Saturday, 16 February 2013

Game 29: Leisure Suit Larry III - When it Rains, it Pours

Larry Laffer Journal Entry 1: “Why do these things always have to happen to me!? Just when I thought I’d finally found true love and settled down, surrounded by beauty, everything suddenly went to hell! It’s bad enough that Kalalau has decided to divorce me, but the fact she has done so to be with a woman makes it extra painful. To make matters even worse, her father terminated my position at Natives Inc., leaving me with nothing a day after I had everything. Despite all of this misfortune, I’m choosing to see all of this in a positive light. I’m a single man on an island resort that’s filled with women looking for action. It’s time for the real Larry to step up and show all these chicks what they’ve been missing! I'm back baby!!!”


Good old Nontoonyt Island! Just how I rememberd it!

Well I’m under way!  I’ve played an hour of Leisure Suit Larry III and it’s clear that Al Lowe really did return the series to its roots after a strangely sexless first sequel. There’s already been plenty of nudity and sexual comments, and I’ve even managed to have sex while simply exploring the island. Speaking of Nontoonyt Island, things have changed a lot since I ended the plot of the evil Dr. Nonookee. The villagers that had appeared so primitive when I first arrived united to form Natives Inc. and developed the island into a tourist attraction. Apparently they all took courses in business management, public administration, sales and marketing, and then began building a full scale resort, resulting in a beachfront packed with hotels. It appeared there was going to be much more to explore this time around, but before I could do that, I was going to have to prove that I was old enough to play this game at its raunchiest!


Hey, where did all those buildings come from?

Just like the first game in the series, before you can play Larry III, you need to answer a bunch of adult related questions. However, rather than simply passing or failing, this time the game adjusts its adult themes depending on how many questions you get right. Unfortunately, the same problem that made it so difficult to pass the age verification in the first game came into play here. While I did know the answers to three out of five questions I was confronted with on my first attempt, the others meant absolutely nothing to me. I don’t know who Spiro Agnew is, so I don’t know whether he was a linebacker for Green Bay, a billionaire Greek shipping tycoon, an ex-con or pardoned. I also don’t know which of Nik-L-Nip, Vita-Cola, Moxie or Mr. Pibb was not a carbonated drink! Any question relating to sex or dating are straight forward, but those relating to events of the time or strictly American past times or products are impossible to answer for an Australian like me playing in 2012. Luckily, on my third attempt I got five very simple questions, allowing me to play at the Totally Raunchiest level.


Rather neatly, the girl on the postcard removes a piece of clothing for every question you get right.

With that out of the way, I appeared on a lookout above the trees and buildings of the island. I was informed that I hold the position of Vice-President of Marketing for Natives Inc., and that I have a lovely home with my wife Kalalau (who I married at the end of Larry 2). There was a plaque in the middle of the lookout which stated “On this site, the great hero of our people, Larry Laffer, singlehandedly saved our island from our mortal enemy, the evil Dr. Nonookee.” Well, it’s nice to be appreciated! (2 points) The only other items of interest on the lookout were two pairs of binoculars. One of them was broken and unusable, but looking through the other one revealed a large breasted woman getting unchanged in her home. I watched as she turned off the light, lowered the blinds a touch, and then took off her clothes. I wondered what the purpose of the exhibition was, but it turns out there wasn’t one. Nothing else happened and I wasn’t able to look through the binoculars again. It appears to me that Mr Lowe was simply making a statement that this game was going to have plenty of nudity in it! (2 points)


Surely breasts in the first thirty seconds of play is a record for an adventure game!

Departing the lookout, I reappeared in a jungle area, where there were a few different ways I could exit the screen. Thankfully, a large pointing finger appeared to tell me where I should go, which I imagine is to control the introductory parts of the story. Taking that path brought me to my home, where Kalalau could be seen relaxing in a spa, with a second person mostly obscured by a pillar. I announced confidently that “your lover boy Larry is home!”, but didn’t get the response I’d hoped for. Kalalau informed me that I don’t live in this house any more as she’d found a new lover. According to the laws of her people, all that is required for a divorce to be filed is to walk three times around the bed, which she’d apparently done many times over the years. Larry questioned who her new lover was and she responded with the name Bobbi. This Bobbi turned out to be the other person in the spa, as well as an Amazonian Harley-riding former-cannibal lesbian slot-machine repairwoman. It appeared that absolutely anything was better than remaining married to Larry Laffer!


