Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. - WON!

written by Aperama

… I was at my wit's end. Was this even a game? There were so many ways it could have actually gone. Was it possible that the game was actually designed as a brainwashing tool to get people to join the Navy, or was that just an episode of the Simpsons? Was it really the lost Larry game, taken and perverted by an evil genius who realised that the true way of making money in his day was to gouge his prospective customers for hintbooks, calls to hintlines and the potential promise of seeing heavily pixelated cleavages? These questions and more were ones that I was never going to have answered. Mr. Laffer had stopped caring. He probably took the game as an innocuous thing that nobody actually cared about. Moved onto faux pornography or reality TV or something. The UPS man who played Lester P. Manley was never again found. He probably went back to his route. The deeper I dug, the shallower the actual future seemed. The US government couldn't possibly care about this, could they? Some dissolute branch? I had two choices – go insane, or just admit that I had searched for gold and returned with no redeeming qualities. I just wasn't sure if it would flow over me and be forgotten in days like it was while I was actually playing it, or whether Lester P. Manley would haunt my memories for years to come. My days as a sleuth were as far gone as Laura Bow. Sonny Bonds. That guy from The Last Express, whatever his name was. I guess it was really true – no matter how you approached it, this game made you LESS MANLY.

“And I'm not sure why!”

Les Manley is finished! WOOO! It's impossible to say just how much of a relief this is. As you all may have noticed, I'm pretty consistently using my first paragraph to give an idea of how the game 'felt' to me during a play session – this one actually didn't feel quite so rough, in its own way. The 'third act' of the game had one part that actually felt somewhat triumphant, which was the first time in this game I've felt anything other than either apathy or disdain – so that's a plus! Unfortunately, this was also where they threw all of their 'leftover puzzle ideas' – there are about ten puzzles in this section (though using the term 'puzzle' is probably a little bit over the top) all of which have exactly one solution and have to all be done in order to complete the game. (This game certainly has no 'red herrings' – they've used just about everything save a few descriptions on assorted scenery.) There is one 'alternate solution', I suppose? At least they did introduce a 'drop' command that's not usable anywhere else, as that does give a little bit of a hint as to what you're supposed to do. Overall, it's nothing like as bad as Les Manley 1 in this regard – there's only minimal backtracking to be had if you should manage to mess up, and the game literally spells out what you're supposed to be doing with your 'death' screen.


It feels unsurprising that Accolade also published both of the Elvira games and Waxworks given this set of screens

In order to get into the boarded up Wax Museum, we have to use our stolen axe. (That's one possible dead end for you – it doesn't force you to get the axe back at JasonBot9000, and you can't get back there after you've visited Maladonna.) Looking inside, I essentially catalogued every item that could be interacted with. Tarzan's loin cloth seemed like a natural fit for the Gimli treatment, but the game obviously thought that Conan's sword was better up to the task. Conan's sword was held in place by (of course) wax, and Les is too weak to break it. Thankfully, in the third screen by the 'missing celebrities' exhibit (boy, that sure is an up to date thing for a boarded up building to have!) there's a flaming torch (which seems a rather terrible decision by the board of curators at the wax museum) which can be used to melt the wax that enables Conan to have his death grip – and Tarzan was evidently made anatomically correct as displayed by the 'CENSORED' bar that they so kindly include for us on loan from Leisure Suit Larry 1: 'Land of the Stolen Jokes'. Also interactible is the sarcophagus. This is a bad idea at present.

This joke was hilarious! Well.. in 1991.

I opened the sarcophagus! (What did Les expect would happen?)

The game literally tells you what you have to do next in the wax museum if you miss something

A death also comes if you don't have some wax for later (I know, it's a wax museum, but you still need some handy on Les). A dead end proposes itself if Les doesn't drop the sword and loin cloth by Helmut – because as it turns out, Helmut isn't a wax double.. he's actually been 'DIPPED ALIVE!' How it is that he's still alive after being encased in wax is beyond me. LaFonda or the blonde next to him either, for that matter – they've literally been in a wax case for several days gametime now, which makes me second guess the possibility that anything short of 'decomposed corpse' (or possibly even 'cooked corpse' depending upon the methodology used by the wax-dipper) is going to be happening. Maybe we could save Maladonna? I could get behind that, as she's probably still in the process of being done up.. oh, who am I kidding, this is game is not beholden to the laws of physics, thermodynamics or any other thing that you could look up as part of 'the sciences'. Helmut is, indeed, inside. If you don't use the torch to find him? It doesn't even have you get stolen away by the two Killer Zombie Bimbos (yes, that's actually a thing) before telling you you should have 'USED SOME MORE LIGHT' to look at him Go. Team. If you do leave the torch there AND grab some wax by creepily touching one of the statues (I chose LaFonda), however, as Les is waxing (har!) poetic about how Helmut 'just wanted to have all of the babes and the money in the world, hyuk hyuk gufaw', Les gets carted away without an instant death screen.. and.. well, this happens:

Elaborate plot? Check! Phantom of the Opera disfiguration? Check! All he needs now is an evil plan that actually makes sense

You see, it turns out that Abe Goldstein is the culprit. Only thing is? He's also Dr. Nick. And he's also Tony Leoni. As Abe, he was originally a stuntman in Hollywood, but a terrible disfiguring accident on a set took him to extremes to get his revenge on Hollywood. It was then when he learned the secret art of plastic surgery? (Or elaborate wax casting? I'm unsure on this one.) So essentially, as Tony he'd make the star, as Nick he'd make them look 'how he felt they should', and as Abe he'd use their new star power in his films.. and then he'd have them learn the error of their ways as his final, true form.. Mad Wax! (Ugh.)

