Wot I Think: Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded

By Richard Cobbett on June 27th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Note to Americans - it's pronounced 'leisure'. Stop with this 'leeesure' silliness at once.

So, to recap… Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is a 2013 remake of a 1991 game based on a 1987 game based on a text adventure from 1981 about a guy with his head in the 1970s. Yow. Ordinarily, that would lead to the question “Why?” This time though, the answer is simple: “14,081 Kickstarter backers donated over $650,000 to make it happen, so shut up.”

There’s no arguing with that, really. But are the final results worth the faith?

In the unlikely event that you’ve never heard of this series, here’s a quick primer. Leisure Suit Larry is basically gaming’s Citizen Kane, in every sense except that creator Al Lowe was never reduced to shilling for frozen peas to pay the bills. Now, I know that sounds a tiny bit unlikely given its reputation, but work with me. It controversially broke from industry tradition to do brave new things with the medium, launched to massive distribution problems as a result of political pressures, took ages to be recognised as something notable, and has long been referenced and decisively judged by people who’ve never actually checked it out for themselves. Sure, on the surface it seems to be a series about a 40 year old virgin trying to get laid, and its equivalent of the Rosebud scene is probably a really cheap joke about boobies. Even so, the parallels are nigh perfect. Really, all that’s missing is some connection to the peas, see, and-

GAAAAAAAAAAASP!

Spooky. Anyway, despite this connection to the official second greatest movie ever (the greatest of course being Gremlins 2), Larry has never had much respect. Where people go wrong is to think of his adventures as sex games rather than comedies about sex, and even that makes them sound raunchier than they actually are. These are adventures where even nudity gets saved for Easter Eggs, actual sex was only ever implied or happened behind a big CENSORED box, and Larry’s quest was typically (at least in the original trilogy, admittedly less so later) about finding his One True Love rather than just scoring a casual shag from whoever.

That’s certainly the case here, where you can get him laid with a hooker with relatively little trouble in the very first location, but the adventure still continues through the streets of Las Vegas alike town Lost Wages until Larry finds someone who lifts his heart as well as lowers his zipper. The humour is naughty and the ladies bouncy, but the action is harmless and the humour usually good natured and properly contextualised rather than feeling like The New Adventures Of Captain Creepy. Hell, next to most modern comedies, it’s quaintly innocent fare.

If you didn't know this game was crowdfunded by Kickstarter before, no way will you not by the time it ends...

Judging this remake specifically is a little tricky (and honestly, it doesn’t really feel like $650,000 worth of game, especially given the original titles that other Kickstarter pitches are currently pulling off with much, much less), but let’s start with the easy bits. Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded looks fantastic, with mostly excellent new versions of the game’s environments that largely build on the VGA version but certainly aren’t tied to it. The casino area for instance has the same spiral elevator, but instead of simply being “Casino”, is now themed up as the groanworthy “Caesar’s Phallus”. Go through the back door at Lefty’s Bar in the original VGA remake, and you’ll find a few boxes scattered to fill the space. Reloaded fills that room with lovingly drawn crap, all of which can be poked and prodded for free jokes and cheap puns.

Audio-wise, it’s equally splendid. The whole game is voiced, aside from inventory interactions, with the highlights being Jan Rabson returning as the voice of Larry, and his new narrator, who unfortunately isn’t Neil Ross this time, but does a good job of serving up both regular sardonic enthusiasm and the regular back-and-forth conversations of the last couple of proper Larry games. Also worth a shout is Austin Wintory’s great soundtrack, both for fitting the mood beautifully, and for being performed by an actual band rather than just an uppity synth. It really boosts the experience, weaving the classic Larry theme in and around brand new compositions a world away from the original game’s catchy but primitive bleeps and bloops.

In the name of Science, I did some calculations. There were 6 original Leisure Suit Larry games, in which Larry attempts to seduce approximately 33 women, succeeding with 7 for an average hit rate of Christ I need a girlfriend.

Behind these modern trappings though still sits a game from 1987, and while Larry Reloaded is able to polish it in many ways, it neither manages to hide its age, nor really tries to rework it that much. More often, it’s proud of it, with the game still set in the 80s and leaving in things like both the (still frustratingly America-centric) age-verification quiz at the start, and the cheat code to skip past it. Can’t be bothered? Just press CTRL-ALT-X. You’re welcome. There’s also no hint system, or any guidance whatsoever. Get ready to spend a lot of time staring at the taxi screen if you don’t already know what you’re doing – and a fair amount even if you do.

