How well does the Reloaded version of Al Lowe's adventure game Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards stack up against the original?
Back in April 2012, Replay Games surfaced on Kickstarter with the news that they'd managed to convince long time conjurer of dirty jokes Al Lowe to come out of retirement for this top-to-bottom re-imagining of his 25-year-old graphic adventure game, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards.
The game puts the player in the driver's seat of the story of Larry Laffer, a middle-aged, balding man trying to seduce attractive women. Larry was a nerdy geek all his life and eventually became a computer programmer. He now finds himself in Lost Wages, in front of the bar Lefty's, with a bottle of breath spray and $94 dollars in his wallet.
I guess I was around 12 years old when I played the original Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards with my friends and even though we never managed to leave Lefty's, Larry introduced us to new words from the English vocabulary, like "mount". I think we even got our hands on an uncensored version at some point, but in all its EGA resolution glory, I doubt we really noticed any difference.
What has changed from the original game? Not surprisingly, there has been a major overhaul of the graphics, sound, music and there is now fully vocalized audio. There are also new jokes, new puzzles and even some new characters. One of the Kickstarter tiers allowed you to pay to be one of the drinkers at Lefty's, and although this was a great idea to rob someone of $5,000 (yes, that was the actually amount you had to pledge to drink at Lefty's), it introduces an element to the game that just seems shallow and unnecessary. The Kickstarter drinkers should have been replaced with over-the-top fictional characters instead.
The HD background graphics is beautiful, but the character graphics and animation have a lot to be desired. They seem rushed and most of them, expect for Larry himself, stand so much out from the backgrounds, they look a bit like something I could have drawn myself. This especially goes for the Kickstarter drinkers in the bar. Maybe they had to draw themselves, too, who knows? While we're on the subject of Kickstarter: It permeates too much of this game, Al Lowe even appears at the end, thanking the Kickstarter backers. Get off the set, Al!
Money is an important aspect of Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded, and the $94 dollars in Larry's wallet won't last you long. To get more money you have to gamble, and thankfully there are slot machines, blackjacks and other mini games everywhere you look. It does, however, become rather tedious to play these games to get money, and you'll find yourself saving and loading quite a lot. To go ahead and build up a solid cash balance at the start of the game is probably a good idea, so that you don't have to back and save/load/gamble time and time again.
More often than not, understanding what you're supposed to do in the game is far from logical and your play style can easily turn into a click fest, where you try to use the hammer with the squid, the squid with the bungee cord, the bungee cord with the Tabasco sauce and the Tabasco sauce with pretty much every living and inanimate object in the casino, Caesar's Phallus. Although this is not something that is unfamiliar to point-and-click adventures, it's sort of in the name of the genre, it just feels like too much in this case. Clicking on everything will eventually pay off in the end, though, but it just seems so random. This kind of game style might not appeal to people who prefer to play adventure games where logic is in fact something that matters.
But logic is not what Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded is about. It's about Larry Laffer's crazy adventure and there's nothing logic about it at all. If you laugh at fart jokes, start to drool at the thought of digital honka-honkas and enjoy clicking your mouse a lot, this is a game you should go ahead and buy.
Personally, having finished the game, I'm left with a feeling that it was 5 hours I probably could have used on something more entertaining. The jokes are OK, I laughed every now and then, but I think I expected more. Maybe the game simply isn't for the adult me. Perhaps I left Larry Laffer behind at some point in life, when I actually grew up? But all that said, it was nice to meet Larry Laffer again and realize that the first time I saw Larry Laffer back when I was 12 should have been a warning sign about become a computer programmer myself.
This review is also avilable on https://www.vegard.net/