Canis Canem Edit is a free roam, action-adventure style game, developed by Rockstar Vancouver Entertainment. While this was first released in 2006 on the PS2, they have now remastered and released it on PS3, PS4, XB360 and Microsoft Windows. While it was released under the title of Canis Canem Edit throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and Oceania, due to the controversy surrounding the original name, it was released under the Bully title throughout the rest of the globe and is now well-known by either title.
Welcome to the regal boarding school of Bullworth Academy, adorning the motto ‘Cannis Canem Edit’, which translates into the well suited ‘dog eat dog’. It is here that we are introduced to, and follow the story of, Jimmy, a lovable out-of-towner that is stuffed into Bullworth, while his mother is honeymooning with husband number five. Take a step back into high school, rife with cliques, bullies, plotting and clashes between the groups. And if fighting through each one of the cliques wasn’t hard enough, Jimmy is thrust into a psychotic and ongoing battle with the deranged Gary, which forms the basis for the gameplay.
The Weapons - In your quest to take over the school, and to bring Gary down, you will accumulate a variety of weapons. The weapons range from random sticks, rocks, and poles that can be acquired throughout the environment, to stink bombs, firecrackers and eggs, rewards from passing Chemistry, and a slingshot, and bottle canon that are obtained from quest rewards. Keep your eyes open, as there is always something available to use if you are in a pinch. From fire extinguishers to textbooks, there are plenty of opportunities to experiment.
Transportation - While running is effective, it will eventually wear you out. Fear not, for those lazy legs will find peace! As the story progresses, you will gain access to a skateboard, that will always be on hand. Bicycles can be stolen and stored in the garage for later use, but as you pass each stage of Shop class, you will be rewarded with a bicycle that is upgraded with each successful stage. This bike is faster and turns easier than any of the bikes that can be stolen, and regardless of where you leave it, it will always be available in your garage.
As a little bonus, there is also a scooter available for purchase at the carnival, which Jimmy is introduced to during the Photography class. This requires Jimmy to participate in the selection of carnival games to achieve tokens. Once 300 tokens are earned, the scooter can be purchased from the prize tent.
The Faculty - The faculty consists of the teachers, the office lady, the cook and the prefects. While the cook, teachers and office lady tend to stick to their respective areas, the prefects are continuously patrolling the school and buildings - apart from the boy’s dorm. To quickly dodge out of sight, lockers, trash bins and buildings can be used to hide until the trouble passes, or until the prefects give up.
The Girls - Throughout the game, you will be required to interact with characters. This comes with a little bonus. Completing missions, or offering flowers and candy to certain female students will result in them liking you. Once this has been achieved, you can kiss them for a bonus in health, similar to additional armour.
The Lessons - You are at school, so you might as well learn something! Lessons are divided into morning sessions, from 9:30 am to 11:30 am, and afternoon sessions, from 1:30pm to 3:30pm. Jimmy must attend these lessons until each of the five stages has been completed. If you are late, a warning will flash up under the mini-map with ‘Truancy’, and the teachers, prefects and police will be on high alert to bust you. If this happens, they will drag you to class, and you will lose some of the weapons that you have accumulated.
English - Eight letters are randomly arranged on the page, and you must find as many words as you can, that are three letters or greater. There is a time limit on each stage and a percentage quota that must be surpassed in order to pass the stage. Slang, nouns and abbreviations are not allowed, so kick those Scrabble senses into gear and start solving!
Chemistry - This is a ‘press the right button at the right time’ lesson. You have three attempts to successfully complete the button sequence as each button passes a blue box in the centre of the screen. With each successful button, Jimmy adds another correct chemical. Get it wrong, and you are left with an explosion and a face full of chemical cloud.
Shop - The Shop class is located in the Greasers headquarters, which is one of the external buildings in the grounds of Bullworth Academy. Jimmy works on his bike hoping to improve the quality. Shop class is another ‘press it at the right time’ lesson, with the addition of rotating the controller sticks in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction, when the sequence calls for it.
