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Bully

Developer: Rockstar Vancouver Publisher: Rockstar Games
17 October 2006
Bully - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.85 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
1,613 Ratings / 4 Reviews
#406 All-time
#14 for 2006
After being expelled from numerous schools, troubled teenager James 'Jimmy' Hopkins is sent to Bullworth Academy, believed to be the worst academic institution in America. Jimmy forms an unlikely partnership with fellow delinquent Gary Smith and must tip the balance of power in a school divided between five student factions: the bullies, jocks, preppies, greasers and nerds.
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Title
GTA but for kids? Here it is. The soundtrack is amazing, you get a skateboard, a go-kart, a private school experience as a teen which I am not familiar with at all, and some well designed missions; this game was amazing. You go to class to get better weapons and transportation, you egg your teachers houses, you sneak into the girls dorm to get the gym teacher a few pairs of panties, and you learn fighting moves from a crazy hobo. It's all awesome and the poor lighting and the texture aliasing in the visual design creates an art style that gives me such a nostalgic feeling, I'll never forget this game.
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Fungal_Jungal 2023-06-18T09:09:45Z
2023-06-18T09:09:45Z
4.0
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Bullying the bullies
Bully is a masterpiece from a time where Rockstar was just on a roll and delivering multiple classics per year, instead of being creatively chainned to the GTA franchise. I only had the opportunity to play this one just now, and its a game that holds up remarkably well.

You play as Jimmy, the bratty newcomer to an american school where bullies from all social cliks run rampant. You get the nerds, the jocks, the greaseballs , the rich kids and the poor townies, all of them with their unique personalities and through the story trying to rise to power. Let me just go ahead and say, the strenght of the game definitly lies in the writing of the story and characters. Its a genuinely funny game with incredible cinematic cutscenes and masterful voice acting (which would still be amongst the best of the year were it released nowdays). Characters are multifaceted, and the game uses a lot of parodies and stereotypes to create some truly hilarious moments, both during cutscenes as well as gameplay. The journey of the actual plot might end up feeling predictable, but its nonetheless very entertaining.

The visuals are just ok for a PS2 era. There are a bit of visual bugs, and by 2006 there were already much better looking games on the hardware, even of the open world variety. It does what it set out to do well enough, and its strong enough artistically to still deliver comedic animations and facial expressions. Soundtrack is simple but iconic.

The game is also a bit simple of the gameplay front. You can have hand to hand combat that gets expanded with a few combos through the game, but its always simple at its core. You also get some ranged weapons that are required in some missions. You can skateboard, ride your bike, photograph , and interact with NPC in very basic ways (the most useful is really kissing girls for health bonuses). Its all very simple stuff, but its works. Its definitly better than the sum of its parts, and the huge variety of mission objectives and gameplay mechanics means that things are always kept fresh through its 10 to 15 hours runtime.

Overall I definitly feel like this is one of the greats of its era, but its hard to define why since its clearly so much better than the sum of its parts. Its hard to surpass its iconic writing and dialogue, but the combat is solid enough to be enjoyable, and the huge diversity of gameplay mechanics keep it fresh. Its also a game that clearly couldnt have been release in modern times and will offend the more sensible.
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Threntall 2024-04-26T14:58:23Z
2024-04-26T14:58:23Z
4.5
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Was rather disappointed with this in the end. Initially, my impression was that Rockstar would actually try to tell a story about a genuine human experience and the feelings associated with it - mixed with some occasional hijinks. As the game progressed, the silliness got out of hand without the game's humoristic qualities profiting from this shift, and the story just became about a struggle for control of the school driven by unlikable and inauthentic characters.
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mittelmaessigexistent 2024-04-02T02:19:53Z
2024-04-02T02:19:53Z
1.5
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Rockstar may have become an upsetting behemoth over the past 10 years or so, but it's funny to think that there was a time when they could put out a game like this and be accused of creating a "racial violence simulator" without including anything as overtly edgy as Trevor Phillips or interactive torture. Was it not just way more satisfying to troll people with stuff that explicitly *isn't* any more adult or offensive than causing a few skinned knees and wedgied crotches?

It might seem derisive to describe Bully as GTA San Andreas but in a school, and there are reasons why Bully *is* so much more than that. But the prospect of Rockstar taking the best GTA game, trimming some of the excess bloat off and transposing it into another setting setting is one that I wish the studio had pursued more. I guess technically it's what they did with Red Dead, but... nah, that game is exactly how to do that wrong.

One of the best things about Bully is that it's small-scale. Firstly, it's short in terms of playtime - if you're not speed running it and not shooting for 100% completion, there's a good ten hours of content on a first playthrough, which was and still should be perfectly respectable. Secondly, it's a less sprawling, tighter sandbox, with plenty to do but with a pretty strong focus on doing the campaign.

But what I think really benefits it is the bedtime mechanic. It's a simple thing really, but the fact that each in-game day ends with you going to bed - either intentionally or because you pass out around 2am - there's a real feeling of coziness to it all. It's not a life simulator, it's a fun little game about school hijinks, and this mechanic really limits your ability to wander around boring yourself, which would in turn create the temptation for the devs to cram the game with stuff to do during that wandering. Bully hems you in in the best way, by making sure you never forget that it's all about school.

