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Wait a second, where's Kou and Volt?

"Pardon my past discourtesies… I will forget the past… I no longer care about the indignation I have suffered!"
Dauragon Mikado, as he prepares to fight Kou, Sion, and Volt on board the Galeos.
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It's going to be a long night for a bar so empty.

The Bouncer focuses on one really bad night at a bar called Fate. Despite being a slow place, it has three bouncers: Sion Barzahd, Koh Leifoh, and Volt Kreuger. On the night of Sion's one-year anniversary as a bouncer, a team of Ninjas busts in, out to kidnap their friend, Dominique Cross. When they make off with her, the three chase after her, to have a showdown that the bouncers find is way out of their league.

It was developed by Square, and launched two days before the Christmas of 2000 for the then-new PlayStation 2. The game did not do nearly as well as they hoped, although main character Sion seemingly lives on through his Expy, Sora.

The game has somewhat of a cult status with PS2 gamers due to the story and the characters, even though it didn't sell enough to be in the top 10 games sold in the early 2000s.

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This game has examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Much of the bouncers' backstories are told through short dialogues found in the loading screens between stages. If one is not paying attention, or is using a system that loads quickly, then expect to miss a lot of what the heck is going on.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Sion can unlock a black-hooded costume by clearing Survival Mode. Kou can also unlock his MSF disguise costume if he was chosen for the "Rashomon"-Style interlude after the first fight with Dauragon.
  • Ax-Crazy: Mugetsu.
  • Big Bad: Dauragon, CEO of Mikado.
  • Body Horror: Sion's Former Friend Kaldea is actually the same age as him, but genetic tampering by Mikado left her looking both 15 years older than him and able to turn into a panther.
  • Brick Joke: That berobed woman from the intro watching the news story of the Mikado satellite? That's actually Leann, and said robe amusingly becomes her alternate costume when you unlock her.
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  • Chained by Fashion: Sion has a bunch of chains going on that serve no practical purpose. Dauragon also has one, that he uses to make things "fair" for you.
  • Dance Battler: Echidna.
  • Dark Action Girl: Again, Echidna.
  • Death Seeker: Sion, after the disappearance of Master Wong and the death of Kaldea. This gets undone when Volt defeats him.
  • Defector from Decadence: Volt, former bodyguard with the Mikado corporation.
  • Elite Mooks: For every Mook type, there's usually an elite version that has more health, is more aggressive with its attacks, and does more damage than the regulars.
  • Escort Mission: A particularly frustrating one part-way through the game. This game plays this trope painfully straight, and makes a mission that should be a breeze into an absolute nightmare. This is also one of the longest stages yet. See Luck-Based Mission and Too Dumb to Live.
  • Expy: Nomura recycled much of Sion's design for Sora.
    • Before that, Sion was considered by some to be an expy of 17-year old, brown-haired, blue-eyed, sullen Final Fantasy VIII hero Squall Leonhart. Volt and Koh likewise bear a resemblance to Zell Dincht and Laguna Loire, the young Kaldea bears a striking resemblance to Rinoa Heartilly, and Dominique has Selphie Tilmitt's green eyes and looped hairstyle.
    • Kou's body tattoos and hairstyle shows up years later as Sho Minamimoto.
    • Dauragon is a young blonde leader of a big company who fights alongside a panther in your first battle against him. Remind you of Rufus?
  • Guide Dang It!: Sion's bonus fight against Wong, which requires you to make sure to not use him in certain battles. This means you absolutely have to do this on a New Game+ run, as one of the fights that Sion has to be played as in is the Final Boss fight against Dauragon, where an underleveled character will just not cut it.
    • Technically, Koh's bonus fight against Leann also counts, but the conditions are much more simple, as you simply have to choose Koh for all possible fights, as well as the mid-game "Rashomon"-Style sequence. This does, however, have the chance to go south, as it's entirely possible to accidentally have him sit out of the Unmasked Mugetsu fight, where one of the three player characters has to pilot the air-carrier they're on, leaving the other two to fight the opponent.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: There are a couple fights that are exceedingly hard to win the first time you play. They become much easier after a few runs, though.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Dauragon chains up his right arm for his first fight against you, limiting his power and techniques. Somewhat.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Sion and Dominique. Though Volt's studded leather jacket with a Cactaur on the back might be up there.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: Mikado's own security forces, including a unit of ninja commandos. It also doubles as a PMC.
