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The Bouncer

The Bouncer

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is a beat 'em up
Beat 'em up
Beat 'em up is a video game genre featuring melee combat between the protagonist and a large number of underpowered antagonists. These games typically take place in urban settings and feature crime-fighting and revenge-based plots, though some games may employ historical or fantasy themes...

 for the Sony
Sony Computer Entertainment
Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. is a major video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony...

 PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

 video game console
Video game console
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device to display a video game...

. It was co-developed by Square
Square (company)
was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1983 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 and became part of Square Enix...

 and DreamFactory. The game features character designs by Tetsuya Nomura
Tetsuya Nomura
is a Japanese video game director and character designer working for Square Enix , best known for his work on both the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series.-Time before Square:Nomura was born in Kōchi, Japan...

 and music by Noriko Matsueda
Noriko Matsueda
is a Japanese former video game composer. She is best known for her work on the Front Mission series, The Bouncer, and Final Fantasy X-2. Matsueda collaborated with fellow composer Takahito Eguchi on several games. Composing music at an early age, she began studying the piano and electronic organ...

 and Takahito Eguchi
Takahito Eguchi
is a Japanese video game composer and arranger. He is best known for collaborating with fellow composer Noriko Matsueda on numerous soundtracks, most notably The Bouncer and Final Fantasy X-2. He became interested in music when he was six years old after hearing his neighbor playing the piano...

.

The Bouncer tells the story of three bouncers
Bouncer (doorman)
A bouncer is an informal term for a type of security guard employed at venues such as bars, nightclubs or concerts to provide security, check legal age, and refuse entry to a venue based on criteria such as intoxication, aggressive behavior, or attractiveness...

 on a rescue mission to save their young friend from a megalomania
Megalomania
Megalomania is a psycho-pathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence. 'Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs'...

cal solar technology corporation. The game is structured like a "playable action movie" and the plot unfolds differently depending on which character the player chooses for specific gameplay sequences.

The game marks Square's first release on the PlayStation 2. Although the game received a healthy amount of press before its actual release as one of the marquee titles in the first batch of games to be released for the PlayStation 2, it was met with mild sales and mediocre reviews.

Gameplay


Controls in The Bouncer are similar to those the Tobal No. 1
Tobal No. 1
is a fighting 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....

series. Certain buttons denote high, middle, and low attacks, jumping, blocking, and special attacks. One aspect of the game's combat is an exaggerated physics engine which allows characters to be launched several feet into the air as a result of attacks, making it possible to juggle enemies by striking them in the air repeatedly. Enemies can also be thrown or otherwise knocked into one another, causing them all to take damage at once. The game employs ragdoll physics
Ragdoll physics
In computer physics engines, ragdoll physics is a type of procedural animation that is often used as a replacement for traditional static death animations.-Introduction:Early video games used manually-created animations for characters' death sequences...

 during these moments.

Story Mode



The Bouncer is structured as a series of short gameplay segments interspersed with cinematic sequences that tell the game's story. With the Active Character Selection (ACS) System, a story sequence concludes to give the player the choice between one of the three protagonists to control (Sion, Volt, or Kou) and proceed into the next gameplay segment. At the conclusion of each gameplay segment, the player is able to spend Bouncer Points (BP), the game's equivalent of experience point
Experience point
An experience point is a unit of measurement used in many role-playing games and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game...

s, using the Point Exchange System to boost that character's statistics and unlock new fighting moves. Boosting a character's stats eventually causes that character to grow in rank, which is graded on a letter scale ranging from G to S.

Typical gameplay in The Bouncer consists of the player fighting against groups of enemies using hand-to-hand combat techniques. At some points, one of the computer controlled players will do a taunt, prompting a button press to activate a team attack on an enemy, although it is ineffective against some bosses. Occasionally, the player will also be tasked with other activities, such as running through a series of hallways to avoid being caught in a flood. In general, a gameplay segment ends when the player has either defeated all of the enemies in the area, or has defeated a boss enemy.

Survival Mode


In addition to the main Story Mode, there is also a single-player Survival Mode in which the player must fight off as many enemies as possible (in the span of 10 stages). Everytime the player survives the round, it gets progressively harder.