What? It's a woman?! Is there any room left in the spa?

With the conversation over, I focussed on my surroundings. There appeared no way to enter the property, but the mailbox caught my attention. Strangely, when I tried to open the mailbox I was told it was a “Good idea. You might try that again later.” Maybe I will! I left my old home with my tail between my legs and re-entered the jungle. It was at this point that I opened up Excel and started mapping out the island. With so many exits off each screen, I wanted to make sure I covered them all off and knew how to get back to a particular location. After taking the bottom right exit, I appeared in yet another jungle area, but here something rather humorous occurred. Larry began wondering what he should do with his life now that he’d lost everything again. “I suppose I could go into mourning. Mope around all day, sit in my room, rent lots of videos, things like that...or, I could give up women, remain celibate forever, enter the ministry or something.” None of that would be very Larry Laffer like though would it?!


4 out of 4000 points. Al really enjoys having stupendously high point maximums, just for the heck of it!

Larry then realised that the resort was a perfect place to be as a single man, with hundreds of women seeking nothing more than a good time! “Yeah, that’s it! I’ve had it with monogamy, marriage, long-term relationships, commitment. My life’s new goal will be to allow as many women as possible to enjoy me while they can!” At this point an empty phone booth mysteriously rose out of the ground, and then Larry stepped inside, quickly switching from his beach holiday attire into the classic white leisure suit of old. The screen shook as this world changing event took place, and the words “He’s back!” appeared in huge font while the music climaxed. “Look out, girls! Just when you thought it was safe to dive back into the gene pool, the original swinger is at it again!” Of course all of this wasn’t just hilariously funny, it was also the perfect way to re-establish Larry’s original goal. A goal that made the first game so memorable! To get Larry laid with all the odds against him!


In other words, let's act like Larry 2 never happened, ok!?

Since the map felt like it was going to push on to the east, I decided to explore all the areas accessible around the game’s starting position before moving on in that direction. I went back to the original jungle screen and took the lowest left exit. I came across a pretty strange site. There was a park bench perfectly placed in front of a TV, with pink lamps hanging down from who knows where. I was able to turn the TV on, but the picture kept flickering. Any attempts to watch it were met with “too bad this island doesn’t have cable.” I sat on the bench for a while and watched TV, but nothing happened. I can only assume whatever is supposed to happen here happens later in the game or when I have a particular item. I left the screen and passed through the jungle once again. This time I typed “look” while I was there, just to make sure there wasn’t something else in the location that I’d missed so far. A part of the description caught my attention. “A beautiful, specimen granadilla tree grows here.”


Well it sure looked relaxing, but I have no idea what this TV could possibly be here for.

That seemed a little too specific for a jungle description, so I typed “look at tree”. A got a brief description of the gray tree, and was then informed of “a beautiful piece of wood” that was sitting beneath it. I picked it up and looked at it, finding that my “granadilla is hard and black”! I’ve since read all the articles in the tourist manual, and one of them talks about granadilla wood being great for wood carving, and that it often suggests the shape it will take under the carver’s knife. It’s not difficult to figure out what shape my piece of wood will take when the time comes. (2 points) Before exploring further, I decided to try my luck back at Larry’s mailbox. This time there was something in there, and it turned out to be a new credit card I’d ordered a while back. What a stroke of luck! (20 points) With all the locations to the west explored, I made my way back to the jungle screen where the phone booth had appeared.


This hard, black wood should definitely cum in handy at some point!

Taking the lower left exit brought me to a very strange sight indeed! A giant whale with a huge round entrance for a mouth! This was Fat City, the island’s famous health spa. I entered the spa, and took a look around. There were three doors inside, but all of them could only be opened with a keycard that I didn’t have in my possession. I struck up a conversation with Robin, the guy behind the counter, but couldn’t get much out of him. Asking about becoming a member at first looked promising, but he then told me that “our membership roster is full right now, but we’ll be starting a big campaign next fall.” Robin then promised to call me when there was a vacancy, but since I didn’t have a phone and hadn’t given him my number, I couldn’t see how that was ever going to happen. After satisfying myself that there was nothing else I could do at Fat City just yet, I left.


Let's hope the inside area isn't as tricky as in King's Quest IV.

