For better or for worse, Ian straps it on and doubles down on one of the years sauciest games
Soft core porn meets “point and click” miss-adventures in a 27yr old game that could just as easily be called “Lonely Larry’s Lewd Libido”. In 2013 with open access to as much “blue” material than you can shake your wang at; is Larry still relevant?
With Telltale Games taking on much of Sierras back catalogue of franchises including Sam & Max and Monkey Island from the early ’90s; it takes a special kind of pervert to imagine raising 50K in Kickstarter funds for a game that truthfully was already remade once before in the early 90s not long after its 1987 debut. To be fair, Larry has had a long and rather lurid assortment of adventures and only recently, having passed the proverbial torch to his nephew have the 3D games turned completely X rated notoriously released online as both a censored and completely uncensored (read: 100% naked female models and sex scenes) versions.
Released at the end of last month, Reloaded is supposed to be a return to form for the franchise thanks to developer/publishers Re-Play Games and N-Fusion Interactive: a remade homage to the lovable loser that is Larry. Creator and designer Al Lowe personally bequeathed the creation via crowd sourcing but just as the man himself has aged in the last 27 years, so too has gaming and the gaming audience in general.
Ironically, as much as we would like to imagine a more politically correct time where minors would have no access to such content in 2013, my personal “fond memories” of growing up with Larry would be admitting that yes, I was growing up with those games from probably age 7. The titillation of finally completing the game and seeing, well, a pair of breasts has instead been replaced with boredom, contempt and an understanding that Leisure Suit Larry represents both everything that is wrong with Kickstarter and so right with it. Resurrected out of no-where the sexually frustrated masses have exceeded the target of raising 500K (That’s US$500,000) to breathe new life into a dead franchise much like Larry breathing life into the penultimate sex doll. The result?
Not much more than a crudely animated, 2D painted point and click game that lacks less polish than a stripper pole and is much less coordinated (also there are no stripper poles!)
If you have never ventured into the seedy back alley of Larry’s back catalogue the original premise was much more akin to an interactive text based movie, and if The Lair of the Lounge Lizards was a movie it would be closer to The 40 year old virgin, than say American Pie meets Spring Break.
Dropped off in the town of ‘Lost Wages’ players point and click Larry Laffer across a variety of buildings, picking up items along the way clicking on more things that speak, or don’t and generally bouncing between sniffing, licking, and “unzipping little Larry” on anything of interest.
The first place you are dropped is Leftys bar, which is in theory a ‘gag’ about drinking liberally. There is a reason people need to be over 18 to play the game and it’s not just because of the innuendo: Larry is not just lazy, he is old. So much of the charm comes from listening and trying to touch and play(and have sex with) with everything in the game and there is a lot of new and recreated content in the painted backgrounds but so much of it will either be missed or pass over the head of less than thoughtful fans. At the end of the 1980s Larry represented a throwback to the washed up, worn out desperado circa 1960-70s. In 2013 these laconic references to an out-dated government, use of technology and of course misogyny are irrelevant and actually offensive. Truthfully, in 1987 there was little to no chance that a woman was even going to look at this game, let alone try and play it (if she could figure out how) but again the 21st century contents of Larry’s business probably deserves a warning sticker: “Will offend women, do not play!” (and then the women will get offended that men think they shouldn’t play it and will anyway and then complain that we didn’t try harder to stop them…)- Such is the tone of the game.
Note: Just to confuse things when the player starts a new story you are presented with a quiz, and if you don’t answer the questions correctly you are thrown back into the menu and not allowed to play. For those in the know this is an unnecessary and elitist throwback to many of the early games of the 1990 that came on floppy disk and tried to be clever (back before the internet existed!) however whoever created this game clearly didn’t think through some of the questions, because it still took this reviewer 3 tries to get it to work. There is a sort of perverted glee knowing though, that THIS sort of “DRM” still works and only ‘a select few who know are smart enough’ can play.
Gameplay is a similarly sordid affair of awkward, I feel dirty moments and laugh out loud ‘wtf’ scenarios. It is both liberating and baffling that this game is so easily accessible online and through Steam, fully uncensored when newer, admittedly more violent titles are refused. The Australian Classification board are going to have a field day trying to get this one approved, when the crux of the journey to pound town involves giving prescription medication to a certain employee so that you can take advantage of them.
Larry does it all from pouring hot sauce in a whales blow hole to securing the anal secretions of a cat to make sweet smelling perfume. Blow up sex doll- check. Porn-check. Dying of a pants exploding STI after having sex with a wrinkly old prostitute and not using a condom- check. Yet because of the poorly realised characters, animations and the constant, never ending over tones of the narrator that talks you through the conjugations Larry Reloaded might just make it on the shelf.
There are two ‘new’ features to this one night stand and sadly because of budget constraints, and time they stick out more than a pair of Dds on prom night. The nature of Kickstarter being what it is Re-Play Games & N-Fusion Interactive have allowed people to PAY to be in the game. This is a novel con to get people to contribute and, if the game was any good then it might just work. In this case though (and really people should have known better) the game is now littered with about a dozen random citizens and 21 Stars on the “walk of shame”; with unfamiliar faces that just don’t match the rest of the game. More over and most embarrassingly for them, Larry can touch them, take advantage of them, grab them and say things and thank them for paying so much money. For someone who DIDN’T pay to have this one made it comes off as self-indulgent, oddly self-referential and continuously takes you out of the originally intended play experience.
There is quite literally, a 20 minute stand-up comedy act in the game, where every five minutes a lady appears and sings the same song 5 times about Kickstarter…
The second new feature includes a continuous and never ending narration, not unlike the game Bastion which nicely replaces all the text based words with spoken. Unfortunately the narrators snarky demeanour constant put downs of the players actions and annoying accent make him almost as annoying as Larry’s own wining “wakka wakka” slapstick personality.
In conclusion should Larry have ever been bought back out into the light of day? 500K in 30 days would seem to suggest “yes” and yet the final product, objectively is not all together that playable or even fun anymore. Lost Wages looks nothing like Las Vegas and the remixed melody on the saxophone and menu system screams sleazy late night TV show in New York. The more you talk about Larry, and the more you dig into his past the more you realise that this game was never supposed to be made in the first place. Did Sierras creators, back in 1981 ever imagine that their adults only text based ‘game’ Softporn Adventure would become this. The first video game that TIME Magazine first featured ever, the one with the photo of the employees wives all sitting naked in a hot tub?
For twenty self-indulgent dollars The Lair of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded is only slightly cheaper than Softporn Adventure was in 1981 but if you have yet to dip your wick in the world’s only “sex comedy” game then let Larry take you for a 3hr joy ride, and let’s never speak of it again.