Leisure Suit Larry - Box Office BustWritten by Joe | Contact this author
Ever since playing the first of the series in the mid-90s (through the procurement of Leisure Suit Larry’s Greatest Hits & Misses from a friend… who most likely stole it from his dad), I’ve always been a fan of the Leisure Suit Larry games. Sure, I wasn’t technically old enough to play them at the time, but after fooling their “age verification system” (i.e. a collection of multiple choice questions about events and people from the 1970s), I felt that entitled me to some EGA softcore. Besides, I was thirteen and taking anything I could get.
Unfortunately, over the years, the Leisure Suit Larry (hereafter referred to as LSL) franchise has devolved from witty, tasteless, raunchy humor and bad double entendres in point-and-click adventures to a collection of terrible one-liners and minigames. As much as it displeases me to say this, LSL: Box Office Bust is no exception. Honestly, it was a chore just playing the game long enough to give it an unbiased, informed review.
Alright, lets start with the most obvious deficiency: graphics. Perhaps it’s a bit much, but I expect a game released this year, on a current system, to have graphics at least on par with those of the previous generation of systems. Box Office Bust looks as though it could’ve been placed on the original Xbox or PS2 with no appreciable loss in visual quality. The motion is choppy, the draw distance is negligible, there’s no sign of vertical sync leading to eye-gouging texture rips, and the shadows are, frankly, frightening.
Now, looking at the list of voice actors for Box Office Bust you might say to yourself “Hey, there’s a lot of talent here. This should be hilarious.” Dave Attell, Patrick Warburton, frickin’ Jay Mohr! Think again. It doesn’t matter how much talent your actors have if your writers are crap. The dialogue in Box Office Bust is unforgivable. It feels rushed, even unfinished. Several lines made little to no sense or were out of context. The jokes are hit-or-miss (mostly miss) and barely post-pubescent in complexity and material. Yes, we get that many of your jokes break the “fourth wall” and the main character is aware of the player’s presence. Please stop beating us over the head with it every five minutes. Not only that, but most of the voice actors sound about as “phoned in” as possible. I don’t know how much they paid Jay Mohr to do a spot on this game, but it apparently wasn’t enough for him to give a damn.
On to gameplay! Here’s a riddle: What do you get when you combine mindless, tedious missions where you run around a confusingly designed environment with pointless jumping puzzles, poor physics, and unresponsive controls? If you guessed Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2 (circa 2000), you’re close. Nope, it’s LSL: Box Office Bust… which, if you’ve been reading the rest of this review, you probably guessed. The first part of Box Office Bust is spent having the basics of every other 3rd person platformer you’ve ever played drilled into your head with a dirty, somewhat sticky, pun-covered auger. After that, it’s onto the aforementioned missions with a few vaguely entertaining minigames carelessly strewn around… and, um, that’s really about it. It doesn’t improve any as you continue through the storyline. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up all those glowing, spinning arbitrary objects that may, or may not, give you a bonus or achievement after you scour the grounds for them and eventually give up and find a walkthrough that tells you where they all are.
Seriously, folks, the best thing about Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is that we didn’t pay for our review copy. For the sake of all the downtrodden gamers out there, please don’t spend your hard earned money on this game. Don’t buy it. Don’t even rent it. It’s so bad that I’ve since deleted any evidence of it off my 360’s hard drive in an attempt to exorcise Leisure Suit Larry’s howling demons of inadequacy. I’d rate this game a -10 if it weren’t for one thing: I hate David Lynch more.