|Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (2004)
Available for: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC
It’s been nearly a decade since middle-school boys gathered around their friend’s computers to watch them secretly play “Leisure Suit Larry,” a mature-themed video game that promised its players a slice of 8-bit nudity. With the recent release of “Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude,” PC company Sierra has re-introduced the classic, sex-crazed world of Larry to a new generation of horny teenagers looking for a quick peek at some graphic nudity that flows along a simple storyline with plenty of adult humor that they won’t understand. Throw in a few mini-games and it’s destined for instant success, right? Wrong. In a seemingly impossible feat, the new “Leisure Suit Larry” is a sub-par attempt at marketing a mature PC game for twenty- and thirtysomethings that quickly becomes boring and repetitive, but also fails to produce enough CGI boobies to satisfy the average “Larry” player.
An update of wannabe ladies’ man Larry Laffer’s sexual escapades, “Magna Cum Laude,” introduces his nephew Larry Lovage as the new hero, joining him through his seventh year at Walnut Log Community College. The story follows him during his attempts to get on to the reality dating show, “Swingles,” which he believes to be his ticket to some easy sex. In order to get on to the show, though, Larry must first prove to be an object of desire for a group of hottie college co-eds who each have their own mini side stories. Fully immersed in a colorful, 3-D environment filled with attractive cartoon girls, Larry must resort to his little black book for new missions and information on where to find the girls that he is currently wooing. To win the affection of each girl, Larry must work through a series of repetitive mini-games that vary from guiding a small sperm through an obstacle course in a “chat” game to playing a round of quarters in order to get your date drunk enough to take home. But all the games are mindless and relatively simple, and they ultimately get in the way of your final goal.
What’s most unfortunate about this latest installment is the serious lack of sex and comedy. Some of the humor really works, with jokes about Hayden Christensen (“Star Wars”) and a talking “Road House” video game among a few of the gems, but most of the comedy is made up of outdated pick-up lines or immature gestures like farting and public urination. The amount of sexual content is also watered down, with story arches that shy away from nudity and result in poor excuses for humorous situations. In a game about getting laid, there is an awful lot of censorship, very little nudity and dialogue filled with high school potty humor, which makes the game’s “Mature” rating somewhat baffling.
The US version is apparently the only release that must deal with this nudity issue, with the European version “censored” free, but changing one small aspect of the gameplay doesn’t affect the overall experience in any positive way. While “Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude” is fun at first, it quickly becomes a pain just to finish. Try renting the PS2 or Xbox version before you decide to buy this R-rated dud.