Bully: Update!

Yes! I did it! All achievements! I scored 100% on Bully: Scholarship Edition.

Since there are literally dozens and dozens of comments about the difficulty of scoring 100% in Bully, let me jot down my observations.

First, I had gone over the check lists so many times. I did all the mowing. I bought all the clothing and also earned the gold suit. I triple-checked to make sure I did all the bike races and go-kart races. I was still stuck at 99.94%.

Second, I never got the black cowboy hat. I still don’t have it. And I have 100%. So, for the sake of the Xbox 360 version, it can’t be a requirement as many people are reporting. Is it possible that it gives you points toward completion? Sure! But I also think it’s likely that there is some leeway. Maybe the game allows for 102 or 103%. In other words, you can get the black cowboy hat and hit 100%. Or you can skip it and hit 100%.

Third, the difficulty for me hitting 100% was that I stopped getting errands. All through the game, I was inundated with them. Then when I needed them they dried up. People wrote that you needed to hard reboot the Xbox 360 but nothing ever happened for me when I did that despite numerous attempts.

Then I spotted a post suggesting that clearing the cache would help and — lo-and-behold — after clearing the cache I immediately received 8 new errands! I had only completed 31 but I am now at 39.

This makes me wonder about the people who had success with hard booting. I bet it’s more likely that they gave up on Bully, played other games, and then returned to Bully — because, I believe, the Xbox only retains the last three played games in the cache. At least, with the original Xbox, that was the case since the way to clear the cache was to pop in three other games and then return to the original game.

So is that how you clear the cache on the 360? Maybe, but there’s an easier way. I found it here. But if you are averse to clicking on links here’s the process: on the dashboard, go to your Xbox, then go to the settings. Follow that up by clicking on the memory section. Highlight your HD, and then key in the following sequence: Y, X, X, LB, RB, X, X. You’ll see a prompt asking if you want maintenance performed on your HD. Say yes and it clears your cache. Note: it also wipes out all of your game patches (the latter point makes me think this is the reason the code is “secret”). But I don’t think that’s too major since patching on the Xbox is effortless.

After performing maintenance, I fired up the game, re-patched at the prompt, and then traveled from my save at the comic shop to the greaser hangout. Christie asked me to walk her to the motel in the greaser neighborhood. As soon as we arrived, I completed my 32nd errand and — received my achievement for 100%. Yes! Wish I had figured that out a few days ago, but hopefully this information will help others who are struggling with achieving 100%.

Bully: Final Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts commenting on my Bully experience:

