Welcome to another installment of RetroRewind. Today we bring you the sixth installment in our tales of Larry Laffer. RetroRewind is a few days delayed this week due to the unfortunate, cruel mistress that is real life. We do have a huge announcement on the subject of Leisure Suit Larry to bring you! Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded is officially funded! As of this morning the Kickstarter campaign has concluded with Larry raising over $655k. What does this mean for Mr. Laffer? Well it means that the upcoming game will have assorted updates to the story, including a new “conquest” for Larry with her own storyline. Now with that news out of the way we take you back into the sixth of Larry’s journeys: Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape up or Slip Out!
Larry Laffer is journeying along Venice Beach, checking out all the body-builders working their stuff. Suddenly a comically large limo pulls up with a producer in-tow looking for a gentleman to become a bachelor on a new dating show. Larry, being the superb example of male-perfection obviously accepts the gig. The show is Stallions hosted by Leisure Suit Larry 2’s Biff Stiff. Over the course of the game show Larry ends up losing out on his previous cruise ship dating show glory, but he does win a most-expenses paid weekend at La Costa Lotta Spa & Resort. Now Larry’s latest journey can begin!
Honestly, I’m going to stop the storytelling portion of this article there. Usually during RetroRewind I’ll start off regaling you with the game’s story, followed by a segment that I cleverly call “My Take”. That is not the plan this time. The sad truth is that I found the story of Leisure Suit Larry 6 to be extremely limited compared to previous games. Larry just moves from random trampy girl to random slutty girl trying to get laid, but with limited reason.
Now I realize Larry is the horndog protagonist, but I always enjoyed the earlier Larry games due to the heart they conveyed. This was just a series of goofy conquests with little logic to them, finally culminating in Larry’s conquest of one Shamara Payne. Speaking of that name, yes it is a play on champagne. I honestly love the Bond-styled approach to changing up woman’s names according to a theme. Other attempted bonings of Larry include: Burgundy, Charlotte Donay, and a lovely lady by name of Shablee. So, yes I love the naming scheme, but an interesting naming scheme does not a cohesive storyline make.
You might be saying to yourself: Well since when have the Larry games had any kind of logical storyline? To you I say why don’t you go look at my previous articles! Too lazy? Well fine let me give you the basic rundown of plotlines from LSL 1-5 just so you can see how much of short change this game is in the story department:
- Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: LSL1 was the previous record holder for non-existent stories, but it was a product of its era. Still, Larry journeys to Lost Wages in search of losing his virginity. He comes across a beautiful woman in a club, marries her, and is subsequently robbed by her. Laffer then snaps and nails a random hooker from the bar where his story begins. Ultimately he wanders up to the penthouse of the casino and finds a beautiful, naked woman who is into him. Game Over. It works extremely well even if the story is lacking.
- Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (In Several Wrong Places): Larry gets dumped by his nearly imaginary girlfriend Eve. He gets the idea to cheat and win the lottery. Wandering into the local TV studio he stumbles onto the set of dating show, wins, and gets tickets for a cruise. Larry then ends up winning the largest jackpot in lottery history, which seemingly sets him up for life. Before boarding the cruise he decides to check out the newly opened music shop down the street. A few misspoken phrases later and he gets mistaken for a KGB agent. The rest of the game progresses as Larry attempts to avoid the KGB agents pursuing him. Ultimately he escapes a plane and freefalls onto an island paradise where he meets a gorgeous woman who immediately falls in love with him. Larry decides to help depose the ruler of the island to win the fair-maidens hand. Laffer succeeds, marries the beautiful Kalalau, and decides to live out his life on Nontoonyt Island. The End…
- Leisure Suit Larry III: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of Pulsating Pectorals: After a week of playing Leisure Suit Larry I think I can say with complete confidence that this is my favorite of Larry Laffer’s stories. Well, that is until I replay Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail later today. That was always my favorite growing up, but who knows if that will hold true as an
matureadult. LSL3 starts with Larry getting dumped by his former love, and wife, Kalalau for a woman. Larry sets a goal to get horizontal with as many woman as possible, but no matter how hard he tries something always goes wrong. After getting into better shape than he’s been in years he stumbles across Passionate Patti playing piano in the casino’s bar. After a…achem…passionate night of love-making Larry falls in love with Patti, only to hear her moan another man’s name. Larry runs off into the night shortly thereafter. Patti then pursues Larry into the wilds of Nontoonyt Island in the hopes of spending her life with him. The game ends with them falling through a magic doorway onto the Sierra backlot. Fin.