Multiplayer


The Bouncer supports the PlayStation 2 multitap accessory, a device making it possible for more than two controllers to plug into the console. The game's multiplayer Versus Mode supports up to four player simultaneous play in the Battle Royal option that allows the players to fight each other using many of the game's characters.

Story


The story revolves around three bouncers, Sion, Volt and Kou, and their friend, Dominique. On the night of Sion's first anniversary as a bouncer, special forces from the Mikado corporation attack the bar they work at and kidnap Dominique. With each bouncer having their own personal motive, the three of them set out to Mikado to rescue her. During the story, they encounter fearsome enemies, old figures of the past and discover the true reason why Dominique was captured.
How the story is revealed depends on which characters are selected during each level. For example, selecting Kou on certain levels reveals phone conversations that are unheard when playing as other characters.

Development


The Bouncer was co-directed
Game director
Game director may refer to:* Video game producer, the person in charge of overseeing development of a video game* Technical director, usually a senior technical person within creative group...

 by Seiichi Ishii
Seiichi Ishii
Seiichi Ishii is a Japanese game designer. He is most well known for the development of fighting games....

 and Square veteran Takashi Tokita
Takashi Tokita
is a Japanese video game developer working for Square Enix. He has worked there since 1985, and has worked as the lead designer for Final Fantasy IV as well as the director of Parasite Eve and Chrono Trigger.-Biography:...

, while its character designs were handled by Tetsuya Nomura
Tetsuya Nomura
is a Japanese video game director and character designer working for Square Enix , best known for his work on both the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series.-Time before Square:Nomura was born in Kōchi, Japan...

, famous for his work in the Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy
is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and is developed and owned by Square Enix . The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science-fantasy role-playing video games , but includes motion pictures, anime, printed media, and other merchandise...

series. Tokita claims that the most difficult aspect of the game's creation was working with the PlayStation 2's advanced hardware for the first time. Its gameplay was derived from Dream Factory's Ehrgeiz
Ehrgeiz
, fully titled Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring, is a 3D fighting game developed by DreamFactory and published by Namco in 1998 for the arcade platform. It was first ported to the PlayStation and published by Square Co...

and Tobal
Tobal No. 1
is a fighting 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....

series, while graphically, the game's atmosphere was developed with the use of filters and lighting. The game was first announced at the Tokyo Game Show
Tokyo Game Show
The , commonly known as TGS, is a video game expo / convention held annually in the Makuhari Messe, in Chiba, Japan. It is presented by the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association and the Nikkei Business Publications, Inc...

 in 1999
1999 in video gaming
-Events:*British Academy of Film and Television Arts hosts the 2nd annual BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Awards*March – Game Over republished as “Game Over: Press Start to Continue”...

 as Square's first PlayStation 2 title. Before more information was revealed by Square at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May of 2000
2000 in video gaming
-Events:* May 11–13 — 6th annual Electronic Entertainment Expo ; the 3rd annual Game Critics Awards for the Best of E³* June 26 — International Game Developers Association renamed from Computer Game Developers Association...

, it was thought to be a sequel to Ehrgeiz
Ehrgeiz
, fully titled Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring, is a 3D fighting game developed by DreamFactory and published by Namco in 1998 for the arcade platform. It was first ported to the PlayStation and published by Square Co...

.

Audio


The Bouncer was scored by Noriko Matsueda
Noriko Matsueda
is a Japanese former video game composer. She is best known for her work on the Front Mission series, The Bouncer, and Final Fantasy X-2. Matsueda collaborated with fellow composer Takahito Eguchi on several games. Composing music at an early age, she began studying the piano and electronic organ...

 and Takahito Eguchi
Takahito Eguchi
is a Japanese video game composer and arranger. He is best known for collaborating with fellow composer Noriko Matsueda on numerous soundtracks, most notably The Bouncer and Final Fantasy X-2. He became interested in music when he was six years old after hearing his neighbor playing the piano...

. Two separate soundtracks were released. The Bouncer Original Soundtrack, a 2-disc
Compact Disc
The Compact Disc is an optical disc used to store digital data. It was originally developed to store and playback sound recordings exclusively, but later expanded to encompass data storage , write-once audio and data storage , rewritable media , Video Compact Discs , Super Video Compact Discs ,...