Pushing east, I came upon a fountain at some steps leading to the island casino, but that clearly wasn’t where the game wanted me to go. Once again a large flashing pointing finger demanded I take the path in the lower left edge of the screen, which apparently would lead me to my office. As if the flashing pointing finger wasn’t enough, the game then tried to convince me that this was indeed a very good path to take in not particularly subtle ways. “You’d better hurry, Larry! You’re going to be late again and you know how much Chairman Kenneth hates tardiness.” was fairly persuasive. “Say, what about the cute little redhead in accounting? You’ve always wanted a chance to balance her figures!” was even more so! There didn’t seem to be anything I could do at the fountain, so I accepted the game’s hints and took the suggested path.


Larry has never been the sharpest tool in the shed.

It became very clear as soon as I entered Natives Inc. that things were not going to go well. Larry’s “Another day, another dollar” comment was met with obvious doubt from David, who I assume is the company’s receptionist. He informed me that Chairman Kenneth wanted to see me in his office immediately, and while Larry tried to convince himself that the boss merely wanted to compliment him for his fantastic work, that seemed pretty unlikely. After I sat down on the only “seat” available, Kenneth launched straight into a termination speech. “Since you are no longer married to my daughter and your marketing skills are non-existent, I can’t for the life of me think of a reason why I should keep you on here!” He then introduced me to his hobby, by rolling me up into a little ball and bowling me out of his office, disappointed that he only scored a 7 with the purposely set glass bottles in the reception area. Before I knew it, I found myself outside Natives Inc., humiliated, broke, alone...


I'm considering setting up some pins like this at my work. It would be worth it for the threat alone!

This seems a good place to end this first gameplay post as it’s really the end of the game’s drawn out introduction. The game has carefully directed me down a precise path to make sure I gain all the information I need early on to understand my full predicament. After losing my wife, house and job, I’ve ended up in exactly the same position as I started Larry 1, which is really the most ideal way to begin a game where trying to seduce and score with women is the aim. That said, I can’t really judge the game at all at this stage, as most of what has happened has been fully scripted, but I’m already enjoying myself and chuckling at the typical Al Lowe humour. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until my next post to hear all about my sexual exploits with Tawni the blonde babe on the beach. All I’ll say for now is that it was an experience that was far less titillating than it was when I was a 12 year old boy!


Unsurprisingly, this is the one part of the game I remember from my youth.

Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 0 hours 45 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

46 comments:

  1. Hey, look at me, first commenter. I remeber playing the first 2 minutes of this. The only thing I remember is that the more questions you got wrong at the age verification, the further the blind was pulled down by the woman through the binoculars. It'd be interesting to see what other differences there were, but probably way too time consuming

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    1. That's the one thing I remember too! I didn't get much further though, I just wandered the island a bit and lost interest.

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    2. Is it timed? I'm sure Wikipedia has all the answers to this.

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    3. I don't think it's timed, so you could find out the answers these days (not so easy when it was released!)

      I relied on guesswork and multiple attempts when I first played these games. It's very much biased towards Americans, which makes things more difficult.

      Oddly enough, the new Leisure Suit Larry remake has kept the questions at the start, and they are still biased towards knowledge of US pop culture and history.

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    4. Nowadays you can find the answers to LSL 3 age questions in Al Lowe's website:

      http://www.allowe.com/Larry/3questions.htm

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    5. Ilmari, not to mention that it's also included in the GOG release as a text file in the program folder. :)

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  2. FWIW, Spiro Agnew was Richard Nixon's Vice President who resigned in the face of the Watergate scandal.

    Now for the important stuff, I don't remember making it very far in this game either. I remember all the hardships, but not much past that.

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    1. The only reason I know about Spiro Agnew is from Futurama.

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    2. The only reason I mentioned it is because I thought Watergate was a more internationally known incident, even if it's based in America. I mean, come on Trickster, we know all about dingoes eating babies! :)

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    3. We know about Watergate, and Nixon, and Deep Throat, but most of us couldn't tell you who your vice-presidents were or are. The last one I remember was Al Gore. But let's face it, our head of state isn't even in the country.

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    4. Yeah, I think most Australians would know the basic details of Watergate, but Nixon would be the only name they could mention. As for vice presidents, well trivia involving presidents of America is hard enough. I could name all of them since Reagan, but only the most famous before that (Lincoln, Washington, Kennedy etc.)

      And it's sad indeed if a dingo eating a baby is the most famous incident to ever occur in Australia!

