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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 visual 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:

  • Absolute Cleavage: There's no real reason why Kaldea's shirt is wide open and baring her chest, besides being yet another Nomura design.
  • 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, made insane by the Mikado corporation's experimentation. Dauragon is up there himself, given that once he starts initiating he plans to use a Kill Sat to vaporize anyone that refuses his attempt at rule out of spite.
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  • Big Bad: Dauragon, CEO of Mikado.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
  • Blood Knight: Once Sion was separated from his master Wong and Kaldea in his youth, he lashed out at the world and started looking for strong fights specifically to vent about it. It shows in his story when he's up and ready to brutalize any Mikado flunky or anyone else that gets in his way.
    • Amusingly the True Final Boss of Daurugon getting up for a third fight is this, as he abandons all of his ideals and awakens an 11th-Hour Superpower out of nowhere solely to embrace the ultimate fight in a hotblooded showdown.
  • 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.
  • Bonus Boss: Leann and Wong, both of which are firmly plot characters unless you meet the conditions to fight them in the ending as Koh and Sion, respectively. They come with their own movesets, and Defeat Means Playable for the multiplayer, which is probably why these fights exist in the first place as a way to play as them.
  • 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.
  • Camera Screw: The camera loves to zoom in real close so you can focus on beating down one or two targets at a time. Thing is, this is a game where other enemies and even the bosses will totally blindside you from off-camera as a result, and you have nothing but sound cues to know it. With no manual camera control, this can be a real problem. There's also a couple navigation segments in the game where the camera becomes real uncooperative, to the point of having to possibly run towards it to force to turn around to see exit points.
  • 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.
  • Continuing is Painful: Zig-zagged through a lack of the functionality; every time you die, you're sent back to the title screen instead of a retry menu, so you can't continue in the usual sense. However, the game lets you save after every battle, so you just have to load your save. And skip every cutscene, each of which has their own load screen, being punishment in and of itself. Don't expect autosaves, either — you have to start the entire game over if you didn't save once or lack a Memory Card.
  • Dance Battler: Echidna.
  • Dark Action Girl: Again, Echidna.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Versus and Survival only let you use the three bouncers as playable characters at first, until you start beating the bosses in the story. Beat a boss, you get them as playable in these modes so long as you remember to save. Separate boss phases also count, so that means two for Mugetsu and a whopping four for Daurugon. Dominique is the only exception, where she automatically unlocks by seeing her defeat PD-4 in the reveal of her being a Robot Girl in the story.
  • Death Seeker: Sion in his backstory, 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.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: If Sion learns who Kaldea is, after defeating her in combat, she states that the reason she chose to stay with Mikado was because she saw how sad Dauragon was beneath his ruthlessness and stays by his side out of pity. Hearing this, Dauragon impales Kaldea with his chain, snidely remarking that he doesn't need such "pathetic sympathy from a bionoid".
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Petty: Daurugon was refused to bring his sister into a hospital for her illness because the only active doctor at the time was on a house call, with no implied malice or spite behind the action. Mind you, this was when he was still a child at minimum, so a good number of years prior. Guess what the first target of Daurugon's Kill Sat is to highlight how truly evil he was all along?
  • 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?
  • Fake Difficulty: The Escort Mission falls into this, because Dominique has barely any health, the robot enemies hit like a proverbial truck, and she stupidly stays near your character, meaning stray attacks or even just being juggled by the foes are almost assuredly going to hit her if she's behind you. It's entirely possible to fail by being ragdolled into Dominque enough to down her.
    • The unmasked Mugetsu fight can throw players for a hard turn because Volt specifically asks who's going to pilot the air-carrier, which actually takes them out of the battle. After every single character choice before this was who you played to the point of entire exclusive sections at the mid-game, this can accidentally blindside a first time player that picks the character they've been leveling up to that point.
  • 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Wong, very briefly, before Daurugon puts an end to that swiftly. Meanwhile Echidna notably does a partial one after her second defeat, and a full one in Volt's ending to join the Fate bar, while Kaldea tries her best and earns Redemption Equals Death. Or, if you played every single fight as Sion, gets killed abruptly like Wong before she can even try.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In a playthrough where Sion learns the truth of Kaldea by being the one to beat her but didn't trigger her early death via playing every single scene as Sion, she ends up pushing Sion and Dominique just past a closing gate as she herself is weakened enough to not be able escape, dying with Daurugon as a result when the Galeos collides with the Kill Sat.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: There are a couple fights that are exceedingly hard to win the first time you play, though the bosses do react if you manage to beat them even if it doesn't change the story overall. New Game+ can let you come back to sweep them a bit more easily.
  • 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.
  • It's Personal: Sion grows to hate Dauragon for his kidnapping of Dominique, his murder of Wong, and potentially murdering Kaldea right in front of him too. Meanwhile Echidna has a personal beef with Volt because he was always stronger than her, and she assassinated the elder Master Mikado and framed it on Volt under Dauragon's orders. Though, if you defeat her with Volt and/or get his ending, she ends up with a Heel–Face Turn and a notable amount of Ship Tease with him.
  • Kill Sat: The evil Mega-Corp's big new energy source of a solar panel satellite has a giant laser cannon? Yeah, no surprise there. The bigger shocker is that Dominique is rigged as the starter key to the whole system.
  • 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 games to use this gameplay mechanic. Enemies grow in power and health depending on your character ranks, which will naturally rise as you level both their stats and their skills. If you're playing New Game+, however, that means lesser-leveled characters can end up going against nastier foes than they're built for, and get them destroyed pretty quickly if you're not careful.
  • 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.
  • Non-Standard 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 seawater 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.
  • Pointless Bandaid: Sion wears a small plaster under his left eye for the entirety of the game.
  • Pretty in Mink/Fluffy Fashion Feathers. Echidna wears light pink wrap of either fur or feathers.
  • 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.
  • Replay Value: In a bit of a "Rashomon"-Style approach, Sion, Volt and Koh have different scenes and dialog for whoever you pick per battle, complete with certain scenes being significantly extended or altered. Mid-way through the game, who you pick shows their perspective of their own exclusive level each and requiring another playthrough to see the others unless you load a save. Each gets an ending of their own, though Volt and Koh's can arguably tie together compared to Sion's. And certain secret bonus boss fights and cutscenes only happen if you achieve secret paths via Sion and Koh in who you take into fights — or don't take, in Sion's case. New Game+ lets you carry your character levels into successive playthroughs to both see more scenes and get a chance at the True Final Boss, but then the problem of the Level Scaling can settle in if you're not careful.
  • Ragdoll Physics: Hard to believe, but a game this old does indeed have them. Although it is somewhat goofy, as characters just flop on the ground like they have no real weight or bones from anything mildly disrupting: uppercuts, low kicks, throws, you name it, only the robots don't go flying for it.
  • 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.
  • Ship Tease: Kaldea and Dominique with Sion, Echidna with Volt, and Leann with Koh.
  • 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, though what Dominique wears under her jacket and Kaldea's outfits aren't a whole lot better. Especially Kaldea's alternate.
  • 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.
  • True Final Boss: On your fourth consecutive playthrough, Dauragon will get up for one final showdown with new abilities. This is a problem since just like the normal Final Boss, you still don't regain any health inbetween phases, which means you could be running on empty by the time you reach this. Go down and it's back to phase one all over again.
  • 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.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Mugetsu says this word for word before one of his boss fights.
  • Zipperiffic: Tetsuya Nomura did the character design. Do the math.

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