Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!

1996 Sierra On-Line
Designed by Al Lowe, Don Munsil
Reviewed 1997 June 30

Rating +1 Linearity wide
Reasonability reasonable Connectivity moderate
Difficulty challenging Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned parser Real-time minor

You are, once again, Larry Laffer, looking to get laid. This time, Larry takes a cruise on the lust boat. There is a competition of various events during the cruise, and the winner gets to spend a week with the luscious Captain Thygh. You must find a way to win all the events. Along the way, you will also want to charm the knickers off (and on!) various other guests.

The Leisure Suit Larry series is for adults only. The games consist mostly of a collection of sexual puns, inuendo, and escapades. It also uses many offensive stereotypes. There, you were warned.

The competition provides a good framework for the story. The various characters are fun to meet, especially Larry's would-be conquests, who are all given an amusing background. Things tend to cool off with the dialogue, however, which mostly consists of tired, obvious puns. I especially disliked the narrator's voice: it is very irritating (probably intentionally), sucking whatever humour out of the lines.

The competition also provides a good framework for the challenges. Your goals are always clear, even if the means aren't. There are several clever puzzles, but most are fairly straightforward. They flow nicely from one to another, and they are all understandable (in hindsight, at least). On the down side, you are required to talk to everybody about everything, and then repeat the process all over again as each iteration reveals new topics to discuss. This might not be so tedious if the dialogue was sharper.

Larry 7 tries to add some of the flexibility of the old text interface into the modern mouse clicking interface: when you go to use an object, you are presented with a menu of actions, one of which is "other" which you can fill in with a verb of your choice. Similarly, you can specify your own topic when talking to characters. Although only sparingly used in the default setup, it helps to open up gameplay. I hope the technique catches on.

The music is perfectly suitable to Larry -- you can almost feel the polyester. The artwork and animations are also well done. There are many little sight-gags floating about the backgrounds, so keep your eyes open. Aside from the narrator, I found the voices suitable and well done.

While Love for Sail! is well designed and competently produced, it somehow seems flat. The fossilised puns and tedious re-conversing slow the game down too much. The challenges are not notable enough on their own to overcome this. If the game matches your funny bone (e.g., you thought the other Larry games were hilarious), then you'll certainly find this an excellent game.

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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