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Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (PC) artwork

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (PC) review


"Leisure Suit Larry (LSL,) despite notoriety after its first release was less disgusting and offensive than its sequels, most of which overused weak riffs on material from the original game anyway. It's surely one of Sierra's very best graphic adventures, as it doesn't take itself too seriously and goes beyond just some hapless forty-year-old's quest to lose his virginity. It pokes fun at the awkwardness we all felt during our teenage years and makes Larry a poor schlemeil who can't even do the b..."



Leisure Suit Larry (LSL,) despite notoriety after its first release was less disgusting and offensive than its sequels, most of which overused weak riffs on material from the original game anyway. It's surely one of Sierra's very best graphic adventures, as it doesn't take itself too seriously and goes beyond just some hapless forty-year-old's quest to lose his virginity. It pokes fun at the awkwardness we all felt during our teenage years and makes Larry a poor schlemeil who can't even do the basic things right. Yet it's not as explicit or deliberately insulting as the later games, and so the player grows to like Larry through his stupid hand-of-god deaths that covered up system limitations. Larry generally avoids the kinkier side of things brought to attention by the weird side characters just as hapless as Larry but more experienced. LSL even has a great soundtrack you can whistle and a "boss key!"

Larry starts outside a bar, where you can direct his movement with arrows and type in commands to pause him. For instance, you can ORDER DRINK or SAY PASSWORD. If Larry's in the right area, something interesting will happen. But actually, it's when he stumbles into the wrong areas that really interesting things happen. LSL doesn't have many areas, and it cuts down on the usual boundaries or "you can't go that way" by establishing innumerable alleys and dangerous intersections where Larry gets mugged and run over, respectively. He gets beaten to death for not having cab fare and shot for forgetting to pay for a porn mag or cheap wine. It's not just that Larry's deficient, but rather, that other forces who are deficient are able to BS their way into making Larry seem more hopeless than he is, to punish him more than is his due for cluelessness. Even if Larry does get laid, you sense that he won't learn anything from it.

And of course the foreplay is, well, exciting. You can get pointlessly drunk at the bar, utterly ruining your controls, play the theme on the jukebox, and even flush the toilet in the musty bathroom. But eventually you need to get to a secret room behind the bar, with a pimp guarding a prostitute. In a recurring theme in the game, you need to pander to other characters' stupidity and not necessarily their sex urges. You'll meet folks more interested in getting drunk or condescending to you than in sex as you visit the other areas in the game: the convenience store and disco, then the hotel and casino.

Each of the main three areas has a woman, progressively more difficult to romance, and who reveals to Larry more of how shallow his trip is. From the prostitute whose room you leave out the window, falling into a dumpster, to gold-digging Dawn who leads you on, to the final lady in the penthouse, you must pay your dues and figure cheerfully inane puzzles out before Larry gets any. The cut scenes before and after the act are usually more rewarding for the player than the act itself. Larry getting down at a disco, or forgetting to remove his condom and zip his fly, make for some of the game's better humor.

LSL is prone to the other technical faults in so many Sierra AGI games: diagonal movement is awkward, you often need to be on a weird spot to do certain things, the game's four speeds are either too slow or too fast, and you have plenty of irritating random subgames like blackjack, where you just save every time you win. The graphics are vague, but given how so much of the later games focused on Larry's leisure suit, gold medallion, whiny voice and such, this isn't a bad thing. Larry could almost be an everyman bobbing along tensely in all white, waiting to be defiled. And while timing is more critical to sitcoms than computer games, LSL has just enough raunch or cutting comments to make up for the graphics AGI didn't have the resolution for: "Hey dork! Those pointy-toed shoes hurt!" Or, if you sit around and a dog "waters" you, people comment there.

So a lot of this can be passed of as the world being unfair to Larry, a sort of loser sex comedy without the overacting you might find in a movie or sitcom. The computer, quite simply, deadpans extraordinarily well. It strings your guilt along with jokes like customizing your condom, or "Are you sure, Larry?" Then there's the punch line, and you can laugh at things. Even the quiz you need to prove you are over eighteen produces laughs. But it actually sets up the whole theme of seventies decadence and the poor schlep on the outside of it well. Larry knows the words! He knows the moves! But he doesn't have the touch. Yet.

If you wish to play any of the early Sierra AGI games, and you don't mind crudity, LSL is definitely the one to go with. It's clever and almost sympathetic, and after all, eight-plus sequels that rehashed its jokes can't be wrong. In LSL, it's only the characters that try too hard to seem clever and risque. It's worth playing through the pointless deaths, seeing the worldly wise people no happier than Larry, and bearing the chintz of the stereotypical hotspots. Later LSLs sprawled too much with their puzzles and sexual hang-ups they wished to touch and went for the same sort of flash that LSL made fun of so effectively. But that doesn't change the fun of meeting the apple-barrel man, the drunken priest, the bum and the taxi driver on replay. Like they say, the first time is usually the best.

Rating: 8/10

aschultz's avatar
Community review by aschultz (May 28, 2009)

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zippdementia posted May 29, 2009:

This review isn't as clean as your others, and I don't just mean by the nature of the game you are reviewing. There's a lot of sentences that could've been fixed up, a lot of words dropped that shouldn't have been, such as:

"Even the quiz you need to prove you are over"

"Need to take to prove" would've read better. It also still shows the things I mentioned in your last review, concerning flow and flair. I want you to leave your godly bird's eye perch and come down to get dirty in the mud with the game. Romp with it a bit. Don't be afraid to be a participator in your own review.

Of course, the good is still there, too. You provide an interesting and honest look at an old classic, and I was with yo straight to the end.
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darketernal posted May 31, 2009:

Even though it was one of my first adventure games, LsL6 was always my favorite. The ways girls screw him up in that one, every single one, is legendary.
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sashanan posted June 02, 2009:

I was 8 on first contact with this series. My older brother played and I watched, insisting on translations at every turn as my English was entirely not serviceable. One of my best childhood memories is of his embarassment when I, confused by a BDSM scene in LSL2, asked for an explanation and he had no end of trouble finding the right words.

I think that's probably where my corruption started.
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aschultz posted June 02, 2009:

Zippdementia, thanks for your consistent commments regarding the reviews here. Your comments on my reviews are the most useful, but I enjoy seeing your take on other people's too. I know it's work to read these things! I delayed a response here, then got caught between responding here and in the RotW topic, and there was real life too.

Sashanan, strictly going by the acronym(see acronymfinder.com--between it and urbandictionary I've learned so much that wasn't on the SAT-V) you could argue there was some BDSM in LSL1. With Dawn. But I remember my friends getting to the end and describing the blow up doll scene and the Spanish Fly. They didn't explain it to me. This despite my saving them on the quiz as I knew who Spiro Agnew was!

And I also remember them having so much fun getting Larry drunk, they didn't worry about the sex.

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