Puzzle design also remains as it was, rooted in the 80s, with a few details changed, but only very slightly. Originally, a password needed to get to the hooker in Lefty’s Bar was hidden in toilet graffiti, now it’s written on a mirror in the same room. There are a couple of similar moments, but none make anything particularly more complicated, or even really seize the chance to throw in new jokes. Why bother then? No idea at all. The new ending is dreadful too – abrupt and somehow even less satisfying than the original’s spluttering climax.

There are plenty of cool extras though, like a smoky cabaret song about Kickstarter, and some very welcome mechanics fixes. Death sequences for instance have been completely reworked. They’re still there, but now you’re just put back where you were, and all the game’s dead ends have been fixed. The worst thing that can happen is running out of money, but even then, it’s only because playing slot machines is so dull. End up broke, and you can just walk out onto the street. A passing bum will always be there to take pity on Larry and flip him a few bucks to get back on his feet. Perfect. Unlike the pointless puzzle edits, that both sorts one of the game’s problems, and adds a funny humiliation to Larry’s ever growing list of shame.

There should be a mini-game just for old-school Sierra watchers. Every pun that comes along, hit a key to guess whether it was written by Al Lowe or Josh Mandel. For Al Lowe'd Ground, press X. If it's Just Joshing, press M.

The biggest individual addition is a new girl, perfume loving diver Jasmine. Unfortunately, she’s also one of the weakest, featuring sloppy design and not many laughs. The item with the key needed to reach her is annoyingly hidden and doesn’t (at least in the review code) produce it until you’re supposed to have it – an official adventure game design crime. The rest of her puzzles are just dull, don’t even properly justify why Larry would risk getting in trouble to go see her in the first place, and the whole segment feels exactly as bolted on as it is.

Honestly, while it’s good to have at least a few minutes of the game that players haven’t seen before, this feels like a waste. If we were going to get a new girl, I’d much rather it had been something like a sarcastic blackjack dealer to replace the casino’s boring slot machines and make the mandatory gambling bits of the game a little more interesting than the usual save-scumming. As with a few things, the machines were a cool novelty back in in 1987. Now though, just throwing up a mini-game feels like a cop-out – especially after more character driven experiences like Telltale’s Poker Night and Larry 7′s own Strip Liars’ Dice sequence.

I've never actually played any card games outside of old adventures, but I assume the same tactics work as effectively in the real world as leaving important keys in their locks to avoid losing them and protecting your stuff with the Towers of Hanoi puzzle. Never tried them though. Figured it was too risky after that time I got home to find all my stuff stolen from behind my newly kicked in door and blowtorched open safe.

In a similar vein, while it would have been a hefty challenge, it’s a shame that the city of Lost Wages itself couldn’t have been made more like the Las Vegas town it’s supposed to be. By 1987 standards, a casino, a corner store, a bar and a couple of other areas were enough to feel like a real place – I’ve even praised it for that. Now though, both the number of rooms and a world map that highlights just how little there is to visit makes it feel cramped, and there aren’t the smoke and mirrors to make it feel like there’s more to this town than meets the eye.

(As an example of how the map could perhaps have helped, it would have been good to see the Lost Wages Strip that’s only talked about in a couple of object descriptions, even if Larry would only have been able to go to Caesar’s Phallus. As a bonus, that provides some free riffs, like him turning down a trip to Men-To-Lay Bay, reject the Hairy Palms Last Resort, and not have the stamina for a whole night in Coitus Coitus. Other potential lawsuits/chances to be buried in the desert by Big Sal are also available. Luxor puns are banned though. Too easy.)

Sin City. No, not the one with always-on DRM. This place has SOME standards.

Luckily, while there aren’t that many screens to explore, they’re absolutely stuffed with new items and characters and jokes to poke and prod at, with just about every pixel having a gag or five. As ever, it’s tough to know exactly who to credit for specific bits, but this level of environment density has long been the design calling card of co-writer Josh Mandel (the wonderful Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon being his magnum opus) and he, Lowe and co certainly don’t disappoint here. These additions are great, with the tweaks even covering up a few problems in the original game, like Larry just stealing the hooker’s chocolates in Lefty’s Bar (she now calls him on it, but lets him have them) and his final conquest Eve being aware of who he is, rather than calmly letting a stranger who just broke into her penthouse join her for naked hot tub action.

There are also a lot more characters simply standing around to interact with, including digital versions of big Kickstarter backers, with Larry’s attempted conquests fleshed out with full dialogue trees rather than being limited to a few lines. None of this make Larry Reloaded feel remotely like a new game, but there’s more than enough to once again bother mining the environment for jokes instead of rushing to finish faster than Larry in a cheap lubber.

And you absolutely, definitely wouldn't turn off my modesty bubbles. I can see it in your eyes. Mine are up here by the way.

