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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bully: Making The Grade (Part 1)

Bully: Scholarship Edition is a great game if you're a fan of sandbox games, mini-games, hunting for hidden packages and secrets, and comedy. It's a funny game with a lot of interesting little things to do along the way. I'm not sure if I'd say it's quite as sweet and innocent as some might have you believe. I definitely would not want young teens playing this game. Otherwise, I'd say Bully does a great job of being an alternative to the hardcore violence found in Rockstar's ground-breaking, sales-chart-shattering GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA IV.

So let's take a closer look at Bully: Scholarship Edition.

The appeal of sandbox games is the ability to do anything and everything you want to do. Rules can be bent, broken, or completely ignored much of the time. In Bully, there are many different things you can do:

  1. Story Missions: Bully is split into five separate Acts. To move from one act to the next, the story missions for the current act must be completed.
  2. Classes: You play the role of a fifteen year-old student at Bullworth Academy named Jimmy Hopkins. And just like all high-school students, you are supposed to attend classes. The classes are all quite entertaining and rarely too difficult. I find the classes to be a nice diversion from the grind of achievement whoring or the straightforwardness of the story missions.
  3. Activities: There are a number of activities that can be engaged in on and off campus. Bully's Stats menu gives list upon list upon list of various activities. These lists maintain a count of how many times Jimmy Hopkins has performed each activity listed. Many of these activities tie in to one or more of the possible achievements that can be cleared while playing Bully, including the one big achievement for 100% completion. For me, activities and achievements are what keep me coming back for more.
  4. Exploration: If you don't feel like doing anything, Bully allows Jimmy to explore the campus and the neighboring town (after Act I). You can see anything and do almost anything you like. There are a few restrictions:
    • Jimmy can not seriously hurt or kill anyone. Bully is not about killing and intense violence.
    • Jimmy can not stay awake past 2 AM. Starting at 1 AM, Jimmy will begin to get tired and will be visibly slowed and shaky on his feet. Jimmy needs to find a bed by 2 AM or he will collapse on the spot.
    • If Jimmy has a class to attend, he may choose to skip class. However, there is always the chance that Jimmy will get busted by Bullworth Academy's prefects. In this case, Jimmy is escorted to class.
    • Acts of vandalism, violence, truancy, or misbehaviour have their own consequences as they do in real life. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.
In my current game of Bully, I've just started Act II. I've been focusing on clearing as many achievements and classes as possible before moving onto the story missions. I used to do the same in GTA III and Vice City and I don't see any reasons to change my usual plan of attack.

As you'll see, most of Bully's achievements are easy to clear. The only catch is that many of them can be time-consuming or tedious. But if there's one thing I learned from poker, it's that there's something strangely relaxing about the repetitive and boring nature of "the grind".

But enough talk! Let's talk achievements! I'll present the achievements in chronological order. If you're intent on playing Bully and collecting all achievement, follow my "guide" and you should be fine.

SMART MOUTH [25 GamerPoint]: Say 100 taunts.

SMART MOUTH was the first achievement that I cleared. Extremely easy to do though a little tedious. I completed this in the boys' dormatory just outside of Jimmy's room. The basic idea is to target a NPC with the LT button. Once targeted, a menu of possible actions to perform on your target will appear in lower right-hand portion of the screen. While holding the LT button, push the B button to taunt your target. There are a few things worth looking out for:
  1. I tended to target the Nerds since they were less likely to start fighting after one or two taunts.
  2. After taunting the same NPC two or three times, move on to another target to prevent the flaring of tempers or the need for fisticuffs.
  3. Use the Stats menu to see just how many taunts you've delivered.
KICKIN' THE BALLS [20 GamerPoint]: Kick 100 soccer balls.

Feel like playing a little soccer? Stand facing the boys' dormitory. Now head around the right side of the dormitory towards the back of the building. You should spot a soccer ball. The trick to kicking this soccer ball 100 times is to get it in behind the dormitory. Once you've got the ball in the back alleyway, try to kick the ball so that it bounces between the back wall of the dormitory and stone wall surrounding the Bullworth Academy campus. I believe that this achievement took me around 15 minutes to complete even though I messed up a number of times (note: a "mess-up" meaning that the ball was kicked out of the back alley and back onto the main grounds surrounding the dormitory).

If you've got the patience to keep kicking one damned soccer ball about for ages, you'll get the KICKIN' THE BALLS achievement and 20 GamerPoint.

