Bully: Scholarship Edition Hands On

We were given a hands-on revision class in Rockstar's remixed juvenile adventure game, and the results look promising.

Scholarship Edition is somewhat of a director's cut for Bully, the game released as Canis Canem Edit in Europe in 2006. The new version keeps the soul of the original PlayStation 2 game and adds a next-gen polish to its body. It also adds new graphics, extra solo missions, and multiplayer games.

Scholarship Edition adds some fun new multiplayer games, including biology.

As we saw in our previous visit to Rockstar London's offices, Scholarship Edition--coming to the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii in March--offers new control mechanics with the Wii Remote, as well as improved visuals. In addition to eight new single-player missions, four new multiplayer "classes" (minigames) have been added: music, maths, biology, and geography.

You'll fill the shoes of Jimmy Hopkins, a teen delinquent with a troubled past dumped at the gates of the prestigious Bullworth Academy boarding school by his mother, who abandons him to go on her latest honeymoon. Jimmy enrolls at Bullworth through necessity because he's been kicked out of a string of schools, and Bullworth is the only one willing--or stupid enough--to admit him.

We tried the four new multiplayer classes and found them to be a great addition to the game--multiplayer is still a purely offline affair. The music class follows a method similar to other rhythm games and reminded us of the minigame in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas where you have to pump your car hydraulics to the beat. Duking it out as Jimmy or Gary, we took the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in hand, which represented onscreen maracas, and had to follow along with the dismal-sounding school band. You control the maracas by shaking either hand to a series of vertically scrolling notes that pass through a reticule much in the same manner as Guitar Hero. It takes a bit of practice to master, but getting the timing spot-on or pulling off a string of correct notes, rewards you with a higher score.

The maths class takes a page out of Nintendo's Brain Training, with puzzles ranging from simple arithmetic to questions with dimensions, weight, and more. The multiple choice answers could be chosen using the Wii Remote by pointing and clicking. Biology, which we saw previously, involves the dissection of a particular animal by using a magnifying glass, scalpel forceps, and pins. We attempted dissecting a rat using the Wii Remote in a race against the clock and another player. Points are awarded for speed and accuracy, so it pays to be careful rather than just hacking through it at record pace.

The geography class involves placing named flags on the appropriate countries within a region. We tried our luck with the Middle East and North Africa, Central and South America, and South East Asia. Even with the flags and country names to help jog our memory, it was surprisingly challenging to identify some of the more far-flung countries.

After a lesson in multiplayer, we graduated to the single-player campaign. We played a mission originally from the PS2 version, Character Sheets, in which Jimmy Hopkins has to help fellow student Melvin get back stolen sheets for his favourite role-playing board game, Grottos and Gremlins. Using the skateboard, we roamed around the schoolyard until we found the culprits indicated on the map and proceeded to teach them a lesson in schoolyard bullying.

Rockstar then showed us a new mission, Rudy the Red Nosed Santa, located in downtown Bullworth and starring a hilarious new character: Rudy--the town's drunken Santa. It seems Rudy's winter wonderland is lacking some wonder, and it's up to Jimmy to find some ornaments, located in the town's trashcans, to help spice it up. On your journey, you'll be assaulted by elves and their pet bulldog--presumably sent from a competing Santa--which you'll need to fend off. If you get close enough to an elf, you can pick him up and dump him in a trashcan!

It's not over when you get the ornaments back to Rudy. You'll need to be his photographer as he sits for some happy holiday snaps with the kiddies. Using the camera, you'll need to take four "happy" photos, which are harder to take than it sounds given the disobedient brats Rudy meets, as well as his drunken demeanour and alcohol-drenched odour.

We found that the Wii Remote worked well with Bully. Compared to the 360 controller, the Wii Remote certainly felt more intuitive and natural, especially when trying to delicately dissect critters or move flags in multiplayer. Many moves, such as throwing punches or performing humiliation moves, are done by shaking the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Other moves, such as performing an ollie on your skateboard, are performed with buttons. Some moves are made just a bit more amusing with the Wii Remote, such as giving a wedgie, which is done by pressing right on the D pad, then jerking the Wii Remote and Nunchuk up quickly.

Jimmy gets new fighting mechanics thanks to the Wii Remote.

What we saw appeared to be a near-final build, and the graphics looked good, even on a 65-inch display. However, the graphics were noticeably more detailed and sharper on the Xbox 360 version.

Rockstar said that the new version will take more than 30 hours to complete, including side quests, classes at Bullworth Academy, and other amusements spread around the world, such as arcade games. With new graphics, music, background dialogue, missions, and multiplayer games, Bully: Scholarship Edition is likely to appeal to old and new players alike. It is currently scheduled for a European release date of March 7.

