Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude

This review originally appeared in PC Gamer UK.

Not Al Lowe, but a new low.

There is no excuse. There is no reason good enough for something as foul, hateful and pathetic as this unmitigated, spiteful, venomous crap to have ever gotten past being a wretchedly stupid idea suggested by whichever bigoted insults to humankind first vomited it at a publisher.

This isn’t a jokey, comedy opening. This isn’t John “There Back” Walker’s faux-shock at a slightly naughty adult game. This is anger. Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude is a deeply unpleasant exercise in the lowest form of misogyny.

You’re playing the nephew of Al Lowe’s silly creation, made hideous by a development team with no understanding of what the original slightly naughty adult games were about. And you’re the same sort of unpleasant, nerdy ne’er-do-well, taking part in auditions for a television dating show (something that the Larry series already did, troublingly). But in this show, in order to progress through the process, you must shag as many women as you can.

Obviously Lowe’s Larry games were essentially about trying to achieve similar, despite Larry’s almost never getting laid. But in this university setting, /all/ women are portrayed as naïve morons, either objects to be screwed, or subjects of derision. If they’re to be targets for Larry’s attention, they must have big enough tits, display a depth of stupidity that most would recognise as a mental handicap, or most probably both.

Girls are ‘wooed’ into these situations through a series of mini-‘games’ – a mixture of running around puzzles, or rhythm-response games. None of these are competently coded, with glitches hindering any notion of applying skill. Their purpose is to lure girls into your bed by completing lying games, and then getting them so drunk that they almost pass out through a drinking game. And then, in this vulnerable position, Larry attempts to have sex with them, with what are supposedly attempts at hilarious consequences. One girl turns out to have a penis! One will only have sex if you’re wearing a tree-costume! And at the very lowest depth of this sub-aquatic misery, there’s one drunk and disturbed girl whom Larry tricks into having sex with a dildo strapped to a teddy bear.

They’re meant to be jokes. It’s clear that the developers thought it was funny. And very occasionally, rushing around completing mini-games can seem like mild entertainment. If you succeed, you get to see the cartoon lady’s boobies – that doesn’t seem /so/ awful. However, the broken mini-games, and horrible scenarios soon put a stop to that.

The insidious, hateful attitude doesn’t stop at women. Of the two male black characters, one is a pimp, and the other is a mentally ill hobo. An astonishingly derisory comment is made when looking at the door to the “PC Hammer – African-American Studies” building (shudder). And xenophobia is rife throughout.

The original Larrys were rude, but in the end did nothing to offend. This is pure offence, both in content and in gameplay. Don’t.

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