Byte Sized: Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Don’t Dry


Sex.

Glad I’ve got your attention.

In the decade of Madonna’s triangle bra, Jon Bon Jovi’s haircut and a boy cycling over a moon with an alien in his bicycle basket, sex was perforating all forms of 80’s media. So it wasn’t a surprise when designer Al Lowe introduced the world to Larry, bullet dodging STI’s in his first ever leisure suit with ‘Land Of The Lounge Lizards’ in 1987.

This was quite literally one of my first ever exposures to adult content growing up, having to sit for countless minutes at the beginning desperately trying to blindly answer the gated trivia questions just so I could see some softcore VGA porn. Although tame by today’s standards, Larry’s debut adventure rings true for the boldness of it’s time, originally selling poorly due to no retailer stocking because of it’s vulgar nature. However word of mouth spread and it ended up becoming a commercial success, spawning two remasters with updated sound and graphics.

Sequels were inevitable and the two follow up titles ‘Looking For Love (In Several Wrong Places)’ and ‘Passionate Patty in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals’ were also part of my teenage years. But as time went on, other studios each took turns with their own renditions of the franchise and Leisure Suit Larry’s original charm quickly evaporated. Improved visuals, updated controls and full audio dialogue would be a welcome change to most titles through the years, but it was to the detriment of the Leisure Suit series and it became overwhelmingly apparent that Larry’s time in the sun was long over and publishers should finally send it to greener pastures. 

Then developer Crazy Bunch pulled out the paddles and decided to revive it’s rotting corpse with probably the worst video game title this century. Awesome.

World Design

“Loving the antlers, baby”

The games overall environment hasn’t changed much from it’s original concept; you’ve got several unique locations on a map that are all accessed by taking a ride share through your phone. Gone are the days of Larry walking onto the street and getting flattened by a passing vehicle, this is the 21st century. Said locations are pleasant enough, but their colour palette is this oddball mix of blue, purple and green which persists through the entire game. It’s a theme which I understand, but gets fairly dreary especially toward the latter half.

The art work overall is vibrant and detailed, there’s sections where I wished for harsher edges and characters could have easily being more animated instead of staring glass-eyed into the distance during conversations, but it was still an enjoyable experience exploring different areas as you progress.

Content Design

“I’ll take one alien sex scene diorama please”

Content in every game is important, but the focus is spotlighted in point and click adventure games, because it’s essentially the backbone of the genre. You’re clicking on scenery to interact with content provided and if it’s lacking or not up to scratch, the wheels are going to fall off. ‘Wet Dreams Don’t Dry’  begins with promise but unfortunately veers towards the cliffs edge quickly, due to its humor. Take Monkey Island; it’s success was derived from the franchises comedy as a clever, third wall breaking adventure that made fun of itself whilst dancing on the fine line of reality and utter fiction. The earlier Larry games did a similar thing and because they were all text based, part of the fun was reading the games humor aloud to yourself. 

All ‘Wet Dreams Don’t Dry‘ manages to do is makes puns of modern day technology and figures. ‘Timbr’, ‘Instacrap’ and corporate head Bill Jobs or ‘B.J’ for short, you’re better off watching Amy Schumers latest stand up for a cheap laugh because this game acts like it’s comedy was written by a puberty stricken thirteen year old.

Gameplay Design

It’s better if you don’t ask…

Again jumping back to ‘Monkey Island’, item exploration was completely purposeful. Anything Guybrush could pick up wasn’t terribly unreasonable like objects on a counter or general provisions. But in Wet Dreams Don’t Dry, you’re forced to find some incredibly obscure items with even stranger reasons to actually use them, some so far fetched that the trial and error required to figured out its mystery wouldn’t be better spend scanning a walk through.

I appreciate difficulty in a video game, but not to the point where I’m brick-walled because I needed to combine a piece of gum with a rainbow dog bone and attach it to an unrolled strip of licorice that needed to be combined with a shoelace. I didn’t even make that up. Not only that, but accessible items are annoyingly highlighted with more detail than the background scenery, making it painfully easy to spot what Larry needs to swipe.

Story Design

“Who are you to resist, eh?”

This part’s tricky because this game really doesn’t have a story. Larry is told to achieve a certain number of ‘Timbr’ points in order to bang the end game hottie, so he spends the playtime zipping around trying to impress other females and increase his score. You’re mostly made to complete ludicrous tasks for scantly clad females in the vague hope of dipping your stick in the honey pot and, as always, falling short.

Quite a significant part of the games progress is also through it’s story, you’re required to have lengthy conversations with in game characters and there’s some iconic references to Larry’s earlier adventures scattered throughout, but the bulk of the story is hindered by amateur writing and cringe worthy humor. Honestly for any horny teenager picking up the controls, they’d constantly be rushing through the content in the hope they’ll glimpse at an areola and simply skip the content instead of appreciating it.

UI Design

“So you’re telling me this isn’t church?”

Surprisingly, this is one of the better parts of the game. Point and click adventure games suffer terribly from poor UI design by either having a massive choice box taking up the bottom half of the screen or binding 10 different actions behind the mouse pointer. 

Wet Dreams Don’t Dry uses a phone nestled in the bottom corner of the screen to handle it’s inventory system, fast travel options as well as other handy apps. The mouse is also simplified well with left click to use and right to view, making the complicated task of trying to interact with a person or object much more streamlined. This actually does make for speedier game play and interacting with everything was fairly enjoyable compared to experiences from the past. 

Sound Design

“Beam me up, sluttie”

Sound is your standard midi format which suits this style of game, it’s quite varied depending on location but isn’t anything to write home about. The character voice overs are also god awful, Larry sounds like he’s talking with a pencil eraser shoved up his left nostril, but thankfully these can be switched off so you can be left in peace to read text like the good old days. 

Leisure Suit Larry’s latest foray into the modern era doesn’t have an ounce of the charm the previous games did. It’s controls are certainly improved, the visuals are manageable and locations are fun but it’s plagued by a poorly functioning story and ill-thought jokes. If this is your first time venturing into the adventure genre or your first experience with Larry’s devilish charm, then Wet Dreams Don’t Dry may tickle your proverbial fancy with it’s dashing artwork and gatling-gun innuendo.

However for veterans of the genre or indeed the franchise, this is like drinking a cup of orange juice from McDonalds: it doesn’t wash down as good as the original. 

Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry

$29.99 USD
4.7

World Design

6.0/10

Gameplay Design

4.0/10

Story Design

2.0/10

UI Design

6.5/10

Sound Design

5.0/10

Pros

  • Interesting locations
  • Improved controls
  • Detailed artwork

Cons

  • Jokes that miss the mark
  • Lazy uninviting story
  • Clunky usage of collected items
  • Worst. Video Game Title. Ever.

As the sun rises across the mountains of Yellowstone, bouncing off the hand-carved light refractor into the living room window of his log cabin, A.J firmly handles a freshly brewed cup of joe, his first of many. Tapping a pipe against his maroon-checkered lumberjack coat, he settles down to the typewriter and begins to wax literacy, the likes of which the world has never read. Then he wakes up and realises he's a thirty-something contact centre trainer & father, who spends his free time writing video game and movie reviews. Still, one can dream.

 

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