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Canis Canem Edit

Brilliantly, battering down your rival's health gives you the chance to perform some favourite playground humiliations. Make him punch his own face to the sound of "Stop hitting yourself!", twist his ear, give him a Chinese burn... We just hope the monkey scrub is in there somewhere. Humiliating your enemy and watching him flee like a big baby is just one of Canis's many satisfying moments.

Later, wandering Bullworth's dormitory looking for Jimmy's room we passed another group of bullies ganging up on someone else. The world around you is packed with action, unlike GTA's occasionally ghost town-like environment, and other students are running, playing, vandalising and fighting all around you. Until the prefects and teachers turn up, that is.

While you're free to roam the halls as you like or, later, leave the grounds and explore nearby Bullworth town, you have to keep a keen eye on your Trouble meter. Skip school, miss classes or fight with other kids and the meter will creep up. Prefects and teachers will be on the lookout, keen to drag you back to class or - for repeat offenders - haul you in front of the headmaster.

In a neat deterrent, continued bad behaviour sees you punished with hard labour - the exact details depend on which of the game's seasons you're currently in. So, during spring you'll be forced to cut the football field in a strict time but in winter it's shovelling snow from around the staff's cars. Fail, and you have to do it again. And again, and again, until you get it right.

There's not enough room here to tell you everything about the game formerly known as Bully - the minigame lessons that improve Jimmy's abilities, the skateboarding, the clever and engaging script, the GTA-style comedy, the risque missions.

Just believe us when we say that the wait has really been worth it. Canis Canem Edit will be sitting the review exam soon, but we already know the result: it's outstanding.

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