Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is back by publisher Codemasters and developer Team17. After the successful reign of the Magna Cum Laude series, Leisure Suit Larry continues the series better than before. With more innovation than Magna Cum Laude, and more of a star studded cast, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust is simply the title that the franchise has wanted, even if the theme itself is not as particularly strong as college.
The misguided Larry Lovage finds himself at the cusp of his life after college, as he spends his vacation working at his uncle’s film studio. At the star studded city of Tinsletown, Larry is out on a mission to attract the most beautiful ladies for himself, but soon uncovers a secret conspiracy from a rival studio that threatens his uncle’s latest movie success. Larry soon finds himself tangled between priorities of incandescent love, and trying to save his uncles dilapidated business.
Like the previous games, Larry Lovage finds himself in a comedic storyline that is dappled with interesting and quizzical characters like the sexy Ginger Vitus (Carmen Electra: Starsky & Hutch) and erratic Hugh Jassdick (Tom Arnold: True Lies, ER, Exit Wounds). Throughout the game structure and design, Larry has to explore the regions of the studio city, platform on the welcome reintroduction to mini-games as puzzles, and engage in seduction challenges to get girls in a new fashion. While Team17, does an appraisable effort in Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, the various mission designs come out banal and repetitive yet again. While there is certainly more of an improvement to the structure of Magna Cum Laude, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust still has the recurring problem with game concept.
One of the main problems in the game, especially the PC version is the revolting camera angle. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust has a colorful and beautiful Tinsletown that has a very childlike artistry that starts off the gameplay design with a high level of satisfaction. The visuals are great the only time you can see them from a very linear view. You cannot look up or down, and the camera is strictly set to a rotating axis, which is completely lousy to anyone who actually feels the need to look around and take in the movie set atmosphere. Next, you combine these with horrible PC controls, and the gameplay starts off mediocre to begin with, even if the gameplay structure itself is more than worthy to play.
There are sadly still a number of bugs that make gameplay a little difficult to get around. In one play session, we ended up jumping in the water of one of the sets that showed a comedic display of half the titanic going down the water. Unfortunately for us, there was no escape as controls were far less than responsive in an attempt to get out. Bugs like these that leave the player simply stuck in some sets or at some corners are not easy to look around, even if you can appreciate the latency in the tone of the game and the easy going nature of Larry Lovage.
The primary issue with Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust comes with the minigames yet again. The actual content and variety of the minigames are much more enhanced and do not feel forced compared to Magna Cum Laude, but are in general too easy in terms of difficulty. The game feels shorter than normal and details the discounted MSRP price tag of $29.99 as reasonable for a game that is not as expansive as the previous iteration.
The storyline is definitely more interesting this time, with a shift taking place in the focus of the main characters. On the general upside, there is more personality with the different characters that you encounter and the group dynamic with Ginger Vitus and Hugh Jassdick as some of the small supporting characters that you will encounter. With a newer and more interesting approach to the franchise, Larry Lovage seems more suave and young which fits well for the game in general that is sure to be a crowd pleaser to anyone who can look past the drone minigames, with the exception of the interesting ‘Larry Feature’ that has a lot of people creating their own mini-film in the comical directory of Leisure Suit Larry.
While Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust makes amazing renovations when it comes to the previous gameplay aspects, there are many changes to deem this title as better than Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. There’s better gameplay, focused design, and a more interesting story even though the atmosphere itself is not as personal as the wild ‘college-party’ mood that Magna Cum Laude and Swingers introduced us to in 2004. Even though some of the minigames become repetitive in nature, they are still far more varied to be considered too much of a nuisance. Anyone who appreciates whimsical characters, decent gameplay, and an intensely comical storyline of sexual innuendo and mystery will find Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust a great experience and a way to better spend time in Tinsletown’s image of Hollywood as we know it today.