  • Loved the music. Nice melody. I like how they spice it up a little in different areas or when you’re on different vehicles. I like musical themes.
  • Love the design of the map, and I love how they slowly introduce you to it. Nice and slow, with lots of back-and-forth so you become very familiar with the layout. Feels like home by the end of the game. I could travel around that map with my eyes closed.
  • Similarly, you hang around the same characters throughout. I like games where you grow with the cast, as opposed to meeting a character and then 5 minutes later discarding him to move on to the next character. Sure, new characters are introduced as you proceed through the game, but the old ones are never forgotten. Recycling is great.
  • Mission difficulty was nice. Never hard. In a story-based game like this, you want it to be tough enough that it feels like a challenge without it becoming so hard that it is frustrating. I may have had to try a mission a second time here or there (I’d have to double check the stats), but for the most part I aced them all without it ever feeling too easy or boring.
  • The only thing I found hard in the game was Biology. I failed that many times. In fact, at one point I kept failing the final class so I had to save before trying so I could keep trying. I was so happy when I was done with that one.
  • Loved how much there was to do. Classes, errands, missions, mini-games, arcade games, collections… it never seems to end. There’s always something to do. (Except at the end when the errands stop firing prematurely because it’s bugged.)
  • Also liked that because you’re a student, you have to juggle what you can do. That is, you can run off to the carnival to go on the rides but if you have a class to get to, you have to be quick on your feet in order to get back in time.
  • I hate games where every attack is a different series of button presses and you never feel in control of the action. Bully is not that. Combat is easy to control. Hold LT to lock on to your target. Press X to strike. Press X multiple times to create combos. Press X once or more to start a combo and then hold X to change it up. Lots of moves made simple. That keeps the challenge focused on the opponent(s) and not the controller.
  • On the other hand, the targeting wasn’t perfect. Your character didn’t snap to the direction of your target. So you’d be locked on to someone but facing the wrong direction and he’d be right on you so there was no room to play a turning animation. That forced you to run away and then run back to get properly faced.
  • School was too short. Now, don’t get me wrong: it feels like a lot at the start. There are 8 or 10 classes and there are 5 levels of each. That takes a while to get through. But the problem is that I completed it in the second or third chapter. For the rest of the game after, I never had to acknowledge that I was a student. I could leave campus and never go back. That breaks the illusion a little.
  • I was surprised at a few missing classes. A language class would have been nice. Political science could have been fun. Same with history. Shoot, they could have thrown in a religion course if they wanted. Maybe they should have even broken them up by chapter so there were always more to get to. And then, in summer school, you could finish anything you missed.
  • I read a few complaints regarding the distances involved in getting around. One mission has you here, another has you across the map. My response? In GTA IV, that was a problem. Not in Bully. Bikes make for very quick travel. And with all the stuff to do in between, going across the map didn’t bother me in the slightest.
  • Another criticism, they make reference to your standing with the various factions. This mission makes you a hit with the nerds but angers the jocks. That mission impresses the greasers but irks the preppies. I got excited about this at first thinking that meant I’d have choices and consequences. Would I strive to impress the nerds? Did I find the jocks more sympathetic? Ultimately, there is no choice. It doesn’t matter. The only difference is sometimes you complete some missions and nerds harass you along the way. And sometimes they help you take out jocks. I see that as good, but overall a missed opportunity for better.
  • Some of the achievements were fun to go for. Tripping 25 kids with marbles? That was easy. Drop a bunch in the hallway and pull the fire alarm. Instant achievement. And hilarious! On the other hand, breaking 300 bottles was a chore! It’s my opinion that achievements should be rewards for creative thinking or for actually accomplishing something. They should be giving achievements for something that’s a challenge like hitting 100% while mowing the football field lawn — not for buying 100 sodas. You know how I bought 100 sodas? I stood in front of the pop machine and kept pressing Y while ignoring the TV and browsing the internet.
  • Hey, I don’t know much about art but I discovered, thanks to a camera clipping problem (the camera dropped below the floor), that the geometry of the levels is mirrored! That is, the staircase in the school not only goes up like you’d expect, but also below the ground. Why? Because it creates a reflection effect when paired with a semi-transparent floor. Maybe that kind of stuff is obvious to artist types, but I thought it seemed quite the clever way to get an effect.

I think that’s it. If I remember anything else, I’ll edit it in. But overall, a great game. Very few complaints. Just fun. Makes me wish we had a Bully 2 on the horizon instead of Max Payne 3. This one was way more fun for me than GTA IV.

Bully: 99.94% Complete

[Update! I hit 100%!]

I beat Bully a few days back but I’ve been toiling toward grabbing every achievement and hitting 100% — something I rarely do. Unfortunately, tonight I hit 99.94% complete and can’t figure out a way to hit 100%. And trust me, I’ve read countless articles on the web about how to hit 100%.

  • Rubber Bands — I have every one according to the in-game stats.
  • G&G Cards — Ditto.
  • Gnomes — Ditto.
  • Complete all 14 Bike Races — I’ve tried re-doing all the final races to no avail.
  • Complete at least 30 errands — I have 31 and no more are showing. Apparently, this is bugged. No amount of rebooting the Xbox matters.
  • Complete all 6 levels of Lawn Mowing — Yes, multiple times, plus I did all the detention lawns and got the prison outfit. The prison outfit did not bump up my percentage.
  • Complete all Paper Route levels – Yep. Multiple times.
  • Side task Boxing — Multiple times.
  • Ride all 3 Carnival rides — Yep.
  • Win at all 4 Carnival games at least once — And yep.
  • Beat Penalty Shots once — And yep.
  • Beat Keep Ups once — And yep.
  • Complete all 5 levels of all classes — Definitely.
  • Get high score in Consumo, Nut Shots and Monkey Fling arcade games — Did this, too.
  • Buy all clothing in the game — I have 333 articles of clothing. Oddly, I read that the two-soda hat did nothing but it incremented my percentage a few tenths.
  • Buy 100 sodas — Obviously (since I mentioned I have the soda hat).
  • Smash all Pumpkins from Halloween — Yep.
  • Smash all Tombstones from Halloween — And yep.
  • Pull 20 fire alarms — Easy.
  • Travel 100 km on a bike — And then some.
  • RUN at least 41.8 km — Ditto.
  • Fail any three classes — And have the Dunce hat to prove it.
  • Take all Yearbook photos — Yep.
  • Win at least the first Go Kart race — And yep, multiple times.
  • Beat up the hidden secret pirate — And I have the pirate hat to prove it.

