America on December 3, 2001, in Europe on May 24, 2002, and in Australia on May 31, 2002. The second installment in the Super Smash Bros. series, it features characters from Nintendo video game franchises such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Pokémon. The stages and gameplay modes reference or take designs from these franchises as well.

<i>PaRappa the Rapper</i> 1996 rhythm game

PaRappa the Rapper is a rhythm game developed by NanaOn-Sha. It was published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation in 1996 in Japan and other countries in 1997. Created by music producer Masaya Matsuura in collaboration with artist Rodney Greenblat, the game features unique visual design and rap-based gameplay and is considered the first true rhythm game. It was ported to the PlayStation Portable in 2006. A remastered version of the original PlayStation game was released for PlayStation 4 in 2017 for the game's twentieth anniversary.

<i>Shin Megami Tensei IV</i> 2013 video game

Shin Megami Tensei IV is a Japanese post-apocalyptic role-playing video game developed by Atlus for the Nintendo 3DS. It is part of the Shin Megami Tensei series, the central series of the Megami Tensei franchise, though no direct story connection exists to previous entries. It was released in May and July 2013 for Japan and North America respectively. It was released digitally in Europe in October 2014. The gameplay is reminiscent of previous Shin Megami Tensei games, carrying over the turn-based Press Turn battle system, where players and enemies fight and exploit weaknesses, allowing either side to gain additional turns or lose them.

References

Notes
  1. シオン・バルザードShion Baruzādo
  2. ヴォルト・クルーガーVoruto Kurūgā
  3. コウ・レイフォーKou Reifō
  4. ドミニク・クロスDominiku Kurosu
  5. ドゥラガン・C・ミカドDuragan C. Mikado
  6. 無月
  7. エキドナEkidona
  8. カルディア・オーキッドKarudia Ōkiddo
  9. 鳳 李雲
  10. リアン・コールドウェルRian Kōdoweru
  11. 先代ミカドSendai Mikado
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