I’m disappointed with my pictures this time. There are reasons for that! I may have delayed this post out of shame, bringing even greater real shame.
One reason that I love this project is that I get to delay my gratification in a way that resembles what it was like back when these games were first coming out. The Bouncer simulates this feeling perfectly. I remember anticipating this game back in 2001, knowing that it was from Square. After almost 20 years of not playing the game and barely thinking of it, I was ready to dive back in.
Like with Tobal No.1, Square has once again left it to Dream Factory to break into Sony’s new console. The game even has a similar fighting system as Tobal’s with attacks being arranged into low, medium, and high inputs. Toriyama has been swapped out for Nomura and I am going to defer judgement on whether this was a good choice. I will say that I have respect for Nomura because he has a fashion designer’s fearlessness in pushing what many people would see as stupid looks. I want the confidence necessary to stand behind a design like Kou Leifoh’s. Okay, I legitimately love how Volt Kreuger and Dominique Cross look. Have you noticed the names that I’m writing down? Are you as jealous as I am?
Unfortunately, far too many resources were spent on cutscenes at the expense of a cohesive experience. The rhythm of the game is incredibly disjointed. While the game is set up like a 3D brawler, the action sequences aren’t often stitched together by moving through the world on your own, rather, they are intercut by clips of plot. In practice, this creates a routine where you watch 3 minutes of a cutscene, beat up a handful of people within 1 minute, and wash that down with another 2 minute cutscene. This would be an all time great if you could just simply walk around, open doors, talk to people, and sit on benches, but I suppose this is what you get early in a console’s life. That said, I am here for the plot which involves microwave transmitting satellites and bio-engineering humans to transform into big cats.
This is the first Japan-Only release in our little series and a very good one at that.
In an odd way, this game feels very similar to Fantavision. That is, my brain is doing the same work of trying to visually organize a field while keeping up with the game’s rhythm. This game is more complex however, and it surprised me with its variety. I wish I could read the tips because I’d love to know the secrets towards getting a high score. Perhaps I’ll find out when Technic Beat comes around.
Put simply, you must stand on a ring and press a button when the ripple meets the edge of the ring. With the first characters you unlock, you can pick up the ring and link it to others in order to cause a chain. You can also try to stand inside multiple rings in order to play a chord. This all means that the song can sound very different depending on how you play. It’s a much more improvisational experience than DDR. The complexity comes from the variety of characters, as each character has their own ways of carrying the ring. I really love how these abilities help characterize each person. A snorkeling platypus can dive with the ring in tow. A dog can pick up the ring but you must hold the pick up button or it will fall out of his mouth. The ballerina cannot pick up rings at all; instead, they swell in size whenever she stands within them.
The music is phenomenal and hits a wide range of genres. I would post highlights but really just listen to all of it.
I really like this game and I’m very tempted to buy this shirt from their official website. I can’t wait to see what Arika has next for the PS2.