Oct 16, 2006
Whether you think it's the ruin of Western civilization or a Catcher in the Rye for the videogame generation, there's a far more pressing question about Bully: is it worth the $40? That depends. If you're any kind of fan of hand-to-hand ass-kickings, open-ended gameplay and standing up for the little guy, then the answer is a big, meaty "yes" to the face.
Mixing equal parts free-form exploration, childish pranks and bare-knuckle violence, Bully is the story of Jimmy Hopkins, a young tough who's ignored by his parents and has been all but shut out of the system. Jimmy's had to rely on his own wits and fists to survive in a succession of tougher and tougher schools, but he's a decent guy deep down. The same can't be said of the denizens of Bullworth Academy, a boarding school that's home not only to the elite, but also to roving packs of delinquents who - like Jimmy - wouldn't be accepted anywhere else. The funny thing is, the line between the two is a blurry one.
The second he steps through Bullworth's gates, Jimmy becomes a target, first of teasing (because his clothes are a little grubby), then of actual violence. Backed into a corner and fed up with authority figures who refuse to do anything about bullying, he sees only one course of action: take over the school clique by clique and force everyone to stop picking on each other. What follows is a lengthy cavalcade of favors, beatdowns, vandalism, minor theft, humiliation, blackmail, make-outs and a whole lot of sticking it to The Man.