A classic Sierra Point & Click with a new look to it
Pretty cool, but more something for seasoned players
Leisure Suit Larry
in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded (2013) is not only a pretty long title, no, it’s also already the second remake of Sierra On-Line’s bestseller from 1987 (the first remake being from 1991). Through it all, this point & click adventure stays true to its roots in both a good and a bad way. The game is available in two versions, one without achievements and one with achievements. I played both.
About the Leisure Suit Larry Series
Normally, one could, right off the bat, dismiss games like Leisure Suit Larry as sexist crap, since the franchise is about Lawrence „Larry“ Laffer, a roughly 40 year old, small, somewhat chubby, and highly naïve wannabe playboy in a white polyester suit who tries to hit on women. Normally. Because against all expectations, these humorous games, developed by Al Lowe and produced by Roberta Williams, had a large female following and are telling the story of this seemingly pathetic guy who is actually an easily misunderstood bachelor looking for true love. He just doesn’t know where to find it and often ends up with the wrong crowd that tries to milk him for all he’s got.
The impact that Larry had on the gaming world quickly becomes evident when one realizes that there were not only six sequels to this game, but that the original Leisure Suit Larry from 1987 became a bestseller without Sierra having advertised it. And years after Sierra On-Line closed its doors, this remake then saw the light of day through the financial support fans gave Replay Games who went on to produce it.
Controls and Game Principle
Players should have pen and paper ready, because this game is old school. Back in the day, Sierra On-Line games required players to enter commands manually by clicking on an object with the mouse and then typing a fitting verb with the keyboard. Since computers at the time only had limited capabilities, this meant having to think just like the programmers to find the exact verb – sadly, games often did not accept synonyms. Luckily Larry: Reloaded makes use of a more modern control system. If players move the mouse icon to the top of the screen or keep the mouse button pressed, pictures with possible commands will appear. They just need to click on these icons and then on any object they want Larry to interact with and et voilà, he does as told.
Another one of Sierra’s staples used to be death traps. Players originally had to save every couple of minutes on different save slots; these games not only had death states but also had dead ends. Replay Games did a good job getting rid of these “pesky” traps, but players should still save often when in the casino so as to not run out of money while they try to improve Larry’s funds. And I was serious when I mentioned getting your pencils ready, players will have to call several phone numbers during their playthrough and need to know which numbers to call.
The character models and designs were strongly inspired by Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!, yet the quality of the drawings can’t quite reach the same standards as the animations from the franchise’s heyday. Nevertheless, the close-ups of the ladies are remarkably detailed. Just as remarkable is that the ladies’ racks have gotten a lot more stacked since the ‘80s while their clothes miraculously shrunk in size.
Voice Acting, Score, and Humor
The English voice acting in the game definitely hits the spot and sounds just like what fans remember from Leisure Suit Larry 6 & 7. The cynical humor is sure to make players smile more than once. Sadly, there are no dubs in other languages and subtitles are frequently rather imprecise.
Just as pleasant as the voice over is Austin Wintory’s soundtrack. It manages to lift the mood while not being too obvious about it. In stark contrast to that stands Melora Hardin’s “Tiers of Joy” that is being played during the cabaret scene. Hardin’s voice is breathtaking and immediately takes the spotlight. It’s too bad that players can’t hear more of her singing voice in the game.
Point Deduction or Grouching on a High Comfort Level
The game suffers from a couple of minor issues. After the major success that was the two Monkey Island Special Editions (2009 and 1010) Al Lowe and Replay Games wanted Larry to have a similar re-emergence in the spotlight. All of these point & click remakes are amazing and the love that everyone has for them just oozes out of every crevice, but there are a few things that were better in Monkey: first and foremost they both had a built-in help / tip feature which Larry doesn’t have.
A problem with the first three Larry games is that the story isn’t explained properly, often leaving players clueless about what they are supposed to do next or what their current objective is. This very faithful remake regrettably sticks to this formula and newcomers are likely to get easily stuck on some puzzle. Preservation and passion for detail is key in every remake, but I wish this sadly would have been improved upon with a hint system.
But what’s hard to top in this game is the taxis driver that brings Larry from location to location. Each ride costs money which can only be earned by playing at the gambling machines. Here the remake stays again very true to its source material. Sadly, though in the 1980s it was okay to have this kind of mechanic in games, nowadays everyone recognizes that these segments are supposed to pad out the game. Instead of the casino, another, additional character could’ve been included to lengthen the experience. Aside from these two instances, I had a lot of fun playing the game.
Two actual problems
If, for some reason, Larry should have more than $9999 at any point, the game will think that he is broke and will be unable to gain any money (as it would just be added on top of the $9999). This can’t be fixed and players will have to start a new game. And finally, for those players that play the version with achievements to it, the “Yankmaster” achievement, awarded for hitting the jackpot on any slot machine is a pain. While watching videos on YouTube, I clicked every two seconds on the handle and it took roughly 20 minutes before the achievement appeared.
No matter if you love point & click adventures or are interested in the history of video games, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded definitely has something to look forward to. In my first playthrough it took about a week to finish the game (occasionally looking at the internet for help, yeah, I know.) During the second playthroughsome time after (and this time with the version that had achievements), I roughly knew what to do and where to go, so I was able to finish the game in around two hours – plus another three to get all of the achievements. Even though this version appears a little less women friendly than the original, I still maintain that the remake has a lot of positive attributes to it and hope that maybe someday Leisure Suit Larry 5 & 6 will be remade. Nevertheless, even if you should not like Larry, it is nonetheless interesting to have a game without handholding and where you have to try and find your way.
The game is an 8 bad pick up lines out of 10
Thank you, Mr. Lowe
While I did pay full price for the retail version, which had no achievements, myself, Al Lowe later on was so generous and send me a Steam product key in order for me to write a review on Steam. Thank you very much for the generosity and kindness, Mr. Lowe. With all that said, I’ll leave you with probably the best pun in this remake:
Where to get
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded is purchaseable at a retailer near you, purchaseable on amazon, as well as available as digital download on various online platforms like Steam, Good Old Games, iTunes, or the Google Play Store for $19.99 USD or your local equivalent.
Feel free to visit my Steam curator page for other reviews:
All screenshots taken by me during my playthrough and recorded using the Steam Overlay feature.