  • Large Ham:
    • "Koh Leifoh, Superspy!" To be fair, Steve Blum voiced him.
    • Mugetsu as well. To be fair, R. Martin Klien voiced him.
  • Level Scaling: Arguably one of the first modern game to use this gameplay mechanic. See Scrappy Mechanic on the YMMV section.
  • Loading Screen: These give flashbacks to give background on the bouncer you've most recently selected. And a good condition disc can load so quickly you never manage to read it all.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Unless it's not your first run through, Dominique's Escort Mission is nothing but this. How far you get is entirely dependent on how how suicidal she's feeling this particular go around.
  • Mega-Corp: The Mikado Corporation.
  • Mighty Glacier: Volt. His power also is meant to compensate for his smaller move pool.
  • The Mole: Koh is actually a spy that was sent to Fate to keep tabs on Dominique. While his goals throughout the game align with the other two, he's feeding info to his superiors the whole time and is ready to act counter to the other bouncers' wishes if need be.
  • New Game+: Carries over all the power-ups bought. Unfortunately, Dauragon gets powered up based on your stats, and gets a final form if you've run through enough times.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: If you run out of time trying to find the keycard to unlock the cargo to stop the train from crashing with rocket fuel, the collision into the building is more destructive and causes sea water to rush through the explosion, which then causes the whole next level to have water chasing you at certain points, which causes emergency doors to close. If you don't make it through the doors fast enough, then a cutscene plays where your character of choice is trapped by the doors and the water reaches them. It then it cuts to the normal game over screen over a black background.
  • Ninja: The Mikado Special Forces unit led by Mugetsu. They just fight via unarmed combat.
  • Obvious Beta: Additional stages and the ability to use Improvised Weapons were meant to be utilized in the game, but were cut shortly before release. The game was also pretty much just a test to tweak and finalize a usable graphics engine for Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Echidna has fairly large ones.
  • Pretty in Mink/Fluffy Fashion Feathers. Echidna wears light pink wrap of either fur or feathers.
  • Power Trio:
  • Preasskicking One Liner: A LOT, from awesome ones like:
    Sion: You're not getting paid enough to die! Now get out of my way!
  • Psycho for Hire: Mugetsu, emphasis on the "psycho" part.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Hell, some of the mooks that you fight are actual rent-a-cops.
  • Ragdoll Physics: Hard to believe, but a game this old does indeed have them. Although it is somewhat goofy.
  • Secret Character: Apart from the main trio, every other playable character has to be unlocked by way of story progression, usually by way of Defeat Means Playable. Three proper examples of secret characters include Wong and Leann, who are fought as post-game Bonus Bosses after fulfilling certain conditions (explained in Guide Dang It!), and Topless Dauragon, who only shows up as the True Final Boss in a player's third consecutive New Game+ run.
  • Shapeshifting: Kaldea can change into the form of a surreal-looking black panther.
  • Shirtless Scene: You control three bouncers, with one shirt between them. And Sion, the one with a shirt, wears it half-open. Volt leaves his jacket open, and Koh wears just an open vest. Dauragon eventually drops his coat and the top half of his overalls, as well.
  • Shown Their Work: Echidna actually uses a fairly realistic capoeira fighting style which someone clearly studied.
  • Spy Catsuit: Worn by all of Mikado's ninja mooks. And Mugetsu.
  • Stripperific: Echidna's outfit.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Sion says this to Dauragon before the final battle.
  • Tomato Surprise: Dominique is actually a Robot Girl Dauragon built based on his dead little sister.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Dominique in her Escort Mission. She will gladly stand in between you and a hostile robot that's trying to kill you, and eat an attack that takes away half of her health... then stand right back up and do it again.
  • Traintop Battle: The location of your first fight with Echidna.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: If, during the sequence when the three are forcibly separated by Dauragon, you follow Koh's path, you mostly end up trying to pass as a Mook while wandering the Mikado building.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Kaldea, who became an unfortunate victim to Mikado's experimentation, was a friend of Sion's in their youth. Depending on who is used in which battles, it's possible that Sion won't ever learn it's her.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The credits show a montage of a forever-young Dominique visiting the graves of her friends from Fate.
  • Zipperiffic: Tetsuya Nomura did the character design. Do the math.

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