Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded Review

This is probably one of the best rejections in the game - and yes, it contains puns

  • Developer: nFusion Interactive
  • Publisher: Replay Games
  • Release Date: 27 June 2013
  • Time played: 6 hours

Ah, good old Sierra and their graphic adventure games. Many gamers nowadays are probably too young to remember the golden age of adventure games back in the 80s and early 90s. During this time there were two giants when it came to graphic adventures: Sierra On-Line and Lucasarts - both don't exist as companies anymore... well technically Sierra has been resurrected but only as an indie publishing arm of Activision, not a developer.

Anyway, one of their most infamous games was Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards released way back in 1987. The game would receive a VGA remake in 1991 and just last year, another remake was released thanks to a successful Kickstarter project in 2012 that managed to raise $655,182 in funding. The game was infamous because of its adult subject matter which involved the protagonist, an almost 40 year-old virgin (who didn't look anything like Steve Carell) seeking love in the city of Las Ve- I mean Lost Wages.

Leisure Suit Larry was never my favourite Sierra adventure game series, Quest for Glory would definitely take that spot, however it was the first project on Kickstarter to feature a Sierra alumni, which was of course Al Lowe, the original developer of Leisure Suit Larry. That was a boon in itself considering it was a long time since Al Lowe was actually involved in making a Leisure Suit Larry game - the last being developed over a decade ago in the late 90s. So I along with many others would vote with our wallets in showing that not only is there demand for point 'n' click adventure games (as proven by the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter that preceded it) but that we wanted to see Sierra alumni-created point 'n' click adventures. The plan seemed to work with Jane Jensen, the Coles, the Two Guys from Andromeda (Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy) and even Jim Walls giving Kickstarter a go (still no Ken and Roberta Williams though).

So how does the first "Kickstarted" game to be released by Sierra alumni fare (Moebius: Empire Rising was released earlier this year)? Is it worth playing even if you're not a Leisure Suit Larry fan?

Plot (3/5)
As already mentioned, the game has you playing the role of an almost 40-year-old virgin named Larry Laffer, aka Leisure Suit Larry (thanks to his favourite piece of attire). Your task is not only to lose your virginity though, as you find out shortly into the game after having unsatisfactory sex with a hooker, but to find your "true love", whoever that may be. Anyway, the game has Larry fumbling his way around the gambling mecca of Lost Wages, trying in vain to woo the many women he meets with usually humourous consequences. Yes, the game has the trademark Sierra humour which involves a lot of puns but sometimes you can't help but laugh despite yourself. There are also a lot of in-jokes for Sierra fans here, with lots of references to previous staff and games (e.g. Police Quest). There's even a Steam achievement called "Frontier Pharmacist".

In the end, it's the game's humour and the quality of the scriptwriting that helps carry this game since let's face it, without the humour the game would be a predictable and trashy romance story. At least with the humour it's a funny, predictable and trashy romance story.

A word of warning though: playing a game where you are a sleazy, middle-aged man salivating over women with DD cup breasts isn't going to make you too popular with your wife/girlfriend/mum. "Hey, I only played this game because I had to review it - I swear!" doesn't work as an excuse either.

The Age Verification Quiz makes a return - but with new questions!

Gameplay (3/5)
If you're a point 'n' click adventure veteran, you know the drill. You basically solve puzzles through a combination of using inventory items or creating new items by merging existing ones. You then interact with the environment directly or by using inventory items in order to progress through the story. I found the game to be just right in terms of difficulty: the only time I got stuck was when I didn't realise there was actually another room off to the left of the screen. Rookie error for an adventure gamer!

One aspect I don't like, although I suspect it is a throwback to the original game, is that in order to do certain things in the game you needed money and the only way to earn money in Lost Wages is to obviously gamble. However, you're only able to use poker machines in order to earn cash, and the only way to ensure you collect enough cash is to use the power of the "Save Game". i.e. save when you win money, reload when you lose money. It seems game-breaking but it's totally essential unless you happen to be really lucky and happen to win many times consecutively. I'm not a big fan of grind in computer games nowadays so I found it as a definite downside to the gameplay.

Sound (5/5)
Replay Games managed to get the original voice actor for Leisure Suit Larry, Jan Rabson along with a guy named Brad Venable to do voice acting for the narrator. Both do a fantastic job with the voice acting, even though Larry Laffer does have a very annoying voice and even though the narrator sounds like a game show host. Although at times, that only helps amplify the humour.

Music (5/5)
I've already typed up my review of the game's soundtrack and as I've mentioned, Austin Wintory has done a sensational job with the Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded soundtrack which goes to prove he's not a one trick pony (i.e. a composer of only deep, meaningful, epic soundtracks). Austin has created a very jazzy and fun soundtrack to listen to that isn't afraid to use the Leisure Suit Larry theme leitmotif as much as possible - and why wouldn't you? It's damn catchy. Al Lowe and the MOJO Band perform the Leisure Suit Larry Theme at the end of the game too and it's not to be missed.

Austin Wintory has done a sensational job with the Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded soundtrack which goes to prove he's not a one trick pony

Graphics (3/5)
I don't have any complaints with the backdrops, the close-ups of the women in the game or even most of the animations; most of these are done really well and are a definite improvement over the previous Larry games (a higher resolution is always a good start). There are however some parts in the game where corners seem to have been cut, such as whenever Larry uses the taxi. When the taxi arrives to pick Larry up the wheels of the car don't even rotate making it look like a cardboard cut-out. Also the screen that shows the taxi driving around Lost Wages looks incredibly amateurish and not as good as the rest of the scenes in the game. They might've actually been better off not having the scene at all and just doing it the old way where you didn't have a separate cutscene while you travelled.

Replay (2/5)
No this section isn't about the company Replay Games but about replay value. I quite enjoyed playing Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded (even if it did result in some hostile glances from my wife) and the game is of a decent length for an adventure game at about 6-7 hours. Would I play it again? Probably not, although trying to unlock all the Steam achievements is tempting.

Polish (5/5)
I remember having some slight issues with the game when I first associated it with my account on Steam and I still have the very long title of "Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded" in my Steam library, but I can't recall any serious bugs while playing the game. Also, kudos to Replay for having a tutorial on how to play the game although I'm not sure if this was a sincere effort at teaching younger gamers how to play an older style point 'n' click adventure game or a tongue-in-cheek joke.

Score – 7/10

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is yet another remake of Sierra's infamous 1987 classic, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards and it does a good job of bringing the audio and music to the 21st century, thanks to top quality voice acting and a fitting soundtrack by master composer, Austin Wintory. It's just a pity that some of the animations could've been better not to mention gameplay is a bit of a mixed bag: the game does contain some fresh new puzzles (to keep the fans on their toes) but it also has some old-fashioned grind you'll have to overcome too. If you're a fan of Leisure Suit Larry, you probably already have this game and nothing more needs to be said. If you're an adventure game fan that never really played the 1987 or 1991 versions of Leisure Suit Larry, but curious as to what they're about, I'd recommend you give this one a shot. Otherwise, you may want to reconsider checking it out as there's some worthy competition in the adventure gaming sphere nowadays. If only Al Lowe could work on a new story altogether...

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is available from these retailers:

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[ LINK: Official Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded website ]