The classic adventure game is back, but time has not been kind...
Hot off the heels of a successful kickstarter campaign comes Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded (LSL: R). Larry Laffer originally graced our computers way back in 1987 and, for its time, it was quite controversial, thanks to its rather adult subject matter. Essentially it was about a man in his late thirties trying to lose his virginity. Tame by today’s standards, but for its time rather edgy.
In 2011 publisher Replay Games sorted out a licencing deal with Codemasters, and in 2012 launched a successful Kickstarter game to help raise funds for development, which was then carried out by N-Fusion Interactive, taking a year longer than promised in the campaign.
The question is though, does it hold up well compared to today’s gaming standards?
The short answer is no, not even close. Even by budget gaming standards it looks and feels like it belongs either on your tablet or your web browser.
Like the original, when you begin you’re asked how old you are, and you’re meant to answer a series of questions to prove it. Unfortunately, if you’re not American you’ll probably be using Google to pass this. To be fair this was probably put in purely for nostalgic purposes, but it gets in the way of playing the game.
One of our biggest gripes though is the controls. For a PC game you’d expect it to take advantage of your mouse and keyboard but LSL: R uses just one mouse button – that’s it, and no, we’re not kidding. Instead of typing in commands for Larry’s actions and using your arrow keys to move him around, like the original did, it instead implements a simple point and click interface. It feels cheap and nasty and we also feel that it’s lost something a little special. We heartily endorse a developer’s choice to change the control mechanisms of their game but for the love of all things sacred, at least make them better!
Another problem is the gameplay itself – it simply feels out of date. In one circumstance you need to play Blackjack or Slots in order to accumulate enough wealth to progress further. However, because it’s a random affair, you’re forced to save and load constantly every time you lose. This isn’t fun and simply prolongs what is already a short game, but one that feels thankfully short. Progressing through the game is rarely logical and if you’ve never played this before you’ll be searching online for answers, experiencing far more frustration
The humour is straight out of the late eighties and rarely funny – not through lack of trying from the narration, which is voiced quite well, by the way, but the voice talent can only go so far with the subject matter provided.
To be very fair, this game does remain 100% faithful to the original. The developers set out to provide a remake of a classic and have delivered exactly that. Perhaps this is why the game fails; two decades is a long time and we’ve all changed a lot since then, and the gaming industry has matured greatly in that time.
Obviously diehard fans of the series (i.e. the backers on kickstarter) have already made their decision whether or not to buy this game, and this review will not warp that decision one bit. This game was literally made for them. For everyone else this is a very bland, visually unappealing game that doesn’t even come close to warranting its $20 price tag. Best to leave this one on the digital shelf.