Leisure Suit Larry: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards

1987 Sierra On-Line
Designed by Al Lowe
Reviewed 1997 February 12

Rating +0 Linearity narrow
Reasonability reasonable Connectivity moderate
Difficulty pedestrian Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned parser Real-time minor

You are Larry Laffer, a would-be swinging bachelor, dangerously near middle age but still unsuccessful at love -- and lust. You're not very good at fashion, either. Your mission is to answer the cry of your biological clock: to find a mate. Your quest teaches you that there's more to love than lust.

The game is mostly about laughs, but there's a little plot lying buried under the gags. Larry makes his way from the cheapest sex to a somewhat deeper relationship. The humour comes mostly from the crazy stereotypes Larry has to deal with along his journey, and the silly or disgusting things he does to further his quest for meaningful sex. It's bawdy, scatalogical, and crude, but it's honest about it. Larry's desperation and naïvity somehow become cute.

The challenges Larry faces are well integrated into the story. They're mostly inventory based puzzles and character interactions: talking to and doing things with the people you meet. The challenges are a natural part of Larry's world, and the solutions are a natural consequence of Larry's outlook on life. The game also plays with some gaming conventions. E.g., it's possible for Larry to die or otherwise end the game suddenly and unexpectedly. However, these situations are played for fun: "dying" is part of the joke, and in one case part of a public service message.

While Larry can roam fairly freely through his world, the game is linear. The challenges are a good laugh, but they are also somewhat easy. They're just hard enough to make you think like Larry and have fun.

Leisure Suit Larry gives you a third person perspective on a cartoon setting. You control Larry's movements via the cursor keys, and perform actions via a simple text parser. The graphics technology is crude, but the game does a fairly good job of presenting Larry's world with these constraints. It makes effective use of a primitive form of cut-scenes to help the humour and plot along.

Leisure Suit Larry is a pleasant diversion. It's not much of a game in the challenge department, but it is a good exploration of Larry's world and his character.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.

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    David Tanguay's Game Reviews
    Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.