Super Seducer or Stupid Sad Sucker?
Pick-up artists and associated groups tend to prey on the minds and wallets of naive young men by promising them an easy way to have lots of sex. Though it may give them more confidence having “routines” to fall back on when they’re running out of things to say, it doesn’t tend to help them relate to others any better. Richard La Ruina, who is allegedly a renknowned dating guru and pick-up artist, is the protagonist of sorts for Super Seducer. You watch a clips of Richard attempting to seduce women in various settings before making a choice as to how he should proceed. This is intended to educate men on seducing women. Naturally, as I’m a modern day Casanova with a lengthy list of romantic conquests that reach solidly into the low single digits, Francis chose me to evaluate this would-be Lothario-educator. However, even remembering my own most cringey, awkward attempts at charming the fairer sex could not prepare me for the baffling display of social ineptitude Richard proudly displays as a model for fellows to follow.
Super Seducer would be a bad game, if it qualified as a game.
There’s no way to beat around the bush (which is the sort of lame innuendo Richard might make): Super Seducer has non-existent gameplay. Even in the most rudimentary CRPGs or visual novel styled games usually have some sort of branching dialogue trees where your decisions matter somewhat. Super Seducer is simply about watching clips. If you make a right or OK choice, you progress onto the next choice. If you make a wrong choice, you just try again. It’s easy to get a “perfect” run on levels by just skipping through and making all the “right” choices. The wrong choices are usually telegraphed to the point of absurdity, such as randomly approaching a woman and grabbing your crotch, or pretending to be blind and trying to grope her boobs. Super Seducer seems to see its target audience as either sex offenders or clinical morons as apparently it requires explanation as to why these are bad options. Since there’s no sort of challenge or meaningful branching storyline choices to make, Super Seducer doesn’t really qualify as a game: it’s like a bad DVD with an uncommonly high number of short chapters to watch.
When you’ve made a choice, there’s a quick clip of Richard sitting on a bed and explaining why your choice was right, wrong or just OK. For the right choices, Richard is flanked by two lingerie-clad women who gaze blankly off into the middle distance: having women as beautiful, mute, sexually available trophies is the apparent goal in Super Seducer. For OK choices, they’re both fully dressed as if to suggest a clothed woman is merely a partial achievement of an objective. For the wrong choices, Richard sits on his bed alone, though thankfully you don’t get to see him eating a microwave meal and tearfully masturbating (one of the many ways Super Seducer isn’t completely realistic).
“I is a Super Seducer, innit?”
Putting aside how bad Super Seducer fares as a game, it’s also terribly shot and edited. The location choice is absolutely bizarre. There’s one scene where Richard speaks to a long-time friend who is seeking comfort after her boyfriend has broken up with her (naturally he’s instructing you how to sleep with female friends in a vulnerable state). What’s weird about the scene is that it appears to have been shot in the study of a 18th century mansion. One “level” is supposedly shot in a restaurant, but rather than hire extras, they simply make the background incredibly blurry to the point you can’t see anything. Another scene sees Richard approaching a girl in a club which seems completely abandoned. Often the sloppy editing means the last syllable or two of Richard’s advice segments is jarringly cut off (not that it’s any great loss admittedly). The acting by the women (the ones who aren’t just mute trophy beings) ranges from bad to passably decent. The women give solid performances of ad libbing their confusion, bemusement, annoyance or outright disgust at Richard, but seem to struggle to convincingly act attracted to him (though even a brilliant actress would find this tricky).
With Super Seducer failing spectacularly for interactivity, even by the relatively low standards of FMV games, the only scarce entertainment to be found is watching how hilarious Richard’s stupidity can be can be. With his manic energy, strong South London accent and the staggering ignorance he displays while attempting to interact with other human beings, he comes across like Sacha Baron Cohen’s classic comedy character: Ali G. When Richard tries to challenge a woman who studies Russian culture, he comes out with such gems as “Well ain’t Russia just a desolate wasteland of ‘orrible people?”, “Why you like Russia so much? Is you a Communist or somefink?” or “But Putin has been in power for like a 100 years and is the leader of the KGB innit?” When Richard attempts to kiss a girl he meets on the street and is rebuffed, he throws up his hands in exasperation, declaring “It’s just a kiss! I ain’t tryin’ to fuck you in the arse or nufink.”
Though so much of Richard’s dialogue is reminiscent of an Ali G performance when you make the “wrong” choices, even when he makes the “right” choices, he comes across like a deceptive creep or an inane imbecile. For example, my jaw hit the flaw when one “right” choice was to advise a woman who works at an animal shelter to “replace” a lost cat with a similar looking one without telling the cat’s family about it. And the woman actually takes this moronic, immoral advice, with Richard smugly explaining that it’s good to use deception like this to expose weaknesses in a woman’s character. When Richard isn’t making the “right” choice by deceiving women, he’s feigning interest in their occupation or hobbies in the most eye-rollingly dull way, or spouting out generic platitudes like “Yeah, it’s good to do a job you’re passionate about, not just working for the money”. Though admittedly I’m a man, I can’t imagine that having different anatomy would make me any less likely to stare blankly in complete boredom at Richard attempting to make conversation with me.
Super Seducer is terrible for dating advice because it applies a one-size-fits-all approach to dating, which isn’t terribly helpful when you’re dealing with women, who are a group of billions of highly diverse individuals. A good dating advice book/movie/game might give advice about empathizing with women and understanding them as individuals. It might help you with where to find women who are interested in casual hookups if that’s what you’re looking for, or help you find places where you can date women with similar interests if you want a real relationship. Instead, Super Seducer makes it clear very early on that “Women aren’t as sexual as men” (quoth Richard) and need to have sex carefully manipulated out of them. This sort of advice is not only bad, but also demonstrably wrong. I wouldn’t claim to know that many women, but I’ve had some women try to grope me within seconds of meeting me, while others are life-long asexuals with no more than a scientific interest in sex. Every woman – every person – is unique, and you’ll never be able to understand them if you treat them like trophies to be won.
You can’t even laugh at it, let alone with it.
Even the scant joy of laughing at Richard’s idiocy starts to wear thin as the game goes on. There’s only so many variations of the outlandishly bad choices they’ve managed to come up with. It gets repetitive repeatedly watching Richard getting slapped for trying to grope women at inappropriate times or showing them his dick (which is thankfully only implied off camera rather than shown). Though there’s a decent amount of “lifespan” to the “game” if you want to watch through all the different choices, the novelty value of Super Seducer will wear thin long before you’ve explored every possible permutation of Richard’s insanity and inanity.
Super Seducer isn’t really a game, even in the most bare-bones sense, so there’s no real challenge or excitement to be found in it. If you’re a luckless chap who needs help with the ladies, any advice you’ll get from this title is either staggeringly obvious, dumb or downright creepy. While preparing this review I found out that Richard La Ruina actually initiated a DMCA takedown of a video on Super Seducer that was modestly critical of his methods. He even left an angry defensive comment railing against “virgin nerd shy guys” before the video had even reached 150 views (Richard must have been refreshing the search page for himself constantly). It turns out this supposedly cool, laid-back ladies man is actually desperately insecure. That made it hard to even enjoy Super Seducer in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way, because despite claiming he can help other men with their confidence, Richard can’t even laugh at himself.
Final Verdict: 1/5
Available on: PC (reviewed); Publisher: RLR Training Inc, Red Dahlia Interactive ; Developer: RLR Training Inc ; Players: 1 ; Released: March 6th 2018
Full Disclosure: This review is based on a review copy given to hey Poor Player by the publisher