|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Team 17||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Codemasters||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 31, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
Admittedly, the Leisure Suit Larry games are for adults, well maybe not all adults, maybe those that find the humor in every National Lampoon movie to be the best comedy material out there. Thats probably the demographic for the Larry games. Well, that and those who like sexual innuendos thrown all over their games. Its those elements that have made the Larry games both a cult favorite and one of the most hated game franchises around. Its quite an achievement.
In this new version of the same formula, we find Larry Lovage, the main character from the Magna Cum Laude title. Larry is taking a job at his uncle Larrys, the original Leisure Suit Larry, movie studio. While Larry is doing odd jobs around the studio, he eventually discovers a plot by a rival studio to take over Laffer Studios. Oh yeah, and another point to the story, like all other Larry games, is to see if Larry will finally get the girl. Unfortunately, theres not much more holding it together to keep you in the game.
Box Office Bust piggybacks on the idea that people want Grand Theft Auto in everything. This is one of those cases where the aspect of GTAs sandbox world should have been left out. Laffer Studio is huge. So huge that you will be hopping into golf carts at every turn in order to make it to your destination, unless you like traveling by foot and watching Larry perform his best Dopey performance. Youll even be able to highjack a golf cart from someone else, except its not really high-jacking from them, since they will just slide over and let you drive. I guess they couldnt completely commit to the GTA mentality.
The odd jobs I mentioned earlier range from everything you could think of. You start out scrubbing graffiti off billboards, working your way to various other studio jobs. Most of the jobs that you will perform revolve around driving and delivering, or using solitary buttons to achieve the end goal. Some of the jobs will even give you a timer. Ah, the timer, an infamous attachment to meaningless missions in games that either gives you too much time or not enough. In Box Office Bust, you get it both ways. If you run out of time, the game doesnt allow you to restart at a checkpoint, ala GTA IV. Instead, it falls victim to the old way of making you restart at the beginning of the mission. Theres one other GTA rip-off I found in the game and then I swear I will leave it alone. You can also have studio security chase you. A little siren flashes atop your radar, and youd better get away quick because theres nothing worse than being thrown into a studio jail. Now this isnt a mini-game where you have to outwit Bubba or anything, you just have to restart the missions from the beginning. In most cases, I think the first option would have been better than the latter.
There are a couple of redeeming factors no matter how small they are. One is the Directors mode. I really enjoyed this side of the game. You film a scene and you get to switch the camera angles for the optimum shoot. However, the praise stops in the description. It is so easy to pick between the camera angles and obtain the correct points that even if you have no artistic talent behind the camera, you will still succeed. The other thing I enjoyed was the movie genre sequences. Ranging from western to horror, Larry will enter into a daydream sequence and act out the role, giving you platforming, shooting, and beat em up gameplay. These sequences are probably the closest thing I found to the mini-game mentality of the previous titles, except you wont find a trampoline, a bar to play quarters in, dancing, or any of the other old favorites that fans have come to expect. Instead, you will find shuffleboard. Thats right; shuffleboard. How does that even rank with quarters?