- Leisure Suit Larry 4: The Case of the Missing Floppies: This game doesn’t actually exist, but if you would like to read my review of a fictional version of the game feel free to click the previous link.
- Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work: In LSL5 Larry has a serious case of amnesia and is incapable of remembering what happened during LSL4. Patti is on the other side of the country working at a dive bar as a pianist. In a convenient turn of events Larry is given a job to secretly videotape a trio of woman in promiscuous situations to see if they’re up to hosting America’s Sexiest Home Videos, while Patti is contacted by the FBI about investigating the music industry for subliminal messages. Both Larry and Patti end up at dinner at the White House where they fall madly in love and Patti discovers what happened to Larry’s memory. Interestingly enough, this is probably one of the most story-driven of the Leisure Suit Larry games, while also being the least humorous. Game complete.
This brings us back to Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! The simple truth is that while LSL6 might have the flimsiest storyline of the Larry games, it might also be the most amusing. The jokes hit far more often than they miss and the sight gags are topnotch. At the end Larry gets to spend a night with the both virginal and spiritual Shamara Payne.
I will keep this section short this time as I think I covered most of my opinions during the story section this time.
As some might notice from the above screenshots, I was playing the original DOS-version of Leisure Suit Larry 6. Why, you might ask? Well I spent a couple of hours trying to get the Windows remake, with higher-res graphics and voice-overs, with no success. For some reason the game decided to not like my computer, which honestly might have worked out for the best. As a kid I refused to play anything other than the high-res version of LSL6 and was never able to complete it do to its frequent crashes. So be warned, these comments are for the low-res, voiceless version of the game.
On the subject of graphic I can say that Larry appeared to be on par with his appearance in Leisure Suit Larry 5, however just about every other character in the game appeared significantly downgraded. Honestly I had an easier time distinguishing people in the first three games than I did in this one. The conversation windows did receive a nice boost though with the use of animated characters speaking. One additional thought on the graphics: all I will say is that the color palette used in LSL6, much like the color aesthetic of the 90s itself, does not age well in the slightest.
The User Interface is vastly improved in this game. No longer do you have to scroll to the top of the screen to force a hidden menu to appear when you don’t feel like right-clicking through actions. Now you can just go to the mid-point of the screen where all actions and your entire inventory sits. While it is a simple change, it still made the game vastly more enjoyable.
Sound received the usual boost in all but one place: the sound used for the points system. In previous games you would hear some sort of chime or bell when you scored points in-game. In LSL6 it instead sounded like my sound card was being ground into a fine paste, followed by being forced through the speak grille. The first time it went off I honestly jumped out of my chair in fear. Otherwise the sound design for the game is great. The music is perfectly situated and completely hyped me up for playing Leisure Suit Larry 7 in the very near future.
My one big issue aside from what has already been covered is the complete disappearance of Passionate Patti. What the hell happened to her? One moment she is a character so completely vital to the Larry mythology that she became a playable character; the next she’s not even mentioned in passing. I realize they may have wanted to go a different avenue for future Larry games, but come on, throw us some sort of off-hand comment about where she went!
Ok, calming down from that let me leave you with this lovely link. That right there is a page which shows you the total money raised on both Kickstarter and PayPal for Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded to date. While you’re there you can also pre-order the game for $20 if you happened to miss out on the campaign.
Check back later this weekend for RetroRewind: Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!