Cock A Hoot: Leisure Suit Larry HD

By John Walker on October 11th, 2011 at 11:02 am.

I miss the square face.

As Andrew mentions below, HD remakes serve to make games look like your rose-tinted, 1920×1080 memories of them. Trying to play through the original MDK2 now is a tough feat, so having it remade for modern, hi-def eyes is a splendid thing. But the original Leisure Suit Larry? That looks like a pile of pixels even in my most optimistic memory. EGM are reporting that Replay Games and Larry creator Al Lowe have the rights to the games and plan to give them new life. As well as start on some new adventures.

That’s most interesting, because it means that neither the defunct Sierra (now Activision) nor Codemasters will be producing any more terrible, terrible sequels without Lowe’s involvement. Sierra got High Voltage Software to create 2004′s despicable Magna Cum Laude (in which Larry’s nephew sexually molests mentally ill women), while Codies hired Team 17 in 2009 to look away from Worms for a few minutes to crap out the utterly dreadful Box Office Bust. It’s not as if Lowe’s Larry games were all masterpieces – in fact, it’s reasonably impressive that the ghastly post-millennial sequels managed to make the original six games seem respectable – but it’s hard not to remember them with fondness.

A certain type of fondness, that ignores the inherent sexism and shockingly bad jokes.

That first one, The Land Of The Lounge Lizards, was an excellent guilty pleasure of my youth. Literally feeling guilty, at age 11, when I really shouldn’t have been playing it (pressing Alt-X to skip past the age checking questions, if I remember rightly). It was a berserk game, existing during a time when Sierra’s adventures were primarily about avoiding incessant death. And in the first Larry, that death would arrive if you hadn’t finished the game in two hours, at which point Larry would commit suicide.

I’m guessing the remake will avoid that element.

Of course, it’s not the first time the game’s been remade. As was Sierra’s wont in the early 90s, it saw a 1991 remake which removed the original game’s text parser and put in the ubiquitous adventure gaming cursor. It went from this:

to this:

And it will be remade again in 2032. With LASERS.

Fortunately, Replay and Lowe don’t only intent to update the older games, but also start creating some new stories with the license. Lowe must be as happy as a pig in shit, to have his creation back. Let’s hope he still has the old, weird magic.

Which all leaves one question: WHY IS NO ONE REMAKING SPACE QUEST?!

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51 Comments »

  1. Richard Cobbett says:

    Space Quest? Bah, we need a new Quest for Glory first!

    • Anthile says:

      I concur.

    • Skystrider says:

      While not new, there is this: http://www.agdinteractive.com/games/qfg2/

      LSL remake looks… Interesting. Been a long time since I played the original.

    • simoroth says:

      I worked on a remake+sequel of one of the space quest titles, half a decade ago, providing the environment art. Seems their website is now gone. http://web.archive.org/web/20070613173247/http://sq7.org/index.php Bit strange they never managed to finish it off after I moved on, we had about 25 screens done.

      What a shame.

    • Hodge says:

      Yeah, I did wonder what happened to that one. It was looking promising, not least because it had Josh Mandel on board.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      As long as the Coles are involved, yes please.

      Quest for Glory is just about my favorite thing ever. If nothing else, somebody really should be making spiritual sequels.

    • Khemm says:

      Oh yes yes YES. I hope QfG series will make it to GoG eventually.

    • perfectheat says:

      We need both. But SQ sequel would be amazing! Have only played the demo for SQ6 though. Any good?

      Made a chart that highlights just how amazing the series is: http://i.imgur.com/5PD95.png That is at least how I remember it as it has been a while.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Also GoG needs to republish the QfG series ASAP.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Space Quest 2 shouldn’t be visible on the pyramid. It should be in a sealed vault, roughly nine miles underneath the pyramid.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That chart is a nonsense.
      SQ1, 2, and 3 are all excellent. They are some of the best AGI-era games Sierra released, not least becuase their frequent deaths were funny enough to go looking for, and usually relatively fair, with unwinnable situations either being kind of obvious, or turning fatal before too long. (Yes, you can end up losing the Star Generator plans, but you have to be careless or oblivious. They added a rather nasty one in the SCI remake with the magnet, mind…)

      SQ4 is funny but it’s a big mish-mash mess, like they emptied out a bucket of unfinished seeds of ideas and just tried to stitch them together into a clip show.

