Take-Two has recently registered five domain names; CashForDreams.com, HammersteinFaust.com, LifeInvader.com, SixFigureTemps.com, and StopPayingYourMortage.net. Rumors have it that it will be for the next Grand Theft Auto game. I am a big fan of Rockstar games but after GTA4, well that series is dead to me. I was so bored; it was the first GTA game I never finished. So this news doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement. I’m waiting on sequel news, but not for that franchise, I want some more Bully.
Don’t get me wrong Red Dead Redemption comes very close and their Warriors game was near perfection, but Bully remains my favorite Rockstar Game ever. The game was controversial before it even came out; everyone just assumed the group behind Manhunter and GTA were going to do horrible things in a high school based game. Then people got to see that your armory consisted of fireworks, stink bombs, eggs, and rubber band shooters; the outrage quickly softened. With the violence toned down, the story and game play get to stand out. This isn’t a RDR type story (which is amazing), this sucker is just fun.
You control Jimmy Hopkins who is dropped off at Bullworth Academy as his mother takes off on her honeymoon with her sixth husband. You learn that Jimmy has been kicked out of a number of schools before Bullworth. When he gets to the school he is introduced to the major cliques of the game. You have the Bullies, Nerds, Jocks, Greasers, Preppies, and Townies. Jimmy is at the very bottom of the pecking order when you start the game and has to work his way up through doing favors and/or beating down other members of the cliques.
To remind you that you are in school there are more rules then you would run into in a GTA game. You have classes that you have to attend twice a day. Each of those classes have their own mini-games attached to them. You get rewarded for completing those classes, so they are something you actually want to do. You can skip class or stay out after curfew, but the school prefects will be looking for you if you do that. One of the more amusing things is that you also have a dress code. If you aren’t in your school uniform when going to class you can get in trouble. Since I enjoy having Jimmy dress like a tattooed longshoreman twice his age, I’m constantly running from the school officials.
So what can you do in the game? Besides the classroom mini-games there are the requisite item collection tasks that appear in most Rockstar games. There are also bike and go kart races. I like the bike races since you actually have to press the button to pedal. The mechanic gives it a totally different feel from the kart racing. You get a camera at one point and have to take pictures of all the different students in Bullworth. There are arcade games that you can play scattered through the town and school. You can also pick up odd jobs like mowing lawns and delivery newspapers. So outside of the main quest there is a lot to keep you busy.
The game never takes itself seriously, it is just damn good fun. Originally a PS2 game it was re-released as the Scholarship Edition on the Wii and Xbox 360. The Scholarship Edition has four more classes and a handful of new missions. If you’ve never played it, you can pick it up dirt cheap. It is still going to look like a PS2 game, but trust me the game is worth it. So don’t let me down Rockstar; while everyone else is hoping to go back to Vice City, I really want to go back to Bullworth Academy.