Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Review

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Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Publisher: Funsta (Codemasters)
Developer: Team 17

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
Reviewed on Xbox 360

Larry heads to Tinseltown to discover the employee trying to undermine the tasteless film studio that Larry's uncle runs. To do so, he'll jump around the studio, fall to his death hundreds of time, race the occasional kart and shout lewd comments at everyone and everything.

Kyle Ackerman

When Leisure Suit Larry first erupted onto the gaming scene, he was a lovable scuzzball performing the titular role in a PC adventure game. Larry, behind the times in his leisure suit and completely out of touch with the limits of polite behavior, ventured forth in attempt to get lucky that spanned several games. Certainly, it was often in bad taste, but Leisure Suit Larry was funny. And most of the humor rose out of Larry's pathetic attempts to get laid, and his appallingly spectacular failures.

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office BustIn 2004, Larry sprang back onto the scene, visiting the PC and consoles in Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. This time, it was the original Larry's nephew staring in a collegiate adventure. Fans of the original games were horrified at the cheapened, console plotline, the extensive (if cartoonish) gratuitous nudity and the fact that, in the end, Larry scored. But taken apart from its adventure game heritage, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude was a passable game that tried to be the interactive version of an 80's college romp with lots of topless women and little other entertainment or play value, right down to the masturbation mini-game.

Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude may have been bad, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust plumbs new depths of awful. Despite the stellar voice acting cast, it's hard to find even a licensed movie-based game with worse play and better voice actors. Box Office Bust feels like a crappy platformer in the early stages of development that was repurposed and barely finished. In early 2008, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust was still on Vivendi Games' slate, but was clearly a victim of the merger that produced Activision Blizzard. If the finished product is any indication, this game was a sensible cut. And it's no surprise that Codemasters published the game under its Funsta label to keep the stink as far from its logo as possible.

Try to Wall Jump. Just Try. I Dare You.

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is just a platformer. You take Larry and have him jump around, bounce off walls and hang from ledges in an effort to collect statuettes or make it from one point to another. But it is so incredibly unpolished that it feels like an alpha demo. If this game has ever been in contact with quality assurance testers, the programmers' response to every bug report must have been, "Screw that – no one will play this game anyway."

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office BustThe game's bugs are a laundry list of everything that could go wrong with a game. There are collision detection problems; the characters rarely line up with the platforming elements; shadows appear erratically; textures blink in and out of existence; mysterious lighting glitches are constant; the controls are unusable; and the camera sucks. Let me say that again – the camera sucks. Sure, you hear that the camera sucks in plenty of games, but the Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is the proto-ooze out of which those other cameras crawled.

The camera is the only thing that makes Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust take any time at all. The camera switches angle at every critical moment, making every platforming effort a sequence of gotcha moments. Better yet, long missions often end with what should be a simple platforming sequence made fatal by the camera. Then I got to replay the whole damn section. I think I finished the game solely to be able to say with confidence in this review that nothing redeems Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.

An Open World, Filled With Crap

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office BustI say that Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is a platformer, but it's trying to be an open-world game in the style of Grand Theft Auto and other games. Unfortunately, the only elements this game shares with GTA are immature humor and horrendous indoor camera angles. You can drive carts around a movie studio, run a few checkpoint kart races, and theoretically should be able to choose from a number of missions. Of course, the game is extremely linear, so this is really a device to keep Larry running from place to place for little reason.

Adding insult to platforming injury, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust also has stealth missions (in one you actually have to dodge fart clouds) and fighting sequences. The fighting sequences remain an incredibly painful irritation until the point when they are timed, at which point anyone not reviewing this game would long have broken the disc into dozens of pieces.

Larry Should be Euthanized

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office BustAs a game, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is horrendous, and it doesn't even live up to Leisure Suit Larry standards. If the dialog, humor and story captured the essence of Leisure Suit Larry, a few people would labor through the terrible game to have a few laughs, but Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust makes Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude look like a masterpiece. There are no humorous situations, and Larry scores with bimbos all the time (off-camera) after irritating dialog trees that are too linear to even be called trees.

The humor seems like it was written by hyperactive middle-schoolers with a list of dirty vocabulary words, and the sexual innuendo can most generously be described as a series of single entendres. In a vague effort to be erotic, the women in the game have the disturbing proportion of Bratz dolls and all the sex appeal of tree stumps.

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust isn't just a betrayal of the Leisure Suit Larry brand, it's a betrayal of gaming in general. When I say that nothing redeems Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, that's not quite true. The sound isn't awful, and the horrendous dialog is read by some big-name actors. That's like saying, "The game wasn't all bad... the case it came in could hold a different disc."

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on June 2, 2009 4:18 PM.

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