|Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust|
|Developer: Team 17
Release Date: Out Now
Players: Just one, thankfully
The Leisure Suit Larry series has often been a guilty pleasure for even discerning gamers, a cheeky, irreverent and bawdy effort at making misogynistic behaviour and sexist jokes funny. It may have succeeded once or twice but we still shiver at memories of the last outing we played (Magna Cum Laude on PS2).
The story behind Box Office Bust sees the new Larry (that’s Larry Loveage) taking a summer job working on his uncle Larry Laffer’s movie studio lot, doing odd jobs whilst slavering after anything female and trying to uncover the mole from another studio who threatens to uncover Laffer Studio’s secrets and sell them to the tabloids. Box Office Bust has turned its back on the Larry franchise’s traditional ‘point & click’ roots and instead plumped for a third person sandbox game. Think: Banjo Kazooie as coded by a bunch of dorky undersexed teenagers and you’ll have the idea. When it’s all opened up to you the Laffer Studios lot is huge, with Wild West, Horror Movie and Bytanic sets. The sandbox gameplay includes exploration, platforming, racing, stealth, shooting, fighting, QTEs (quick time events) and puzzle-solving to complete missions. It could have been great fun if it weren’t for the fact that every single aspect of the game feels thrown-together and untested, from its looks to the way it plays.
Written by Allen Covert (I'm reliably informed that he writes for Saturday Night Live) you have rightly expected some belly laughs, but all you get is the odd chuckle, and as these are broken up by gameplay so inane or frustrating, you’ll be cussing at the screen and wanting to throw your joypad through it. Because of the general awfulness of the game any good humour tends to get lost along the way, and I found myself skipping cut scenes after a while.
It could be said that the entire game is one big platform section, and even the ‘platform specific’ sections are mostly simplistic double-jump and grab ledge to shimmy along Tomb Raider-lite sort of stuff, but there are a couple of points in the game that seem so vague (due in no small part to the crap camera and the poorly-implemented mini map) that I gave up and went looking for help online. Thankfully some poor soul had experienced the same frustrations and put some videos on YouTube, or I’d never have finished the game. The only real fun I had in the game was ironically one of those tiresome "collect ‘em all" tasks to find golden Larry statues dotted around the place – a bit like GTA’s secret packages, pigeons or seagulls. The fact that this task was the most interesting part of the game says a lot, and the only other bit of gameplay that I’d like to have had a second go at – the shuffleboard game on the Bytanic level – could not be revisited without playing the entire damned game through again! I mean, who tests these games? Anyone?
We don’t hand out low review scores here at Gamecell lightly and we pride ourselves on being experienced and reasonable reviewers, and try to see the good in even the worst games, and heaven knows a Larry game set in an open world should be right up our street... But sadly Box Office Bust has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and even the rare glimpses of humour or originality are ruined the game’s remarkable bad camera, awful, unresponsive controls, boring, repetitive missions, hideous character models, and juvenile, almost tragically unfunny dialogue. LSL: BOB (I can’t be arsed to type the full title yet again) is bad, so bad in fact that I dare you to try it if you see it cheap or on rental – why? – Because if nothing else it’ll give you a benchmark to make you appreciate how good, and how much fun most other games you’ll play are.
- I didn’t pay for it
- I never have to play it again
- Horse Riding in the Western movie
- I may have nightmares about it
- Terrible camera
- "Humour" that isn't funny
- Poor frame rate
- Horizontal sheeeeeeeearing
- Annoying checkpoints
- Mind-numbing missions, races & fighting sections
- Somebody tested it and said “yep, that’s okay”