Review: Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded
Imagine watching one of the most amusing films that you have ever seen at the cinema. Keep picturing it. Then imagine that you have to jump through an assault course, take out a terrorist cell, solve world hunger and STILL pay for admission to get into the film to begin with. That’s Leisure Suit Larry’s arrival in the current gen: a genuinely laugh out loud experience that is the complete opposite of intuitive when it comes to its interface and gameplay.
Looking through other opinions on this game, almost all of the reviewers have been beaten over the head with an ‘obvious lack of appreciation for point and click games’ or that they ‘didn’t understand how Leisure Suit Larry was and that it always will be a classic’. I loved the Monkey Island series of games even if I was late to the party, and I enjoy a good brain twister as much as something as mindless as Dynasty Warriors, but Leisure Suit Larry is so hamstrung by its interface that it becomes more of a chore than charming.
There has obviously been a large amount of love placed on the reboot, largely thanks to the combination of it being created off the back of a very successful Kickstarter project and the fact that the original creator, Al Lowe, is back in the driving seat shepherding Larry’s raunchy adventures. Larry is still trying to lose it, even after all of these years, and this game is essentially a frame for frame reboot of the original game. The comic book visuals are well suited to Larry’s seedy world and the voice acting is top notch. The narrator of the whole piece sounds like he had a great time doing his voiceover and it’s here where Leisure Suit Larry is still strong; the humour is still hilarious and the characters are as vibrant as ever.
If you were just watching the adventure, rather than taking part, Leisure Suit Larry would be an enjoyable experience. Yet somehow, despite over 20 years between games, the 1987 version manages to play better than its younger counterpart. Whilst before all you needed to do was type to get Larry to do your bidding, you now have icons around the screen that correspond to a certain action, whether it being walking, talking or undoing your zipper (yes there is actually an icon for that). The game then turns into guess the combos, which is unsatisfying at best, and any action takes four or five times longer than it should do. Point and click adventures should really be one of the easiest games to navigate around; Larry manages to make it one big pain in the backside. Even the humour gets squeezed out rapidly at times, with the narrator repeating elements of dialogue time and time again when going over the same locations; jokes tend to be less funny the more you hear them, though this seems to be something that the new paint job on Leisure Suit Larry completely forgot.
The major problem with the concept of the game itself is the very fact that its a remake. Remakes are great when they are done well, adding enough to the package to feel new and fresh; Bionic Commander: Rearmed and Tomb Raider are two good examples. Larry feels a lot like Duke Nukem: Megaton Edition; the older game is just a damn sight better than the newer remakes.
To sum up
Losing it the first time with Larry was exciting (though I hope gamers, not in that way), and the sexual direction was a bit out there and edgy back in the days of 1987. Hitting 2013, with a sex scandal everywhere, Duke Nukem 3D managing to make a porn game with a little bit of a shooting involved and the internet having more nudity than most 14 year olds can shake the proverbial stick it, Larry just feels a bit flat and dull. Nostalgia is perhaps the only thing to recommend this game on, and, to be honest, it might be best to leave it as a memory and pray Larry finds love on his own.