So, verdict time – in which I sigh in gratitude that I don’t have to encapsulate everything into a number at the end. First of all, nobody who backed this Kickstarter should be disappointed. Larry Reloaded is everything that was promised, from the full graphics/audio overhaul to the extra jokes and content. A lot of work has gone into this; much more than simply reaching for the last remake and redrawing the backgrounds in higher resolution. The changes to the game itself aren’t that deep, but the anti-frustration updates are very welcome and the new stuff makes for an enjoyable evening whether or not you know it backwards from previous incarnations.

If you’ve never played the original game though, should you give it a shot? It’s as good a time as any in the last decade or so, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s an ancient adventure with a fresh coat of paint, which shows its age in puzzle design and now standard techniques like actually pushing you towards objectives rather than leaving you to your own devices. Larry may feel like it’s non-linear, but it absolutely is not. Essentially, even with all the improvements, this is firmly retrogaming. It’s just retrogaming where you can’t count individual pixels, and a game whose continued notoriety comes from largely unwarranted infamy rather than being all that special as an actual adventure – something that was true even for the 1991 remake.

In short, this is indeed Larry 1 at its best, a fine remake and an entertaining few hours of comedy adventure. Given its age, surprisingly so. If the idea of replaying it appeals, cool. You’re going to enjoy it. Don’t expect to be blown away though, and if you lack that all-important nostalgic connection, you’re really better off snagging the best game in the series, Love For Sail. This remake’s price also feels a little high – $20 for a 25 year old game that raised its money via crowdfunding. Your mileage may vary on that point though; I am quite cheap.

Could be worse, Josh. At least you're not standing in front of Cedric and wishing King's Quest was able to rock an extreme violence rating.

The official plan is to move on from Larry 1 to do the rest of the series, though that feels like it would be a mistake at this point. The second game is insane and will need a hell of a lot more redesigning, with Larry 3 the only other game that vaguely seems worth doing. Even then, we’re in the land of diminishing returns. By Larry 6, you may as well just play the originals in DOSBox – and that would be Larry 5 if there was any reason not to skip right over it in any form.

Honestly though, it’s no secret that much of this remake’s hype was built on the possibility of Larry’s current masters letting Lowe and co create a brand new game, and that seems the thing to shoot for now. The passion is visibly there, this engine is fine, and the audience has money to throw. Nostalgia only lasts so long though, and it would be a real shame to see Larry forever remain as trapped in the past as his wardrobe instead of finally getting to hunt for new conquests… even if he is, obviously, doomed to mostly just find new humiliation.

Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is out today on Steam and directly from Replay Games. The complete series (aside from the final atrocity, Box Office Bust) is also available on GOG.COM, though be warned, its version of the non-Al Lowe designed Magna Cum Laude ships without its best feature: not being compatible with Windows 7. Harrumph.

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91 Comments »

  1. Durkonkell says:

    One of the things that I love about Richard Cobbett’s work is that he writes alt texts for ALL of the images. We’re lucky if we even get the headers normally!

    RPS: Hire Mr. Cobbett more often. I DEMAND ALT TEXT.

    Also: Our shields cannot withstand punning of this magnitude!

  2. kwyjibo says:

    “nobody who backed this Kickstarter should be disappointed”

    But everyone else is disappointed, in you.

  3. Andy_Panthro says:

    I backed it in a haze of nostalgia and kickstarter fever (it was the fourth thing I’ve backed, out of now 35 (eek!)).

    Hopefully they’re already starting on a new and original project, because these guys deserve a shot at something that isn’t a remake.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yeah, I didn’t back this one. Did most of the other Sierra designers (and intend to declare that if I write about them, though I don’t believe it’s a conflict of interest to do so since I have no more stake in their success than when I buy a game and subsequently write about it for whatever reason), but I’m more interested in seeing new games than ones I’ve already played. Hope it helps them get the okay to make something new though, and would be up for throwing some cash to an original Al Lowe/Josh Mandel led game.

      (Mandel especially deserves to be better known, having usually been a writer on other peoples’ games rather than leading his own, but a lot of people don’t know they’re fans of his adventure writing – the bargain bin in Space Quest IV for instance.)

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        And isn’t Josh Mandel the voice of King Graham? (not sure if that’s what you’d put top of your CV, but I think he did a good job).

        Kickstarter has certainly been good to ex-Sierra folks, I’ve backed the Coles, the Two Guys and Ken Allen too.

  4. DrScuttles says:

    Gremlins 2 is not only the greatest movie ever made but the greatest sequel ever made, too. Sure, that’s somewhat included in the whole “greatest movie ever” thing, but I felt it still needed to be said.

    • Keyrock says:

      Gremlins 2 is meh. The true greatest movie ever is Knock Off. Not only does it feature Jean Claude Van Damme AND Rob Shneider, it has a rickshaw race chase scene where JCVD’s sneakers fall apart because they’re knock-off (get it) Puma’s, spelld “Pumma”. Nothing can ever top that. NOTHING.

