Was It Really only two years ago that Rockstar rebranded this game Canis Canem Edit for the PlayStation 2 to pacify a bunch of angry ban-minded tabloids, who wouldn't think past that single word Bully? Was it really only eight months ago that the Scholarship Edition appeared on the Xbox 360? It feels like this game's been around for a decade - perhaps that's something to do with all that controversial publicity that Rockstar seem to suck up like profitable shock Hoovers. It's good that the game's finally made it, but it's not the flawless migration of GTA3.
So, if you haven't already, meet Jimmy Hopkins, a hard, defiant but not evil boy, who's been placed in Bulworth Academy by parents who don't seem to care much what happens to him. Being the new kid is never the best position, and if it were real, your first hours in Bully would be enough to grind you down. Girls jeer, you don't register with the Jocks, and even the nerds are brave enough to have a pop at you.
Fortunately, at least for the fl first chapter, Gary takes yon M under his wing, guiding you M through Ins brand of amoral, medicated missions, in which I you play along with his Christian-Slater-in-HecMers attempts to rule or destroy the school. Sure enough, they're fetch, fight and escort missions, but the world is full of things to do, and the rewards are real - people become well-disposed to you and the school's factions become less hostile. It happens slowly, but Bulworth becomes a more tolerable place once you've built a reputation.
This is school, so there are classes -which you can ditch, if you don't mind getting chased. If you're on a mission when there's a lesson, and you get ' busted, the mission will fail, and you'll be dragged back to class. The days seem full. Have you time to squeeze a mission in between classes, or a few races after school? Bully is full of things to do; the world may be smaller than in Rockstar's other games, but it's packed solid.
You'll actually want to go to classes, because the bonuses are useful. Smoothtalk ladies and avoid violence with English; build bikes in Shop; increase your health bonus in Art. It almost feels like you are being encouraged into thinking an education is somehow useful. None of the ban-this-filth platoon said that because - of course - they would have to play the game to find this out.
Even if the missions aren't exactly groundbreaking, and suffer from the mini-map checkpoint-chasing that is almost Rockstar's motif, they're fun in the schoolyard setting. Plus, the cut scenes and storylines are fantastic. There's a huge reliance on stereotype and gross-out, but with so many characters, you can forgive the game for relying on familiarity. But there's also a heap of humanity. It's hard not to feel a pang of sympathy for the thieving girl whose locker you're raiding when she comes back into the toilets for a bulimic purge. And Jimmy's speeches are unsentimental, but occasionally kind.
Controls, as mentioned above, have been literally translated from a console pad onto the keyboard. Once you've changed the mouse sensitivity settings, it'll be bearable, but it's still only a mixed success. Picking locks feels possible, but imprecise. English lessons are bizarre -selecting letters using the direction keys? On a keyboard? Did no-one realise there was an easier way to choose letters, staring directly at them? Also, the mapping of the console D-pads to Shift. Alt Space and R - around the WASD direction keys, in other words -feels perverse. The eccentricity of the targeting system (it was always too easy to accidentally target and attack the person you're supposed to be helping) is amplified on the PC and the bicycles send the camera into a troubling spasm. It's strange, coming to a game, knowing you love it - but also knowing that it's taken so long to get here, and especially post-GTA IV, it's almost certainly going to look dated. Even resenting the time it took, if I'm confessing to a bit of platform-based petulance.
Lovely Bit Of Bully
Bully is undeniably a fantastic sandbox game. It follows the GTA template of missions, gangs, and world expansion, and adds such a glut of things to do. that you'll be shocked how slowly the percentage complete counter rises, and be tempted to play the game in one 20-hour sitting. Bully has a large and unlikely heart, and a stubborn reluctance to fit onto a mouse and keyboard. It's a great game; but this release is too long after the PS2 version, and GTA IVs RAGE engine, to make an impact.
Before he's even had a chance to ditch class or hock a loogie in a single freshman's face, Jimmy Hopkins Bully's 15-year-old hothead is already making a name for himself as the hero of the next bad game to ban. What, you mean PTA groups and antiviolence crusaders take issue with a game in which your main mission is to rise to the top of a juvie-delinquent school's social order by fighting dirty and attending as few classes as possible? It doesn't help that Bully is from the publisher of the Grand Theft Auto and employs the same do-anything mechanic even if the hero isn't old enough to drive.
The makers of Grand Theft Auto swap prostitutes and carjacking for wedgies and cutting class at this prep school. Also, as in its controversial cousin, you’ll always have multiple avenues for reaching the top of the class. Need the secret password to a house on campus? Choice No.1: Politely ask yourfellow schoolmate Choice No. t Give him a swirly until he spills the beans. Yeah, we’d choose the latter, too.
We've all known a bully--that kid in school who had a reputation for "borrowing" lunch money, cutting class, and greeting others with a fist to the face. And even though we knew these troublemakers were in the wrong, it was hard not to admire their power over the student body. Thanks to Rockstar and its Grand Theft Ar/fo-inspired game Bully, it's now your turn to rule the school through intimidation and--when needed--muscle.
Here you step into the shoes of Jimmy Hopkins, a 15-year-old ruffian who, according to Rockstar spokesman Hamish Brown, "heads to Bullworth Academy because no other school will take him." The goal is clear: Climb your way to the top of Bullworth's social order by the end of the school year. Like GTA, the campus is a living and breathing environment where completing certain missions helps improve your standing. We'll assume most of you are more familiar with the receiving end of schoolyard bullying (hey, don't get bent out of shape-- so were we), so here's a quick three-step primer on how to be the wedge-r, as opposed to the wedg-ie. Those of you who were bullies, think of this as a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Play by Your Own Rules
Obviously, being at boarding school means Jimmy has a full academic schedule. But does that mean he actually goes to class? Not necessarily--it's totally up to you whether Jimmy pays attention to or neglects his studies. But if you continually play hooky, "teachers and prefects will begin to take notice and be tougher on you," says Brown. Heck, they'll even bitch if Jimmy doesn't wear the required school uniform.
If you do make it to class, you'll be treated to several minigame-esque events. For example, gym class may involve participating in a game of dodge-ball. Wonder what happens during sex education?
Picking fights is an integral part of the bully code--and Jimmy is a pro at egging on his fellow classmates. Aside from the usual assortment of punches, kicks, and grapples in Jimmy's repertoire, he can perform a variety of distasteful special moves, like hawking a loogie in another student's grill. And when knuckle sandwiches and saliva don't get the job done, he can resort to some classic childhood weapons such as slingshots, cherry bombs, and baseball bats.
Use Excessive Force
Remember, you have only one school year to reach true bully status, so make sure that everyone (and we mean everyone) at Bullworth knows that you mean business. For instance, one of the game's missions requires you to find out the password to a house on campus. Now, you could ask the knowing party in a nice, respectable manner (which would probably involve a long, drawn-out conversation), or--like a real bad boy--you could stuff his head into a dirty toilet (known to some folks as "giving a swirly") until he coughs up the necessary info. So if you want respect, don't show any.