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TEEN, Crude Humor, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence
ALSO AVAILABLE ON
Xbox, IBM PC Compatible, Xbox 360, Wii, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/bully--scholarship-edition-ibm-pc-compatible, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/canis-canem-edit-playstation-2, http://www.gamerdna.com/game/bully--scholarship-edition-xbox-360
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Rockstar Games, the industry's lightning rod for controversy, continues its reputation for edgy, unusual material in Bully for PlayStation 2, a game that stars a juvenile delinquent in a reform school for troubled teens. More a sardonic pastiche of 1980s high school films than a violent ode to the publisher's Grand Theft Auto past, Bully carefully re-creates an academic atmosphere with classrooms, lunch periods, socializing with other students, season-related events, and plenty of areas to explore before curfew. Fifteen-year-old Jimmy Hopkins reluctantly attends the strict Bullworth Academy for a year, during which he'll develop skills, befriend peers, romance girls, and make a name for himself as either a hero or a miscreant.
The world in Bully in many ways adheres to a structured schedule, with students attending two periods of classes and engaging in other daily routines. Yet there is also a considerable amount of freedom in how players go about their daily tasks. They can elect to skip classes and cause mischief, at the risk of being sent to the principal's office for reprimanding. There are also missions to undertake on behalf of the five main cliques populating the school: jocks, nerds, greasers, preps, and bullies. Hopkins can interact with each character positively or negatively, through carefully worded dialogue or via pranks such as shoving students in lockers or pouring itching powder on garments.
Activities Hopkins will engage in include zipping across campus on a skateboard, pedaling through town on "borrowed" bikes, playing video games in his dorm room, signing up for dodgeball, boxing, or wrestling in the gym, and even snapping photos for a yearbook. Mission types range from straightforward errands to more elaborate stealth and slingshot shooting segments. While there are no guns in the game, weapons such as baseball bats, garbage can lids, and similar items can be found within the environment. Hand-to-hand combat options include combos, disarm moves, and "humiliation" attacks, with a control system that relies more on timing than on learning complicated commands. The first release from Rockstar Vancouver Ltd., Bully features an enhanced version of the graphics engine used in 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide