From out of the ashes rises an old-school point-and-click adventure game, filled to the brim with dirty, sophomoric jokes and a quest for love. That's right, the original Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards has been resurrected as Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, mainly thanks to the efforts of creator Al Lowe and his supporters on Kickstarter. Does this remake tread new ground? Or should we avoid becoming a victim of Lost Wages and leave this horndog to his own pursuits?
If you've never played the Leisure Suit Larry adventure games, then you're in for -- a treat, I guess? The games star Larry Laffer, a short, cartoony loser who's looking for love. In Reloaded, he makes his way to the casino town of Lost Wages (gee, guess what city this is parodying), in order to try his luck at scoring big with the loosest slots in town. If that sounded like a bad pun, that's because it was. And this game is filled to the brim with innuendos and double-entendres. So if you're in any way offended by such potty talk and crude humor, then you better do an about-face and march away.
For those of you willing to make the trek into this mire of dirty jokes and crass humor, there's plenty to see and hear. Unlike the original DOS version of the game, Reloaded is fully-voiced and features a lot of narration. Just about anything you can interact with will have some kind of dialogue tied to it, infused with some level of humor. The jokes come in visual form too, as a number of signs and features in the background display some rather off-color jokes. But hey, it's all in good fun, right?
If you've played the original, you'll notice that the controls have received the point-and-click treatment, so you no longer have to type out your actions. Hovering your cursor at the top of the screen brings up a menu of actions that Larry can perform. You can make the little guy look at, touch, speak to, walk over to and smell/taste just about anything in the environment. Larry can also unzip his pants and present his wedding tackle, but this accomplishes little more than shocked reactions from non-player characters, as well as some admonishing remarks from the narrator.
You'll use these controls to navigate the town of Lost Wages and help Larry with his quest to find a lucky lady. You'll talk to NPCs, take a taxi to different locations, collect and combine items and then use your wits to woo the members of the opposite sex. There's not much in the way of actual gameplay since all you're doing is clicking and pointing around the screen in order to further the story, so it's more like you're playing an interactive cartoon. And a dirty one, at that.
At the very least, the remake of Leisure Suit Larry looks good. It almost has the quality of a very warped Don Bluth film, if he had suddenly gone mad and was infused with the sense of humor and hormones of a 15-year-old boy who was doomed to a future of arrested development and fart jokes. Still, considering the source material, the gorgeous hand-drawn visuals are a huge upgrade. And, when you think about the setting of the game in the '80s, Leisure Suit Larry stays true to the style of the times.
Unfortunately, Leisure Suit Larry stays a little bit too close to its roots and employs dated adventure mechanics which does little else to revamp the original game's presentation other than with enhanced graphics and voice-overs. What was particularly annoying was the fact that you need money to do just about anything in Lost Wages, and the only way to gain more money is to play the unforgiving games in the casino.
Whether your game is Blackjack or slots, you'll find that the only way to stay ahead is to bet big, save your game and then hope that you win. Should you come out on top, you'll have to repeat the process until you can score enough cash to function in the game. If not for this little trick, you'd spend hours trying to build up a sufficient amount of winnings.
There's a lot to see in Lost Wages, but whether or not they're worth checking out is dependent on how you view dirty jokes that might elicit a chuckle or two. A lot of the humor in Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded will make you groan, but there's an off chance that you might get a genuine guffaw going at one point. If all you're looking to do is click on various objects to hear the snooty narrator say something halfway between slightly amusing and funny, then Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded will be worth every penny for you.
If you were hoping for a truly revamped version of the original game complete with new mechanics and a new way to play as your favorite, pint-sized loser, then you'd best keep on trucking. Reloaded does absolutely nothing new except put a flashy new veneer on an old game. Should you pony up the cash just to see a classic with a paint job? Probably not. Unless you're a die-hard fan of Larry Laffer and his exploits, then you're better off not reloading this remake at all.
This review is based on a digital copy of Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded for PC that was purchased for review.