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Luke Anderson

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....
Bully: Scholarship Edition

Bully: Scholarship Edition

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37 comments
derre345
derre345

Rockstar games made GTA so you should expect bully to be fun

townsenda1
townsenda1

Baron008, why did you write it 5 times? Anyway the game looks pretty good. We wil see how it plays.

baron008
baron008

This game looks fun. Time for us geeks to see life on the otherside

baron008
baron008

This game looks fun. Time for us geeks to see life on the otherside

baron008
baron008

This game looks fun. Time for us geeks to see life on the otherside

baron008
baron008

This game looks fun. Time for us geeks to see life on the otherside

baron008
baron008

This game looks fun. Time for us geeks to see life on the otherside

Diduseeasign
Diduseeasign

This was one up there with the best of them on the ps2, although i couldn't help thinking the console couldn't handle it. it seemed like the ps2 was struggling to load up cut scenes at times and the graphics were a bit shoddy. Those creases should be ironed out for the wii version, and especially for the 360 version It's well worth a second purchase/play for the extras and multiplayer. hopefully Rockstar have made good/creative use of the wii-mote like they did with Rockstar Presents Table Tennis.

Woxas
Woxas

ya, i thought it looked like one of those old games like ghost squad brought back just with "new controls". But after reading the info and watching the video's, i'm stoked to see it in action!!!

dylankay94
dylankay94

damn, i can play gta but not this because its in school! wtf, i wanna be a bully in a game so i dont take my anger out on some liitle loser!

DJ_Quack_Quack
DJ_Quack_Quack

As long as the gameplay is intact and the control works, I'm in.

15hockey
15hockey

Ah ign already reviewed doesn't matter to me

nrCooldude
nrCooldude

i played the original one on my ps2 and it was a classic.. i wonder if i should get this one 4 the 360

Trashcan_Man
Trashcan_Man

WIi needs more games like this that aren't just kiddie collections of minigames. I'll support this game.

thenarkallaptar
thenarkallaptar

Who cares about the 360 graphics. I can pretend to actually twist someones arm in this version... Oh dang Hillary is coming after me now because I learned how to be violent from this game.

killer2200
killer2200

hope this will be as good or better than the previous one on ps2

bombman07
bombman07

im definetly getting this . its coming out on march 7 right? if it is thats awesome cuz i have 120$ in giftcard money and im going to get SSBB and bully =D

PeterPerson
PeterPerson

you can kiss other boys in this game... hehehe :P

LisVender
LisVender

God, I just hope they don't screw up like they did with Manhunt 2, and put the lock-on button on C instead of Z.

bottomdollar
bottomdollar

This game keeps interesting me. I think I'm going to pick it up. Relive those school days through my Wii. Ahhhh the memories....

King_Wii
King_Wii

I have to agree with what some people have said, I personaly never played Bully on PS2 so this I'm looking forward to trying it out (rental first). If its as good as I think the new GTA on Xbox 360 will be I'll deffently like it. I'll try it on Wii only to see how they worked the controls, Rockstar is generaly a good developer and so far in my mind Nintendo is the most succesful with Wii's controls so hopefuly this begins a legacy of good 3rd party stuff.

Treblemaka
Treblemaka

Oh yeah time to kick some headmaster booty.

fraz1776
fraz1776

I never played it on the PS2 so I'm looking forward to this!

markio390
markio390

I think after this we'll see a gta game on wii, not one of the main series like gta 4 or 5 but maybe gta san andreas remake or maybe even a new city

chrisbag
chrisbag

Looks great, I loved this game on the PS2. Will have to wait for the review to see if the extra content makes it worth playing again.

jjr10
jjr10

Look's good to me!

nicknemy22
nicknemy22

cant wait. i never played the ps2 version thou so i dont know what to expect

Super-Mario-Fan
Super-Mario-Fan

Glad they liked it. I actually have this game on my list. Let's hope the review turns out good.

FlaminDeath
FlaminDeath

Sweet, I finally get to play this game.

ChileanSeba
ChileanSeba

I'm totally buying this game. a must-have for wii owners

Gaiusjulius394
Gaiusjulius394

Why do all game publishers state the obvious? "The graphics looked much better on the Xbox 360". WELL DUH!!! Of course it does, if it didn't I'd be very worried.... Instead of saying how bad the Wii graphics are compared to the 360, why don't game sites say what's GOOD about the Wii graphics...

DJ_Quack_Quack
DJ_Quack_Quack

I am so getting this for the wii. along with smash bros.

SmashAndRun
SmashAndRun

Hmmm. I may get this game for the 360

Cody-G
Cody-G

yeah this game sounds awesome im probally going to buy it

jmangafan
jmangafan

I might have to re-buy this game for the Wii.