So I learned pretty quickly there are only so many games I can have played and can talk about sex scenes and overtly sexy characters in, so for the time being the “This Week in Sexy Games” series of articles will be pushed aside and upgraded to a spotlight of all games.
So what better way to start off this series…with a game few people liked. The Bouncer, Squaresoft’s (at the time before becoming Square Enix) first game released for the PlayStation 2.
At least that’s how I remembered it, apparently is isn’t as hated as I used to think. The Metacritic rating for it currently sits at 66, IGN gave it a 7/10, Gamespot a 6.7/10. It’s weird to me because I specifically remember every rating this game got was below a 5/10 and this is when people actually used 1-4 as number ratings. Oh boy, that’s an article I need to write soon.
The Bouncer is your standard beat-’em-up but with the added flair that Square always brings to the table. Great cutscenes, decent voice acting, ridiculous costume designs and questionable names. The main protagonist, Sion Barzahd looks like an adult version of Sora from Kingdom Hearts, which honestly wouldn’t shock me if Sion’s design was part of what the character designers took from to create Sora. The hair is similar, the clothing is similar, even the colour scheme is very close to the original Sora design, it’s actually kinda crazy.
All the characters are really decent at best, while some stand out costume-wise or hair-wise, in terms of personality no one really runs away with it, except for one of the recurring bosses Mugetsu, who’s really just the insane Joker ripoff character. Sion is pretty much Squall, Volt is your standard tough guy and Kou is the cool one. The love interest of Dominique is your standard cute girl, another recurring boss Echidna is the badass tomboy girl and the main enemy Dauragon is your typical pretty boy egomaniac. None of them steal the show, but they don’t need to and it benefits the story as there’s not really one character you want to get off your TV screen.
The story is not much to talk about, mainly because it’s all over the place, especially towards the end. To shorten it up, basically Sion is a bouncer with Volt and Kou when a bunch of ninjas kidnap his girlfriend Dominique. They fight on top of a train, they fight robots, a girl who transforms into a panther and then go into space and fight the final boss. Did I mention these three are just bouncers? The story is absolutely ridiculous, jumps faster than you can keep up and yet I still love it.
The gameplay is what holds it together though for me. Some people think it’s sloppy but for a PS2-era game, it works extremely well, the camera’s decent, the motions are fluid and some of the moves are just awesome. With a decent leveling system as well you start off pretty weak, but by the end of the game you’re a fucking death bringer, you can be super OP and have a bunch of wicked over-the-top fighting moves. It’s great.
Even the multiplayer aspect of the game is decent and having access to all the characters as fighters is pretty cool. For me it was a new thing to play a game like this and be able to play as all the villains as well.
As an early PS2 game, The Bouncer is fantastic and to this day remains one of my favourite games. Is it one of the best games I’ve ever played, not even close, but the nostalgic value of this game is extremely high for me. If you’re looking for a trip down PS2 memory lane, this game’s a good find for it. I love this game.