Bully: Scholarship Edition

Key events

This is how Bully would look in HD

Student recreates the set of Rockstar's classic.

Rockstar's mischievous scholastic satire Bully (or Canis Canem Edit, as it was originally called upon its European release) came out in 2006 and many have clamoured for a remake to it. It's unclear if that will ever happen, but graphic design student Wesley Arthur has given us some idea of how that might look by painstakingly recreating its boy's dormitory in Unreal Engine 4.

Gamers' Voice slams Keith Vaz

Attacks "amateurish" early day motion.

UK gamer rights group Gamers' Voice has attacked notorious anti-video game MP Keith Vaz for tabling an "amateurish" early day motion.

Vaz: "Iíve never been against games"

Controversial MP speaks to Eurogamer.

He was the guest that no-one expected to see Ė and yet Keith Vaz MP, Parliament's most hostile critic of the industry, turned out last night at an event in support of gaming, claiming: "I've never been against games".

Bully music composer reveals sequel

Bully music composer reveals sequel

Says he'll be working on it soon.

Bully composer Shawn Lee has revealed that he will be working on a sequel for Rockstar.

"Yes. It looks like I will be doing the soundtrack for Bully 2 in the not so distant future," Lee told The Gaming Liberty (via Kotaku). It's the first we've heard of the game.

Bully was released in the UK in October 2006, but was called Canis Canem Edit after pressure from anti-bullying groups. Appearances, however, were deceptive - Bully had less to do with thumping nerds than it did sticking up for them.

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New Bully 360 patch creating problems?

New Bully 360 patch creating problems?

Best avoid, says Internet.

Rockstar has released a patch for the troubled Xbox 360 version of Bully: Scholarship Edition, but electronic word on the Internet street is that it's causing more problems - perhaps even more than it fixes.

The patch went Live on Thursday, but soon after that posters on Major Nelson's blog were accusing it of causing "terrible amounts" of trouble.

Among the problems reported are more game freezes, "choppy" audio and graphical glitches.

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Bully: Scholarship Edition

Bully: Scholarship Edition

Kissed the boys and made 'em cry. Except now on Wii.

So far, multiplatform games have not had a good time on the Wii, and neither have ports. Shoehorned-in motion controls and poor, unoptimised graphics tend to doom them to mediocrity or worse; the best games on the system have invariably been designed for it from the ground up, with the exception of Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition.

Bully: Scholarship Edition, thankfully, bucks that trend. It's a very good port of the PlayStation 2 game, identical in almost every respect except the controls, which are integrated effectively and entertainingly. The important things - the witty script, the huge and believable cast of supporting characters, the variety and inventiveness of the game's missions - are still the same, and still make Bully a boisterous, funny and - even now, more than a year on - unique experience.

Well, we say unique, but as you'll know if you've read anything about either the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 2 versions, the bare bones of Bully are anatomically similar to GTA's. The setting, storyline and script, though, are completely its own. You play a cocky but likeable dropout, Jimmy, who has been expelled from so many schools that the violent and bully-ridden Bullworth Academy is his last option. It's structured around missions that entail everything from fighting and fetch-and-carrying to helping a drunkard English teacher escape the wrath of the headmaster, stealing girls' pants and taking pot-shots at jocks from a tree. Apart from that, there's plenty to discover just biking or skateboarding around the school and its surroundings, collecting trinkets or finding new side-missions.

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Bully 360 patch due this week

Bully 360 patch due this week

Rockstar dealing with crashes, etc.

Rockstar said late on Friday that it will release a patch for the Xbox 360 version of Bully: Scholarship Edition "within the next week".

The publisher said it was "very aware of the problems some people have been experiencing with the Xbox 360 version of Bully" and offered its wholehearted apologies.

The biggest problem we've had is hard lockups that require the console to be reset, and these seem to affect even very new consoles like our office Xbox 360 Elite, and happen every few hours.

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Bully: Scholarship Edition

Bully: Scholarship Edition

Thesis very good.

Rockstar Vancouver may have been copying GTA's homework a little when Bully came out on PS2 at the end of 2006, but it still changed enough words to impress teacher. Guns and cars were expelled, compressing the play area and allowing for greater variety and more developed controls, while the school setting and routine gave it a tighter structure. Roaming the halls and the neighbouring town of Bullworth, wise beyond the teenage years of most of the cast, it keyed in cleverly to the sense most of us have that we would like to go back to school because now we'd actually get the joke, and it would be more enjoyable. It was, and even though not much has changed for the 360's Scholarship Edition port by Mad Doc Software (look out for a separate Wii review tomorrow) it still is.

Playing as Jimmy Hopkins, a 15-year-old troublemaker given one last chance at Bullworth Academy, you start off racing between mini-game lessons, probing the school boundaries between classes, before heading back to the dorm every night for bed. Like GTA, you're directed to various icons on a mini-map, with stars denoting missions, and through these and Rockstar's traditional, well-written in-game cut-scenes, you're introduced to the world and the people in it, each a measured stereotype or caricature: the various cliques like the Nerds and Preps whose respect you'll be winning and losing; and characters like Petey, the bashful weakling; Russell the thuggish idiot; Galloway the drunken English teacher; Miss Danvers, the headmaster's fawning secretary; Tad the inbred rich kid; and Gary the manipulative bully.

There's a fair bit that you can do right from the off, and within a couple of hours you'll have assembled an inventory of neat gizmos - a slingshot, skateboard, stinkbombs - and abilities. Targeting other people with the left trigger, you can taunt or compliment them (the latter, if you follow it up with a gift, can lead to romance), or push them around. The combat is unavoidable, because Bullworth's a bit of a rotten place, but the controls are sound and your arsenal of attacks and grapples grows steadily and naturally as you swap radio parts with a homeless army veteran living just inside the grounds. The game itself is the best teacher in Bullworth, seldom leaving you stuck or unable to progress due to difficulty or poor education.

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Bully Wii/360 details

Bully Wii/360 details

Due out in March.

The Xbox 360 and Wii versions of Bully - Canis Canem Edit on PS2 in Europe - will be released here on 7th March and Rockstar has specified what we can expect over and above its original release.

Details on IGN point to eight new missions, four new classes (biology, geography, maths and music), new items and clothing, new two-player offline mini-games and unlockable Achievements on Xbox 360. Whether all that applies to both Wii and 360 isn't immediately clear.

What should be clear is that even an unchanged game would be welcomed by fans of the more recent platforms. Canis Canem Edit won plaudits upon release, including a very favourable review from some handsome idiot, and Bully: Scholarship Edition - as it's known on 360 and Wii - is highly anticipated as a result.

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360: 2007's Most Wanted

What will you be getting for Christmas?

A Most Wanted list you say? Cripes, whatever next: a Tips and Cheats pamphlet to go with Eurogamer's promotional Pacman Beach Ball cover mount? Still, it's the summer, there are precious few games around and, with an awful lot of new titles coming up towards the end of the year you might quite reasonably want to know which ones to keep an eye on.

Rockstar plans to release Xbox 360 and Wii versions of Bully this winter, promising new content on top of the free-roaming schoolboy antics that made the PS2 version such a critical success.