Review: Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust

Logan Westbrook | 6 Aug 2009 21:00
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The only consistent thing about the camera is that when it does manage to fix into place, it is invariably in the least helpful place you can think of. This often means that you'll go hurtling into the abyss because you couldn't tell if there was ground under your feet or because the next ledge you need to jump to was almost completely off screen. It doesn't help that the game's checkpoints are spaced a little too far apart, so should you fail an objective, and the sub-par design makes that almost guaranteed, giving it another go will usually involve having to repeat the task before it as well.

However, it's the writing that really damns this game. Box Office Bust aims for the same kind of tongue-in-cheek, fourth-wall breaking humor that made games like Monkey Island and the previous Leisure Suit Larry's so popular, but fails to capture any of their wit or charm. Sometimes Larry will mock gameplay element as boring, repetitive or derivative, which is all very post modern, but it falls flat and it only draws further attention to the game's many failings.

The writers have more ambition than talent and the dialogue is the worst kind of juvenile, sex-obsessed garbage you could imagine. Subtlety is set aside for a flagrant mix of sexism, misogyny, causal racism and flaccid, dated, satire. Box Office Bust does an excellent job of making every character repulsive, including Larry, who I think you're supposed to like, although why you would escapes me. It's telling that the developers are so desperate to get laughs that they make jokes about the Holocaust, which is about as low-brow as you can get. I can't believe they actually found any voice actors willing to say this stuff, let alone people that you've actually heard of.

Recommendation: What can you say about a game so bad that series creator Al Lowe actually thanked the developers for not involving him? There's absolutely no reason to play this game. At all. It fails at everything that it sets out to achieve; it's not funny, it's not fun and it's not even titillating. If you thought that Magna Cum Laude was the death of the Leisure Suit Larry series, think again, because Box Office Bust makes it look like a masterpiece.

Bottom Line: Avoid this like the plague. Even if you see it in the bargain bin, save yourself the dollar and buy some candy, you'll get much more enjoyment out of it.

Logan Westbrook is old enough to remember when Leisure Suit Larry was funny.

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