Also, I'm planning on writing a Lego Indiana Jones review soon, perhaps today, so keep your eyes open for that.
UPDATE (3/22/10) VFH Classic is dead:
Bully: Scholarship Edition
So, this is my first mini-review. Essentially, it's the same as a review, but with less information and a little less formal. Expect mini-reviews for older games, as opposed to full reviews for newly released games. Also, it's quite possible that once I get into the review, it'll be just as long as a full review, so yeah. Enjoy.
The first thing I noticed with Bully, is the fact that it is basically Grand Theft Auto for kids; is the best way to describe it. You play as this kid who is thrown into a new school. You meet new people and partake in both missions and classes.
A cool arcade game you can play. Also, you can see Jimmy wearing a different outfit. You can fully customize Jimmy's duds, but of course, if you don't wear school clothes, then you'll get in trouble with the stupid prefects by not wearing your uniform....grumble.
Each day is timed with a clock in the upper left hand corner, which I hate. Each day, you have the "choice" to attend two classes, which begin at 9am and 1pm every day. If you don't go to your class, then it will be deemed "truancy" and the prefects, aka cops, will come after you. If you ever get caught by a prefect, then you must serve detention and do some chore. Prefects also come after you if you do anything bad, such as punching another student, doing pranks, breaking into lockers, and other such deeds. This is fair and understandable, but for things like truancy and curfew violations are stupid and annoying. Also, there are a ton of bullies in the school who will come after you on sight, even if you are minding your business. You can usually run away from these people or plead for mercy or fight them, but of course if you fight them, the prefects will come after you. So this part is particularly annoying, as they just keep coming no matter what.
Also, because of the clock and truancy, you essentially must go to your classes and then go to bed at 11 or you'll have to run away from prefects and cops all day. I kind of think the idea in theory is decent, as it gives you a schedule of things to do so you always have something to do, but in practice, is just bad. It makes it so you can't explore your surroundings and you are always forced to hurry from place to place to make good use of your time as opposed to relax and freely explore and partake in whatever you like. Always feeling rushed just makes things more frustrating, such as trying to control your bike or skateboard or getting blocked by people who won't get pushed out of the way. Just frustrating, grrr.
Biology class. A nice dissection semi-similar to Trauma Center, but not as good or diverse.
Of course, you can choose not to go to your classes, but again, if you don't, the prefects will come after you, so you can't enjoy yourself. Luckily, there are benefits to going to classes, such as upgrades and new weapons and items. There are a variety of classes, and each plays out as a mini-game, and luckily, each mini-game is different and fun. For instance, math has giving the answer to a simply algebra problem, as geography has you placing state and country flags in the correct place. There is also a photography class, English, gym, biology, chemistry, music, and more, each of which have a fun mini-game to partake in, some of which require you to merely mimic on-screen queues.
Aside from going to class, there are a variety of missions to accomplish, most of which move along the plot, or unlock goodies. You can also do favors for people which will give you a little extra cash. Missions play out the same as GTA, as you make your way to a mark on your map and then start the mission. It starts with a little exposition and then you get into it. Upon completion, you get some cash and maybe unlock something new, such as another mission or item.
Once locked on to a person using the C button, you can choose how you want to respond to someone. You can choose a positive or negative response, beg for mercy from bullies, humiliate someone with low health, ask a girl for a kiss, accept someone's favor, and others, each of which is accessible when the occasion calls for it simply by pressing the corresponding direction on the D-pad.
Also, like GTA, once you play for awhile, you start unlocking new areas or "islands". This greatly expands the surroundings and gives you access to more shops and items, and even "safe-houses" where you can save and sleep. Heck, you can even hijack bicycles and ride them around, or take the bus to get back to school.
If you like getting 100%, then you'll want to find the rubber bands and playing cards scattered throughout the world, just like in GTA.
That's essentially all there is. Prefects are cops. New areas are islands. Missions are the same. Money is the same, except you have a lot less. You can get new weapons, but instead of killing implements, you have a sling shot, stink bombs, marbles, eggs, and the like. There is also of course hand-to-hand combat, which is done fairly well and there are a lot of special moves you can learn. There are cool arcade games you can play. There are lots of stats and things to look at and lots to do. There is multiplayer of some sort, but I didn't get a chance to check it out, sorry. Bully is a pretty solid game, with lots to do and check out, so if you only have a Wii and no console to play GTA on, then you might want to pick this one up, but of course it isn't exactly like GTA, but pretty much. The only real negative to this game is the clock system and the fact that you are basically forced to go to class and go to sleep at night, as opposed to doing whatever you want, making it not as open as GTA. And of course you cannot go about killing people in many creative ways, which is the real draw to the GTA series. But yes, a fun game overall.
And if you didn't know, it is by no means a "Columbine Simulator" or anything crazy like that. That's complete nonsense by people who know nothing and judge before doing actual research. Also, you aren't this mean, hard ass bully who beats people up for no reason. For the most part, you only do things to defend yourself, as the school is full of bullies and such. So yeah.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games review was unrestorable, however the score listed was 8/10