    • Surlywombat says:

      Gremlins 2 is Dante’s second best movie.

      It goes The ‘burbs, Gremlins 2, Explorers.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I don’t know, what if we’re measuring “best sequel” by “proportional improvement over the first”, rather than absolute quality? Postal 2 might stand a shot within our own media under those terms.

  5. Shieldmaiden says:

    Leisure Suit Larry was one of the first games I played on an honest-to-goodness IBM-compatible PC. It was lurking on an old machine that my uncle had given me. We’re talking monochrome monitor and no mouse old. I’m not sure how I managed to get past the age check question, let alone finish the game.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      Yeah, I had a copy on my first PC too. 8086, 512k RAM, CGA graphics… and a copy with a label written in pen. Though I’ve since bought the whole series a couple of times over, so I don’t feel too bad about that.

    • Voronwer says:

      For some reason my father had gotten this game on one of our first PCs. I remember trying to play it. It was the first game of its kind that I’d seen and I don’t even remember if my English was good enough to understand it all. I never did get anywhere with it. I didn’t understand what it wanted me to do or what its goal was. I know I died a lot in the alley and never even knew there was anything other than the bar…

      Reading this review, I think I’m glad I never get anywhere with it. I don’t think I was old enough to get it. I’m assuming my father had no clue what it was actually about as he’s never played a PC game in his life.

    • Scrooge McDuck says:

      The ’87 version was my very first foray into adventure games. I don’t remember much of it: only that I got stuck many, many times and could only beat it with the help of my mother. I remember she explained to me what a condom is at one point during the narrative.

  6. InternetBatman says:

    The fact that it raised money through crowdfunding should have little effect on cost (other than to make the initial price at least equal to lowest tier backer price).

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      It’s more that it’s expensive (in my view) for what it is, which is more understandable when it’s, say, one of Dave Gilbert’s adventures and he’s got to compensate for not having a big infusion of cash during development. They can price it whatever they like, but my reaction to seeing the price was still a slightly surprised “Really? $20?”

      • Blaaaaaaag says:

        That 20 bucks is pretty much right at the upper limit of what I’d be willing to pay for this as a 32 year old that played the original on the Mac Plus in the late ’80s. I imagine that’s similar to their reasoning for arriving at this price, and hopefully it’ll drop in a couple months to more closely align with what I’m expecting I’ll value it at.

        For myself though, I’m still going to buy it today, even if it is overpriced by at least $5. I need to see if I can still legitimately pass the American history/age test.

  7. strangeloup says:

    I was always faintly embarrassed that this series existed — admittedly never having played it, but knowing it by reputation — largely because I thought non-gamers might think all games were in the same vaguely tawdry vein. Sierra definitely made some great stuff around the time though — I really liked Space Quest, and beating SQ2′s weird puzzles in the days of no internet was quite an accomplishment.

    Nowadays I just worry that non-gamers might think all games are mind-numbingly awful grey-brown manshoots or foot-to-ball simulators, given that they’re what seems to sell the most, on consoleboxes anyhow.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      The reputation really isn’t deserved. (A lot of it comes from one Sierra marketing guy telling everyone it was far dirtier than it actually was.) There’s some dodgy gags in the series, sure, and the characters are two dimensional, but context is everything. Every game in the original trilogy essentially ends with Larry in love and ready to settle down, only to get kicked out and forced to continue his search in a new location.

      (The third one has him specifically declare that he’s had it with that shit and he’s going for pure hedonism. About half an hour later he falls for a pianist called Patti, the two end up in bed, she says someone else’s name and he has a breakdown and goes off into the jungle to die. The whole Leisure Suit Larry thing is, intentionally or not, presented as a mask that he hides behind rather than who he is – a guy just wanting love and companionship, with a knack for ripping defeat from the jaws of success. The VGA ones drop that in favour of more cartoon slapstick stuff, but they’re not the games that gave the series its reputation. Even then, Love For Sail is – bar one unfortunate scene – a cheery, sex-positive, really fun adventure that does a lot of cool, innovative stuff worth remembering instead of just throwing some large breasted women onto the screen and calling the job done.)

      • strangeloup says:

        That’s actually quite heartening to read. I’m not sure if it was just the marketing guy to blame though — I seem to recall at least a couple of gaming mags at the time playing up the dirty/tittilating aspects of the series, but I suppose that’s par for the course really.

        Given that they’re all on GOG, and presently half-price, the compilation of the first five for a mere $5 seems very tempting indeed. Unfortunately(?), I got distracted on the way to the checkout by the Tex Murphy games, also $5 apiece, which I’d also somehow never played. So I got Under A Killing Moon and The Pandora Directive instead. Sorry.

