It’s been many moons since I’ve last played a Leisure Suit Larry game. I played the early titles a few times but I was too young and innocent to get that kind of humor. Today things are a bit different, I’ve come a long way and since lost my innocence. I remember ordering Leisure Suit Larry:Love For Sail on a website because I was not old enough to buy it in the stores. I had a blast with that game, especially with the Easter eggs.
Today I look at the new title that was highly anticipated by the LSL fan base, well until they heard Al Lowe wasn’t working on it. Since this title wasn’t touched by Al Lowe a lot of the fans of the previous games thought this game wouldn’t measure up and it doesn’t.
Gone are the point and click adventures. Gone is the pursuit of finding that one item that you need to merge with the toilet paper to create the ultimate spit wad. Gone is all the fun and enjoyment of the previous titles.
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude is insulting to the fans of the previous games. It is full of senseless vulgar and crappy models. It does have some comedic moments but there are times when it just doesn’t cut it. The graphics aren’t the greatest and since it’s a game based upon sex one would think the models would be a bit better looking. There is a small physics engine that is mainly used to make the boobs giggle and bounce, which still looks pitiful.
The game starts off with you in your dorm room at college. Your Uncle, the original Larry, guides you for a bit throughout the beginning and tells you what to do. As you familiarize yourself with the horrid controls you soon adapt to the game’s style. Your first mission is to talk to some country chick and get in her pants. The girl in question looks ugly as can be. Her body, along with a few others, just doesn’t seem proportioned properly. Not to mention they have extremely low poly counts as well as low-res textures so the character models really look dated.
Despite these shortcomings there are a few shining moments when we start loading up different parts of the game. During the load screen you are given a random girl to look at for the 10-15 seconds it takes for the new section to load. The girl is either a human or a really good computer drawn one. It’s a shame they don’t look like that in the game, it would have made things a little more interesting. Since I’m on the topic of loading there is a lot of it. Everything requires a load screen. I don’t know if they did this to show off the hotties or what, but it does get annoying. Some cut-scenes take a while to load and can be skipped, others are fairly painless and load rather quickly.
The audio in the game is not too bad. The voices are OK and they do have some emotion. The main character sounds like the one from LSL 7, don’t know if it’s the same actor but it is possible. The scripting isn’t too bad but it won’t win any awards. Music is pretty much non-existent or at least it didn’t shown up much during play. There is background audio from other characters talking to each other and some ambient noise.
When you find someone to interact with, usually female, you are dropped to a load screen that briefs you on your mission. Your mission isn’t to go and find a magical dildo or some other perverted toy. Your mission is to swim as a single sperm in a mini-game. Everything is just a mini-game, that’s what this version of LSL is based around. You collect green smiley faces for health. The red ones have a multitude of affects; such as making Larry say something stupid, lose health, get drunk, or burp/fart. Mainly they make you lose health but some just make you drink more. Other mini-games include playing Quarters, which you will see a lot of. It is quite possibly the most annoying aspect of this game. Quarters is a drinking game in which you bounce a quarter off the table into a glass. If you miss you drink, if you make it she drinks. If the controls weren’t so horribly screwed up this might be an easy task. After about 30 minutes you can get it down to a science, which makes the whole thing pointless. As you miss and drink more your aim becomes skewed making it more difficult to score.
When you become drunk nothing really happens, aside from it affecting your outcome in Quarters. You walk around stupidly and you see blurry lines that try to make it look like your vision is messed up, but it really isn’t. All you have to do is pee on the ground and that’s it. You can buy coffee or some other items to quickly relieve yourself, but why?
Speaking of items, the only items you need are things that are given to you by the girls or items you buy and rarely you will also find them. Some items are required, like clothing, others help you out, such as the Canadian quarter that helps you in the Quarters mini-game. I miss the old LSL style where you had to hunt for and combine items to reach your goal. You get money by going around clicking like a mad man and praying you find one of the billions of hidden spots or play a mini-game that allows you to make a quick buck. When you left click Larry farts, otherwise it’s the action button that uncovers secret areas or talks to people. It isn’t hard to just run around and click on everything to uncover the hidden money or tokens. In LSL 7: Love For Sail you had to find hidden dildos, those have been replaced with hidden tokens that aren’t half as much fun to find.
The areas you can explore vary as you play through the game. The more you play the more area becomes available to you. You start off in the dorm rooms with access to the main campus, which is extremely tiny. You then get access to the Greek Quad and then the city streets, all of which are very small spaces. Hitting ALT brings up your objectives. These tell you who to talk to and where to locate them. Unfortunately there is no map; at least I couldn’t find one. I had to wander around for quite a while before I found my destination.
Once you get far enough with a chick you bring her back to your room and either watch her strip to her underwear or have sex with her. The sex scenes are pretty graphic compared to the previous titles. The nudity that you do see is not very well done. The models show their true colors, no pun intended, and you can see how low-res the textures really are.
Aside from all of my complaints I have found myself playing this game a tad more than expected. Perhaps it’s because there really aren’t many games like this or perhaps it’s something that grabbed a hold of me without my knowledge and I just couldn’t leave the PC. It is kind of fun to go from one girl to the next and try to do your best to pick them up but the mini-games really kill the gameplay. The game is decent but is much room for improvement. It’s a shame to see a classic series not given the treatment it deserves to bring it to a new generation of gamers.