The Bouncer has one of the most insipid "stories" I have ever played. Most beat-'em-ups, like Streets of Rage or Fighting Force, have the good taste and common decency to save you the trouble of worrying about characters and their relationships. Instead, they essentially tell you, "Some hoodlums have taken over the streets of our fair city, and they're evil, so please, go out there and beat the dog crap out of them and don't come back until you do." It does the job for me. That's all the motivation I need. But The Bouncer tries to impress you with the cinematic. From a technical standpoint, it actually succeeds. Given its age, it still looks and sounds pretty good. In terms of narrative, however, it stinks. Without looking it up, I can only recall a girl being kidnapped by oddly-dressed thugs, and our equally oddly-dressed bar bouncer heroes going out to save her from being turned into a cyborg kind of thing by some bozo running the evil Mikado corporation. There's also something in there about satellites and solar energy, I think. You spend the rest of the game getting acquainted with others who have also made numerous fashion faux pas. An idiotic premise, for sure, but that's not what gets to me.
|The Fashion of The Bouncer. Good gracious.|
This interminable story ruins what is otherwise a decent beat-'em-up engine: deep enough to keep most fights interesting, but easy to learn (though a counter button would have been nice). Basically, you watch and then you briefly fight, level up your characters, watch then briefly fight, level up your characters, and so on. Luckily, you have the option of using characters unlocked in the Story mode to play either Survival or Versus. Survival isn't much better than Story, mostly because it quickly becomes alternatively tedious and cheap. Versus is your typical multiplayer mode, and it supports up to four players, human or CPU. It redeems the game somewhat, but not enough to recommend it for anyone other than the most starved beat-'em-up fans.