Description official descriptions
Bully is a story of one Jimmy Hopkins, whose academic success hasn't been anything spectacular as he's been expelled from various schools. His parents have a grand idea of sending him to Bullworth Academy which -- despite its grand name -- houses lots of other kids like Jimmy. This is the place where future dictators, murderers, and mad scientists reside. With a help of a few friends, some wits and hard-as-a-rock fists, Jimmy has to survive through one year in Bullworth Academy.
Often described as "GTA in high school", the game indeed has many similarities with the famous car-hijacking series. It features a "sandbox" environment, which encompasses not only the vast high school grounds, but also the nearby town of Bullworth. As in GTA games, the player can choose to complete missions in different order, or simply roam the game world, interacting with the environment and the characters.
Naturally, much of the typical GTA-like content has been changed to fit the high school setting. The violence is still present: Jimmy can punch and kick anyone he encounters, as well as use a variety of (non-lethal) weapons such as slingshots, fire crackers, and even self-made guns. It is not possible to hijack cars, but Jimmy is able to steal and ride bicycles. The missions include a variety of gameplay styles: chases, races, shooter-like sequences, escort missions, spying, random acts of vandalism, and many more.
Bully features a plethora of activities and mini-games that can be accessed outside of the missions. Jimmy can simply attend classes and study. Each class is built like a mini-game: for example, language lesson involves composing as many words as possible out of a few given letters within a time limit. It is possible to find, buy, and wear different outfits, get jobs and earn money, and even date schoolmates and buy presents for them.
Credits (PlayStation 2 version)
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Average score: 85% (based on 43 ratings)
Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 51 ratings with 3 reviews)
StoryThe story is about a young boy named Jimmy Hopkins who has been expelled from every decent school in America. His mother, who, big surprise, hates him, has married a man Jimmy isn't very fond of...at all. Just when things can't get worse for him, he is sent to the infamous school of Bullworth Acadamy, "who's alumni are nothing arms dealer, drug addicts, and corporate lawyers. Real scum". And so it begins...
I thought the story was a decent interpretation of the intense, violent, and blood-filled mayhem that is Grand Theft Auto...just toned down for teens. In fact, the story here is, in some ways, better than the series it is based on. While no one will be dying (as far as I'm aware of), there is still a surprisingly deep story to be found in this game.
As you could have guessed, the gameplay is very similar to the GTA games. However, some new elements are added here. For instance, rather than killing every person you see, you can get them weak enough to "humiliate" them, or bully them. This can range from slapping them to twisting their wrist. Some of them are very well thought out and amusing. You can also put them in trash bins, throw them at other people, and many other things.
The missions are pretty darn fun most of the time, and they range in the concept. Some make you pull pranks, some make you get things, and some are collect-the-item type of missions.
You can also get quite a range of weapons, including fire crackers, stink bombs, and the most dangerous weapon of all time: a rubber band ball!
Overall, the gameplay is very solid.
The music really sets the tone of everything. There is music all around you, even in normal circumstances. While I kind of prefer the quietness of the Grand Theft Auto series, this music is very nice to hear.
It also fits the situation very well. When walking around, it kind of seems like the stock music from Ren & Stimpy: Simple, catchy, and wonderful to hear. There are also different themes for fighting different people. The prefects and cops have 70's cop themes (you know, the cheesy jazz music), while nerds have a sort of techno beat. The music in the mission are also catchy.
The cast does a really good job of portraying their character. The nerds have that stereotypical "nerd" voice, while Greasers (Grease rejects) have tough guy, New York accents. The main cast also does well. The voice actor of Gary, a schizophrenic kid, has the perfect voice for someone who is about to crack on the spot if provoked too much, while Crabblesnitch, the principal, has a sort of arrogance in his voice. Russle, the "leader" of the bullies, has that dumb ape persona (he even pounds his fists on his chest once).
Now, the PS2 was never known for having the best graphics in the world. However, the graphics here are actually pretty good. The amount of detail is pretty high, and GASP...the character models can move their fingers! Holy sh**!!! Normally, this isn't a big deal, but with GTA, their fingers never, ever moved. So this is, in a way, outstanding.
