Welcome to the first edition of RetroRewind. RetroRewind will be a new series of articles appearing on Constantly Calibrating from time to time. The idea behind them is to review any games that elicit a sense of nostalgia or long-gone, but not forgotten, joy in gamers. This can be any game that is either 6 years or older and/or appeared on a prior console generation. The games can be from any console or handheld system as well as PC gaming. So sit back and enjoy as we journey back to 1987, and 1991, for Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards.
Leisure Larry was, and still is, the brainchild of Al Lowe, former game designer of the sadly defunct Serra Entertainment Inc. As many of you know, Larry Laffer will soon be gracing your computer screen again in Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded. As of this writing the Kickstarter campaign is only $30k short of its goal with 8 days left to go; so it is safe to assume that Larry will in fact be with us in time for the holiday season. Just what we need, a Larry Laffer Christmas…that in no way made my skin crawl.
With the Kickstarter campaign coming to a close I thought I would spend its last week replaying all of the Leisure Suit Larry for our new RetroRewind series of articles. Every day this week I will be replaying a game from Larry’s history all the way through Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail. No I will not be replaying Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude or Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, and you can not make me. After each playthrough I’ll post a review up here to wet your glorious eyeholes, and hopefully only your eyeholes. For now let us start at the beginning with the original Leisure Suit Larry and it’s 1991 remake.
The original Leisure Suit Larry is the tale of Larry Laffer and his journey to city of Lost Wages (a clever play on Las Vegas) in search of the what all 40-year-old males are looking for: A way to lose his virginity. Isn’t that just adorable? Larry’s journey takes him down many paths in search of the right woman. Well, one path to be exact. Hey, this is a classic adventure game of the late-80’s; linear games were the bread and butter of the gaming world at this time. Larry can travel all around Lost Wages and its stylish five locations: the Convenience Store; Disco; Casino; Wedding Chapel; and the most famous bar of them all, as stated by Destructoid, Lefty’s Bar.
Larry journeyed from location to location in classic adventure gaming form picking up or examining every item, or woman, in his path. The original game and it’s remake have drastically different user interfaces. The 1991 remake works like many of the more modern Sierra, LucasArts, or even TellTale point & click adventure games, in that you used your mouse to point and click things. By right-clicking on the mouse you can cycle through assorted actions for Larry such as walk, look, touch, lick, and unzip. Didn’t I tell you Larry was one classy SOB.
The original game had you typing in all of your responses and actions, while not letting you even use a mouse; so no pointing at woman and clicking them all sexy like for you good sir. If you wanted Larry to order a whiskey at the bar you would have to use the arrow-keys to walk him over to an empty stool; type “sit stool”; type “talk bartender” or “order drink”; then type “whiskey” when Lefty asked what you would like to drink. Lets say you want Larry to take his clothes off. Well that would require you to type “take clothes off” and then situation depending the text-based narrator would either give you a quippy response or Larry would get naked. Now maybe you like to test boundaries and want to see if Larry will prematurely ejaculate all over the hooker at Lefty’s; well I’m sure you can figure out what to type for that. I’m not here to judge.
Finally, after an hour or so of journeying around Lost Wages, assuming you didn’t die in some horrific way, you’ll find your way up to the penthouse of the casino where a lovely lady named Eve is lounging in a hot tub. At this point Larry has had one hell of a night and a nice relaxing soak is just what he’s looking for. It doesn’t hurt that a beautifully pixelated naked woman is in said hot tub. Larry hops in and offers Eve the most obvious of gifts: an apple. After some of the highly enticing text scrolls across the screen Larry and Eve make their way to the bedroom for a fireworks show full of pleasure; watched on by Ken Williams, CEO at the time of Sierra, who is watching from the room’s closet.
So, lets clear the air right now. While I did play each Leisure Suit Larry game between the ages of 11 to 14, I never played the original version of Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards. Back at that time I thought the newest version of something was obviously the only one that mattered. The only exception to this rule was with Star Wars, but that is a whole different story. I admit it and am ashamed by it, because the original version is superior to the VGA version in quite a few ways. Don’t get me wrong, I love the VGA remake, but the ability to type out commands to solve problems is just a far more enjoyable experience. If I could take the graphics and music that actually plays of the remake and infused that with the ability to type out specific and explicit commands for Larry, then I would. Hopefully the fine folks at Replay Games will look into adding this feature into the latest remake. I honestly doubt it, but at this point I would be incredibly excited to see it make a return to gaming.
Later today I start up playing Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places (AKA Leisure Suit Larry 2) with a RetroRewind coming sometime tomorrow. Stay tuned and let me know what you think. Don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter campaign and make sure you donate generously. Larry Laffer needs all the help he can get.