Third Time is the (Lack of) Charm!
It’s a truly bizarre time when the rich fantasy worlds in games rendered with increasingly advanced computer graphics are actually significantly more realistic than an FMV series focusing on dating advice. What’s most unbelievable about the Super Seducer series is the idea that if you act like series protagonist Richard LaRuina, you’ll somehow get laid. The first two Super Seducer games have Richard acting like the most vile creep imaginable yet still always getting the girl in the end. This is provided the player selects the “right” choices for him, even if those answers involve insulting, manipulating or lying to the object of his affections. Super Seducer 2 ramped the absurdity and spectacle of the first Super Seducer to astonishing levels that increased the wacky comedy and campy fun exponentially. Can Super Seducer 3 buck the trend of this miserable pandemic and create an experience that’s even more insane and irresistible to poke fun at than the last?
The immediately obvious answer to this question is no. Super Seducer 3 portrays a world where the Covid-19 seemingly does not exist, but it’s clear from the start that the pandemic has had an effect on the scope of the project. Whereas the first level of Super Seducer 2 had Richard riding in on a tank to attend a lavish garden party at a mansion, the first level of SS3 has him languidly shopping at a nearly abandoned supermarket. Of course, this is the Super Seducer world so the woman he meets is a busty Swedish blonde who’s doing her shopping while made up to the nines, wearing a plunging top, skin-tight jeans and foot-high heels. Like everyone else in the game, she’s not wearing a mask , and seems happy to get up close and personal with Richard within hours of meeting him. Right off the bat, it’s clear that this is a fantasy wish-fulfilment world that’s distant from our own, and any romantic tips Richard gives feel even more dated than before.
While Super Seducer 2 had an actual woman joining Richard in scenes where they would offer dating advice and comment on the player’s choices, SS3 instead has Richard speaking to the camera on his own. This loss of a female perspective on Richard’s advice makes these sections a lot less interesting as it’s simply Richard lecturing us rather than having a conversation where he’s sometimes challenged. Though Richard is surrounded by a bevy of scantily clad buxom babes, they now give no opinions, just mutely staring into the distance or boredly scrolling through their phones. I was playing the pre-release censored version of Super Seducer 3, so these scenes were heavily blurred as if I’d just stumbled into a brothel after laser eye surgery gone horribly wrong.
Richard brags in the introductory video that there will be plenty of “dumb shit” to enjoy when the player picks an outlandishly wrong choice, and there is some truth to this. Richard is actually quite a talented improvisational actor, especially when he really hams up his stupidity on some of the wrong decisions. When Richard is flexing in the gym you can choose for him to burst into the women’s locker room. When they’re understandably angry at him, he launches into a spiel about how gender is a social construct and thus they should all be allowed to get naked together. In this scene and many others you can see Richard’s co-stars are struggling not to laugh at him because of his wacky expressions and his unique talent for playing the part of an idiot savant.
Unfortunately a good number of the choices go from salaciously goofy to just rather unpleasant. In one scene, you can choose to have Richard go from cooking a romantic dinner for his paramour to threatening her with a knife and demanding she take her dress off. Other choices like this simply have Richard abruptly groping or otherwise sexually assaulting a woman to her shock and dismay. These sort of dark or extreme choices quickly become repetitive and depressing, and they really dampen the fun mood.
There are some jarring tonal shifts between the insane and mundane, which really highlight just how dull Richard can be when he’s supposedly making the right choices. The supermarket scene, for example, is massively slowed down when Richard and his companion start having a surprisingly long conversation about whether there’s an afterlife. Predictably, Richard believes there isn’t one, so we should just have as much fun as possible when we’re still here (which is probably why his goal seems to be shagging every aspiring actress and model in continental Europe). Likewise, there’s a part during the gym level where Richard plays what’s supposed to be a fun game with a woman where they give their life stories in 45 seconds, but this rote recitation of their lives ended up feeling more like 45 minutes as it dragged on and on.
The biggest problem Super Seducer 3 has is that it is still, once again, straddled painfully between some outdated pick-up artist handbook and a campy, silly FMV adventure game. Plenty of the advice isn’t even remotely relevant in the lockdown era and some of it relies on contrived PUA routines that most canny modern women would probably be able to spot. A lot of the advice is only relevant if you’re Richard LaRuina himself, such as when the right choice is presented as bragging about his career in FMV video games (even after it’s established the woman he’s talking to has only ever played The Sims). There are some half-decent conversation starters and social games mixed in there, but it’s unlikely the player will be able to remember them amidst the dross.
The Leisure Suit Larry series is a classic franchise because we’re laughing at the hapless main character’s bumbling attempts to romance the fairer sex, but he becomes something of an lovable underdog who we want to help succeed. This is in contrast to Richard, who one moment is acting like a drooling, sex-mad idiot, and the next he’s lecturing us as some sort of smooth relationship expert. Since the game is trying to have it both ways, it’s harder to really enjoy the experience as the brilliantly dumb, goofy FMV adventure it could have been. If Super Seducer 3 had fully embraced Richard’s idiotic persona, which he’s skilled at portraying, it’d be much more fun.
In spite of Super Seducer 3 losing much of the grandeur of the second entry there are some new additions to the formula. There are some sections where the player has to abruptly complete some QTE sequences to perform better at whatever task he’s attempting. I was caught totally off-guard by the appearance of the first sequence, and failed it, but I was kind of glad I did because Richard makes a brilliantly slapstick show of failing to cook some fajitas, flinging bits of marinated vegan chicken all over the counter. There are also more branching options for the player to select in each level and these are handily laid out in a Detroit: Become Human style flowchart for the player to check on in case he wants to explore all the different paths and endings.
Whereas in Super Seducer 2, one level could have Richard stay at a party or chase after a woman in a Ferrari, Super Seducer 3’s level branching paths tend to be more bland and predictable. In one level, Richard lures a Belarusian lady back to his flat in an attempt to engineer a threesome with a sexy Dutch dancer he knows. In one ending she succumbs to the charms of Richard and his gal pal, and in another she decides that despite having come from a country under a brutal dictatorship, having sex with Richard LaRuina is one thing she can’t endure. Though this ending is fairly understandable, it’s an example of the more dull endings on offer in this pandemic-era Super Seducer.
In the opening title screen, Richard LaRuina is portrayed wearing Jedi-like robes akin to Star Wars, and this is apt because Super Seducer 3 is definitely the Return of the Jedi to Super Seducer 2’s Empire Strikes Back. Though this third entry loses some of the racism and sexism from its predecessor, it also loses much of the grandiose spectacle and the sobering balance of a female perspective on the hornball protagonist. Unless you’re willing to wade through plenty of creepiness and tedious attempts at dating advice to laugh at Richard’s oddball antics, I wouldn’t recommend a purchase here.
Richard LaRuina sees himself as a master of the art of pick up, but Super Seducer 3 is a game you’ll probably want to put down.
Final Verdict: 2/5
Available on: PC (Reviewed) ; Publisher: RLR Training Inc; Developer: RLR Training Inc; Players: 1; Released: February 15th, 2021;
Full Disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Super Seducer 3: The Final Seduction given to Hey Poor Player by the publisher