Thursday 18 February 2016

Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. - Boyz Are Back in Town

written by Aperama

… It was easily the longest five hours of my life. Laffer just kept rabbiting on about all of his adventures – playing cards with medieval Kings. Bringing joy to Windows 95 desktop computing. He was so sure that this 'fourth game' was integral to his future well being. It all stacked up in his head – the game, the movie deal, his spiral into decadence. Something about a cousin going to college. The first 'Les Manley' game was like gold to copyright lawyers. It reused so many assets that it was like a hidden Limbo of the Lost. It even had his face from one of his earlier games – which it came out just after, enough to leave that true question. Could this truly be 'The Lost Floppies'? I had to boot up the game to find out. Well, actually, I had to find a PC/Mac/Tandy equivalent that would run it. It was just enough to throw me off of the trail for a few days. I'd managed to get far enough to discover that the Williams duo weren't involved. Nobody from Andromeda – and the name 'Lowe' wasn't even featured once. Were they just using pseudonyms to cover up how bad things looked? I was so close to the story it was like standing on the edge of a cliff. I just didn't know whether the cliff led to some sweet Weenie World – or whether it was a cataclysm that led me straight to biting the green one...

Where we last left off...

It is really difficult to properly give an indication of what this game is actually like. The music is dreadful. The dialogue can only be run through once, so if you miss something and don't know what's going on? Bam. Reload. I solved a puzzle but decided to try some different tact? Dead end. Bam. No more. I thought that this game didn't actually have any dead ends to its credit, but I was sadly mistaken – thankfully, I'm saving like it's going out of fashion. There's very little actual 'problem solving' involved in what I'm doing – it's all about finding an issue and brute forcing until the game will allow it through. All of the false leads that the game gives (which are few at best) collapse so quickly that you're virtually railroaded down the one path which will actually work. So, to check, we last left needing to gain access to police records (via Blade/Peacechild, who needs a phone jack and a computer before he'll be of any help I'm thinking, even though it doesn't actually let us talk to him about these things), to find Helmut in general (which is kinda a given), to get to the big party going on over at Dr. Nick, Plastic Surgeon to the Stars™ and to get.. money. Y'know. For a hotel room. For a phone jack. Because that's how these things work. The photo booth place I was about to check out has a hippy-themed lady who refuses to do her job because there's 'negative vibes' – and she's out of film.

These guys are actually a bit funny. Not hysterical, but the
'one dark man who can't rhyme' thing is played out.. okay, I guess.

I hadn't actually realised there was a few more screens yet in Hollywood Boulevard – it was largely coincidence that led me down to a 'seedy' section of town where 'The Boyz' – Ice, M, C and I think the last one was 'Hammer' – are boy(z)cotting the front of a pawn store. Lou, the game points out via them, likes pictures of Hollywood stars that he sells for cash. Gee, I wish I could work this one out! The Boyz won't respond to Les unless he is capable of rapping along with them, which leads to him saying something that rhymes with 'modem'. I took about three hundred screenshots and didn't capture all of this dialogue – it's almost impossible to do so, as I literally have to sit hitting my screenshot button over and over again with obscenely short (four people speaking in different texts could leave me almost whining for the potential RSI it'd entail). I've saved you all the nonsense (You want the dirt // on Helmut Bean // Littlest star // On the movie screen // You lucky we went // To my old man // Back in the hills // Hollylan'!) in the above text – Ice, one of the rappers, is poor at coming up with raps and just blabs. They heard LaFonda scream and get abducted, but were too scared (they don't say this naturally) to actually do anything about it. Bummer. They also said they'd only let someone into Lou's who 'has colors' – I immediately thought of the bandana, but they weren't interested, so I decided to get back to exploring – plenty of other areas..

Get it? It doesn't violate copyrights because they're taking off
Friday the 13th and Halloween/Michael Myers! Hilarious!

Nothing says 'movie studio' like 'the old man from the Benny Hill show'

The resemblance makes me wonder if they actually had
an actor or just mocapped from their TV screen and added a clipboard

I decided to start my search for 'the ultimate gang colors' (their terms, not mine) over at Paramounds Studio. Why? Because I was hoping to at least find something interesting to talk about. Instead, I'm greeted by Jackie Wright with a clipboard, who I can insist I want to see certain celebrities to (Abe Goldstein, Maladonna) – but he won't allow us in no matter who we specify, leaving this ever so 'beautifully' rendered screen for virtually naught. At least at the present moment, anyhow, there's simply nothing to do here. I'm certain we'll come back later, but I decided that this may as well be a post about exploration.

Just for the record: this picture is of stirring up a pigeon so that it flies away
and defecates on a sports car in front of Dr. Nick's Plastic Surgery clinic.

(Because I think it every time, and can't resist - Hi, everybody!)

Missing: the joke about how 'Les won't find a Radio Shack
 here no matter how hard he looks'. Ha! So funny, game!

