Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded – Review

A review of Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

The past is a great place full of happy moments and enough nostalgia to drown a skip full of Teddy Ruxpins.

There comes a point, however, when it’s best to leave these behind, to put away childish things as that saying goes. On a totally unrelated subject the original Leisure Suit Larry game has been given a dusting off and re-released into the world. So what do we think of that?

For those of you who weren’t there the first time, Leisure Suit Larry was a point and click adventure game released in the late eighties. This was produced by Sierra, who were a contemporary of LucasArts who were making similar style games like Manic Mansion which was released around the same time. This is important because whilst LucasArts were making classics (Monkey Island, Day of The Tentacle, hell even Loom) the Leisure Suit Larry series wasn’t.

The game follows the eponymous Larry as he goes to the city of Lost Wages as he tries to find a girl and lose his virginity. That’s about as far as the story goes.

The game is the usual point and click fare consisting of walking around, talking to people and picking up stuff. You then use combinations of these things to solve various puzzles dotted around the game world. This being an eighties style point and click this can be a bit obscure but thats half the fun of this type of game. As long as the story is interesting and the characters well drawn then you don’t mind some of the mental hoops the game forces you to jump.

Problem is Leisure Suit Larry was never that interesting. As a series it never had the quality of writing of the LucasArts games and relied more on the shock value of the story; here was a game character trying to have sex! Making lewd jokes! For the time it was a big deal but the joke quickly got stale when it was repeated over and over again. This new version of the game can’t do much with this and suffers the same fate; good for a chuckle and thats about it.

The HD spit and polish looks good; all the art is done well with fully voiced characters so it does feel like a decent stab at updating the game. The problem is that the LucasArts re-releases of Monkey Island did the same thing and did it better so again Larry wilts in the shade of it’s superior competition.

Here’s the thing; Leisure Suit Larry is an iconic name in video game history but it was never because of the quality of the game, more due to the barriers it broke through with games and adult themes. So going back to the game, even a HD re-release, feels a bit pointless. There is no shock value to the game anymore, any legacy the game had was tarnished by the diminishing returns of the various sequels. For fans of the genre there is some historical significance to be found but for the rest of us? It’s a childish thing that should be put back in the loft.

Two stars out of five

Originally published September 25th 2013

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