      SQ5 was very noticably lacking the involvement of one of the Two Guys (IIRC he was unhappy at having to leave text parsers behind, amongst other things), and while it’s OK the tone shifts towards the twee and it does sadly show the lacking budget—no voice acting for one.

      SQ6 was a turd on a lollypop stick.

      Edit: When’d you last play it, Richard? I did a replay a month or so ago, expecting hair-pulling agony because I’d forgotten most of it, only to be pleasantly suprised at how much it hints at you. For example, where you have to dive for the gem, Roger will comment on the water being deeper. If you’ve freed the little guy, he shows you the use of the berries. I remember the big-lipped alien causing us to have to go back a way when we played it the first time, but frankly that’s what we got for thinking “oh, well, that was harmless”.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Not that long ago (it was part of a retro piece) and I still absolutely hated it. Don’t find it funny (and I do generally like the SQ series), bits like the vine maze are just crimes against entertainment, the puzzles irritated me because I prefer the higher tech areas of the series, and generally just couldn’t wait to be done with it. It’s by far my least favourite of the series, though the section in Stellar’s stomach in SQ6 still tops out as my least favourite bit period.

      Somewhat heretically though, and I know it’s heresy, my favourite is actually SQ5. It doesn’t have the cool (if largely underused) gimmick of SQ4, but focusing on Trek gave it much stronger tonal consistency than the others, and I really liked lots of the things it added – proper captaining of a ship, the developing relations with the crew, and the much more cranked up dramatic situations on the main planets. The lack of dead-ends and especially sadistic deaths didn’t hurt, though it was still fun to have a few.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Well, damning with faint praise, but at least you only have to weave through the vines once in each direction, unlike the many cliff paths that the Kings Quests will have you trekking up and down.

      SQ5 would probably be a good candidate for a remake, if such is the way of things now, with SQ4-grade voicework added. And the writing tweaked up a bit, perhaps using a robot facsimilie of Scott Murphy carefully constructed out of sharp metal parts from the belly of a salvage ship.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Of course, if you’re going to mention both “remakes” and “Space Quest 2″ I have to point you all in this direction:

      http://www.infamous-adventures.com/home/

      They’re in the final stages with SQ2VGA (voice acting and bug zapping as far as I can gather), and they are also responsible for a rather good KQ3 remake. Once SQ2 is out of the way, hopefully they’ll be giving us a bit more info on Kingdom of Sorrow (An entirely new King’s Quest game!).

  2. Prime says:

    First girl looks vaguely hot but with weirdly spaced boobs.

    The ‘update’ looks like the artist got his chain-smoking Mom to pose for the picture. Eeek.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      That woman was supposed to be pretty disgusting if it’s the one I’m thinking of.

    • Zepp says:

      whatever, the boobies got really nice upgrade! :D

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, she’s a disease-ridden hooker. “Attractive” is not the goal here.

  3. Hodge says:

    They’ve managed to make it look even worse than the 1991 one.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, that screenshot and headline made me fear something like the Monkey Island HD remakes, only worse.

      “Al Lowe [has] the rights to the games” is good news, although I’d really rather he made new things if he were to return to adventures.

  4. Milky1985 says:

    Is it wrong to say that the news of new PROPER leisure suit larry games and remakes of the old ones make me happy in the pants?

  5. StingingVelvet says:

    The comments about this on eurogamer are sad. None of those kids played the originals, obviously.

  6. LGM says:

    Hopefully they’ll give the option to either play with mouse interface OR parser interface. I always like the typing interface games better, it’s how I learned to type as fast and well as I do now and there was more of a “closeness” with the game somehow. Also, the comedy factor of spelling errors or hardcore swear words (“yeah, you would too!”) is just classic.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I love the tension of the old AGI system where you could be simultaneously fleeing horrors about to do unspeakable things to you (at a gentle walking pace, of course) while typing in “DROP BUCKET”, and using F3 to re-use bits of the previous line. SCI will do text (e.g. KQ4), but pauses while you type. Boo.

  7. jezcentral says:

    What are these 1920×1080 memories of which you speak?

    Mine are all 16:10.

  8. RegisteredUser says:

    Larry, just be sure to use a lubber.

    Also spelling: Intent => intend. Final paragraph.

    You just want HD space chicken, admit it!

  9. Jnx says:

    Sooo, any word if this will be a FPS?

    j/k

    • Eagle0600 says:

      Hey, Larry was always meant to be faster paced, they just never had the technology to do it back then.

