I was just having a conversation with a couple of comics bloggers that started out being about Bully the Little Stuffed Bull, and eventually turned into being about Rockstar Games’ classic prep school epic, Bully, mostly because I don’t often go a full day without thinking about Bully.
Anyway, he asked me to sell him on the game, so I wrote up a completely unwarranted sales pitch that might be of use to any of you out there who have not enjoyed this masterpiece:
YOU ARE Jimmy Hopkins, a teenage cretin dumped off by his gold-digging absentee mother at the gates of Bullworth Academy, a private school in New England designed to Pink Floyd the delinquency right out of you. You’re immediately set upon by Machiavellian asshole Gary–who is seriously one of my favorite villains since Cobra Commander–and as the New Kid, everyone in school totally hates you.
Thus, your mission is clear: You must… RULE THIS SCHOOL.
So you start doing missions ranging from helping out your teachers with their alcoholism and sordid love lives to keeping the nerds from getting beaten up, all while taking classes, dodging curfew, and trying to solidify your domination of the school.
The depth to it is pretty amazing: You actually do take classes, and if you don’t get some sleep, you eventually just pass out at two AM, sleeping wherever you fall down after the screen gets blurry and you start to slow down and nod off. You can change your clothes to whatever you want, but if you’re not wearing approved Bullworth Academy uniform attire, you’ll get in trouble from the prefects and teachers. And once you get to a certain point, the gates of the school open up and you get a whole city’s worth of missions to explore, complete with bike races, paper routes, and townies that resent private school kids.
The other characters, of course, are the one-dimensional stereotypes you’ve come to expect from Rockstar: The nerds are into D&D and comics but can make molotov cocktails and stink bombs, and then there’s the big dumb jocks, the incestuous, aristocratic preppies, and the awesomely anachronistic greasers. There’s not a whole lot to them, but they all have individual names and designs, which I know because you have to take pictures of every single one of them to complete your yearbook.
There is no–yes, NO–game-breaking mission like there is in GTASA, and the minigames are actually fun and exciting, and often worth completing just for fun rather than getting a percentage point.
Also, Jimmy Hopkins is a badass.
Also, best Final Boss fight ever.
The only way it could be better is if Jimmy Hopkins had to hire Phoenix Wright.
And that was that. So trust me on this one and if you haven’t experienced already, get a copy of your own. Or, y’know, wait until next year when the Scholarship Edition comes out for the next-gen consoles, but really: It’s twenty bucks, and worth three times that.