Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (Xbox 360) Review
Posted by Trace Aber on 05.02.2009
Want to be bored to tears for only $20? Then do I have the game for you...
Title: Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust
Developer: Team 17
Rated: M for Mature
Also available on: PlayStation 3, Windows
Leisure Suit Larry is the namesake character of a series of adventure games which puts you in the exciting world of being a 40 year old, balding dork trying to seduce women. Published by Sierra, the series was one of the most popular in their catalog in the mid-1980s and also held the title for being the only series to have significant sexual themes. Since the first game, published in 1987, there have been eight main games, a mobile phone game, a casino simulator, a utilities pack, and five collections. Quite impressive for the middle-aged bachelor, but the original creator of the series, Al Lowe, has dropped out of production for the game and hasn’t worked on the previous two games, which also happen to be the two least popular games. Despite not having Lowe, Codemasters has decided to release the latest entry in the series – Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust.
In Box Office Bust, you play the role of Larry Lovage as he undertakes a summer job at his uncle’s movie studio, with his uncle being the original main character of the series, Larry Laffer. Terrible names aside, your uncle has put you to the task of trying to figure out the mole from the rival movie studio and uncover them before they can reveal all of the studio’s secrets to the tabloids. Ok, so the story isn’t the most original in the world, but it was written by Allen Covert of Grandma’s Boy fame, and features an impressive list of “I know these guys but they’re not all that popular anymore” celebrities for voice talent including Jay Mohr, Patrick Warburton, Shannon Elizabeth, Carmen Electra, Artie Lange, and Dave Attel.
So, you might be thinking, “gee, this doesn’t so all that bad. In fact, it might be fun.” Well, you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. Box Office Bust is, for whatever reason, an open-ended sandbox game that features a wide variety of quests, all seemingly made by a first year programmer…who’s blind…and never played a video game in his life. The game features a lot of fetch quests and absolutely none of them are fun. The first problem is the game’s mini-map is just terrible. The majority of the game takes place in the movie lot and it’s nearly impossible to figure out where you’re going – the first mission took me nearly ten minutes simply because I had no idea where to go. One of the first missions require you to, “go to the Hacienda-looking house. You’d have to be a dumbass to miss it.” It was on this day that I learned I was a dumbass.
I'm just going to ignore that rather dubious stain next to him.
You’ll also be tasked with platforming sequences that are nearly impossible due to the game’s terrible camera angles. Most of the time when you die it’s to no fault of your own and instead because you’re throwing up from the constantly revolving camera that changes nearly every step. There’s also hand to hand fighting, though I’ve seen better mechanics in a text game before. Nothing connects and the moves are all generic and bland when you do manage to make contact. There are also a couple of stealth missions along with a shooting gallery, which is simply absurd to use weapons in this game. As you can imagine, these also handle horribly.
The environments actually are done relatively well as they look crisp and sharp with little complaints. They won’t be setting any new standards, obviously, but for those who enjoy the cartoon-look will enjoy what they get here.
The character models are what deter the graphics from being passable. They look like some sort of creature created by a demonic-child who has been forced to watch low-budget horror movies about the occult then hours of Care Bears before being told to draw a bunch of horny, unfunny people who most likely carry an odor.
And that’s the best part about the game.
Despite the missions being poorly (and that is a gross understatement) made, the worst part comes when Larry Lovage constantly comments on how ridiculous the tasks your are doing are. And it’s not even an ironic funny, it’s more of a, “Yeah, he’s right. This is a waste of time and a terrible game.” It’s an extremely defeating experience and you will soon after be questioning why you ever loved video games in the first place.
This picture has entertained me more than the entire game could ever hope to.
The dialogue in the game is performed well, especially considering the quality of the rest of the game. The dialogue itself, however, becomes extremely repetitive and, despite their feeble attempt at humor, ultimately fails at one of the main selling points of the game. Almost every line has some sort of reference to the human anatomy and there’s guaranteed to be at least one curse word per sentence. I used to think Seth Rogen films had a lot of cursing but this is ri-god-damn-diculous.
I couldn’t even find an initial appeal in this game, much less one that actually lasts. This is the only sandbox game I have played in which roaming around and exploring wasn’t fun. You can drive around in golf-carts, sure, but they handle like a rusty wheelchair and there are no such thing as realistic or even semi-logical physics to be found in the game. And, by the way, you’ll be running around. A LOT.
After playing this game for twenty minutes I was literally bored to tears and I’m not kidding in the slightest. In fact, I believe this is the first time in my entire life that has ever happened. But it should also be noted that this is the first time I have ever played Box Office Bust.
I remember playing some of the early Leisure Suit Larry games and having a relatively fun time. They were fresh, funny, and unique. Now, in a world where raunchy video games are pretty much the standard, the series doesn’t stand out in the slightest. Despite being pretty simple games, they were still fun and presented a challenge, but this one just spits in your face and laughs at your dead grandmother. I have played a lot of bad games in my day, and generally find something amusing or fun about them, and sometimes just being a bad game is enough. What separates fun bad games and this game is that, at the very least, the other games tried to, you know, be fun. It’s obvious that Team 17 and Codemasters put little to no effort in this game and seem to be content with disgracing the legacy of the series (whatever that legacy may be). Al Lowe, the original creator of the series as mentioned earlier, has even said the game is terrible and is glad he had nothing to do with the budget title. Oh, yeah, they’re selling this game for $20, but even that is a complete rip-off and a slap in the face to any fans of the series.
In short, this game is garbage.
The environments are nice, but the character models cancel out any positive emotions the environments may have brought along.
Some of the worst platforming, shooting, fighting, and stealth missions in the history of gaming. I guess, in some way, that is an achievement.
The dialogue is decent, even if the content is pretty shallow and in the end meaningless.
There is no lasting appeal here. Just a terrible, painful experience.
Did I mention I was bored to tears playing this game?