        I’ve wishlisted the Larry comp, ’cause there’s few folks whose opinion on older games I hold in higher esteem than yours — mostly due to the Saturday Crapshoot over at PCG. And, at the risk of inviting a response of ‘that’s what she said’, I do occasionally like trying out things that I normally wouldn’t give a second glance.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          It got the reputation, but a lot of that was for stuff like the cover used, the fact it was a remake (though it’s more a parody) of Softporn and similar. One of its biggest problems early on was that one of the major distributors… Radio Shack, I *think*… refused to stock it on moral grounds. It had an absolutely disastrous launch, though subsequently did gangbusters.

          (I wouldn’t say that there’s nothing in the series people might take offense at, there are a few things. As a general rule though, if someone passionately hates it, they haven’t played it. Even the dodgy content is so tame that people are more likely just to tut and switch it off than go on a frothing rampage. Until MCL that is, which is offensively awful in many ways.)

          And I’m not going to criticise anyone for checking out Tex :-) Under A Killing Moon hasn’t aged well, but The Pandora Directive is great – one of my favourite adventures, give or take a couple of painful sections – and it’ll be all the more impressive for the contrast in things like Chris Jones’ acting once he has a real director at his back and the improved technology that allows for things like two people moving at once. Can’t wait for Project Fedora and another chance to hang out in that universe.

  8. Snids says:

    Oh Richard. I loved you anyway but Gremlins 2? *swoon*

  9. JackMultiple says:

    Seems like a bonafide (what pun?) LSL 4 would be a better use of their time than all the remakes.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      I doubt we’ll ever see LSL4. Lowe didn’t much like writing Patti, which he’d have to do again, and it would have to lead into LSL5, which is arse. Besides, the gag of the missing sequel works much better than anything that could be slotted into that gap.

      • JackMultiple says:

        Maybe. Arse sounds better than just more of the same. Only more.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          I’d still rather see things just roll on freshly. Though there’s no reason more couldn’t be done with Patti – if she was still an FBI agent who happened to be in the same area as Larry for instance, only for him to keep screwing up her investigation in horrible and embarrassing ways – it’s going to work much better when they’re not canonically a couple.

  10. zachforrest says:

    Nice to see the boy Cobbett around these parts.

  11. almostDead says:

    Goodness, I thought this was a job for John Walker. I guess he’ll get the Deadpool WIT.

  12. ThTa says:

    I feel this is a good opportunity to share the following:
    http://thecitizenkaneofvideogames.tumblr.com/

  13. Sparkz says:

    I really really HATE this remake.

    Made the purchase and couldnt wait to get playing it. Currently own all the Larry games. First experience was finding LSL1 installed on 1 of the win 3.1 school computers in a hidden folder.

    Compared to the last good LSL (Love for sail), I thought the graphics were the same and expected the same but far from it.

    I think the reviewer includes some fair points.

    The blackjack and slots games are highly annoying. The only way to build your balance is to save and reload when you lose. On your bets you can increase and decrease bet value. If betting over 100, it takes ages to get to the amount. Bets up to $100 go up in $1 increases, so thats 100 clicks to get your bet to $100, then it goes up in 10′s. If you are betting $500 for example and lose… you reload the state before you lost and it doesnt save the bet value, you have to click you bets up to $500 again (Unless theres some way I missed).

    Some rooms and scenes you go to takes 5 or 6 seconds to loan so you have a black screen for that time.

    Theres too much to interact with (in a bad way). You can use zip, scent, touch, item with anything and there will be narrations for it. Meaning it will turn into a click fest and lots of skipping the narration because technically anything can work with anything. If I think of LSL6… The things that worked usually had clues or logical thinking, such as looking at soap and larry saying something like “it makes a good impression”, then after a while of thinking you realise you can make a print of the key by pressing it into the soap.

    Was highly anticipating it but sadly its only a 4/10 game for me

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      In fairness to the game on part of that, the zipper and taste icons especially are almost exclusively used for jokes. Almost all of the puzzles are either using objects, taking objects, or using objects on other objects (and those interactions have generic text) – much like Larry, a hand is your best friend. The main problem is a holdover from the original, that there’s no guiding at all. You either find the thing or you don’t, and usually there’s no way to know that the thing you need even exists in the gameworld until you do.

      (I got *incredibly* annoyed trying to figure out how the hell to get to Jasmine, especially as the puzzle felt like the clue was meant to be seeing the elevator go all the way up the casino instead of cutting straight to the destination floor.)

    • Lanfranc says:

      “The blackjack and slots games are highly annoying. The only way to build your balance is to save and reload when you lose.”