I found this both sick and funny, but you are able to pinch a girl's butt. Well, when you do this on a little girl...yeaaaah...let's just say your in biiig trouble. Don't worry, I did that by accident. Speaking of girls, when you try to grab a girl, Jimmy gets kicked in the balls and squeals. As Slappy the Squirrel once said ,"Now THAT'S comedy!"
Also, in the English class, when I spelled "Sh" with the letters, the teacher said, "You're quite feisty, aren't you?" That made me laugh pretty hard, really. Thanks Rockstar Vancouver, thanks.
Graphics...againI did say the graphics were good. However, like San Andreas, there were occasional texture mapping glitches. These were few and far between, and my PS2 is pretty old (but I ain't getting rid of it until it dies), but I still think I should note this.
Most of the mission were well thought out and fun to play. Some, on the other hand, were not nearly as grand. Yes, all R* games have fair share of bad and pointless missions, but this is only a minor complaint.
Rubber band ball
Don't get me wrong. I love that utterly broken destroyer of a weapon. However, sometimes I hit a girl either accidentally or off a rebound. When I'm ready, it's no problem. But when I'm not, it's a big freaking problem.
The Bottom Line
Final thoughtsI have to say that this may be one of the most underrated games by Rockstar I've ever played. It's fun, creative, and interesting. Unfortunately, it didn't get nearly as much recognition as something like GTA 4 or San Andreas. Not to say it didn't sell, but it could of and should of gone further.
Fans of Rockstar or GTA.
People who like violence.
People who just want to have fun and laugh.
People who aren't quite old enough for GTA.
PlayStation 2 · by Beep (197) · 2011
How old are you? Do you remember your school days? Or are you still trying to survive in the harsh and competitive environment of the educational establishments that have more in common with prisons and concentration camps than places where the flowers of the nation are being cultivated? If so, than I suppose you should skip on this game, because it will hold nothing new for you, which you don't have the access to already. This game was designed only for those who has passed the twenty years mark and who might have already forgotten what it is like -- being a teenager. When nobody understands what occupies your mind, and dismiss it as something not worthy of attention of a grown-up. That if they don't label you as a trouble-child and avoid common sense altogether.
This game is a must-play for every parent, so that he can recall his school experience and would have an ability to relate to what his children are going through right now. Albert once said "Everything is relative.”And so does it remain in the walls of school, where the hard-working, money-earning adults presumes their children to be having an effortless life, whereas, in reality, they have to mercilessly fight for survival, even if this "survival" is mere "not letting others to call you a jerk".
Now that we're done with metaphysics let's talk about the game itself. Bully continues a streak of so-called GTA-clones that have spawned in uncountable numbers since the release of GTAIII, with only exception being, that this game was released under the same logo as Grand Theft Auto games, namely Rockstar. However, it’s not the same Rockstar, who developed GTA games. It’s Rockstar Vancouver, former Barking Dog Studios, notable for their outstanding add-on to enigmatic Homeworld.
Unlike GTA games, Driver: Parallel Lines or True Crime games, Bully doesn’t confine itself to the cramped walls of urban-crime story. And here comes the first pro of this game. Unlike any other GTA clone the game takes place in a unique setting of private school, where every notable side of it has taken it's own manifestation. I mean corrupted teachers, gangs, bullies and girls developing secondary sex characteristics. Its setting is so original and unique, that it makes you wonder why this theme wasn't developed earlier. However, it's not the setting itself that proves the genius of Rockstar Vancouver, but the treatment of it.
When I first heard about Bully and it's setting, especially since it was after completing GTA: San Andreas, I immediately thought about every possible image of the contemporary American high school. Drugs, guns, cars, rap, lots of rap and rap again. Well, I imagined that with the game's target audience being mostly teenagers the game has to almost absolutely include everything which is popular on MTV nowadays. Little did I know, that despite its Teen rating the game is in fact targeted towards a much more mature audience. It shows everywhere.
First, the number of contemporary pop culture references is subjected to the minimum, unlike, say, Need For Speed recent games, with their graffiti and rap soundtrack. Second, the game's story takes place in the timeless period. It could have happen in 70's as well as today. Nothing in the game pins down the story to a certain background. It's a definite plus, since it establishes that schools of our children today are not that much different than those we have attended.
