Reviewed: November 16, 2004
Released: October 13, 2004
Lock up your daughters! Larry rides (ahem) again! Yes ladies and gentlemen, for those of you old enough to remember actual floppy disks, that esteemed lounge lizard has returned, or at least his nephew has.
In Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude you handle the young college aged Larry Lovage as he stumbles haphazardly through sorority houses, bars, the library and other fun locations all in pursuit of a… well euphemisms fail me.
You’re trying to get Larry on a singles show that will be filming at his college, and hopefully in the process get his pipes cleaned once or twice. To do this you will need every trick in your vast arsenal: games of quarters, trampoline bouncing, drink serving, and one smooth line of dialogue. Arrayed against you: the Assistant Dean, Russell, small stature, and beer. Can you conquer the hearts and pants of the women of Walnut Log Community College?
The biggest aspect of gameplay is keeping a conversation going. In most games this usually means selecting the right branch in the dialogue tree and then the next, and the next. Not so with Larry. Here you have a little sperm and a big heart. Basically this means that the sperm swims along and you guide it to the good answers, which fills up the heart meter. If you reach the end of the run with your meter green you won and can proceed, otherwise you have to try again. Also if you want some really interesting conversations you have to tread the line a little and pick some of the more… creative answers. You can tell the difference between good and bad answers because the good ones are green and everything else is red. The creative ones are usually shaped differently, like a tombstone, or a hot dog, or a dildo.
Aside from this very unique conversation interface the rest of the game is pretty familiar. Quarters works like any golf game, pull back and push forward. Tapper will only be familiar to those of us old timers who have a liking for root beer and otherwise you run around or play Simon.
The point to all this is to get a little “token of affection” (there is a reason for those quotes) from girls so you can prove that you’re hip, suave, and just plain sexy enough to be on Swingles, the hot new dating show that might actually get you laid. Get enough tokens and that unlocks the next set of willing little ladies, until you secure yourself a spot in cable television history.
Of course there are a few skunks in the works. The first is that some ladies won’t talk to you if you’re not dressed right. Clothes do make the man-wich, and the right clothes of course cost money. The good news is that there’s money lying all over campus. The bad news is it’s not near enough. If you want to make ends meet you’ll have to wager some money, take some pictures, and work a few odd jobs to get things done. This does get a little old near the end when you have to have all the accessories for all of your outfits, but if you’re a good little shutter bug that will take care of the repetitive drink mixing or flyer passing.
Also, for those of us out there who aren’t that coordinated, there are also hidden throughout the game secret tokens, which can be spent to get a free pass out of a particular game you’re having trouble with. While there are a lot of these hidden, you can earn more by getting through games and conversations perfectly, and if you’re really good you can spend these tokens to unlock dirtier (yes I know it would seem impossible but they do do it) versions of some games, concept art, character viewers, and “naughty” mode.
This all comes down to a simple interface that doesn’t take much to figure out, but can be ratcheted up pretty easily. Not only that, but it’s just fun, not only because of the atmosphere and dialogue, but also because it’s simple and easily accessible. I will say that a game pad will give you an easier time of some things, but the mouse actually works pretty well (I am the quarters master!).
Here there’s nothing too special, though everything is pretty easy on the eyes. The character models are all pretty good (too good in Sweet Lou’s case, *shudder*), and animation has just the right amount of “bounce” to it, if you know what I mean.
Overall the game looks very much on the Saturday morning cartoon side of things, but really would you want it to be more realistic when you’re living in a world where monkey’s masturbate 24/7 (don’t ask), sorority house presidents are bent on world domination, and the only guy on campus who gets more action than you wears flannel red underwear all day and an empty soup can on his head. While this does take a little getting used to, after a few conversations it seems pretty apt.
Effects are generally fairly low key; there aren’t a whole lot of bangs and whistles here. You get some good water streams, and the version of Pong that you play is true to the original, despite the little addition that they made. Oh yeah, and the brain transfer sequence is awesome. Also, getting drunk is good for a laugh or two as Larry stumbles about and the screen is rather out of focus. All you need is a nice “beer goggles” effect to make all the ugly girls pretty. Otherwise be happy with the bouncing boobies.
Speaking of bouncing, the animation is pretty good. Larry struts about when he’s confident, and mopes when he’s depressed. In fact all of the people behave in an over the top, but still naturally moving manner that fits in well with the feel of the game. You’d think this would be a good thing, but see if you think the same after meeting Helmut and his “little friend”.
Here’s where this game really shines. There are about 9,000 lines of spoken dialogue to this game, and fortunately they spent the money to get voice actors who can actually act rather than my dink of a brother and his two dorky friends. The only problem is that the interface makes the blending of line to line a little awkward sometimes. There are occasions where it sounds like there are two separate sound tracks that are being mixed rather than the usual line of smack running ceaselessly from Larry’s mouth, but nothing is really perfect.
The music is a little light, but completely appropriate. When the intro movie goes out on “Girls! Girls! Girls!” you know this is going to be a fun game. Not only do Nikki Six and the rest of the Crüe get a little representation, you have a little Right Said Fred, and 2 Live Crew. Aside from the licensed tunes the music fits right into the game, capturing that campy feel without too much cheese.
Effects are good too, especially the slapping and or spanking noises – yes you know why. You also have a camera that sounds pretty authentic as well as various monkey, sexual, or otherwise dirty noises, which are dead on.
Well beating the game took around 20-30 hours, mostly because I had to earn money the hard way. However there are three different endings so there’s good replay value, and dozens of mini-games to keep you busy long after you’ve bed your chosen sweetie. Also, I’m convinced that there’s some hidden things to unlock after you beat the game, but that’s pure speculation from a drooling fan-boy. It may be a little light as far as the story goes, but there’s plenty to keep you busy, and enough entertainment value to keep you coming back.
For those of you who are deriding this game as nothing but sexual objectification of women and toilet humor I have this to say: Duh! What were you guys expecting but some “lowbrow” humor and boobies? That’s what it bills itself as.
This is a fun little ride of a game, with some definite adult content, but let’s be honest, there are only about four places where it actually crosses the line into an “R” rating. Otherwise it’s basically a teen-sploitation film, as the saying goes. Relax, pick up that bong, and enjoy the ride.