When I was around 10 or 11 years old, I was a big fan of PC adventure games, especially the ones created by Sierra On-Line. There was one game, however, that I wasn’t supposed to play because I was underage… but I don’t think that stopped me (or any one that I know come to think of it) from getting it. That game was the original Leisure Suit Larry.
I really enjoyed Larry’s adventures and I was extremely disappointed with the bastardization of his games with Magna Cum Luade and Box Office Bust. I mean, you don’t even control the Larry; Larry Laffer! These games were the only games without the involvement of the man who created the character, Al Lowe. And it showed! These games did not have the same weird humor that made the original games great.
The overwhelming negative reaction to these games did have a positive effect: it caused a lot of gamers, both old and new alike, bring attention back to the lovable loser in a leisure suit. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded was launched into development and has been released. But did nostalgia blind a lot of gamers (like me) into thinking Larry’s adventures were really that great?
Here’s the quick answer: Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is good, not great. Once you’ve completed the game, there’s very little incentive to go through the entire game again. Still, if you’re a fan of old-school adventure games, You can’t really go wrong with this game.
Before you read on: this review will contain some MINOR SPOILERS regarding the overall story and puzzles. So, only continue if you’re okay with SPOILERS.
Anyway, here’s the full review!
Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is a remake of the original game released way back in 1987 (Fun Fact: Leisure Suit Larry is actually a remake of a text adventure game called Softporn… look it up). It tells the story of Larry Laffer on a quest to finally lose his virginity as well as finally find the woman of his dreams.
Controlling Larry is a pretty simple affair: you select the desired action icon from the top of the screen and then click around the screen. For example, if you want to talk to a person, select the Talk balloon first then click on the character you want to talk to. To take a rose, select the Hand icon then click on the flower. This makes the game playable for anyone (over the age of 18, of course).
However, performing the same actions over and over again can get tedious. You’ll be using the taxi to travel around the city of Lost Wages. So, each time, before you leave the cab, you need to select your wallet from your inventory and pay the driver or else he’ll kill you. It’s pretty annoying after doing it for the 10th time.
Dying in the game isn’t a big deal, though, since you’ll be placed exactly in the place just before your demise. Oddly enough, I think it takes away from the fun of the game. Sure it made it easier for people to just jump right back in but part of the thrill of old-school Sierra games were the thought of dying (which is why you save often!). I understand why it’s there but I just didn’t like it.
The game may be a remake but the developers did add a few more puzzles and actually added a new girl instead of the 3 from the original (which I’ll get to later). These additional puzzles and “mini-quests” are definitely welcome but they did seem out of place. Not only that, the way to win over Jasmine, the new girl, is pretty illogical. It took me around an hour to figure out how to solve it by myself.
And, guess what? It took me around two and a half hours to finish the whole thing! Well, that’s probably because I still remember how to finish the entire thing since I’ve played it before. If you are playing it for the first time, please don’t use a walkthrough! Half of the enjoyment you’ll get from the game is trying to solve the pretty illogical puzzles on your own.
The other half of the fun you’ll have with Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is the humor. It’s still pretty funny in a crude sort of way. If you can breeze through the game fairly quickly, you’ll miss a lot of the funny dialogue that’s in the game. Try knocking on the doors in the hotel room or talking to the people you’ll find around the bar. Or just try clicking on random things in the background for some witty comments from the narrator. Generally, the jokes are good but there are a few groaners out there. But still, the majority of the jokes do work.
I have to talk about the presentation, which is really an improvement on both the original (lightyears better!) and the 1991 EGA version. Larry himself is drawn very well and even does a couple of idle animations. The locations are pretty colorful and you can actually click, touch, smell, taste and unzip your fly (yes, that’s one of the actions available) at a lot of notable object and the narrator and Larry would have a quip ready.
Also, everyone is voice acted and they all sound pretty good and convincing. The dialogue with the prostitute was hilarious! So, don’t just jump in the sack with her the first chance you get; talk to her and exhaust all conversation options. You can even talk to practically all of the background characters and they’ll all have something to say. I just wish the background people were more interesting. But they probably added them (as well as give them all names) to please the Kickstarter investors.
The women in the game are also drawn well. I never really liked the design on Faith, the lady that guards the penthouse elevator in the previous iterations. But here, she actually looks pretty. The new face, Jasmine, looks pretty good as well. Oddly enough, my favorite girl, Fawn, looked much better in the 1991 version, in my opinion. But, I have to hand it to the illustrator of the game because Eve does look like the best one out of all the females, making her someone I can understand Larry wanting to get to know better (if you know what I mean).
Should you buy Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded? If you’re a big fan of adventure games, yes, definitely. If you’ve played it before, it is a nice nostalgic trip through Larry’s old stomping grounds and the new puzzles will add a little freshness to your experience.If you don’t have any experience with adventure games, I recommend trying it out for free on the Android platform (you can play the entire first area). I myself had a good time, but my memories of my visit to Lost Wages were much better than my revisit.
Have you tried out Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded? Have you tried the original version of the game? How does the remake stack up? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!