Art - Art class takes place in the main building, and resides in one of the far corners. Jimmy is required to paint a picture of his art teacher, whom he believes has a crush on him. This is a tense little game, where you are required to use the scissors to ‘cut out’ sections in a box. Seems simple enough, but you will also need to dodge bombs, that will blow you up, and erasers that slow you down. Once you have hit the required percentage, you have passed the stage.
Photography - Photography lessons are accessible after completing the mission ‘Hattrick Vs Galloway’ during Chapter 2. This quest will reward you with the camera, which you can then upgrade when you manage to pass each stage of photography. The lessons range from capturing images of flags to hobos, and even the freak show at the carnival. You will be assigned your photography project at the beginning of each class, and assigned a time limit which you have to abide by, capture the required images and return to your photography class. As you will need to venture out around town, the police have been given the heads up, so you will not be harassed for truancy.
Gym - Gym is divided into two sports, Wrestling and Dodgeball. With wrestling, Jimmy must use the combinations to take down one of the nerds named Fatty. He is an easy one to beat, and really doesn’t retaliate. Once the combinations have been correctly executed, the stage is complete. For the second half of the year, it is Dodgeball, with Jimmy and the Nerds versus the Jocks! This lesson is much more hands on, with you directing up to three different players, from grabbing the ball at the start, to passing to other players, and eventually taking the Jocks down, one by one.
Jocks - The token ‘too much brawn, not enough brain’ clique. They take pride in running down anyone deemed weaker than they are, especially those from the nerd group. The Cheerleaders target the unpopulars, the Jocks stuff them into lockers - have fun taking these ones down! They stick to the gym at the back of the school grounds. The one to sweet-talk to girlfriend status in this lot is Mandy Wiles.
Preps - The rich-kids. Taking snobbery to an entirely new level, the Preps pride themselves on elitism. Old money and boxing skills do the talking, so there is only one way in for Jimmy. While they have their own dorm on campus, they can also be found residing in Old Bullworth Vale. You will have your eyes on Pinky Gauthier in this group.
Nerds - It’s all about the brains with these guys! Anything nerd-adjacent, and you can be sure that they’re involved, Role Playing Games (RPGs), Dungeons and Gremlins, video games, they are there. They own a clubhouse in the basement of a comic-book store, but they can also be found in the school library. Most of the missions involve protection. Beatrice is your choice out of these guys.
Greasers - The mechanics that are stuck in the 70s - slicked back do’s, leather jackets and tough talk. They are eager for violence and rebel against anything, and anyone, that stands in their way. They pride themselves on their undying loyalty to their leader and are tough to trust the newcomers. Lola Lombardi, the leader’s girlfriend is who you will aim your affections towards.
Townies - These aren’t necessarily a clique, but they did form their basis of friendship from having issues with Bullworth Academy. They are an angry bunch and will go above and beyond to make sure that anyone who attends Bullworth is as miserable as they are. They reside primarily in New Coventry and tend to be loners. Most of the missions during Chapter Three will focus on this group and take place in New Coventry.
Bullies - This clique is the first that you will need to take down - they are the ultimate bullies of the school, targeting younger students as well as female students. Once the mission ‘Russel in the Hole’ has been successfully completed, you will gain an ally that just happens to be the leader of the bullies - Russell. Regardless of his prior actions, he has a good heart and will spend the remainder of the game lending a hand at certain intervals.
Points of Interest
Bedroom - This is Jimmy’s sanctuary. No other student or teacher has access to this room, so if ever you are in trouble, hightail it to the boy’s dorm. This is where key decorations will be stored around the room, which display your progression throughout the story. While in the bedroom, you can also save your game, change your clothes, pick up supplies from the chemistry set, or go to bed, which will progress the game to the next morning. Jimmy’s bed is accessible from 7.00 pm. While the curfew is strictly at 11.00 pm, Jimmy can stay up, as long as he isn’t busted by the wandering prefects, or the police, if Jimmy is in town. Try to hit the sack before 1.00 am, though, as Jimmy will become incredibly tired, and will start slouching and dragging himself around. If you decide to see 2.00 am, Jimmy will pass-out from exhaustion, regardless of where you are at the time.
