The Bouncer (PS2) | Square | 2001
With the dawning of every new console generation must come new, shinier games - games superior to anything previously seen on the fading machine being shuffled into retirement. And, in the early days of PS2, gamers believed that Square's much hyped beat-'em-up, The Bouncer, would be the spunky new jaw dropper that would really show off Sony's tower of power.
And admittedly it looked hot. Real hot. There were plenty of fancy blurring effects going on and gamers were genuinely wowed by the animations and visuals. But, as we all know, good looks do not maketh the game good and beneath all its cosmetic beauty, there was a dull and torturously average experience waiting.
Blighted by poor camera angles, meathead AI, flappy controls, waaaay too many cut scenes and simply not enough game, The Bouncer is a classic example of flashy and beautiful being hastily mistaken for fun and enjoyable. And while it might not have received a mauling in the Christian-versus-lion sense of the word, critics were left feeling gloomy that something so swollen with promise, could end up so depressingly vapid.
Above: Gaming's equivalent of a trophy girlfriend, there were no endearing qualities hiding behind its bombshell good looks
And Square did shout from the mountaintop...
"The Bouncer is a dynamic blend of high-impact action and cinema. Helping to bring the dramatic story to life are the high-resolution graphics and fully-utilized voiceovers, both of which are made possible by the PlayStation 2's powerful graphic capabilities and new DVD format."
Lo, the critics were sad and did spit fire and brimstone...
GamesMaster: "Very pretty but badly flawed, The Bouncer 's great fun to watch and slightly less so to play, which isn't really the point of games."
GameSpot: "'Play the action movie' These are the words that Square uses to sum up its latest PlayStation 2 game, The Bouncer. While there's no question that The Bouncer 's presentation is worthy of an action movie, the 'play' portion of the game doesn't stand up to the standard set by the game's sound and graphics."
Gaming Target: "The problem is, the game fundamentally stays the same - you fight the same characters, in the same situations - the only difference is that the cut scenes are different in between. That's pretty much the theme here - fight, watch long cut scene, fight, watch long cut scene, rinse and repeat. It wouldn't be a big deal if there was more fighting perhaps, but there just isn’t enough actual gameplay..."
PSM2: "What's worse is that, far from revolutionising the beat-'em-up genre, it doesn't even learn from its predecessors. It makes so many glaring omissions from the outset that it never really recovers... If you just want pretty cut scenes to impress your mates, you'll be delirious. If you want strategy or an involved combat system, though, you'd be better off looking elsewhere."