When the Leisure Suit Larry series was revived a few years back in Magna Cum Laude, its bawdy, over-the-top humor and minigame-heavy action seemed geared to capture a new generation of gutter-minded gamers. Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust seems geared to offend, bore, or frustrate anyone who makes the mistake of playing it. The game's shocking sense of humor has all but forsaken wit and cleverness, choosing instead to inundate you with a constant stream of ham-fisted innuendo and spray-and-pray vulgarity (if we say enough foul things, some of it's gotta be funny, right?). Box Office Bust is an intensely adult game, yet the depressingly simple gameplay features more repetition than a children's television show. Despite their simplicity, some of these tasks are actually difficult, thanks to poor platforming and fighting controls. As if the aggravatingly dull action and desperately perverse sense of humor weren't enough, the PlayStation 3 version of Box Office Bust has a number of visual problems that make playing the game even more frustrating. On top of that, it costs 50% more than the other versions. It's an inexcusable, insulting mess.
The handy timer lets you know roughly how long it will be before you hear another bestiality joke.
The star of Box Office Bust is Larry Lovage, the protagonist from Magna Cum Laude and nephew of legendary lounge lizard Larry Laffer. Summoned to his uncle's movie studio to help sniff out a saboteur, the young Larry arrives in a flurry of disgusting and lewd comments. This storm does not abate throughout the whole game, and you are subjected to a wide spectrum of vulgarity, including (but not limited to) scatological jokes, bestiality gags, and esoteric sexual slang. Most of the humor tries to be shocking, but it just ends up feeling like someone spent a few days on the Internet tracking down the nastiest stuff he could, and then transformed it into a script. This isn't to say you won't be shocked; Box Office Bust contains some of the foulest dialogue you'll hear in a game. But most of it is far from entertaining, let alone funny.
This is fitting, however, because most of the game isn't fun. A lot of your time is spent running around movie lots ad nauseam, and hijacking the herky-jerky golf carts doesn't make it more fun, just faster. The detailed environments have a brightly colored cartoony aesthetic befitting a Looney Tunes game, which at least makes the endless running hither and thither a bit more bearable. Unfortunately, the PlayStation 3 version has a lot of trouble loading these textures quickly, so you'll often be treated to pixelated scenery that seems like a throwback to Larry's mid-90s heyday. The frame rate is often choppy, and combined with the abundant screen tearing, these visual issues really put a strain on you. But the real strain kicks in when you attempt one of the many aggravating platforming sections. Larry can jump, double-jump, and wall-jump, and is forced to do so quite often. The controls are floaty, so you'll have to be careful when setting up your jumps lest you send Larry over a ledge to his doom. He also loves to grip onto walls, preparing for a wall jump. More often than not, however, this gecko imitation will mess up your intended jump, and you'll have to try again. The ability to move the camera or switch into first-person view makes jumping puzzles more manageable, but whether or not the camera will respond in a given situation is a crapshoot.
Be sure to choose the appropriate camera to best show off the malformed characters.