Bully: You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party
Welcome to Bullworth Academy. I'd like to say you'll enjoy your stay, but I don't want to lie to you. This private school has an infamous reputation as a dumping ground for hooligans like you. We'll take your rough unkempt rage and grind it down to a refined edge so you can finally be a useful and upstanding member of society. So keep your nose clean... or we'll clean it for you!
Now where were we?
The game put you in the shoes of young Jimmy Hopkins, who has just been unloaded in front of Bullworth Academy while his terrible mother and her new husband are about to go on an extended honeymoon.
Jimmy isn't the sort of person to be pushed around. He's a bit of a bully himself, but he's got a good heart when it comes to matters of justice. Having been kicked out of numerous other schools it's clear that he's a troublemaker. His parents hope Bullworth Academy can help with that... or maybe they just want to get him out of their hair for a while.
You're going to spend the whole school year here in Bullworth Academy, so you might as well make yourself comfortable.
An Introduction to the Cliques
It is rather important for you to get to know the different cliques. Despite what Dr. Crabblesnitch and his prefects think the cliques actually run the school.
- The Nerds - They are the first clique you can associate with since they're on the lowest rung of the ladder. There will be a point in the story where they turn on you so you don't miss out on giving some nerds a good pounding.
- The Bullies - The quintessential group that bullies the weaker students... when the faculty isn't bullying them anyway. Despite the name once you get to know them they're actually not that bad and when I say "get to know them" I mean "beat their leader Russell into submission".
- The Preppies - They're the ones that everyone loves to hate. Despite being American the preppies speak in a high-brow English accent. One thing that puzzles me is if the preppies have so much money and influence why are they at a terrible school such as Bullworth?
- The Greasers - Often seen hanging out by the auto shop the Greasers are Bullworth's main consumers of hair gel and leather jackets. As their name suggests they are a throwback to popular styles of the 1950s.
- The Jocks - They have strong muscles and weak minds. As the strongest clique on campus it's their duty to prevail for the majority of the game and then fall to the underdog in a battle of epic proportions.
- The Townies - They're not part of Bullworth Academy, but they still play an important role as they're in control of Bullworth Town... well the poorer areas of it at least.
Meet the Staff
The faculty of Bullworth Academy are always striving to make sure the students get the best education possible... most of the time... if they're not too busy or drunk or preoccupied with their own vices.
- Dr. Crabblesnitch (Headmaster) - He is the final word on authority at Bullworth Academy. He feels it is his calling in life to "fix" problem children, and that's why you're here now isn't it?
- Mr. Burton (Gym Teacher) - He has two loves: bullying and dodge ball... oh and teenage girls, but he won't publicly admit to that.
- Mrs. Carvin (Librarian) - She is rather obsessed with books, speaks with proper grammar, and expresses contempt for the lesser species i.e. everyone else.
- Miss Danvers (School Secretary) - She is the first faculty member you will meet as she rushes you up to meet the headmaster. She dislikes all the students, focusing special attention on young Jimmy Hopkins. She has a bit of a crush on Dr. Crabblesnitch that might border a bit on the fanatical side.
- Edna (School Cook) - "disgusting blob" would be the best description of such a creature. She spits, snorts, and coughs in the food. It's a wonder the health department hasn't drug her away. I suspect they may be afraid of her.
- Mr. Galloway (English Teacher) - He's a good man... I guess, but he has a little bit of a drinking problem. And by "little bit" I mean he has bottles of whiskey stashed all over the school to support his habit. Mr. Hattrick is constantly trying to get him fired for this vice.
- Mr. Hattrick (Math Teacher) - He hates students and loves discipline. He is an old-fashioned teacher with an egocentric attitude. The students and the other faculty universally hate him. Thankfully you get the opportunity to get him fired in the course of the game.
- Mr. Luntz (Janitor) - He's rather disheveled in his demeanor, often muttering under his breath how he'll make them all pay. He does sweep the grounds and runs the school store so I suppose he's at least of some use.
- Mr. Matthews (Geography Teacher) - He may not look it, but he is very excited about teaching you geography. He is also quite possibly the only faculty member that doesn't have a secret vice, hidden agenda, or gaping personality disorder.
- Miss Peters (Music Teacher) - Your stereotypical new age, free-love, hippie with a passion for injecting some musical talent into young minds. Of course due to forces beyond her control she will teach you traditional marching band songs that always seem to be out of tune.
- Ms. Philips (Art and Photography Teacher) - She is a sultry siren with enough spirit to slather the canvas with her sexuality. You'll find this out as every class painting happens to be of her... or maybe that's just what Jimmy sees.
- Dr. Slawter (Biology Teacher) - A decrepit old man in a moribund career path. He is quite critical of the preppies due to his belief that advancement should be about ability and not personal connections. He is in possession of a rare giant venus flytrap, which he ostentatiously displays in his classroom.
- Dr. Watts (Chemistry Teacher) - He is a rather absent-minded person, possibly from years inhaling toxic fumes. He gives Jimmy a side mission delivering illegal drugs to his clients.
- Mr. Wiggins (History Teacher) - You never actually go to history class, so your interactions with him are very sparse beyond running into him in the halls. He does appear in Dr. Watts' delivery side mission as an expected delivery drop off.
