Publisher: Vivendi Universal Games
Developer: High Voltage
N Amer - 10/12/2004
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude Review
There are certain games that just stick out in your mind for various reasons. I distinctly remember the first time I played Doom due to the scares and violence, I remember Manhunt due to the unbelievable violence content, and I remember a little game called Leisure Suit Larry from back in the 90’s due to the fact that it was the first game I had played where the object was to simply have sex. Graphically, games weren’t anywhere near what they are now obviously, but LSL was fun trying to solve little puzzles like turning on a TV to get a bouncer out of the way so you could sneak up to a prostitute’s room and stuff like that. Well, LSL is back for the PC, and it provides an entertaining (if not somewhat juvenile) romp through the college life of the original Leisure Suit Larry’s cousin, Larry Lovage.
LSL : Magna Cum Laude is set up as a third person seek and find kind of game, so you navigate Larry through a variety of college settings like dorm rooms and campus buildings, courtyards, and into downtown areas for one sole purpose … to obtain items from young ladies (and try to sleep with them in the process) to prove that you were with them so you can get on a game show to have more sex with women. Along the way, you will engage in dialogue with them, find items for them, and then take the ultimate tests to try and achieve your desire to hop in the sack.
These tests of skill that you perform pretty much consist of a few different things that get harder as they go. When you first begin talking to ladies on campus, you get a bar at the bottom of the screen where you navigate a smiling sperm through a variety of different sayings which can either be positive or a little more devious to try and build up an interest meter. For example, hitting green smileys can get a decent conversation going, but then hitting a red “phallic symbol” will cause him to say something about what he wants to do to them or may cause him to become fixated on their breasts which can lower the interest meter. If you win by getting the interest up where it needs to be (in this or any of the games), your confidence goes up, and you get to keep the conversation going. You can also earn tokens to buy things like nude pics of certain girls or coffee to help alleviate some drunkenness, which I’ll explain …
Usually, after getting the girl interested in talking with you, it’s time for Larry to try and get them drunk so that he can try to take advantage of their altered state by playing a game of quarters. You use the mouse to wind up and bounce the quarter on the table, and both you and your “prey” have only a certain amount of drinks before you are drunk. If Larry gets her drunk first, he gets to then try to talk her into going back to his or her room (swimming sperm game again) to do the deed. If she wins, Larry winds up drunk (where you can either purchase coffee or just go pee in a corner somewhere to alleviate it), loses confidence, and then you get to try it again. There are other games to play here and there, like hitting arrow keys in certain patterns laid out by the computer to line dance, jump on a trampoline (with a full figured woman to get a look at her assets while she bounces up and down), or get items to help your chances with a young lady, but the speech and quarters games are standard with pretty much all of them.
Honestly, the game is entertaining largely due to the conversations that go on and things that are said, like Larry pretending to be a country music promoter or some big shot to try and impress someone, but the problem is that while most of the funny scenes are going on (like during conversations when you are intentionally messing him up which really will get you laughing out loud quite a few times), you have to look at the conversation bar rather than at what he and she are doing on screen. There is apparently some funny visuals in a lot of it too, but I missed quite a bit of those.
The biggest issue with the game to be perfectly honest is the fact that it is just plain repetitive. The humor value goes a pretty good way and it will keep you going to a certain point, but after a while talking and playing quarters over and over again to try and hop in the sack with a potential victim gets dull. After going for the first 20 minutes or so, most gamers I know (me included) will lose interest and look to play something else. It is very funny to see some of his misadventures along the way, but ultimately entertainment value always tends to win out over nude bodies, as we have seen in the past with games like “The Guy Game” or “XXX BMX”.
Graphically, LSL has obviously come a long way from where it was back when I first played it. The characters are cartoony looking and the nudity really is, well … nicely done (with a censored bar over the more racy body parts). All the right places jiggle and move when girls are doing their thing, and the environments have a cluttered college campus look to them. There are also some funny visuals tossed into the environment as well, like signs for a sperm donor business or two female roommates having sign up sheets on their door … one for tutoring and the other for sex. (You’d figure Larry would just sign up and be done with it, but that probably wouldn’t give you much to play, right?)
The biggest factor that really won out in LSL is the sound. The voices were great, and the conversations at times literally will have you busting out in laughter. Haring the dialogue that goes on between Larry and his potential ladies or other little conflicts that he gets into really is a hoot, and while loaded with innuendos and cursing, it at least does a good job of keeping you knowing what is going on since you probably will miss a lot on screen.
Overall, this is one of those games that is simply a way to toss a lot of T & A and sex in the face of the player while forgetting that most adult gamers (obviously who it caters to) also care about getting a solid game to play. One of the things that made the original so much fun was the fact that there was a lot more to do to get Larry where he needed to go, and a lot more to keep players entertained, but this time around it just felt like the developers simply focused on tossing boobs out on the screen versus having to make you really work for it since you just do the same primary things over and over and over again. Don’t get me wrong … it is a very funny game, but probably won’t be worth the money for most of you gamers out there. If you have to look at nude forms on your PC, go to one of the 50,000,000 free websites and save your hard earned money for something else.
Review Scoring Details for Leisure Suit Larry : Magna Cum Laude
Most of the game revolves around Larry looking for love … er, well sex. Each encounter has you talking to them and then trying to get them drunk, and while there are some other games to play and get into which consist of timed button pressing, the overall gameplay remains the same throughout.
The game looks pretty good overall, and the designers did a good job in portraying the environments and making the females that Larry runs into very “well endowed”, including movement in all the right places.
In my personal opinion, this is really what saved the game from completely bottoming out for me. The conversations are very well done, and there are thousands of them programmed in while Larry is trying to woo that special someone, most of which will have you cracking up.
While the games get increasingly more difficult, they are pretty much the same over and over again so you get the hang of it quickly and it’s all about timing. The repetitiveness of the game also will help to move you along pretty quickly.
Again, I thought there was a LOT of things that could have been done here to really make this game offensive, funny, racy and enjoyable, but it seems like somewhere along the way the developers simply focused on the sex part versus the gameplay.
One thing that can definitely be said here is that the game is funny, and it will provide some good laughs along the way while you are playing it. In reality, most of the adult gamers that I have talked to will find it to be repetitive and one sided most of the way through. If you are going to buy it I recommend caution, even with the low price tag.
Earn your BA in T and A.
Reviewer: Tha Wiz
Review Date: 11/09/2004