SKIDMARK [25 GamerPoint]: Give 50 wedgies.

I cleared the SKIDMARK achievement in much the same way as the SMART MOUTH achievement. I kept Jimmy in the boys' dormitory. I'd target a Nerd with the LT button. Instead of pressing the B button right away, I'd make my way behind the intended target. Once you see the context menu option for the B button change from a fist to a picture of some tighty-whiteys, you're ready to deliver the wedgie. Press the B button and Jimmy will grab the victim's underpants and pull. As with the SMART MOUTH achievement, be sure not to target the same victim too many times in a row. The last thing you want is a fight. Oh! Be sure to target boys only: you can't give the female students wedgies.

I performed all 50 wedgies in about 10-15 minutes. It's not too bad once you get in the groove of things.

KEENER [20 GamerPoint]: Complete 3 Classes.

I complete my first 3 classes pretty quickly. In Act I, there appears to be only five classes available: Art, Chemistry, English, Biology, Gym, and Music. To unlock the KEENER achievement, you need only attend and complete three classes in one of these classes or spread out across two or three different subjects. For example, if you prefer Chemistry class, you could complete the first 3 out of 5 possible levels of the Chemistry class to unlock this achievement.

In order to better help your understanding of these classes, here are some clips that demonstrate a typical class for each of the six subject matters in Act I of Bully.
Art Class

Chemistry Class

English Class

Biology Class

(See the video here.


Gym Class

Music Class

(See the video here.)

For what it's worth, I'd rate the difficulty of the classes in the following order (from easiest to hardest):
  • Chemistry: Simple button pressing. Dead easy and the rewards are quite good (eg. Firecrackers!).
  • Gym: Gym class is a joke. Either you'll be taught some wrestling moves (which come in handy while trying to survive simply walking around campus) or you'll play dodge ball. If you're having problems with dodge ball, try performing a running jump attack. Works every time.
  • English: You'll need to come up with as many words as possible given six scrambled letters. My advice? Right the letters down on a piece of paper, pause the game, come up with as many words as possible, and then un-pause your game and start entering words.
  • Music: The music class presents itself as a simple rhythm game using only the RT and LT buttons. I had issues with this class due to the unresponsiveness of the trigger buttons and my apparent lack of rhythm.
  • Biology: I didn't have any problems with the Biology class. But you will need some good hand-eye coordination and a good mastery of your Xbox 360 controller. My advice is to take things slowly and try not to panic. The less mistakes you make during dissection, the faster you'll finish.
  • Art: Art class can be a little tricky until you get the hang of things. The first couple levels are pretty easy; after that, you'll need to bring some skills to the mini-game. To beat the Art class, don't get greedy while drawing your boxes: look to make a number of small or medium sized boxes instead of two or three massive boxes. And always be on the lookout for power-ups. If you happen to pick up the "Freeze" power-up, quickly cut the largest uncovered section of the picture in two in an effort to uncover as much as you can while the on-screen enemies are frozen.
AFTER HOURS [20 GamerPoint]: Spend 5 hours out after curfew.

Curfew stars at 11 PM at night. I took Jimmy behind the boys' dorm and simply waited until 2 AM. Jimmy collapsed on the spot. I did the same thing the very next night. At 1 AM, the AFTER HOURS achievement unlocked, I picked up 20 GamerPoint, and I managed to get a very drowsy Jimmy to bed before he was forced to spend another night outside under the stars.

TEACHER’S PET [20 GamerPoint]: Complete 6 Classes.

See the description for the KEENER achievement above. I cleared the TEACHER'S PET achievement on my third full day at Bullworth Academy. This is an easy 20 GamerPoint.

I'll take a look at the next six achievements on my list tomorrow or the day after. Have a great day!

--

If you don't happen to have your very own copy of Bully, I'd highly recommend buying it using the link below. I think it's great and well-worth a full retail price purchase.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

hello dude thanks for post.. i didnt get the teachers pet acheivement even though i did 6 classes... what do you think went wrong?
best regards from rido

Klopzi said...

Did you pass all six classes? Take a look at your in-game stats and verify that it shows you passed six classes for the achievement.

I've also read that saving, exiting the game, and rebooting your console can get the achievement to clear properly. Something to do with hard drive caching.

Hope this helps. If not, let me know and I'll keep digging for you.