Saturday, September 14, 2013

VGR Leisure Suit Larry 1

Since I just recently finished playing through the Kickstarter-financed Reload remake recently, here's a review of the original!

A "graphic" adventure game that took its title a bit too literally.

Don't worry, it's all played for laughs, it's just a parody!

Don't miss out my previous Adventure games-related reviews!

VGR: Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards later renamed Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards also known as LSL1
From Sierra On-Line
Played on PC
Also available on Amiga, Atari ST & other old home computers from the 1980s

Type Adventure game
Year 1987

When thinking about the adventure game genre and it's origin, people often mention names like Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman as the big influences. But I like to think Al Lowe should be considered just as well.

While Lucasfilm Games/LucasArts went on developing all these big memorable cartoony games, Sierra was proudly producing more challenging games just as good.

Different games, more difficult since you could actually die in those and in which a score was omnipresent and a big objective for the player.

But I'm not reviewing "Police Quest", or "King's Quest", nor "Space Quest"... none of these more serious "Quest" games.

Instead I'm here to talk about the black sheep of the Sierra games, the one that went on becoming the most memorable and fan-loved over the years. The one and only Leisure Suit Larry!

Started as an updated version of the older title "Softporn Adventure" - which was a porn text adventure (that's right!) from 1981 on the Apple II computers - the game quickly went off rails when the crew saw more interest in a possible comedic title rather than a straight forward visual pornographic game.

Good thing, right?

Developed by Al Lowe, Mark Crowe & Ken Williams, the game turned into a parody of the above original, a comedic adventure game where the goal of the main protagonist is simply only to "get lucky".

No gratuitous nudity or bad taste, only double-entendres., jokes and meta-commentary on what it is being an adventure game protagonist.

Via a classic 1980s point & click interface, you play as Larry. Larry Laffer. Larry's in his late 30s and he has just decided... it's time to lose his virginity!

Your dream girl may be only a mouse click away!

In your "Leisure SuitTM", you start with nothing but 94$USD in your pocket and big hopes in your face. 

Larry just arrived in Lost Wages - a Las Vegas parody. You start in front of a Hotel/bar, Lefty's.

From there it's up to you to make your way from these buildings to a Casino district, a discotheque, a chapel, a convenience store and other places!

The original Leisure Suit Larry used a text input system for your action. Even though the game advised you to use common verbs such as Look and Use, you could try other verbs for either humorous commentary when it wasn't identified or easter eggs and secrets when the correct word was found.

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards is an hilarious adventure with great writing.

The game is rather tongue-in-cheek and doesn't shy from mocking itself or the genre. The whole absurdity of controlling a character via a computer mouse. It's self-referential and there's a lot of meta-jokes regarding games and its developers (Al Lowe first in line).

Larry is a bit stupid but doesn't mean it really.

You have to understand the video games industry as it exists today didn't back in the day. So people were making stuff up as they went along, genres were being defined.

Leisure Suit Larry can get a bit tricky at times, and there were no hint systems back them.

That means you have to be able to read in-between the lines and the jokes to find the necessary clues to progress.

Most actions and end of "quests" (not defined by a term in the actual game, but you get a sense of these challenges as you face the situations) result in a good score.

The thing is to always look at every item and inch of the screen when you hit a new screen. Use the information you gathered to decide on the actions. Larry will get more items in his inventory and you will be able to progress that way.

Leisure Suit Larry is a comedic game, but an adult-oriented one.

Don't expect full on explicit content though. They kept it classy.

Larry will find several beauties, and possible love interests. His first encounter, a prostitute (!), might help him lose his virginity, but then you will find actual would be-long term relationships. Such as Fawn, a clubber, Faith, a receptionist, and finally the proverbial Eve, simply named that, Eve.

But who will be Larry's ultimate love partner? (answer-hint: everything always turn for the worse...)

Sure those sexy pixelated ladies might pose like pinups but they are always treated like actual human beings and won't less Larry get away for anything.

Money is also an important part of the game, introducing another concept you won't usually find in LucasArts games.

Since each travel in Taxi around town requires cash, monetary economics is a big part of the game.... to a point.

There are slot machines and other one-armed bandits inside and around the casino.

But since you can save your progress, as usual point & click games, you can double your budget pretty fast. It's a fun way to make use of the game system to progress.

At the end of the day, the real downfall of the first Leisure Suit Larry game is that it's really short.

Even by the genre's standards.

But still, it's a pretty funny parody. Nothing to graphic, nothing to out of taste.

All done in a good fun, it mocks both genders' stereotypes, it parodies teen movies from the 80s/porn films/adventure games and even its development staff!

And let's not forget the fantastic catchy Leisure Suit Larry theme composed by Al Lowe which has gone to be synonymous with the series!

Overall, it's a fun recommended adventure everyone should at least give it a chance once.

Don't let its raunchy overlook fool you, the game is actually a fun solid and memorable adventure game. A bit on the short side like I said, but very fun to explore. The puzzles make logical sense and there's plenty of humor to laugh with.

I discovered LSL as a child and I like to think I grew up ok, so... (Granted, I barely understood english back then)

The original might look awfully dated, since it's an old DOS videogame. But that's the reason why there's also a VGA-update. Renamed Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards and released on 1991 for then-computers at the time. It used the updated Sierra engine from the 1990s. The text-input was out and instead replaced by a direct icon selection. That's usually the version most people know actually. And since it's only a 256 color facial lift and with much better simplified controls, the original game behind is still intact 100%.

And more recently there also was the Kickstarted-founded update. It's both a remake and a reimagining adding new puzzles, a whole new sidequest and girl. Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded was developed by N-Fusion and Replay Games, with Al Lowe back on the franchise. This 2013 update improved upon both versions of LSL1, taking cues from both really, adding HD graphics, a voice acting which wasn't added until the sixth game and some more meta-jokes since the game takes place in the 80s and it's a modern remake. I will probably quickly review this version by itself one of these days.
I give it:
2.5 / 3 Murrays!

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