The only two reasons The Bouncer was truly disliked by critics were because of its camera and controls. But despite that, In actual honesty, The Bouncer is a fairly good game even with a few quirks and flaws.
The Bouncer has fantastic visuals, especially for a first generation Playstation 2 game and as Square's first game on the system too. The characters are all lovingly designed by Tetsuya Nomura who is famous for doing character designs for many of Square's RPGs like Final Fantasy.
The levels are well varied and set out great. They're also quite original and different from anything we've seen as standard from a fighting game similar to The Bouncer.
Perhaps the best thing about The Bouncer is the cinematics that are executed at a fantastic definition on the Playstation 2. These Cinematics are a lot more organic since many of the game's cinematics use the power of the system rather than FMV sequences previously common from Squaresoft during the Psone era.
The cut-scenes have a very Hollywood feel to them as a result. This is Furthermore helped tremendously by the sound effects department of The Bouncer. Square appointed both Noriko Matsueda and Tetsuya Nomura (known for their work on Final Fantasy X2) to do the soundtrack for The Bouncer. And even though the soundtrack does sound fairly generic it is well produced using great instruments and effects.
The sound department is even more fortunate thanks to the the voice acting of the game, which really feels spot on for The Bouncer. Not only are the voices appropriately chosen for the game but also they're acted out decently and well above average expectations.
The gameplay of The Bouncer is probably the weakest area of the game, although still good nether the less. The mechanics play very closely to Tobal, another title Dream Factory worked on for Playstation. The button placements and move-lists feel under-developed for the most part and not as diverse as they could've been in the end.
A lot of the fights in the game are in small little areas where you fight a few enemies which progressively get tougher throughout the game, The Bouncer has no difficulty worries however as it moves at walking pace as expected for a beat em' up.
There is some variation thrown in between levels although not a lot. Boss fights are chucked at you as you continue to progress the story as well this does add enough change but sadly isn't enough.
At some point in the game, there will be little moments where you have to search for items or keys yet these are few and far between, which gamers should be thankful of because they're quite dull. Speaking of which, these moments are used to accompany the story of The Bouncer. Interestingly, this aspect of the game is highly enjoyable and engrossing as expected from Squaresoft and primarily the reason why people should keep playing it.
The back-story to each character is interesting and briefly explored throughout the story, endings and load times depending on which of the three characters you pick in The Bouncer. The three characters themselves are designed to suit everyone's taste with a tough guy, speedy guy and balanced guy, all of them can be leveled up in numerous departments despite this though and can be replayed with improved stats and abilities later in the game.
The Bouncer has a good multiplayer with 4 on 4 combat, which can be a good laugh if you have the multitaps necessary to do so. These multiplayer modes can also be played with computer opponents if wanted. While they're fun mainly eventually they grow old but it still adds to the playability of the game nether the less
What I mean by this is the characters playable in the multiplayer mode are all worth trying out and can be unlocked by completing the game in certain ways, giving the player and incentive to keep playing the game.
The reason this has been said is because The Bouncer is a fairly short game and can be completed in a few hours if the player had the feeling to do so. For the normal gamer though it can be finished in a good few weeks at the latest, which isn't too bad considering the price the game can be found now.
So summed up, The Bouncer isn't a bad game as said at the beginning. It has a fair few flaws but the gradual feeling as you finish the game is generally satisfying. It is an enjoyable purchase and worth checking out if you're a Squaresoft or Tobal fan.