      Isn’t saving and reloading how you traditionally deal (pun intended) with things like that? At least that’s what I always did for the poker game in Police Quest 1.

      • Barchester says:

        Saving and reloading worked back in the day, because it took only a button (F5 or F7, if memory serves) and a nanosecond before you were back in the game for a second try. In this game, it’s much more of a hassle to save/reload, and that is what’s making it annoying, at least for me.

        • Sparkz says:

          Yep thats the point I meant, as Barchester says. Thats the way to build your balance (saving/reloading). Having to click through the menu’s to save/load, then every time you reload you have to navigate to what you want to bet by constant clicking (better to have buttons saying $10, $50,$100,$1000 you can click).

          A throwback to old adventure game times… YES, but this was meant to be an old Larry with a newer twist. A new Larry gambling game would of been good.

          The old Larry games had a balance of comedy and challenging puzzles (which often required logical thinking).

          It seems the thought went more into the comedy with this 1.

          Gameplay: If you never played the first LSL it will take around 2 hours to complete, an hour if you have played the first LSL.

          Comedy: If you interact with literally everything (use every icon with every clickable thing) you could get 3 or 4 hours worth.

          Not worth $20… $5 maybe

  14. Spacewalk says:

    Does it look better in motion than in screenshots?

    • Barchester says:

      Not really, I’m afraid. The animations are quite poor, and a few of them, like the pimp in the second room in the beginning of the game, is just plain bad. Really disappointing.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’ve got to say every single screenshot of this I’ve seen looks absolutely terrible. The backgrounds are alright, in that Quirky ’90s Sierra style, but the character art is just plain bad.

      It really, really doesn’t help how many characters are staring straight at the camera, too.

      (I want to tell myself that the old EGA version had a bit more subtlety to it than, say, a big willy for a road layout, or that casino name—more Carry On than schoolboy humour—but it probably didn’t in general.)

  15. belgand says:

    I’d certainly be upset by an abrupt end rather than even a sputtering climax.

  16. Jerppa says:

    “Leisure Suit Larry is basically gaming’s Citizen Kane”

    You mean it’s utterly boring and a complete waste of time?

    EDIT: Replaced . with ?

    • tnzk says:

      Citizen Kane is not boring! I mean, even if you’re the type that thinks pew-pew lazers and green light swords is fantastico, Citizen Kane is not far off. In fact, CK is closer to Star Wars than, say, The Black Narcissus.

  17. unangbangkay says:

    I know this is a PC gaming site and all, but I think it’s worth mentioning that while this game is $20 on PC, it’s just $5 on iOS and Android. Considering the relatively low technical bar that needs to be passed to see this game at its best (unlike, say, XCOM), the savings might be worth sticking to mobile to get your money’s worth.

    Also, when do I get The Longest Journey on mobile? I needs it!

    • Jexiah8bit says:

      That’s a good bit of info, thanks. Still playing Another World and Broken Sword every once in a while on mobile, when I’m out and about. Leaves my PC for the non-adventury stuff.

    • Low Life says:

      That sounds like a much better value proposition, but I wonder what their justification for the PC version’s higher price is. It’s (presumably) not like the game’s going to be any different.

  18. yobokkie says:

    “Poker in the front, Liquor in the back”…. groan…

  19. Barchester says:

    I’m having a really hard time getting through this game. It’s very nostalgic, especially if you grew up on the original game, but it’s also the exact same broken adventure game it was back in the day, with no apparent effort having been made to update it for today’s audience.

    My biggest gripe, next to some dreadfully shoddy animations, is that there’s no hotspots. How anyone thought that releasing a game where everything and anyone in every single room is clickable in seven different ways was a good idea, is really beyond me. Back in the original, all you’d have to do is type ‘look’ and you’d get a summary of what you could do and see in a room. With that gone (unless I’m missing something here), it’s nothing but a highly annoying click fest.

    LSL: Reloaded wasn’t bad in the day, because there were hardly any adventure games out there, but in 2013, this is just not good. Not even from a nostalgic view point.

  20. harbinger says:

    “There’s also no hint system, or any guidance whatsoever.”
    Afaik that is wrong, try handing Lefty some money if you are stuck.

    “The official plan is to move on from Larry 1 to do the rest of the series, though that feels like it would be a mistake at this point. The second game is insane and will need a hell of a lot more redesigning, with Larry 3 the only other game that vaguely seems worth doing.”
    Speak for yourself, I’ve only ever played Larry 6+7 and am looking forward to any and all remakes, I would also repledge if need be.

