So I'm taking a tour of Konami's booth area during E3, and the PR rep leads me to a game for the PSP called Brooktown High: Senior Year. What an odd title, I think. As it turns out, it's a dating-simulation in the same vein as Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude.
That's right--Konami is publishing a dating sim in North America.
Everything about the game seems like it was inspired by Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. After making a character, male or female, you're supposed to wander the high school and chat up members of the opposite sex for dates. Go on enough dates and you'll take them to the prom, which is the ultimate goal of the game. Conversations involve multiple response, which will increase or decrease a person's affinity towards you. While playing, I also noticed that it was tough for my punker dude to chat up geek chicks, but that he had no trouble befriending the school's local goth-vixen. If you want your character to land someone outside their social circle, it looks like you'll have to put forth some additional work.
Eventually, your prospective prom partner will agree to your request for a date. While out at the park or at the local burger joint, he or she will ask you a line of tougher questions and present you with mini-games. Successfully completing their mini-game challenges makes their love for you grow faster.
Sure sounds like Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, doesn't it? Visually, Brooktown High even uses the same visual style that Magna Cum Laude did, with colorful polygonal environments and squat, fat-headed characters. Unlike Larry's last adventure though, the characters in Brooktown High don't get naked or bounce their giblets all over the place. The humor in this PSP dating sim is wry and decidedly tongue-in-cheek, but never vulgar.
I know not everyone will embrace this game. Even so, based on the short play test I was given here at E3, I can totally picture certain people just losing an entire weekend or two with it. I enjoyed watching the girls respond to my comments, and some of the mini-games are downright addicting. While on a date with the school cheerleader, I was sent on a quest to buy items from adjascent shops in the mall... at breakneck speed while avoiding ugly items. Ha!
Brooktown High: Senior Year is scheduled to ship this June for the PSP.
5/12/2006 Frank Provo