LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

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Rath Darkblade
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LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by Rath Darkblade » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:10 am

I have played the original LSL1 many, many years ago and have also played the VGA remake. Is there anything in "Reloaded", plot-wise or character-wise, that is new? *curious*

The music, of course, is fantastic. The narrator and voice-work, as I understand, are pretty good. So the game as a whole is pretty good - I'm just wondering if there's anything that's new. :)

The whole Al/Josh/Paul Trowe affair, unfortunately, left me feeling ambivalent about this game. Personally, I'd like to support development of new Larry games; but past experience of new software releases has taught me that it is usually smartest to wait at least a year or two before committing. (Thank you, Bill Gates and your buggy versions of Windows.) :P

So, the whole Trowe thing aside, is LSL:R good? Not so good? Worthwhile? Not so much? Do tell! ;)

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by adeyke » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:15 am

It does add some new puzzles and a new character, and it changes around some puzzles that already existed. In particular, it removed the possibility of dead-end situations. I approve of that change.

The graphics are also much higher-res than the previous versions. The backgrounds in particular are very vibrant. The animations, though, are just very flat and often noticeably cheap (e.g. a taxi that doesn't turn its wheels, and that only ever points in the four cardinal directions despite traveling around a curved round).

The interface is also not great. It just has the icon bar usual to Sierra adventure games, but without the middle-click to walk and without any keyboard shortcuts. They did also add an action wheel, but it's very cumbersome to use (you have to click, hold, wait for the wheel to appear, release, and then click an icon on the wheel).

Also, the game was funded on Kickstarter, and it won't let you forget it. It's littered with references to that, outright statements about it, and cameos. It really feels like an advertisement for its own funding campaign. I think this really hurts whatever artistic integrity the game would have had.

I think at this point, there's essentially no chance of further Larry games or remakes involving Al Lowe, and buying this game won't make it any more likely.

I was able to get the game in a bundle. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. If you do want to play LSL1, I suppose it's better than the previous versions. I can't really recommend playing LSL1 at all, though.

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by Purduecoz » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:46 am

Do you guys get the strange "achievement" popups as well? It's almost like the achievement system designed for Steam was implemented in a really odd fashion for the GoG DRM free release.

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by adeyke » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:01 pm

I have the Steam version, so getting achievements there was unsurprising (I like when games have them). I don't recall if there was anything strange in-game about those achievements.

That does remind of something I wanted to say, though. In addition to achievements, there's a point system. You get points frequently, and the "Yeah, baby" sound effects gets old quickly.

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by Purduecoz » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:07 pm

Yep, if I'm remembering correctly, the points addition (and achievements for non-Steam versions) was a tack-on patch/update that happened while things were deteriorating with the team. I'm surprised it got released, although I wonder if it was ultimately for the best.

At least the game got released - more than can be said for a good number of Kickstarters.

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by Tawmis » Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:45 pm

Purduecoz wrote: At least the game got released - more than can be said for a good number of Kickstarters.
True. Still patiently waiting for a few other Sierra related Kickstarters.

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by BBP » Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:38 pm

In the end I was disappointed because the animations, aside from looking cheap throughout, fail at crucial scenes, particularly with the blow up doll and the ending. Also I found the narrator rather annoying, and it was strange that there was no narration of the inventory inbox. And the BlackJack was sorely missed, slots are boring. I found the new puzzles rather tame and simple, but my father struggled very much with them, so...

I did very much enjoy the extra landscaping and Jan Rabson is so fantastically lame and adorable and funny...

I absolutely ADORED the first Larry when I first played it at 10 (and female too), most jokes going far above my head. I continue to love it very much! It's got the best integrated text parser in all of Sierra's adventures I played so far. For my scripts I got to dig through all the game files, read every single line... It's unbelievable how much there is to interact with! Bang the hammer on the prostitute's heater for instance. Look at the crack in Lefty's nasty hallway with the rummy.

I'm all in favour of freshening up the animations and getting a different narrator (Neil Ross still works...) to make a Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded Respiffed, and then giving 2 and 3 the same treatment. 5 especially could use TLC, so let's include that one.
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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by adeyke » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:08 pm

I agree that the number of interactions possible in the original LSL1 is quite remarkable. What they did was issue a special build to testers that recorded every failed interaction and then either made those work as alternatives to existing commands or gave them funny messages. This seems like such an obvious thing to do, but other Sierra parser games don't show this wealth of interactions.

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by DeadPoolX » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:01 am

Rath, I'd recommend against LSL1R. I bought it when it was released, and it's... well, it's just not a good game.

How or why is it bad? Try the following analogy and see if it makes sense:

Imagine if someone took an older home (LSL1) that was built using the best materials and craftsmanship of its time, and renovated it to make it look modern (LSL1R).

At first glance, it looks like they did a good job. However, when you look closer, you realize that whoever did the renovation used cheap materials and cut corners whenever and wherever they could.

That's essentially LSL1R in a nutshell.
Tawmis wrote:
Purduecoz wrote: At least the game got released - more than can be said for a good number of Kickstarters.
True. Still patiently waiting for a few other Sierra related Kickstarters.
Yup. I doubt some of them will ever be released.

Hero-U is a good example. I backed that game four years ago in 2012, and so far nothing has been released except a pitiful alpha-demo.
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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by Rath Darkblade » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:49 am

Yikes. In other words, forget it...? :(

I really think it is too bad. The LSL "canon", so to speak (i.e. LSL1-3 and 5-7 - and definitely not MCL or BoB) are good fun. It's too bad to see the series come to an end with something like this.
adeyke wrote:I can't really recommend playing LSL1 at all, though.
Oh? Now I'm curious. What makes you say that, adeyke? I agree that later games in the series are more challenging and fun, but not recommending LSL1 sounds a little harsh to me. Can you expand on that, please? :)

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by adeyke » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:01 am

I just don't see anything particularly good about it.