  10. diebroken says:

    I’d love to see an HD remake of LSL7: Love for Sail! ;)

    Mmm, scratch-and-sniff CyberSniff 2000(tm)…

  11. Risingson says:

    Now, if Al Lowe could go back to designing games…

  12. mbp says:

    Guilty confession.

    Almost a quarter of a century ago I pulled an all nighter in work just to finish a copy of Leisure suit Larry that someone had smuggled into the office It was the first “real” PC game I ever completed and I can directly attribute it to the slippery slope that led through Lucas Arts adventures, DOOM and my ongoing obsession with PC gaming.

    That’s not the confession though.

    The confession is that the PC I played the game on crashed irretrievably the next day and valuable work files were lost. I never admitted my late night exploits to my boss or colleagues, particularly when rumours later leaked out that some pirated copies of Leisure Suit Larry had a nasty worm which would damage PCs.

  13. mbp says:

    @Zepp, I am guessing from your question that you have never played the game. Despite its reputation for schoolboy humour the game was remarkably chaste. I don’t think there was any nudity but your “reward” for finishing the game was pixellated head an shoulders picture of a pretty girl. I do remember that if you indulged in a (humorously censored) bout of hanky panky with a prostitute your character caught the clap shortly afterwards and died.

  14. D3xter says:

    What, no “Oh no, the sexism!, the horrors! Will nobody think of the women?” article this time around I’ve come to expect of RPS?

    I am disappoint.

  15. LionsPhil says:

    The question is: will they reinstate the suicide scene from the AGI version, which was removed in the first remake? (Also contains Larry’s face before it was turned into a big rubbery mess.)

    • V. Profane says:

      “he shot himself because he become a libtard forever

      all libtards/0bamabots are virgin’s they can’t get any women.

      runsaber1 1 week ago”

      Oh Youtube!

  16. fenriz says:

    finally some good news.

    but shouldn’t they remake those games in lovely 3d?

    • LionsPhil says:

      The only adventure games that ever benefited from the use of 3D were Discworld Noir, and the Tex Murphy series.

      (Grim Fandango just managed to overcome it by being excellent in all other regards.)

    • Srethron says:

      What about The Longest Journey and Syberia? (Just curious. I own both, but haven’t played them yet.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      I suppose that needs a “that I’ve played” qualifier; never been one for the mopey teenage girl protagonist end of the spectrum.

    • Srethron says:

      Generalizations and backhanded ad hominems aside (thanks!), “mopey” nor “teenage girl protagonist” fit Syberia.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m not sure you know what an ad-hom is, since I’m not making any comment on you, nor are you making any argument which I am trying to undermine via such commentary? Generalisation, yes; that generally (oho!) fits any single-sentence comment on a non-tiny subject!

    • fenriz says:

      LionsPhil>

      and, so i heard, Gabriel III.

      It’s odd when i cringe at the thought that with the new remake the challenge may be blander, but that’s what happened with the VGA one and i love all about it. I never could bear with the parser(i keep screaming what are the available verbs and which the interactible items??? which is a lot like today’s key-toggling to highlight items). But, well, it was just a matter of interface, no? The core challenge is that of achieving all the points in a room lest getting stuck somehow later.

      If they preserve such terrific challenge that requires thorough exploration and text reading, i doubt 3d can ruin the game in any way, just as the use of the SCI2 vga engine didn’t ruin it.

  17. Shazbut says:

    That last screenshot is great. 100 quid says the remake will make it shinier and more cartoony at the expense of character, detail, and atmosphere.

  18. Bart Stewart says:

    HD Leisure Suit Larry, OK. (Although it should come with an actual leisure suit for those who never knew the pleasure of wearing the abominable polyester things.)

    HD Space Quest 1 and/or 2, fine.

    HD Wing Commander 1 & 2, definitely yes.

    HD Ultima Underworld 1 & 2, most emphatically yes.

    The HD remake I’d most like to see, however, would be for the original System Shock. People need (yes, “need” I say) to be able to play this (preferably with a working WASD/mouselook) in a resolution that won’t make your eyes bleed in order to see what game design brilliance looks like. (Not perfection, just brilliance.)

    But no unnecessary/unwanted “reboots” of these, please.

  19. Angryinternetman says:

    Oh, Love for Sail was the bestest.