    “If you’ve never played the original game though, should you give it a shot? It’s as good a time as any in the last decade or so, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s an ancient adventure with a fresh coat of paint, which shows its age in puzzle design and now standard techniques like actually pushing you towards objectives rather than leaving you to your own devices.”
    Again, speak for yourself. One of the most appealing features in most of these KickStarters (especially the RPGs) is that they can design the games how they want them to be and aren’t reliant on appealing to the lowest common denominator. I’m not sure where the idea that the player has to absolutely be led by the nose and rub it in what they have to do at any given moment comes from. As long as the game doesn’t let you get stuck or offers a Game Over screen after you’ve forgotten to save for about an hour everything else is fine by me.

    • Barchester says:

      I’d argue that there’s a big difference between “pandering to the lowest common denominator or leading by the nose” and bad game design (hidden objects you don’t even know you have to collect, or rendering your game unplayable when you run out of cash).

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      “Afaik that is wrong, try handing Lefty some money if you are stuck.”

      (tries)

      Lefty cycles through a few comments, a couple of which are very vague hints to puzzles, but that is in no way a hints system. And even if it was, the game doesn’t point you to him as a source for them, so there’s no good reason to randomly start giving him money.

      “I’m not sure where the idea that the player has to absolutely be led by the nose and rub it in what they have to do at any given moment comes from.”

      Don’t be boring. It’s not a binary thing and you know it.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Space Quest III is a shining example for me. It was by no means easy or hand-holdy but if you took your time and examined everything carefully, every puzzle always had a clue somewhere and would always draw your attention to whatever was important, if not necessarily what to do with it. The text based approach is extremely powerful but very easy to misuse. In a graphical text adventure the ideal is that you never have an object in the room that cannot be seen (or at least, suggested) on screen.

  21. JamesTheNumberless says:

    The original was great, but thanks to it’s reputation it was a game my parents would have gone mental if they’d found in my collection! So I had to play it at friends’ houses. Playing it felt very grown up at the time, and we played it as teenagers to try to get an insight into some of the adult mysteries of the world. Ironic that now, as an adult, I’d replay it just to get an insight back into my own past :)

  22. phlebas says:

    But will they be remaking Larry 4?

  23. sophof says:

    This was more or less the reason I didn’t kickstart, although now I’m happy it exists. Would be much nicer to see a proper new game, the price seemed a bit steep for just a remake. Happy they didn’t take the lazy approach at least, looks like they really used the money properly. I’m going to wait for it to come down in price first.
    I did just buy love for sail on GoG though, thanks for that :D

  24. goldbug says:

    I think you’ll find it’s pronounced “lie-zhur-eye-ay”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IzDbNFDdP4)

    I was a backer of this and I feel proud. It’s Larry. It’s a 1980s adventure game. That’s exactly what I wanted. Haters can play something else.

  25. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Spare a thought for those of us who were not quite yet even teenagers in 91, and of course had no internet. We knew a surprising number of them but even so, there were some times when we had to reload and try again :)

  26. Renevent says:

    Ahhh! Finally a game both misogynists and limp-wristed whiners can enjoy! On a serious note not sure why this game gets a pass, but whatever :D

    Anyways loved the original game and it was one of the first adventure games I owned. The ‘age quiz’ is something I still remember to this day. As a 8 year old kid ended up having to memorize most of the answers, but looking back (and recently reading all the questions/answers) as an adult just makes the whole thing even more hilarious.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      “On a serious note not sure why this game gets a pass, but whatever :D”

      Context. There’s nothing wrong with sex or sexy stuff in games per se. It’s how it’s done, which is why it’s possible to enjoy, say, Leisure Suit Larry: Love For Sail in all its shameless silliness, but find Magna Cum Laude misogynistic and unpleasant. Likewise, a game like this can get away with silly costumes and shallow characters and whatever than something that’s trying to play things straight, like an RPG full of chainmail bikinis.

      • Renevent says:

        Seems more like a convenient pass. They use sexy portrayals of woman to sell the game, there’s bedding hookers (who can also give you venereal disease), and all sorts of misogynistic jokes and stereo-types throughout the game. I don’t see how one can be enraged by bikini armor, yet act as if this game is cute fun.

        Not that I have a problem with any of this stuff in video games, but just seems like very inconsistent reporting.

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          Again, context. All of that fits with the tone, world, story and environment that the game presents and is based on, in much the same way that pretty much nobody took any umbrage to Playboy: The Mansion or cared about the dodgier moments of Vampire: Bloodlines. And there’s nothing particularly objectionable in how it handles them – Larry for instance isn’t the kind of guy who’ll drop a roofie in someone’s drink.

          Thinking that the complaint is “Oh no, there are boobies and some naughty jokes!” is misunderstanding it completely. Raw content is only part of the picture; attitude, tone and context are (usually) what make it inappropriate and annoying.

