For most people, the teenage years were some of the best years of their lives. Who doesn’t reminisce about the good old days of their youth? Of course, being a teenage does have its share of problems. Bullies, cliques, acme and raging hormones are just some of troubles we went through when we were kids. It’s these exact problems in which the video game Bully revolves around.
Bully puts you in control of Jimmy Hopkins; a 15 year-old delinquent who attends a boarding school called Bullworth Academy. He was forced to attend Bullworth Academy after his mother dumped him at the school so she could go on a year-long honeymoon cruise with her newlywed husband. The game follows Jimmy’s escapades at the school. He stands up to the various bullies, cliques, and the occasional disgruntled faculty member while getting into all sorts of mischief.
The story of Bully is divided by 5 chapters; each one focusing on a clique that Jimmy faces. You advance the plot by doing various missions throughout the game world. The game doesn’t force you to do missions, however. Bully is a free roaming game so you can ignore the missions, explore the game environment, and make your own fun if you like. As you play the game, more areas become available to you.
Unfortunately, Jimmy doesn’t have the ability to roam freely all the time. He has classes that he must attend to during the game. Jimmy is in school, after all. Each class has a mini-game that must be completed and completing them earns you rewards. You can try to skip class if you like but you have to avoid the authorities or you’ll get caught. The good new is that you don’t have to go to classes any more once you completed them all.
Eventually you’re going to run into trouble and Jimmy is going to have to be prepared for a fight. Luckily for you, Jimmy has a lot of tools at his disposal. Aside from his fists, Jimmy uses a slingshot, bags of marbles, stink bombs, fire crackers, eggs, itching powder, a bottle rocket launcher, and a even a spud cannon to vanquish his foes and wreck havoc. While you can get around Bullworth on foot, sometimes you need a faster form of transportation; especially if you’re running away from the jocks or authority figures. If that is the case, just hop on Jimmy’s skateboard or acquire yourself a bike. You might even get your hands on a go-kart if you play your cards right.
Probably the best part of Bully is its open world in which you can explore. It’s quite fun running around the town making mischief or discover what secrets lie within the city. There are plenty of things to do around Bullworth besides completing missions and attending classes. There are jobs and errands you can do for money, races you can compete in, mini games you can play, and even a carnival you can visit. You can even help out with the school yearbook by taking pictures of everybody around the academy. If that wasn’t enough, there are a butt load of collectibles you can find throughout the game. There will plenty of things left to do once you complete the game‘s story.
There are a few problems with Bully unfortunately. The game can get a little buggy and you might find Jimmy stuck in some items from time to time. The animations are not the best either, but this game is from 2006 after all. As for gameplay, the only problem I have with Bully is the “rules system” players have to follow. Basically, the game tries to punish you for causing mischief; such as staying up past curfew or hitting other students. You have to run away from teachers, prefects, and policemen if you’re spotted being a delinquent. Getting caught causes you to get detention, where you‘ll be forced to play a tedious lawn mowing mini-game. It’s annoying, but it won’t ruin the experience thankfully.
Bully’s witty humor and fun gameplay makes the experience quite enjoyable. Sure, the game has a few quirks here and there, but that shouldn’t stop you from having fun. In the end, Bully manages to make the teen years worth revisiting ; even if it takes it all over the top sometimes. If you’re looking for a chance to relive your youth, look no further.