Activision dropped this after merging with Vivendi on the grounds that they only wanted games in their portfolio that they could make sequels out of. What’s ironic about saying this is that Box Office Bust is the 11th game in the Leisure Suit Larry series. Not that it actually bares any resemblance to Larry’s original 2D point-and-click adventure games. In fact, it doesn’t actually bare any resemblances to any decent game you care to think of.
The original Larry is now well past his prime and owns a movie production company. Unfortunately for him (and anybody else who has the misfortune of playing this game) there’s a mole in his company that his nephew – Larry Loveage – must root out. Comparing the movie lot hub to GTA isn’t off the mark – you’re free to roam around, picking up missions from the mini-map, and can hijack golf caddy-style vehicles to get around quicker.
It may sound fun, but it isn’t – Larry’s animation looks unfinished, the platform jumping sections – of which there are many – are maddening due to unresponsive controls and the first few missions are just tedious fetch requests. After this rough first hour things do improve, albeit only slightly. Larry then gets to visit themed studios, with the first being a cowboy set, and can drift off into a dream world to play basic mini-games, QTE events and the like. By far the best bits of these are the director games, where Larry gets behind a camera and must choose the best angles to film. Your director work is then rated and after you can watch the film, complete with your dodgy camera shots and all. It’s just a shame they only make up around, say, 5% of the game.
Vocal talent has been supplied by Carmen Electra and Shannon Elizabeth but the script isn’t great with far too many swear words randomly and needlessly placed in every sentence. Sexual innuendo is also rife and often crude – â€œThis place is as dusty as my Grandma’s snatchâ€ Larry proclaims as he wanders into a desert. Is that funny? Maybe if you’re about 13 years old.
Box Office Bust’s troubled development is painfully apparent, from the way that the game has been bulked up by having to revisit locations time after time, to a general lack of polish. It feels cheap and tacky, almost to the point that you feel dirty after playing it.
Developers Team 17 should go back to making Worms games. 2D Worms games.