And, lastly, the music. It's absolutely gorgeous. The fusion of funk, rock-n-roll and contemporary jazz is a perfect background layer for the things happening on your screen. The music is dynamic. In style of Lucas Arts adventures and another PS2 exclusive (as of 2007) Shadow Of Colossus the music changes according to the situation while still maintaining an uninterrupted flow. In essence it has a couple of versions of the same piece recorded which interchange each other as the pace of the scene develops.
As you see the ideas of the overall design ides behind the art direction are fabulous. The game's unique approach to an original setting proves that Rockstar-labeled games has much more to their stories, than yet another Scarface or Gansta rap saga.
So what is so wonderful with the Bully story? Very much as others modern games, Bully's story comprises of two equally important parts, plot and characters. The plot is trivial. A classic romantic story of the protagonist being judged unfairly and then him reclaiming that which belongs to him by right. It worked 150 years ago in times of Victor Hugo, Byron and Goethe and so does it work now. I may be biased, since I have always hold romanticism very close to my heart, but every work of art following the guidelines of the XIX century prominent movement is doomed for my admiration.
Now, Bully's characters is a much more mixed bag. Since we're still in the Good section, let me describe a shinier side of the coin. Although, most of the Bully cast are typical school stereotypes that serve no particular function except that to show the lack of imagination on Rockstar Vancouver writers’ part, there are still notable figures worth mentioning. Of course, Jimmy Hoppkins, the protagonist, receives the first award, simply because his character has much more screentime devoted to him than any other. The character walks a thin line separating a tough, cool teenager everybody wants to be and a noble defender of weak and offended. Although he does make occasional leaps in either of the sides, overall impression remains very strong and convincing. Jimmy is a good boy, without being too cute and sweet.
Obviously, his arch-enemy Gary comes second. Unlike Jimmy I doubt you will ever find someone like Gary in average American school. At least not of that magnitude. Gary is sinister, cunning, devil-tongued bastard who precedes every movement of yours in one or even two steps. The closing scene is so intense only because of his outstanding personality. Unfortunately, he appears only in 10 cut scenes, with each being about 1 minute long. That’s so depressingly little for such a powerful character. Being an Anarchist myself, I’ve actually sympathized a lot to his cause. “Why do you do it?” asks Jimmy in the closing scene on the roof. “Because, I can!” follows the answer. Still it hasn’t kept me from grinning while beating the hell out of the twisted son of a b…..
Unfortunately every other character (except, perhaps, a manly cook Edna) is below average. The worst of them I will mention shortly. For now, however, I’d like to turn your attention to the nerds. Bully features the coolest portrayal of the social outcasts ever. Much unlike stereotyped muscle-pumped Jocks or stucked-in-the-50s Greasers, Nerds here are completely different from what you usually expect of them. They’re cunning, devious and inventive in their schemes while still remaining a bunch of spineless smartasses who plays pen-and-paper RPGs in the comics shop basement. Fantastic combination!
I wished I could’ve stopped there, but as a man wiser than myself once said “The First Duty of a Starfleet officer belongs to the truth!” And so, in this extremely nerdy and Star Trek-ish manner, I have to continue.
Since I’ve already mentioned characters I’ll start there. Nobody of supporting cast comes anywhere near the strength of Jimmy and Gary. However, some of them even fall much lower. Firstly, it’s Zoe. A strong promising female lead was a must to this game, but, unfortunately, Zoe feels very underdeveloped, and not at all essential to the plot, although in design she, apparently, was supposed to be. The horrible ending scene of her kissing Jimmy shows how artificial and unsatisfying she came out to be in the final game.
As for everybody else, it’s safe to say that all of them (teachers, gang leaders) are uninspired, featureless and run of the mill, without any cool twist for an excuse of a caricature approach, the game boasts all the time. All in all, even GTA: San Andreas presented a much more weird and interesting cast than Bully.
But the controversial cast is not the most disappointing flaw of the game. It’s gameplay.
Yes, you heard it right. The critically acclaimed open-endedness of GTA clones doesn’t befit this one at all. As actually any other game for that matter, but that’s a completely different story. You may inquire: “But what about all the stuff you can do in this game?”. Then I will response with “But why would I want to?” Really, why? Why would I want to mow the lawn, participate in bike races, change clothes and haircuts, play arcade minigames, attend classes if it all doesn’t have any effect on the game itself? Nor does it bring any significant benefit. Money, you say? There’s no shortage of money ever in this game, since you receive everything to suit your needs from completing the story missions. Nothing you do besides the obligatory missions have any point to it. There are no interesting side-stories to this optional stuff. Nothing.
