Quite a few years have passed by without a word from one of the original raunchy game series on the market, LEISURE SUIT LARRY. Maybe the toilet bowl humor of yesteryear has made way for the more blatant and obscene stuff that we see coming out of Hollywood these days. Not to be outdone, LARRY is back in the form of an updated, more "hip" game for the Playstation 2, Xbox and PC.
In the newest game in the series (and the first in a good five years), MAGNA CUM LAUDE, you play as Larry Laffer, college student and nephew of the original star of the series, Larry Lovage. Very much like his famous uncle, little Larry just happens to have an undying love of the fairer sex. When he applies for the reality dating show Swingles, he is basically laughed at by the hostess and told that when he can prove that a woman can stand his presence for 20 seconds, then he can be on the show.
The game itself is presented in a wide variety of mini games. The one you'll play the most, of course, is just through random conversations with women. When you go to "flirt" with a woman, you are presented with a bar at the bottom of the screen that allows you to guide a smiley faced sperm through a weird obstacle course. By hitting the correct markers, Larry will lie a little better and make up better exaggerations. Screw up a few times by staring at the woman's breasts, and Larry will start to ramble and this will normally turn Larry's soon-to-be bedmate off.
Of course, if you are successful, you'll end up playing a game of quarters with them. The goal here is to flip as many quarters into a glass as possible, and for everyone that you get in, your opponent has to take a swig of beer. Get your lady drunk enough and she'll be glad to go to bed with Larry.
Unfortunately, these are some of the only really interesting mini-games found in MAGNA CUM LAUDE. Most of the others range from SPACE CHANNEL 5-esque rhythm games where you have to match button combinations (practice with SHENMUE QTE events made this a breeze) to other "quests", where you just run around collecting things. There is even one where Larry, as the mascot (a flaming bundle of twigs) must spread school spirit. The mini-games may be fun at first, but after a while, they begin to get boring and repetitive. The long load times on the console versions of MAGNA CUM LAUDE don't help much either (and there are a lot, as it loads every time you leave a building or section of campus).
Of course, the one point of MAGNA CUM LAUDE that stands out is the fairly hysterical humor of the game. Borrowing pages from movies such as ANIMAL HOUSE, MAGNA CUM LAUDE has some of the funniest lines ever uttered in a video game. The characters and the dialog bring unprecedented humor to the consoles.
If you haven't figured it out yet, MAGNA CUM LAUDE probably pushes the "Mature" ESRB rating and definitely not for the crowd under 17. There is quite a bit of swearing, quite a few sex scenes, and a whole lot of nudity (censored boxes do exist in the game, but only for the lower private parts). While the vast amounts of swearing and offensive joking may add to the game's humor (although, at times, it feels a bit forced), the sex scenes seem occasionally out of place. Though sometimes comical, there is so much here that it seems that polygonal sex scenes were thought to sell more copies of the game.
LEISURE SUIT LARRY: MAGNA CUM LAUDE is hard to recommend. As a game, it lacks a lot of elements that go into making a good game. As a comedic experience on the other hand, MAGNA CUM LAUDE can be fairly enjoyable at times and is at least worth a rental.