The setting of Bulworth Academy, a pretty faithful recreation of a private boarding school, works to counter one of the things I never liked much about crime-focused sandbox games. The pettiness and pride of factions might be very true to the world of criminal gangs, but it was always kind of alienating to me, as an achingly middle-class bean who just wants everyone to get along and smooch already. Because Bully's factions are made up of cliques of teenage schoolkids, that pettiness is far more relatable, and can actually be presented as being as absurd as it really is. And everyone do be smooching.

Oh yeah, and you can heal yourself by smooching boys, or girls if you're into that; and it's honestly weird to me that *that* wasn't what got the right-wing upset about this game.

Storywise, the game is a little predictable, with the protagonist doing questlines for each major faction. And if I have a criticism, it's how linear that progression is. Faction affinity is presented as a percentage in the menu, but as far as I can tell, it's just a case of one faction's affinity going up, then the next one, then the next one - and then they all go down, which was kinda cool. I get why it's like that; the game itself is pretty linear, which each chapter corresponding to a faction and a season, meaning that the whole environment will change at set points. Optional missions can presumably be missed, but I don't think I ever missed any so I can only guess. Still, it feels like maybe there was an idea to have the player able to annoy or ingratiate themselves to factions in smaller ways outside the main story. Maybe this was sacrificed in the name of a tighter story campaign, and if that's the case, we probably ended up with a stronger game as a result.

Bully stands alongside Saints Row 2, in my opinion, as a game for people who liked what GTA was but weren't really onboard for what it became. It's a game that understands that, while half of the audience for San Andreas was there for the gritty realism and role-play, the other half were there for the profound silliness of it all. And I guess they reached a point where they couldn't really fit both into one game. I do recommend Bully to anyone who hasn't tried it, although god knows how you'd play it these days. It might not blow anyone's mind, but it's the last purely enjoyable Rockstar game that exists purely to be enjoyed.
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Fotzepolitic 2023-01-09T19:05:07Z
2023-01-09T19:05:07Z
5.0
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Bully isn't GTA 4 or RDR level
But it stands above Max Payne and LA Noire―yuck. This is the original Hogwarts Legacy.

Rockstar Games ranked (the ones I've played):

GTA 4 (classic)
RDR2 (classic)
Bully (great)
GTA San Andreas (great)
GTA 5 (good)
GTA Vice City (good)
Max Payne 1 (good)
Max Payne 2 (good - average)
Max Payne 3 (mediocre)
GTA 3 (awful - outdated)
LA Noire (awful)
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nohzdyve 2023-02-19T23:38:51Z
2023-02-19T23:38:51Z
5.0
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i had so much fun with this game!! i haven’t been super into a game ever since i was rlly young so being able to really obsess over this one made my gaming experience 10x more enjoyable
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Catalog

slowmauve Bully 2024-05-25T08:00:19Z
PS2 • XNA
2024-05-25T08:00:19Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Goomb Bully 2024-05-21T00:36:14Z
2024-05-21T00:36:14Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
asdp Bully 2024-05-19T15:51:55Z
2024-05-19T15:51:55Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
to play.
tigeraye Bully 2024-05-18T21:12:06Z
2024-05-18T21:12:06Z
5.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
roman_cancel Bully 2024-05-15T03:05:37Z
2024-05-15T03:05:37Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nobodyburnhole95 Bully 2024-05-14T05:44:24Z
2024-05-14T05:44:24Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
stellarpie Bully 2024-05-14T01:09:48Z
2024-05-14T01:09:48Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Locklyy Bully 2024-05-13T19:19:10Z
2024-05-13T19:19:10Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
trashjunkie Canis Canem Edit 2024-05-13T13:08:45Z
PS2 • GB
2024-05-13T13:08:45Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Loveless01 Bully 2024-05-13T09:56:26Z
2024-05-13T09:56:26Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Its_Anonymous47 Bully 2024-05-12T10:57:10Z
2024-05-12T10:57:10Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
wh_about Bully 2024-05-12T09:07:39Z
2024-05-12T09:07:39Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: T
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x DVD
Also known as
  • Canis Canem Edit
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  • Previous comments (39) Loading...
  • NickFerrant 2023-09-15 13:16:46.1399+00
    Coolest game Rockstar ever made.
    reply
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  • renegadexavier06 2023-09-24 07:31:13.207668+00
    The Virgin Yandere Simulator vs the Chad Bully
    reply
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  • CircoBondi 2023-11-09 10:41:50.861119+00
    I can quote this game from star to finish
    reply
    • act2hydrocityzone 2023-11-16 09:33:13.513771+00
      we listen
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  • Growlithium 2023-12-13 06:51:49.746969+00
    This is an American Yakuza game
    reply
    • guidop 2024-02-14 23:28:12.865141+00
      your comment sold me the game
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  • SolitaryDoomsdayCultist 2023-12-24 03:42:44.449525+00
    This game has an unmatched vibe to it.
    reply
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  • scoobydoo19 2024-01-27 05:19:34.219014+00
    Memories of being in 7th grade and trying to explain to my parents "no mom, like THEY'RE the bullies"
    reply
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  • RobotGetsTerminated 2024-02-11 23:49:44.115818+00
    the wii version of this game is surprisingly good
    reply
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  • xDhotshot 2024-05-25 14:42:33.980726+00
    you can tell how unfinished this game is and its still really fun
    reply
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