As a rambunctious potential ne'er-do-well it is generally a good idea to keep your head down and avoid authority at all costs. Of course the path of the storyline is going to smash that perception and constantly throw you into the line of fire time after time again.
The black belt of the disciplinary arts and commander in chief at Bullworth Academy is their own headmaster Dr. Crabblesnitch. Anytime you get busted for your terrible deeds you get thrown into his office for a stern talking to about crimes you may or may not have committed. Sometimes you get blamed for stuff you didn't do.
Dr. Crabblesnitch's front line soldiers in the war on students are the prefects. They're senior students who have been granted some small authority to enforce school codes. Of course they let the authority go to their heads, and they're frequently seen abusing younger students.
Once you get access to the rest of the town you have to deal with the local police. They're about as tough as the prefects, apart from their ability to chase you down on a motorcycle. The punishment is still the same except you don't get the lovely conversation with the headmaster... so maybe it's actually more pleasant.
Get to class!
Being a school it should be expected of you to attend your class. If you don't attend your classes then the prefects will drag you there.
If you're crafty enough to hide, or fast enough to run away, then classes are optional.
But in this game it would be very detrimental not to go to class. Just as in the real world knowledge is power.
- Art - you get a health bonus for kissing.
- Chemistry - you get a chemistry set in your dorm room.
- English - you get better taunts for social interaction.
- Geography - you get new outfits and collectible items are revealed on the map.
- Gym - you learn new fighting moves, and your weapon accuracy improves.
- Math - you get nerdy T-shirts.
- Music - you get music themed T-shirts.
- Photography - you get a camera and the ability to submit photos to the yearbook.
- Shop - you get a bicycle and access to bicycle storage lockers.
Being a hormone-driven teenager in a mixed-gender private school does have its perks. Of course being a game about underage schoolchildren the romance options in Bully are rather limited to hugs and kisses... okay somewhat erotic hugs and kisses, but nothing more than that!
Like most Rockstar games the social interaction for romance is thinly-veiled and lacking in substance. That's fine as most video games include romance options as an afterthought.
Sometimes, if you're popular enough, you can cause two girls to fight over you in a love-struck duel to the death... well not really to the death; mostly they just yell a lot and pull each other's hair, though it is entertaining to watch.
Of course girls are not the only option for the seeker of romantic endeavors. If you're willing to do a little hunting you can find one male person from each clique willing to give Jimmy a good smooching. It's just as devoid of meaningful social interaction as the heterosexual kisses, but it's an interesting experience nonetheless. For those that want to make Jimmy purely homosexual I hate to disappoint you. During the course of the main story Jimmy makes out with the leading girl of each of the cliques, so he's bisexual at best.
As you play through the hundreds of mini sections that make up the greater Bully story you will encounter a plethora of minigames to keep you busy. Sometimes they will be a demonstration of a new ability or an item you just came into possession of, however most of the time the minigame will revolve around Jimmy having to do some task to appease one of the cliques or faculty. You may be asked to break into a certain locker to collect a stink bomb, or gather up hidden bottles of alcohol, or discreetly steal a number of the girls' panties so the asking faculty member can "wash them".
Minigames involving the greater main storyline are usually longer and more complicated. On one mission you're asked to chase down the mascot, beat him up, and steal his costume to infiltrate the football field for sabotage. On top of that while in costume you have to appease the jocks that suspect you by performing a complicated set of dance moves.
Gotta get paid
While you can earn money by performing the various missions in the game you could always use a little more on the side. After all those clothes, haircuts, and weapons won't buy themselves.
The lawnmower and paper route minigames open up when you gain access to Bullworth Town and the surrounding area. These minigames are precisely what their names suggest. In the lawnmower minigame you must guide a riding mower to cut all the grass in a certain area while avoiding the flowerbeds and bushes. The paper route mission requires you to deliver newspaper to peoples' mailboxes before the timer runs out. Both of these can completed as many times as you like.
When freely roaming around campus and the town you'll encounter people who need a quick task performed for a little extra cash. This can be delivering a package, using your slingshot to shoot a certain number of people, stealing a bike, finding a lost dog, and others many others.
For permanent and stationary characters the missions are more complex. During the winter months you get a chance to help Santa Claus... or I think it's Santa Claus. You find him sitting in a pile of garbage in a back alley, wearing a dirty Santa outfit smelling of vomit and cheap booze. Did I mention this game was not for children?
So what do I think?
The game rather succeeds in shaping the story around a private academy in a fictional New England town. The storyline is mostly believable, the characters have a lot of depth, and the catchy music sounds like it belongs in an episode of "Dennis the Menace".
There are a few glaring bugs. Characters will sometimes clip through objects and briefly get stuck on a piece of furniture as they run in place for a few seconds. Often times in the boy's dorm I would see my fellow classmates attempt to walk down the hall, but instead just rapidly vibrate as they shuffled to class.
Bully has a few rough edges, but the gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable. Controls are tight and responsive, the combat system is easy to work with, and the game does get increasingly challenging as you go along.
Digital Copy (Steam)
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