Over at Rodeo Drive, we're confronted with largesse and closed stores. No, seriously, there are two stores which Les can actually go outside. The aforementioned plastic surgery clinic is a front for 'bird spoo' collection, which I have to use Lester's otherwise useless credit card. There are two people that have actually asked for things via money at this point. One will only take cash, the other will only take fake credit cards that he can sell at his pawn shop. This game has the logic of a three year old – credit cards, it seems, are relegated to lockpicks (technically slim jims – a 'lockpick' is used to turn, where a slim jim just fits through and disables a lock by pressing it backwards) and.. to handle crap. A fantastic analogy for this game. There's another store which has a window with the option to 'break' it – the game then taunts you by saying that there's a world class alarm system on it, so fie upon you for even thinking it. A better game would give the option first, then let me kill Les Manley. Watch him get locked up in jail with a large man named 'Butch' who wants to use his weaselly face and bow tie as a pillow. But alas, this game is not that game.

In the right of this screen, there's a poorly focused series of etchings.
 I believe it says 'WILL ANYONE HELP ME' in my mind's eye. I'm sticking to this.

The agent's face is legitimately scary. That or he's about to 'deposit spoo'. Also pictured:
an Oscar that I wanted to take but is apparently bolted down. And fake. Curses

Sunset Boulevard and Vine Avenue is, according to the game, 'one of the premier pieces of real estate in Hollywood'. I can only assume that is why a single person is looking into the front of a talent agency, with a doorman the only other interactible thing on the screen. Vine Avenue? Nah, nothing interesting down there. Further down Sunset Boulevard? Back to the map. I really wish that I could get Les run over by a car, but the game has no cars to run him over. Sierra did that back in Leisure Suit Larry 1, Accolade! Not that much to ask! Give me a reason why I can't go down the other places that might actually be interesting! The agent in the only interactible place is named Tony Leoni, because of course he has to sound a little sleazy. He's an agent! I'm surprised they didn't go with 'Mac Aroni' instead. He assures Les that he'll help him get somewhere in Hollywood if he wants to. Whoopee. This leaves us with nowhere else to go, and nothing actually accomplished for walking around apart from filling Mr. Manley's pocket with pigeon droppings. I start to retread old ground and find that after talking to the 'Boyz', Blade mentions that he used to actually be on the street corner of Lou's – and that he scared off the Boyz by acting tough. So naturally, we scare them with.. a.. bandana.

The game's creators appear to believe that we're all as wimpy as they clearly are. Even if they ARE poseurs, assuredly they'd need more than a bloody bandana stolen from a lifeguard in.. oh wait, he controlled the sun to get it. Never mind! I can see why they're a bit frightened

P.S. they're not afraid of the world 'Elvis' any more, guys, just in case you were wondering

'Diamond' Lou Ferrini is not the most interesting character in the world, I fear. He's the one I mentioned who will take our credit card 'only if it's unsigned'. He briefly mentions that he knew about the Helmut/LaFonda kidnapping before it happened – he doesn't remember what the customers looked like, but he does mention that he did sell 'some handcuffs, a roll of duct tape and wire cutters' to some people who were talking about Helmut Bean'. Of course, he didn't know they were involved with LaFonda also (he likes her!) He has a computer (for Blade – score!) Les is very insistent it needs to be state-of-the-art (386! I'm surprised he didn't specify 'DX'), and is sure he can get it working if he's given the opportunity and perhaps a DOS disk. Lou mentions that he's in a hurry to get out and see the latest performance at Club Mudd, and that he's after 'quick turnover items' – 'jewelry, electronic goods, pawned Oscars etc'. (This is why I wanted to steal the one from Mr. Alfredo's desk earlier.) I try giving him pigeon spoo? 'Nice item you've got there, pal, but I don't think I'm willing to trade this fine piece of state-of-the-art equipment for it.' I realise at this point that I need to go at least up to dog droppings if not some rare form of animal like a cheetah, so I exit the place and start revisiting places again. Murry's hotel finally gives us the answer – he offers a free pass to Club Mudd in exchange for 'developing some film' that was left for him. Les looks at it, and given that he's in the industry he realises something that Murry doesn't – the film hasn't actually been used. Queue montage!

This picture? DEAD END!

I'll be back.. to reloading if I get this picture taken!

Lou Likes LaFonda. He's Fonda LaFonda. See Lou Lick.. er.. wrong kid's book

The LaFonda picture, according to Lou, so incredibly skilled at his craft that he can't even tell a cardboard cutout apart from a real thing (I guess it's something to do with being rendered as an inanimate picture himself), is going to be worth scads and scads of dollars. One of the last ones before her abduction, he reckons. Riiight. Still, we're up one computer, and we have a pass to Club Mudd – we can't do anything with the laptop and Blade yet, so that leaves us a clear direction for next time..

Very subtle about what we should be doing..

Next time, on Les Manley: Bored Bikini Babes Look Uncomfortable!

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've learned that my sanity only hangs on by an extremely small thread, and I will possibly be taken by the fire brigade if I don't stop my brain from being a fire hazard. Thanks!


  1. Words fail. This . . . this is torture. To read. I can't imagine playing this.

  2. I should say that my post must have started falling apart at the same here. I claimed that the bandana want the answer for the Boyz, except that it actually was - the game just won't allow it till you've talked to both them and then Blade afterwards.

    1. Aperama, at this point, you could just be clicking spastically all over the screen and it would make more sense than the actual, so-called design.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Sorry, Ape. I had to delete a double comment.

  3. Hello to the Before Times! I write to you from the global pandemic year to tell you one of your links is broken.