Version tested: Xbox 360
"Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while playing this game." That message appears on first loading screen you see in Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust. You might as well enjoy the joke, as it's funnier than anything else in the game. It's also the only joke that does not revolve around penises, vaginas or the fact that sometimes people like to put one inside the other.
It's only a joke at all because the funny thing is before long you will want to get into your car and drive as far away as you can from this game. Then you will want to use heavy machinery to crush everyone involved in its creation, from the person responsible for drawing Larry's hateful face to the person who put the staples in the manuals.
The storyline, on the off chance you give the tiniest toss, is some gibberish about movie studios spying on each other. It all takes place in the town of Tinselwood - Ha! Ha! - and there lots of unfunny film references: posters for Driving Miss Maisey's Hearse, mini-games called Bitanic and Beefcake Mountain and so on. There's also plenty of sexual innuendo. In some cases they didn't even bother with the innuendo bit; there's a movie studio called Anus Productions.
The script is dreadful. Larry yammers away incessantly and infuriatingly, saying things like, "Mission bend over, spread 'em and get ready to be accomplished long and hard!" and "I'll turn you on - uh, I mean I'll turn on the fan!" To remind you the game has an 18 rating, cut-scenes are laden with expletives even though they add nothing in the way of either exposition or humour. It's like a stupid adult version of Smurf language: "Let's sh** over to the sh**mobile and sh** back to the sh***ing castle, Gargamel!"
The voice talent has been provided by the likes of Carmen Electra, Shannon Elizabeth and Jay Mohr, from whom you'd expect this kind of thing. But Jeffrey Tambor, aka Hank in Larry Sanders and George Bluth Sr. from Arrested Development - what are you doing, sir? Wiping the good stuff off the whiteboard of your legacy and drawing a big cock instead, that's what.
Speaking of which, your first objective is to scrub a load of pictures of cocks off some walls. This is about as risqué, exciting, amusing and arousing as Box Office Bust ever gets. Almost all the missions are tedious fetch quests and you spend less time doing them than you do running between them, visiting the same old locations again and again.
Larry's animations are terrible - he runs like he only had his callipers taken off two hours ago and jumps in a weird, floaty, arms akimbo way, like a monkey who's had its stomach pumped full of helium. His fingers never grab ledges properly; they just hover a few centimetres above. Sometimes he will decide he can't jump on the crate right in front of him because he doesn't feel like it, or will bounce off a wall for no good reason. Sometimes his hands and even forearms disappear into the scenery. Sometimes when I am driving on the road at night I have the sudden impulse to turn into the path of the oncoming car as I anticipate the sound of shattering glass and the flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.