The elephant in the room is the game's sexism. Plus the racist caricatures.

Beyond that, though, I just don't think it's a good game. It doesn't have a good story or good characters. The atmosphere of the whole game is just sleazy; while this is intentional, it isn't pleasant. And the gameplay isn't very good, either. The whole money mechanic is just tedious. You can get as much money as you need to buy everything, but doing so requires you to gamble while saving and loading. And the puzzles generally aren't good, either. A lot of it is either just finding/stealing the item you need, or buying it. There just isn't much to the game.

I realize, of course, that it's not a modern game. Despite the remakes, most of the design is still the same as the original, and most of that is still the same as Softporn Adventure, a text adventure written and programmed by a single person 35 years ago. Understanding why a game is bad doesn't make it good, though.

If you just want to play all the classic Sierra adventure games, LSL1 would be included there. However, if I'm just making a list of good games, good adventure games, or even good classic Sierra adventure games, I really don't think LSL1 would make the cut.

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by Tawmis » Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:55 pm

adeyke wrote: A lot of it is either just finding/stealing the item you need, or buying it. There just isn't much to the game.
Um, welcome to about 95% of Sierra puzzles, no?

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by adeyke » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:02 pm

I think it depends a lot on the game in question. LSL1 was a very early game, and that complaint does equally apply to other early games. KQ1 and KQ2 in particular also had a lot of puzzles where the item you need is just lying around, without a real in-game context. However, I do think the puzzles improved later on, so they either provided better context for the items (allowing you to seek them out rather than just stumbling upon them) or used puzzles beyond simple lock-and-key ones.

To me, an ideal puzzle is one where you find some obstacle or something you need to do, explore the world while thinking about it, and then work towards a solution. LSL1 instead had a lot of just picking up an item because it's there, and then having the use for the item become obvious as soon as you get to it (e.g. if you find the card in the ashtray, it's obvious you can now enter the disco, but if you're trying to enter the disco, you'll never think that will require searching the casino's ashtray). Other times, you can just take an action because it's possible and then later find out how it benefits you (e.g. two people want booze and if you give it to them, you'll get a remote control and a knife, but you'll never think that, in order to get a remote control and a knife, you need to give booze to people).

I do agree that those sorts of things persist even into later Sierra games, but those do also add more good puzzles into the mix. They also tended to just have more content in general. LSL1, like other early Sierra games, is very short (and much of what playtime it does have is spent on gambling or going from one location to another).

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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by BBP » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:20 pm

I wouldn't say they're bad games. Audience perception has changed a lot since then, and they're getting increasingly spoiled. These games have characters. Maybe they're not as well-built as you'd like but how many games with graphics had developed characters? Bad puzzles? Come now. Do you have any idea how many people loved this game at the time? I had an elementary school class of 12 kids and even in that small group I knew someone whose dad had Larry on the computer (I don't think he played it though). Those copies rolled between the colleagues at my father's work. If you look at a Donald Duck magazine from the early 90s there's a kid writing to unca Donald that "there's a game called Larry on the computer but Dad says there's a virus on it."
And short? What do you mean short? You never tried to play it as a novice adventurer without hint book or Internet I suppose? Adventures were new as a genre and not many got as popular as Larry. I spent months of that game before I finished it - and even after that I played it a lot more times. And I did enjoy the BlackJack a lot.

Maybe I wouldn't advise LSL to a new spoilt gamer who wants to have a good time by winning with minimal effort, which seems to be what games aim for nowadays. Pearls before the swine. I don't recommend Barry Lyndon or Anton Webern or El Lissitzky to most people either.
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Re: LSL1 Reloaded... yikes. Is the game worthwhile?

Post by adeyke » Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:04 pm

I get that you like the game, but that response doesn't seem reasonable.

If we were in 1987 and someone wanted to play some adventure games with a friend, sure, after KQ3, SQ1, SQ2, I'd tell them to give other Sierra games like LSL1 a try (while still warning them of the sexism and such).

However, we're in 2016 now, and there are just so many more, better (IMO) options. Like I said, if you're really into classic Sierra games, and you want to play all of them, LSL1 would be included. I played it for reasons like that. And if you're just interested in the history of adventure games, it's worth looking at. However, if you're just interested in playing an adventure game, for fun, for the intellectual challenge, or just for the audiovisual experience, I think there are many better options. With so many games out there, there are bound to be some better than others, and I think LSL1 isn't one of the better ones.

You talk about people now being "spoiled", but term could describe two distinct concepts.

One is that we've seen big advances in both game design and computer technology since 1987. So even if a game was state-of-the-art back then, people won't be impressed by it now. If you are making this point, then I agree, but I also think it's okay to be "spoiled" in this way. In another thread, Datadog linked Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat. While that may be a very significant and influential event in film history, I still wouldn't recommend it to someone asking for movie recommendations. People today would expect sound, color, a runtime longer than a minute, and some semblance of plot or purpose. Those are unreasonable standards to put on films from 1895, but they aren't unreasonable standards to put on films in general. I'm not diminishing Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat's historical significance by saying that I don't find it particularly entertaining and would rather see some other film.

You also seem to say that players today are "spoiled" by games being too easy now. I just completely disagree with that assessment. There are hard games and easy games now, and there were hard games and easy games in 1987. Also, I didn't actually complain about LSL1 being too difficult or use its difficulty as a reason for not recommending it.

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