Bully: Scholarship Edition is a single player, action-adventure role playing game, in which you play as fifteen year old Jimmy Hopkins – a delinquent so bad, he’s been kicked out every school he has ever been sent to. With no options left, Jimmy is sent to the infamous Bullworth Academy, otherwise known as the “toughest and worst school in the country”. Surrounded by violent and scheming classmates, corrupted authority figures (and teachers), and abusive prefects, Jimmy has only one plan for his year at Bullworth: survival.
Let’s go over some of the pros and cons of the game.
- Be a bully and cause trouble, or attend classes and take on the bigger bullies of the school – the choice is yours!
- Major replay ability
- Character customization
- Classes are optional, and provide rewards if completed
- Missed a side mission? Get the chance to play them at the end of the game
- No sequel made
It’s true – I could not think of a single “con” to put on the list for this game, beyond my own frustration that there still isn’t a sequel to potentially provide more enjoyment. The graphics are good, the controls are easy, and the game is enjoyable enough to be played over and over again without disappointment.
Bully’s graphics would be best described as “advanced for its time”. While not incredibly high definition, it certainly boasts better than what could generally be seen from other games of its release year (2006), and provides a smooth, glitch-free playthrough, be it on a console or on the computer. The music is enjoyable, and sequenced with unique tunes for just about anything: from riding your bike, to exploring the school, or even sneaking around the girls’ dormitory, Bully’s soundtrack provides the perfect atmosphere to further invest you in the game while you play.
Jimmy Hopkins, the playable character himself, provides a unique experience for RPG gamers, in that Jimmy is most definitely not a morally changeable character. Yes, his goals for the game verge on the side of good, in that he hopes to put a stop to the senseless bullying and corruption found within the school’s cliques and staff. However, in no way does that stop him from insulting his only friend in the school, or beating the crap out of anyone who cannot be verbally reasoned with in the game. Whether you decide to be the type of player who throws firecrackers into toilets, stuffs students into lockers, and trips prefects with marbles, or the type who faithfully attends each class and befriends everyone he meets, Jimmy will provide a contrasting side to bring a balance. In a way, this provides some extra fun and moral cushioning to the player – you can “behave properly” to make up for kicking that local cop in the testicles, or start a cafeteria-wide food fight to mix things up when you get bored of being good.
The school’s cliques provide an important part of the game as antagonists, and serve as the basis to many fan’s conspiracy theories. First you have the Preps – also known as the richest kids in school – with a reputation for romance that stays within the family. Then you have the more classic clique with the Nerds: the school’s smartest (and sneakiest) students with a penchant for intellectual scheming. The Bullies are a fairly minor clique in comparison to the rest of the school, in that while they habitually torment any student they come across, they don’t have much power. The Greasers are another familiar clique, run in the similar hair gel, comb, and leather jacket style as one would find of the same-named group in the movie Grease. Even the leader, Johnny Vincent’s devotion to his lady love would remind everyone of Danny Zuko’s love for Sandy, although his Lola certainly provides a deep contrast to the shy, smitten girl of the movies. Next, we have the Jocks: the meanest, toughest students in the school, found most commonly within the football team. But even they don’t compare to the worst enemies of the game: The Townies. Kicked out of Bullworth Academy and tough as nails, the last thing anyone would want is to get on their bad side. So naturally, you will face them in this game, along with the top members of every other clique.
Bully is a unique game that should be – and likely will be – remembered for years to come. Many students will likely confess to having fantasies of taking charge of their school, and becoming someone respected, rather than someone to be victimized. Jimmy Hopkins takes this fantasy, and makes it a reality – one beat down at a time. Anyone who doesn’t mind a game that bends the morality line, or is looking for an enjoyable school-based game: go pick up a copy of Bully. You won’t be disappointed.