          • Renevent says:

            So objectification only ok when it’s done in a silly nature? Again, that sounds more like a pass and making the issue a moving target. What about Conan, that’s not silly in nature is OK? Should we boycott that series?

            What tone is difference is there that makes objectification OK in a game all about bedding women and treating them as a prize, and not OK where female characters simply wear chainmail bikinis but are otherwise equal to their male counterparts?

            I don’t believe you are making a convincing argument. The reality LSL is objectifying women, has all sorts of crude portrayals, and has lots of negative stereo-types.

            IMO games are closer to art then not. I don’t see some big distinction in making a silly game about bedding women and some MMO where females like to dress sexy for battle…at least not to the point where developer A is just dandy and developer B are a bunch of misogynistic dogs worthy of contempt.

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            “So objectification only ok when it’s done in a silly nature?”

            Yeah, that’s exactly what that reply said. (rolls eyes) You don’t have to like the argument, but that’s the argument. Do what you will with it, up to and including actually bothering to read it at some point rather than replying to the version in your head.

            “What tone is difference is there that makes objectification OK in a game all about bedding women and treating them as a prize”

            Well, for starters, Larry doesn’t actually *do* that. But never mind, eh?

            “I don’t see some big distinction in making a silly game about bedding women and some MMO where females like to dress sexy for battle”

            Here’s a hint: ‘dress sexy for battle’.

          • Renevent says:

            Actually he does exactly that, you even get points for sleeping with the hooker. Let me repeat that…you get in game points for busting your cherry by sleeping with a prostitute. Just because at the end he finds love in a way doesn’t all the sudden erase what his objective was throughout the entire game, much less getting rewarded for sleeping with a “lady of negotiable virtue.” (I actually love that line by Al Lowe lol!)

            So again, why is getting points for sleeping with a hooker fine, but simply wearing a chain-mail bikini worthy of contempt? I’m not seeing some huge difference here. I can see where taste would come into play, but RPS makes it out to be some moral injustice and to the point of portraying developers as misogynistic dogs.

          • Richard Cobbett says:

            You’re trolling, right? You genuinely don’t understand the context of Larry sleeping with a hooker, finding it an absolutely empty experience, and realising that he actually wants more than sex… because doing so happened to give the player a couple of points?

            We’re done here. If you don’t get it by now, you’re probably not going to at all.

          • Renevent says:

            You are factually wrong on this point. Sleeping with hooker grants you in game points, and treats the players to a scene humping including a nice climax lol. There’s no way you can pretend bedding a women in this isn’t a reward to the player. It is both mechanically rewarding (points) and visually. Every women you try to bed in the game is done in similar fashion, with each conversation including a nice sexy animated picture for the player to enjoy.

            Having Larry realize that he wants more after the fact doesn’t change this.

            Had this game not been a 80′s cult classic and was instead a new adventure series by some Asian developer I think this article would read a lot different.

    • harbinger says:

      I was surprised too, since RPS is usually the “hide away those sinful melons, women!” crowd nowadays with sentiments worse than the congregating orthodoxy.
      I took it as a difference in a calmer and not quite as radical Richard reviewing the game instead of say John Walker who’d pop a vein in his head.

      There is even an arcade minigame called “Angry Broads” described as ”where you hurl our hero into a bunch of angry feminists.”: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2013/05/08/leisure-suit-larry-is-back-and-fully-reloaded-an-interview-with-replay-games-president-paul-trowe/

  27. nindustrial says:

    Richard, big fan of all your writings, glad to see this great review. You are king of alt text.

  28. tomimt says:

    It’s actually relatively fast to break the bank with Blackjack in the casinos, it took about 5-10 minutes for me with maximum bets and savescumming. The slot machines, while a good addition and nice to get enough dough for a taxi drive, ar just way too slow to get good money with out huge amount of saving/loading.

    The animation and character design are the weakest points of the game, that’s for sure and as such it’s also a shame. Other than that it’s however a solid ground for the Reloaded series of Larry and I do hope that at least the game that requires the remake the most, Larry 2, gets it. LSL2 is a game, that would in the end look and feel like an entirely different game, after all the dead ends and poor design choices are removed.

  29. Lemming says:

    Is it me or are no two characters drawn by the same artist in those screen shots? The disparity is awful.

  30. MrEvilGuy says:

    “The second game is insane and will need a hell of a lot more redesigning, with Larry 3 the only other game that vaguely seems worth doing. ”

    I disagree. The second game gave me a tingle in my pants I’ll never forget. 1-2-3 is what they should have made from the start of the Kickstarter project.

  31. Mario112 says:

    I’m really tempted to try this game even though my hopes for it are not too high. (Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!) Maybe bring back some memories from my 90′s gaming past.

    http://www.gmretro.com

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