Carnival - The carnival is a great timewaster, and a cheap source of entertainment. One dollar sends you through the gates, where you can jump onto a variety of different rides, venture into the freak show, or try your hand at one of the sideshow games, to rack up those prize tokens!
Odd jobs - As the game progresses, and each section of town is unlocked, you will be approached by strangers requesting help. These jobs can range from collecting crabs to delivering a package or retrieving a runaway dog. Each odd job you complete will reward you with cash.
Income - For a little bit extra, as the game progresses, two jobs will become available. Mowing lawns requires Jimmy to jump on a ride-on mower to cut a small area of grass. There is a catch, though, this is rated by percentage completed, with 75% required to pass the job. A bonus is awarded at 100%, but if you mistakenly run over any flowers, or break any sculptures or statues, the cost will be deducted from your final score.
Delivering the mail requires a bike. You have a set time to throw newspapers into as many mailboxes as possible. The mailboxes are located on both sides of the road and can be auto-targetted once Jimmy is in range. While on this job, be prepared to be chased by dogs (a swift kick will send them running) and targeted by townies and Preps.
Homeless man - During the main quest line, Jimmy will be introduced to the homeless army vet that has taken up residence in the field behind the broken down bus. He requires a transistor radio, with five in total to find. As repayment, he teaches Jimmy special combinations of fighting styles that can be devastating in a fight. The transistors are hidden throughout the school and town.
Hidden achievements - As with many games, Canis Canem Edit has their fair share of hidden achievements. While some will be achieved through gameplay there are some that Jimmy needs to hunt out to achieve - collecting rubber bands, D&D cards, and our personal favourite, smashing garden gnomes. These are only a few of what is on offer, so be sure to check around every corner! Check out the complete list of achievements here.
Club Houses - Each clique owns their own clubhouse with the Jocks at the back of the school, the Nerds in the basement of a comic book store, the Preps with a beach shack, and the Greasers in a decrepit abandoned building. Completing each of these missions will unlock a new save location, as well as a bed to sleep in for the night.
Halloween - While Halloween and Christmas celebrations occur in Canis Canem Edit, it is Halloween that has a great little bonus. On the night of Halloween, Jimmy can complete tricks on other students - without repercussion from the prefects. You also have the option to pick which tricks that you would like to complete. Once the additional quest is completed, you will gain access to a red ninja costume from your wardrobe. As Halloween ends, heading down into the basement you will find a number of Jack-o-Lanterns - smashing every one of these will reward you with an achievement.
Canis Canem Edit quickly became one of those all-time favourite games that you can continuously return to, and will never run out of things to do - it’s one of those games that you hold off from completing the last mission, as you don’t want it to end. While the Scholarship Edition increases the enjoyment factor ten-fold, the game holds its own. There are a few minor loading and gameplay glitches that were encountered - freezing on the loading screens and climbing trees, and apart from a little frustration, it doesn’t detract from the entertainment factor. The storyline is engaging with more than a few plot twists, and it will have you cheering on as each clique is obliterated. The audio is catchy, with a heartbeat reminiscent tune on loop that never really seems to become annoying. The free roam style and relaxed rules really allow you to impart your own game style - stay up late and rob the dorms, or hit the reform button and attend class?
With whispers of Canis Canem Edit 2 still making the rounds, now is a great time to give the original a try! The Scholarship Edition is available on XBox and Windows, but unfortunately my PS brothers and sisters, we are cut out - so it is the original game for us. Available for $14.95 AUD from PSN, or $12.96 AUD for the Scholarship Edition from the Xbox store.