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    5. As far as Australian incidents go, the most famous one I can think of is the rabbit problem and the construction of the fence in the last century. Not much, but surely it beats the dingo tale (I learned about that one thanks to an old movie with Meryl Streep, btw).

      I'm afraid I can also only name Nixon in relation with the Watergate scandal, and even so my knowledge of the case is very limited.

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    6. Hmm.. lets see.. for Australian lore I know all about tossing small people onto fashion dolls (Shrimps onto Barbie's, that's what that means right) That Australians have difficulty identifying knives below a certain blade length (that's not a knife, this is a knife!), that Fosters is the Australian word for beer, and that farmers had exploding pants (Mythbusters!) and yes Dingos eating babies. Thank you movies, TV, and commercials for my vast array of Australian lore!

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    7. Okay, actually the exploding pants is New Zeland, but that's like your Canada, practically the same nation! Right? Oh. That you should drive really really fast on washboard roads for a smoother ride! There, that one really counts!

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    8. No, New Zealand only counts when we want to take credit for someone succesful who's really a Kiwi but we'll call them an Australian because they lived here a bit and were educated here, eg Sam Neill and Russell Crowe.
      To be honest, the only reason I know that Deep Throat was the informer is because of The X-Files.

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    9. I couldn't tell you anything about Spiro Agnew (my handle belies my age) save that he resigned as a result of Watergate before Nixon did. I think it's his odd name that sticks in my mind. This gives way to Gerald Ford; the only person ever to hold the offices of Vice President AND President without being elected.

      Let's see, more Australian stuff. Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, The Crocodile Hunter (Steve Irwin) and of course Paul Hogan. We have Outback Steakhouse here in the US too. Also, you have a P. Sherman living at 42 Wallaby in Sydney. Canberra is the country's capital. I suck at Australia geography though; I couldn't point out the individual states.

      And hey, I've heard of the rabbit/fence thing. There's even a movie called, not surprisingly, Rabbit Proof Fence.

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    10. Jarkith: If I ever see you, I am so stuffing a ton of snow down your shirt.

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    11. Actually Agnew resigned for a different scandal (bribery and tax-evasion) prior to Watergate.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiro_Agnew

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    12. The things we learn on Trickster's blog. Happened about the same time, so I guess the two get lumped together.

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  3. Cool, I must say, I hope you enjoy this one, but hope it isn't a super long game. I'm really looking forward to the next three, as Manhunter will hopefully have matured a bit, and the other two sound cool.

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  4. I think the game allows picking up inventory items only after Larry has changed to his trademark leisure suit - that's why you couldn't open the mailbox.

    Looking at the screenshots made me recollect how ugly some of the jungle backgrounds looked even back at the days - trying to make new colours by mixing pixels of two colours just doesn't look convincing.

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    1. Ah, that makes sense...sort of. And yes, I noticed how ugly the jungle scenes were in this game. I don't recall them being that ugly in game 2.

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    2. Dithering (the colour mixing you mention), was an attempt to stretch a bit more out of EGA 16-colour graphics. It worked better when you were playing on a tiny CRT monitor, I assure you!

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    3. Andy: Yes, it looked better in a tiny monitor and pixels weren't that visible, but compared to some other Sierra games of the same era, like SQ3, I still felt it to be of a lower quality (I did play this before being spoiled by all the lovely VGA). Part of the problem in addition to dithering were probably the completely black tree shadows on the foreground and somewhat strange choice of colours at places (some of the bushes looked more out of a scifi movie). The overall effect was a bit confusing and it took a while to see what was going on the scene, where Larry was moving, where the potential exits were etc.

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    4. Furthermore, I'm noticing that the pixel sizes are really uneven in Trickster's screenshots. This is closer to what the pixels should look like:

      http://i.imgur.com/yHseBVU.jpg

      DOSBox with CRT simulation for the win! (Played in Ykhwong's DOSBox build, with the CRT.D3D.fx shader.)

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    5. @Ilmari
      I think it's a matter of how much the ability of the artist matched their ambition. More creatively designed and detailed screens are always a problem with EGA, although we've already seen how well Quest for Glory managed.

      As you mention, the decision to make lots of foreground objects (like the trees) doesn't quite work as well as it might.

      @Laukku
      The pixels do get stretched in dosbox (and presumably scummvm), someone did explain it to me once, but I can't remember what it was all about, something to do with accounting for curved CRT screens.

