Friday, 1 June 2012

Game 19: Leisure Suit Larry 2 - Cruise For a Dork

Larry Laffer Journal Entry 2: “What a rush! As soon as I accidentally received the onklunk from the cute chick in the music store, everything has gone a bit crazy! Not only did I have to avoid the KGB to make it to my cruise ship, I wasn’t allowed on because I didn’t have my passport. Thankfully Eve had thrown all my possessions out, so I was able to find my passport in the bin outside her house, and hop on the cruise just before it left! I thought I’d left all the drama behind me, but Dr Nonookee’s henchman were waiting for me on the ship, and the guy clearly knows exactly what my weakness is. A couple of hot blondes kept approaching me and asking me to go back to their pads for not strings attached sex, but I knew it was too good to be true and declined. Who knows what they would have done to me if I accepted! Things were made worse when I realised the gorgeous Barbara wasn’t even on the ship to accompany me. Her gross mother had taken her place, and from the look of all the sex toys in her cupboard, was hoping to hurt me in ways I’ve never experienced. It was obvious I had to get off that ship, so I enabled a lifeboat drill and set off into the unknown. Luckily I had everything I needed to survive for ten days, and I now find myself on some island, wondering what further adventures await me.”

When I last posted, things had just got interesting, if a little strange.

I’m not completely sure, but I think I might have avoided all the dead ends to this point. At the end of my last post, I’d just got the onklunk from the music store, setting the main plot into action. As soon as I left the store, I was confronted by what turned out to be a KGB agent, offering me a drink. I accepted it to see what would happen, but it resulted in a game over and me being brutally interrogated. Restoring, I made my way to the harbor to see whether the cruiser had arrived. It had! But before I even tried getting on, I really wanted to make sure I had everything I needed, particularly as you fine readers had constantly warned me about possible dead ends. The one place that stood out as having nothing happen there was the drug store, so that’s where I focussed my attention.

Looks like a nice enough guy! I think we could be friends!

As always seems to happen, it took me about one minute to figure out what I was supposed to get from the drug store on my return. I wandered around to each shelf and typed “look at shelf” until finally I was told about some sunscreen. I bought it, and then set about taking one last look at each location to make sure I hadn’t overlooked anything. I couldn’t find anything else of interest, so I decided to take my chances and hop on the cruise. I was pretty stunned when I wasn’t allowed on due to not having a passport, as I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I was going to get one. It’s not like I’d met anyone on my way that was going to be able to create a fake one for me, and I didn’t have any possessions anywhere to search through. I decided the best place to look might be back at Eve’s house, but really I was just hoping that something else might be triggered by me trying to get on the cruise.

Say, knowing about it without standing in an exact spot and typing "look at shelf" might be handy

Votre anglais est bon Alfred ! Certainement mieux que mon français. Je suis en train de manger une pomme.

My intuition about Eve’s house was right, but it wasn’t all that obvious. On arriving, I noticed there were two bins sitting outside her house that simply weren’t there before. Unfortunately, when I typed “look in bin”, the game responded with “who’d want to search through Eve’s Can?” Hmmm...that wasn’t what I’d hoped for. I tried to trick the game and typed “look at passport” just to see what it would say, and it came back with “you don’t have it”. Before I went back to some of the other locations, I just tried typing “get passport” and it worked! So unless I totally missed something, the only way to get the passport is to command Larry to pick it up, despite the fact that you can’t see it or search the bins in any other way. Can anyone explain what I was technically supposed to do for 5 points?

Well, me for starters you traitorous, misleading parser system

Anyway, I had the passport, so I hopped on the cruise ship, dreaming of steamy sex with beautiful bimbo Barbara. I was surprised to find a shift in perspective, displaying Larry as a tiny bunch of pixels on the cruiser from a sidelong position. From there, I could walk around the ship, going up and down stairs to reach the various levels and sections of interest. The first place I found was a barber that strangely looked exactly the same as the barber in LA. After my failed attempt to correct my receding hairline at the first barber, I gave it another shot with this one, with differing results. In this case, the barber very humorously makes a wig out of a mop head, attaches it to my head, and then charges me $10000 for it! However, as I left the barber, Larry ripped it off his head and added it to his inventory, making me think the wig would play a role some time later on in the game.

