Like many male gamers my age who plays PC titles, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizard was one of my early experiences of a “sexually mature” game, despite being released a year prior to my birth. Being a hormonal “tween”, the games sexual themes and promise of pixellated breasts were an appealing factor for me, and this generation of sexually frustrated male youths will be pleased to hear that nothing has changed in Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded – which isn’t necessarily for the better.
Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is an updated version of the original 1987 title brought to life by the team at Replay Games, headed by series creator Al Lowe, and with the aid of over 14,000 Kickstarter backers putting together a grand total of $655,182. This astounding amount of cash was raised by offering incentives such as having a backers name and likeness incorporated into an in-game character or the receipt of several unique collectibles. Despite the variety of characters backers could bid for, it’s a shame that there wasn’t an option to be one of the women Larry attempts to hit on as, with the exception of the hooker, they all pretty much look like this:
If you have a fear of breasts, or have a problem with the objectification of women, Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded isn’t the game for you. Scoring with women with spectacularly gigantic boobs are the goal here, and our middle-aged virgin Larry Laffer will go to extraordinary lengths in order to get with absolutely any of them. Anyone with prior knowledge of the series will know that the Leisure Suit Larry games aren’t exactly leading the pack in terms of challenging sexist trends in the games industry, but at least the games are up front and unapologetic about what they are – unlike the many instances of sexism in mainstream gaming still incredibly prevalent today.
Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is a point and click adventure game at it’s core, an upgrade from the more text based mechanics of the original title, and like many of the features of the title the games user interface has been given a makeover. All of Larry’s interaction options can be selected out by accessing an action bar at the top of the screen, scrolling through or by holding the left mouse button. As a veteran of point and click games, it was incredibly frustrating to not even be given an option to map these different actions to hotkeys and I often found myself instinctively hitting the ‘i’ key to bring up the inventory to no avail.
Point and click adventure games and comedy have typically gone hand-in-hand, especially if you look back to the LucasArts titles of the 90s, and Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is not an exception to the rule. The issue with this updated version of the game is that like the themes of the game, the humour hasn’t aged particularly well and is downright groanworthy in some areas (which is quite possibly intentional). The game is stuffed with sexual innuendo in lines of dialogue, to the names of characters like Tracey Von Felcher, and locations such as the subtly dubbed Studio 69 nightclub. Whilst the comedy may fall a bit flat, there are plenty of nice little nods to iconic comedy scenes from pop culture, including Cheech & Chong and American Pie.
In terms of gameplay, Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is your standard point and click adventure where you’re tasked with finding, combining and using various and varied objects and items to progress through the game. Unlike some point and click adventures from over the years, Larry’s use of items and puzzle solving is fairly logical for the duration. However, the use of conversation trees for talking to the women Larry tries to pick up isn’t particularly well executed. The necessary “save and reload” trick that is needed to raise cash quickly from gambling machines also grew tiresome, even for the brief moment I had to do it.
Questionable themes aside, Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is a decent point and click adventure. The animated art style has a great cartoon feel to it and, despite some shaky dialogue animations, works incredibly well in the 80s setting of the game. The sound really is the best part of the game though, with a great soundtrack from Austin Wintory and some overall superb voice acting, especially from Jan Rabson who voices Larry.
The problem with Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is that in an industry that is trying to mature and argue that games are art, there really isn’t a place for it any more. Fans of the series have been asking for a brand new Larry game since the Kickstarter was announced and like all point and click adventure games, Leisure Suit Larry is going to have to adapt or die. While there’s still an audience out there for great point and click games, Larry is going to have to ditch the leisure suit and quest to “come again” if he wants to hang in the 21st century.
Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is out now for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS. It will be available for Android in the near future.