Lester the Unlikely has 22 levels.
In Lester, you only have three health. You also have three lives. When those are all gone, you have three continues. After that, it’s game over.
There is absolutely no save feature, checkpoints, or password system. That means you have to beat the game in one sitting. If you lose all your continues, you have to start from the beginning of the game.
There’s a weapon and item slot. Some weapons you can pick up and use only once, like a rock. The items are to advance through the level, such as a diamond to burn through a wooden door.
The movement is unbearably slow and stiff. It feels like you’re moving a character made out of cement.
To jump, you hit B, but Lester doesn’t jump up. He does a crazy leap that will probably get you damaged or killed. To jump up, you have to hold up and then hit B.
To grab a ledge, you have to be at the precise point to grab onto it, otherwise Lester won’t reach up. It’s incredibly annoying.
Jumping onto vines or moving from one raft to another is incredibly difficult because of the controls. If you miss these jumps, you’re dead.
Sometimes, the buttons are completely unresponsive. I would try to run and jump across a gap of spikes but Lester wouldn’t jump despite pressing the B button. This happened several times throughout my playing, resulting in me dying.
You can’t crouch and attack. This would be helpful because Lester would have better reach attacking enemies, rather than just standing up and kicking like a girl.
For whatever reason, one of the main features in Lester is that he has his own personality. Of course he can’t use that personality to score chicks, only to annoy the hell out of the player.
Visual Concepts even boasts in the manual about this completely stupid feature:
No other video game has a feature quite like Lester’s artificial personality. Sometimes, it seems that Lester has a mind of his own.
No other video game has this feature because it’s pure garbage. This “feature” greatly hinders gameplay. Lester does have a mind of his own, and that’s not a good thing.
You completely lose control of Lester at various, random points. He stops moving, shakes his head, and makes some weird crying sound. When an enemy or obstacle (like a big jump) comes up, Lester will actually run away in the opposite direction. If you’re in the middle of running, Lester will stop moving.
It often happens at the worst time, when you need Lester to do something like jump or attack an enemy. Since the controls are awful, it becomes a chore every time he shows his “personality”.
Lester runs away after getting his game for Christmas
On the “Cave” level, there are drops of water that fall from the ceiling that can damage Lester. As I was playing, Lester ran away from a drop of water, completely off a ledge, all the way down to his death.
I lost a life because of Lester’s great “personality”. He ran away. From a drop of water. That has to be one of the lamest deaths in video game history.
That’s another thing. The damage system makes no sense. Lester can swim for miles and miles to the nearest island, but one drop of water on his head takes a third of his life away. What in the hell?
Sometimes he’ll even take damage from jumping down a ledge. The damage in the game is too sensitive.
The enemies are also seriously annoying. Seagulls can grab you (you can’t find them) and take you far back, sometimes as far back as the beginning of the stage. This forces you to run through the level all over again. With the stiff controls and whacked out gameplay, it’s almost unbearable.
There are bats that you have to scare away by throwing a rock at them. The only problem is, once they spot you, they continue to surround and attack you until you die. They don’t leave you alone, not even if you run away. If you’re in the middle of a bat attack, throwing the rock won’t work, because Lester throws it beyond the bats. You essentially just die.
Here’s the first level of Lester the Unlikely:
There’s also lots of one hit kill enemies, such as Tiki statues or villagers armed with spears. Since they’re enemies, you think you have to fight or run past them. Often there’s some trick (that has nothing to do with combat) to these types of enemies that you won’t figure out until after multiple deaths.
Lester the Unlikely has a few “boss fights”, if you want to call them that. There’s an Ape and Spider fight, and it’s totally unclear on what you’re supposed to do to win. Seeing as how there are no saves or passwords, this is a serious problem.
The levels are simple and boring. The musical score is nothing exciting either. In fact, it gets quit agitating hearing it loop over and over.
Lester involves lots of memorization because enemies will appear out of nowhere, the ground will give way, etc. You have to memorize jumps and enemy patterns. Almost all games require this, but with Lester, the entire package turns this into a major turnoff.