"Leisure Suits are Back in Style"
After securing over $650,000 on Kickstarter for the project, Replay Games has finally released Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, a modern retelling of the Sierra On-Line adventure classic.
An iconic figure from adventure gaming's heyday, Larry Laffer was the character that introduced many gamers to the notion that video games didn't have to be just for kids, and over the course of six titles, the Leisure Suit Larry series established a reputation for puerile humor and risque themes.
All of that sounds terribly quaint now. Adult games are an established market, and adventure games have become an endangered species. So how does Larry hold up in the new millenium?
The graphics are the most obvious improvement from the EGA/VGA days. As an adventure title, Reloaded is never going to have the bells and whistles of Crysis, but that's the whole point. The cartoonish art style fits perfectly with the tone and scope of Reloaded, and it should be instantly familiar to fans of the original series. The same can be said for the sound. Reloaded doesn't have lasers, roaring jets, explosions or other special effects to amaze players - it has puzzles, music, and dialogue. But they work. The musical score is a light, jazzy affair, composed by Grammy-nominee Austin Wintory, and currently available on for download on Amazon. And the omniscient narrator clearly takes pleasure in his work, his snarky voiceover is as good as anything in the series. In fact, the audio-visual upgrades are so true to the series while remaining a substantial leap forward from the original, that it's easy to forget that Reloaded is a reboot, not a sequel.
Mobile gamers might notice that something seems to be missing. That's because the vocal tracks have been removed from the audio. No narration, no dialogue. I'm not sure how that will affect gameplay, but it's something to be aware of. In an interview with Digital Trends, Paul Trowe, founder and president of Replay Games, explained that the decision was made based on cost and the size of the app.
The interface and gameplay are virtually unchanged from the original series. Like the originals, Reloaded has those age-verification questions, now updated for the next generation. That dedication to the original series is typical of Reloaded, which follows the roadmap from the original Sierra point-and-click games perfectly. Just like all those classics, Reloaded seems to enjoy inflicting random death on the player without explanation. It's done in good fun, and the quick load times ensure that they never get annoying.
The puzzles have been updated too. If you can remember the original game, don't bother trying the old solutions, because they don't work any more. Additionally, the game has been expanded, with content added in subtly to boost the depth and scope. Those additions for the most part seem so natural, you could swear they were in the original game too.
The biggest problem with Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is also its central premise - will anyone still appreciate an aging pervert that hasn't kept up with a world after 30 years of progress? For some people, the borderline misogyny and lowbrow bathroom humor will probably be more offensive than amusing, and that's unfortunate. Even the creators of the game seem to recongize that Larry Laffer isn't a beloved hero, but a lovable buffoon. If you don't admire him, relax. You're not supposed to.
The game is available for download at Steam for 20 bucks. Even an aging lounge lizard can scrape that together. If you remember the originals or appreciate a classic point-and-click adventure title, then Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded doesn't disappoint.
GameDynamo's Score for Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded (PC)
A freelance writer, gaming fanatic, and technology enthusiast, Len lives in Long Beach, California with his dog.
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