Meanwhile, back in the museum..

This is the one good part of the whole game. Don't blink, guys, because it's over pretty fast. Helmut Bean takes a little less to thaw out than your average human, being roughly a foot tall. Fortunately, he's also buff. Grabbing the sword and loin cloth from earlier (along with the torch because you never know when you might need a good flaming torch), Helmut has to save Les! There's just one more thing we need, though – something to get Les out from his predicament. This one stumped me for a bit until it mentioned that the Alien wax piece appeared to have 'realistic drool'. So Helmut forms a mug out of wax, picks up some acidic drool in it, wedges the sarcophagus open with Tarzan's sword (which is approximately four times bigger than him – I really wouldn't like to be his tailor given what he does to his pockets even though they don't go with the Leisure Suit Larry 2 joke), makes a parachute out of Tarzan's loin cloth and melts Les out of his restraints while Mad Wax (still groaning) is performing an over the top aside glance.

Well, naturally he couldn't just go down the stairs! That'd be silly, game!

Manley's look here is a mix between 'frightened' and 'what the $#%# am I supposed to be looking at, again?'

“I'm going to pinch the pint-sized Adonis, and there's nothing you can do about it, Lesterino!”

Yes, 'Killer Zombie Bimbos' is now the official name for Deena and Geena, and the latest death metal cover band of Cher

Les is accosted by Deena and Geena immediately. The game has him find a cross somewhere in his (surprisingly untrademarked) dress shirt and bow tie – but they inform Les that 'while his cuteness and powerful raw charisma (????) are appealing to us, we must devour you – we are too strong for your religious icons'. He then tries garlic – 'We are invincible!' The one thing, however, that they are not immune to? Les' bloody useless credit card that literally won't buy them anything anywhere! OH NO! So.. they melt. I'm not joking – they literally melt. (I'm getting sick of having to say 'I'm not joking', 'literally', 'actually' etc as it pertains to Lost in L.A. This is indicative of indignation mixed with surrealism. This should not be written more than once or twice for a game, Accolade devs.)

Just to give proof

But he never dropped the loin cloth, did he? That's not the greatest threat in the world, Dr. Wax – he's already proven his parachuting ability

Les and Mad Wax have their final confrontation here. Les sees his opportunity to have Mad Wax simply 'surrender to the police and have a fair trial'. Mad Wax counteroffers by saying he'll kill Bean, let Les live but only after a full frontal lobotomy. Diplomacy having had its dash, Les tries to use his credit card again. It proves useless in this instance (go figure) but that gives Helmut the impetus to bite down on Mad Wax's hand, dropping him. Les leaps past and rings the bell, sending some bats flying and having Mad Wax drop his silver revolver (which is a prop anyway). Helmut, still mid-fall, catches a ride on a bat. I try to get Les to pick up the revolver, but as Les decides he's a pacifist, Helmut moves behind Mad Wax in the universal 'trip hazard' motion, Les uses his creepy touch powers to murder Mad Wax in cold blood and the game is over. 'WE LOVE LA!'

Surprisingly, this one didn't warrant a Wilhelm scream

6 comments:

  1. I'd know that mustache anywhere - it's Burt Reynolds as the smallest man on Earth!

    The game's even worse than I remembered. Luckily it's all over now.

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  2. Wow is that FM synthesis bad.

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    1. The MT-32 emulation was, if anything, even worse. The whole game has this awkward, half finished feel through its entirety, and that all the beta testers said was "Puzzles are a bit hard, aren't they?"

      On the plus side? You can turn the music and sound off and skip all of the dialogue to beat the game in probably under half an hour. Weird thing to me is that I actually found Les Manley 1's opening theme more appealing.

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  3. I cannot wait to see the PISSED rating for this. Good job, Ape.

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    1. In 2.5 days, you can find out!

      By the way, whenever I see the shortened Aperama as "Ape" I always pronounce it in my head as if it's the animal. But I'm guessing that's wrong. How do you pronounce APE?

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    2. That's actually right. I used to climb a lot as a kid, so I went by 'Ape' in the old BBS days. Naturally, I decided that this would be too difficult to have as an alias throughout the world's information superhighway, so I added 'rama' (as in bowl-o-rama) and it has served me well.

      Interestingly, it appears to also be a Maori word for something biblical methinks, but I've by and large claimed the pseudonym everywhere I'd care to.

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