If the name Larry Laffer doesn’t immediately ring out a bell of nostalgia, then Replay’s attempt at resurrecting this series is likely lost on you. The fabled point-and-click adventure title won a place in gamers’ hearts back in the late 80’s with raunchy, adult-themed content, and genuinely funny dialogue. Replay has decided to bring the old lounge lizard out of retirement with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and what we get is a complete remake of the original game with new visuals, tweaked game play and some new laughs.
Larry Laffer is not the typical video game protagonist. He is a 40-year old virgin setting out in the city of Lost Wages in hopes of finding love; OK mostly just sex. The idea here is to explore the city, do some gambling and try to find just the right woman to hook up with. Yes, it is rude, crude and vile, but it has always intended to be just that.
Leisure Suit Larry is a classic point-and-click game. The keyboard does nothing and no game-pad support is included. Instead, every action is controlled using the mouse. Accessing the actions can be achieved in several ways, such as holding down the right button for a quick select menus, or simply cycling between actions such as walking, touching and talking with the scroll wheel. Players can also hover around the top of the screen to access the full menu as well as game settings and saving. It almost feels wrong not using anything outside of a mouse to control the entire game.
The original game play remains mostly intact, and those who still have the original memorized will recall some of the puzzles. Rest assured though, they have changed aspects of certain puzzles to streamline the game, and offer less padding. The premise is simple: present players with areas, and have them figure out which combinations of items and interactions will progress the story. Larry can talk to people, look at them and even interact. Those that have never played a point-and-click will likely take some acclimating, but once it clicks (yup, I did that), it becomes easier to navigate.
There is a pretty handy tutorial that explains the basics, which I recommend all newcomers check out. Still, getting in and making mistakes is what keeps these games interesting. Thankfully, the annoying death sequences have been replaced by more elaborate demises for our friend. Seeing Larry get beat up by thugs, or drown due to a stopped up toilet are both entertaining, and inconsequential. The game tosses players back into the action without much loss. These games are designed to try multiple ways of solving each situation, so experimentation is applauded rather than frowned upon.
Where Larry stumbles is the repetition. While the game always attempts to entertain monotonous tasks, often times the design is frustrating. Some areas have tons of things to interact with, and most only contain a small quip from the narrator. Others can fill up an entire sequence of dialogue, while none are pertinent to moving the action forward. The backtracking in the cab alone was anger-inducing to the point of not being any fun. It is times like these that I found myself clicking, looking at and yes, even licking (that is one of the action options) everything in the environment just trying to find the next solution, as it is not always apparent.
The biggest change to this version is its visuals. Replay has done a great job of recreating the original look and feel, while still updating animations and locales to present day. Some of the backgrounds are still a bit static for my tastes, but the colorful environments really do a great job of capturing the seedy underworld of Lost Wages. The audio is decent, with some familiar music tracks and a handful of good voice overs. Sadly the narrator and repeating jokes tend to wear thin after a while. Thankfully I could skip them with a quick click of my mouse button.
Leisure Suit Larry is a franchise that most have forgotten, and others never really cared about. I loved the idea of his return, and after playing it was certainly a nice trip down memory lane. That is about all it is though. Those that have never played the series will find little here, and people like me who have fond memories of the franchise will chuckle at the return, but likely run out of steam before it concludes. Still, the ride is certainly worth checking out if you recall the name Larry Laffer.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.
- Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77I Deluxe
- Liquid Cooling: Origin Frostbyte 120 Liquid Cooling
- Processor: Intel i7 3770K with Professional Origin PC Overclocking
- Memory: Corsair 8GB 1600 Mghz Vengeance
- Graphics Card: EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670