Sunday, March 13, 2011

THEPLAYGAMER3: The Bouncer

     GAMEPLAY 1     GAMEPLAY 2     GAMEPLAY 3







The Bouncer (バウンサー Baunsā?) is a beat 'em up for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console. It was co-developed by Square and Dream Factory. The game features character designs by Tetsuya Nomura and music by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi.

The Bouncer tells the story of three bouncers on a rescue mission to save their young friend from a megalomaniacal 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, it was met with mild sales and mediocre reviews.


Gameplay

Controls in The Bouncer are similar to those the Tobal No. 1 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 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 points, 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.


Main characters

Sion Barzahd (voiced by Paul Stephen)
Age: 19
Height: 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)

A bouncer and kenpō fighter who works in Bar Fate and has vowed to stop Dauragon to avenge his master and save Dominique. Was haunted by a tragic past involving the death of a former beloved.

Volt Krueger (voiced by Michael Gregory)
Age: 27
Height: 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)

The true epitome of a professional wrestler and a former employee of the Mikado corporation prior to Dauragon's ownership who now works in Bar Fate.

Kou Leifoh (voiced by Steven Blum)
Age: 25
Height: 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)

An undercover agent and taekwondo master posing as a bouncer in Bar Fate to keep tabs on Dominique. Has a cocky but easy-going personality.

Antagonists

Dauragon C. Mikado (voiced by Richard Cansino)
Age: 26
Height: 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)

The calculative yet secretly resentful current CEO of the company who is well-trained in academics (i.e. solar technology) as well as martial arts.

Mugetsu (voiced by R. Martin Klein)
Age: Approx. 30
Height: 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)

A covert ninja and unstable psychopath with cybernetic modifications working for Dauragon who loves to kill his enemies regardless of the situation. Leader of the "Mikado Special Forces" (MSF). Mugetsu is Dauragon's right-hand man.

Echidna (voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn)
Age: 25
Height: 5 ft 6 in (168 cm)

An associate/lover of Volt who betrayed him when Dauragon seized control of Mikado Corporation. She is skilled in the art of capoeira and is a supervisor of Mikado Corporation.

Kaldea Orchid (voiced by Anne Sherman)
Age: Unknown
Height: 5 ft 5 in (165 cm)

An old childhood friend/lover from Sion's past who becomes the result of a genetic experiment performed by Mikado Corporation.

PD-4 (voiced by Wendee Lee)

A deadly android that is able to extend sharp scythes from its hand and utilizes the Muay Thai fighting style.

Support characters

Dominique Cross (voiced by Bridget Hoffman)
Age: 15
Height: 4 ft 10 in (147 cm)

The sister of Dauragon and friend of the workers of Bar Fate who is kidnapped at the game's start.

Wong Leung (voiced by Simon Prescott)

The wise kenpo master of Sion and Dauragon who is advanced in years but possesses massive power nonetheless.

Leann Caldwell (voiced by Wendee Lee)

Kou's superior who is closely watching the whereabouts of both Mikado and Dominique.

Master Mikado (voiced by Michael Forest)

Dauragon's honorable foster father, who is deceased by the time the game starts and appears only in flashbacks.

Development

The Bouncer was co-directed by Seiichi Ishii and Square veteran Takashi Tokita, while its character designs were handled by Tetsuya Nomura, famous for his work in the Final Fantasy 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 and Tobal 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 in 1999 as Square's first PlayStation 2 title. Before more information was revealed by Square at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May of 2000, it was thought to be a sequel to Ehrgeiz.

Audio

The Bouncer was scored by Noriko Matsueda and Takahito Eguchi. Two separate soundtracks were released. The Bouncer Original Soundtrack, a 2-disc, 29-track album was published on March 23, 2001 by DigiCube. The Bouncer Original Video Game Soundtrack, a single disc, 21-track album was published on March 26, 2001 by Tokyopop Soundtrax. 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 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 sound, used specifically for the title's full motion video sequences. 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 on to "...provide more of a DVD quality to the game. Facial animation was also created later to fit the voices.

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