As another reviewer has already said, it feels like you’re playing a game inside a game. But, unlike him I don’t consider it to be a positive aspect at all.
One might reply with “But, it’s so fun!” Excuse me, but it’s not. Once again the obligatory missions have all the fun and diversity to satisfy any gamer needs, but the time spent by developers on those minigames I would have loved to see devoted to fleshing out the characters or, maybe, allowing me do some meaningful choices on my character’s part. Because, it’s much more entertaining to do something that actually matters.
The Bottom Line
We’re almost done. As you can see from this review, Bully is anything but an average game. In spite of the flawed characters and lacking gameplay, it manages to capture the essence of the youth spirit today: rebellious, harsh and competitive, but still having the basic understanding of honor, friendship and honesty.
You might recognize yourself as one of the adults in this game. Indifferent, rule-abiding, deaf to children needs and problems, overconfident, self-important and above anything they can dismiss as “childish games”. If so than this is a perfect opportunity for you to change.
“The worries of the child are not trivial matters!” says the game. I concur. Now, it’s up to you.
PlayStation 2 · by St. Martyne (3644) · 2007
The gameplay. You can do almost anything you like. Really. Like in real life. You go to lessons, hit people, steal bicycles, change clothes, take pictures, do the story missions...
There are so many different kinds of weapons. For example slingshot with zooming. Or funny guns. There is one mission in which you use something like a mounted machine gun!
The game is sometimes very funny. If you are caught by teachers or policemen, you can kick them... you know where.
The missions are all so different! One time you'll have to sneak to steal things. Another time you'll have to aim and shoot with different weapons. In one mission, you climb on a tree and try to prevent kids from annoying two teachers on a date. And there are so many mini-games! Some missions are built like mini-games; but there are also so many games you can play outside of the missions!
In the world of "Bully", you can interact with what you like. Climb and hang on trees. Walk on narrow ledges. You can talk to all the people in "good" and "bad" ways. You can also hit anyone you want. Teachers and police will come after you. There are many houses, and some of them can become yours.
And this game can be played by younger people. There is no blood, no killing. And it happens in a high school. This is a very interesting setting. They really made it very real. There are so many typical characters and situations for high school.
Because there is so much variety, and every time things to do, the game is never boring. Never. It's great fun from beginning to the end.
It's not comfortable to play it on PS2. You aim with the analog sticks, and it's much easier to do it with a mouse. Unfortunately, there is no PC version. I hope they will port it to PC!
The Bottom Line
It's fun, it's interesting, it's cute, it's unlike anything that was done before. The high school setting is unusual and charming. It's a great game.
PlayStation 2 · by Melody (48) · 2007
|Scholarship Edition||Ace of Sevens (4400)||Aug 4th, 2007|
|Such a sweet game!||Unicorn Lynx (180491)||Jul 20th, 2007|
1001 Video Games
The PS2 version of Bully appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
Cancelled Xbox version
There was an Xbox version planned, but cancelled for undisclosed reasons.
Through Rockstar's "bad boy" marketing, the first announcement of the game, along with the title, hinted at gameplay where you would take on the role of a bully. This caused controversy, and it was only later revealed that the protagonist would take on the bullies himself. Attempts in the US (with lawyer Jack Thompson), UK and Belgium were made to ban the game or to prevents its release. The actual game content was hardly offensive and the rating organizations provided reasonable ratings.
The manual, written as a memo from the academy's principal, states, among other things, that "Mastery of the English language is highly impotent in the world of business". One can only guess if this mistake is deliberate, occasional, or no mistake at all.
The name change for the European release to Canis Canem Edit (Latin for Dog Eat Dog), was announced in September 2006 for undisclosed reasons. Prior to that, it was already used as the motto of the Bullworth Academy where the events of the game take place.
- 2006 – #3 Best Action-Adventure of the Year
- 2006 – #9 Console Game of the Year
- 2006 – #5 PS2 Game of the Year
- 2006 – The "No, You Can Really Do Everything!" Award (PS2)
Information also contributed by Chentzilla
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- MobyGames ID: 25437
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Game added by Evilhead.
Game added December 20th, 2006. Last modified September 8th, 2023.