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    6. The pixels becoming unevenly stretched in DOSBox is due to upscaling to a different resolution without any bilinear interpolation. It can easily be overcome by proper configuration. In official DOSBox 0.74, "output=opengl", "scaler=normal2x forced" and "aspect=true" should be the way to go.

      There's an exellent video series on YouTube how to use and configure DOSBox properly, aimed specifically at GOG users: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL20C65EBEFE6CB109

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    7. Oh yeah, I forgot: add "fullresolution=0x0" to the list.

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    8. I actually like the dithering, but in ScummVM you can remove it (creating an intermediary color), with the option "EGA Undithering". Some games look better with it, some look worse.

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    9. The clothes-change sequence. He's like the opposite of Superman.

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  5. Rather out of the blue, I've decided to start playing along with you. (After playing through Larry 1 and 2 to get me 'in the mood' over a lazy Saturday, of course.. my childhood memories got me through everything except for 'stuff THE bra with soap'). The one thing that I'd actually say about the game that has irked me (as my memories of it are thankfully dulled over time), is.. I had -completely- forgotten how difficult the navigation was. Several paths simply don't look like paths, as it's all based in a jungle - and it's to a point that I'm looking for a building that I distinctly remember ('Qrjrl Purngrz naq Ubjr', n ynj svez) less so because I have a pressing need for.. and moreso because I know that behind one of these screens -the building is there-. So my past hour has been spent doing more navigating than anything else, with much in the way of snarling and grumbling along the way. Is this just my own pet quirk, here, or is the layout of (at least, the opening few screens) maddening to anyone else?

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    1. And given that I've just played through a considerable amount of it today, I'll set a wager on 10 CAPs - that lbh'yy zvff ng yrnfg cneg bs gur shyy uhaqerq naq gjragl cbvagf ba bssre va gur Pbzrql Uhg. (I should note that you're actively more likely to search around for what I'm proposing in ROT13 if you look at this, but I'll throw out that gamble nonetheless.)

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    2. I'm afraid it's too late to wager CAPs Aperama. It needs to be done prior to the first gameplay post. Otherwise I'll have people predicting things because they can see that I've missed something.

      Also, I don't read ROT13 comments until I've completed the game, unless the commenter states that I can safely read it.

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    3. Aperama: Yes, I remember that finding all the exits in some jungle screens was a real pain. I seem to remember that in most cases simple "look around" would at least tell the general direction where those exits were.

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    4. You'll read all about this soon enough. I too suffered the hidden location agony!

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    5. I just read your prediction Aperama and I do believe I did get all 120 points! Luckily for you it was a valid prediction. ;)

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  6. I must be one of the few who really liked this one! So far, Trickster, it seems like you did to. Regarding the "Son of a Bitch" yelled by Larry's Boss, (don't know if this is a spoiler, but I'll do it in rot13 to be safe), vs lbh jnag gb punatr gur cuenfr, gurer'f n zrah lbh pna pubbfr vs lbh cerff gur glcvpny Fvreen "Rfpncr" ohggba naq fpebyy guebhtu.

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    1. Just CTRL+X will do (it's really not a spoiler, as it's in the manual.)

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    2. I forgot about the phrase altogether. Thanks for the heads up!

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    3. Trickster has used phrase customization to very good effect in previous Larrys :-)

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    4. Indeed he has, I think that was my favorite part of those posts!

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    5. It's a bit tougher to come up with curses that include regular commenters without being inappropriately offensive, but I'll do my best.

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    6. I'm pretty thick skinned, so feel free to let rip if apporpriate.

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    7. @Charles: You are right! I forgot about Trickster's LSL 2 review. His custom phrases were cracking me up. How could I forget?

      @Trickster: Curse away!

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  7. Hey all, I swear, I'm not farming points, I have this one on my wishlist as I might buy it someday, so Steam emailed me when it went on sale:

    The Testament of Sherlock Holmes is 66% off: http://store.steampowered.com/app/205650/?snr=1_4_4__106

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  8. I had a bit of a dilemma at this point: do I skip the Leisure Suit Larry posts because of my personal distaste for the game's sexcapades, or continue reading for the sake of completeness? My current answer: keep reading, because (1) the plots are amusing, and (2) any woman who hooks up with Larry realizes her mistake and gets rid of him by the start of the next game.

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