, 29-track album was published on March 23, 2001 by DigiCube
DigiCube
DigiCube Co., Ltd. was a Japanese company established as a subsidiary of software developer Square on February 6, 1996 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The primary purpose of DigiCube was to market and distribute Square products, most notably video games and related merchandise, including toys,...

. The Bouncer Original Video Game Soundtrack, a single disc, 21-track album was published on March 26, 2001 by Tokyopop Soundtrax
Tokyopop
Tokyopop, styled TOKYOPOP, and formerly known as Mixx, is a distributor, licensor, and publisher of anime, manga, manhwa, and Western manga-style works. The existing German publishing division produces German translations of licensed Japanese properties and original English-language manga, as well...

. The game contains a few vocal themes including the original Japanese ending theme song "Forevermore" (Owaranaimono), performed by Reiko Noda, and the ending theme song "Love Is The Gift", originally performed by Shanice Wilson
Shanice
Shanice Lorraine Wilson-Knox , better known as Shanice, is a Grammy-nominated American R&B/soul singer-songwriter. She scored two Top 5 Billboard hit single's "I Love Your Smile" in 1991, and "Saving Forever for You" in 1993. In 1999, Shanice scored another top hit song, "When I Close My Eyes"...

 which never was released in any audio CDs. Takashi Tokita has commented that the latter song, heard during the credits, signifies the game's overall theme.

The Bouncer is the first PlayStation 2 game to feature Dolby 5.1
Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital is the name for audio compression technologies developed by Dolby Laboratories. It was originally called Dolby Stereo Digital until 1994. Except for Dolby TrueHD, the audio compression is lossy. The first use of Dolby Digital was to provide digital sound in cinemas from 35mm film prints...

 sound, used specifically for the title's full motion video
Full motion video
Full motion video based games are video games that rely upon pre-recorded TV-quality movie or animation rather than sprites, vectors, or 3D models to display action in the game. In the early 1990s a diverse set of games utilized this format...

 sequences. In addition, it features voice acting
Voice acting
Voice acting is the art of providing voices for animated characters and radio and audio dramas and comedy, as well as doing voice-overs in radio and television commercials, audio dramas, dubbed foreign language films, video games, puppet shows, and amusement rides.Performers are called...

 with subtitles in both English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

. 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 on to "...provide more of a DVD quality to the game." Facial animation was also created later to fit the voices.

Reception


In Japan, The Bouncer sold over 219,000 copies the year of its release, making it the 9th best selling PlayStation 2 game of 2000. It sold an additional 132,000 units in 2001, making it the 86th best selling game of that year.

With the consideration of its development team, as well as the fact that it was a front-runner in PlayStation 2 game releases, The Bouncer was highly anticipated in the months before its release. However, the game was not received as well as many had hoped, and was largely perceived as mediocre. Numerous aspects from its original E3 trailer, such as destructible scenery, were removed in the final game, likely in order to get the game out in time to be among the first batch of PlayStation 2 titles. Much of the criticism it garnered fell on its gameplay. IGN
IGN
IGN is an entertainment website that focuses on video games, films, music and other media. IGN's main website comprises several specialty sites or "channels", each occupying a subdomain and covering a specific area of entertainment...

 found the controls to be average and that the camera becomes a major issue in the later portions of the game, where the player is confined to tight spaces. The game is also seen as having an excessive amount of cutscenes and load screens. GameCritics.com condemns this notion, saying that its actual gameplay constitutes less than one third its length.

Nevertheless, the game's graphics and sound were common points of praise. GameSpot
GameSpot
GameSpot is a video gaming website that provides news, reviews, previews, downloads, and other information. The site was launched in May 1, 1996 by Pete Deemer, Vince Broady and Jon Epstein. It was purchased by ZDNet, a brand which was later purchased by CNET Networks. CBS Interactive, which...

 noted "Everything, from the characters to the backgrounds, looks absolutely incredible." PSXExtreme.com found perfection in the game's voice acting, while AllRPG.com said the score "set the mood of the scene and introduced the person in song, much like Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

."

External links