What’s left? I got nothing. The only thing I can see is that there’s supposed to be a hobo who gives you a black cowboy hat, and that gets you to 100%. I have a brown cowboy hat but no black cowboy hat. I went to the location and waited around for days (literally) and he didn’t show. I tried re-loading from a save at the comic shop many times and that didn’t help. Blah! So close to every achievement, and yet so far.

Bully: First Impression

I recently picked up a copy of Bully: Scholarship Edition for the Xbox 360 (patched to version 1.03). For those who haven’t played this (older) game, here’s the overview:

You’re a kid dropped off at a boarding school. The school is tough and you’re the new guy. It’s your job to survive the bullies and attend classes and not get kicked out of yet another school (your character has a troubled history).

Classes are mini-games. For example, in English class you’re given a bunch of letters and told to form as many words as you can within a fixed amount of time. In music class, you’re basically playing a rhythm game. When you pass a class, you’re rewarded by unlocking a clothing item or coming up with a formula to make your own stink bombs or itching powder. Meanwhile, there are story-based missions: breaking into the school to steal a diary or finding an alcoholic teacher’s stashes to protect him from himself. These advance the story, affect relationships with central characters, and usually earn you a little bit of money for buying clothes or going to the movies or the carnival. And there are the factions: such as the nerds and the bullies. Every action or mission has the potential to impact your standing with the other groups.

My first impression? Love it. Tons of fun. I love going to classes and going through the mini-games. And the quests themselves are fun and create the game’s story experience.

I do have a few complaints, and that is the emphasis for this post.

Early on, it seems like everyone wants to fight you. I would get a quest to walk five feet and barely be able to accomplish it because I kept getting attacked and then the prefects would come after me. It was getting frustrating. Fortunately, I befriended the nerds and they started jumping in during fights. Then, after completing a few more missions, the fights calmed dramatically.

The second criticism is that I was enjoying the classes and hit level three in most of them. Then, I apparently triggered the boss fight against one of the school’s football heroes that closed out the chapter and fired up the second chapter. Now, it’s all new classes. The completist in me would have preferred to ace the first semester’s courses before moving on to the next semester. Alas. Maybe I’ll get to go back to the older classes in a future semester or as I cycle through them more in chapter two.

My final [first impression] criticism is a minor one. The controls can’t be re-mapped and the commands are slightly off from what I’d expect. I’m used to squeezing the right trigger, for example, to power vehicles, while using the left trigger to brake. Here, it’s the [X] button (brake) and the [A] button (accelerate) and that sometimes trips me up. All it means is that I sometimes have to think about which buttons do what before I can do something, but then I’m fine.

Out with the old…

I’ve been playing Boom Blox Bash Party lately — not exactly the kind of game you’re going to get much of a write-up over. I will say I really enjoyed it. There were some bugs. There was some frustration (and cussing, and pulling out of hair). But overall, I’d call it better than the first (and I really liked the first). They came up with some really original, new scenarios (plus, I loved the different physics types, i.e. space and underwater) and that’s everything you want from a sequel.

I didn’t *completely* finish the game, of course. I’m sitting around 94%. I think that’s about where I ended the first game. Unfortunately, there are two levels left which I can’t work through. Both come in the advanced “Explore Mode” stage. One is a shooter where you need to get at least 1900 point for Bronze and I’m stuck around 1700-1800. The other features a veritable land mine covered by a multiplier grid. I need to get a little over 1100 on that one, I believe, and I keep getting to about 1080. I’ll probably try it some more, and I’ll probably keep playing it in multiplayer, (and then there are on-line levels) but I’m content with where I am in the single player progression.

100%! Woo! Once I got past the last two – which opened up a whole additional tier of missions! Fortunately, none of them were quite as impossible and now I am sitting at 100%. 🙂

And that’s my introduction to… new games! Yes. With Boom Blox out of the way, I have room for new games to play. So what’s on the horizon? Thanks to Amazon, we have:

Bully: Scholarship Edition (Xbox 360) and Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir (PC). I’ll probably grab Neverwinter Nights 2: Mysteries of Westgate shortly after I finish Storm of Zehir.

Both are expected to arrive by the 29th of June. Of course, once I dive in, you’ll be the first to know!