$10000! Was that Roger Wilco's golden mop you made that out of?!

It's about time too! I was starting to get a complex.

The next part of the ship I went to was the captain’s bridge. It was clear that I wasn’t supposed to be there and if I tried to cross the room, the KGB agent would appear and shoot a poisoned dart at me. Despite the fact he missed, the dart hit the captain, leaving the ship with no-one at the controls and a game over. I decided to come back here later and explore other parts of the ship first. The next room I discovered was my own, which unsurprisingly turned out to be the smallest, dingiest and loudest room on the whole ship. It’s here that I found a note (that “said Bon Voyage Larry!”) from Mrs Bimbo attached to some fruit, and on going through the door to the right, was confronted with the woman herself. Apparently Barbara got sick and so her mother had come instead. It was clearly apparent that Mrs Bimbo wanted to jump my bones and of course, for the readers, I felt obligated to let her at least once.

I would never have considered Leisure Suit Larry 2 to be the first survival horror game!

Let’s just say that Mrs Bimbo turned out to be one nasty woman! Utilising handcuffs, chains and whips, she abused me until I died. Trying to wipe the memory from my mind, I restored and made sure that never happened again. I did however get changed into my swimsuit and put sunscreen on in preparation for finding the cruise ship pool. Before I left my room, I thought I’d poke me head into Mrs Bimbo’s room again to see if she was still there. She wasn’t, so I rummaged through her stuff until I found her sewing kit, which I happily stole from the crazy bitch. Next destination...the pool! The only thing I seemed to be able to do at the pool was lie down on the chair, so that’s what I did. After a while a message came up saying “It’s a good thing you applied that sunscreen!”, so I figured my efforts at the drug store were about to pay off. That’s not exactly how things panned out though.

A nice blonde wants to have sex with me. This has got to end badly!

A nice looking blonde waltzed out to the pool area and propositioned me! I immediately smelt a rat, but simply had to know what would happen if I followed her. She took me in a helicopter to an island with the promise of sex, but as soon as I lay down on the bed, I was cuffed and then subjected to having my body split in two by a laser beam and having the now separated parts fall into a vat of acid. Lovely stuff! Since I was unable to type any commands during this little scene, I figured following the woman was never going to be fruitful, so I restored and this time ignored her entirely. I have to admit I was a bit flummoxed though! What purpose was the swimsuit or the sunscreen? Nothing else seemed to happen around the pool, so I can only assume that I had to have those items to make the woman come out so I could ignore her. It sure seemed like forced storytelling! I was slightly wrong, but more on that later.

When she said come back to my pad, I didn't realise she meant landing pad!

There were not many more places I could go on the ship, so I was starting to wonder how on earth this was all going to come together. I went back to my room to get changed back into my suit and was told that it was now night time. When I hopped into bed (which the game made me do), Mrs Bimbo came in from next door and jumped on me, killing me instantly. I was then informed that I needed to get off the boat before night time came, which I apparently hadn’t managed to do! Oh well, at least I now knew that the aim was to get off the boat. I restored back to when I first arrived on the ship, and rushed my way through everything I’ve just described, apart from visiting the captain.

This woman is insatiable!

After getting changed, successfully this time, back into my suit, I decided to see what was at the very top of the boat. I discovered a lifeboat on the way, but other than jumping in and out of it, could find no use for it. At the peak was a nightclub with a bunch of tourists enjoying themselves at tables while ignoring me completely. I found and picked up a spinach dip at the end of the counter and then seated myself at the bar. Another woman approached me, this time in a nice revealing dress, and asked me to go and have sex with her. I already knew what the end result was going to be. She took me back to the same pad and killed me the same way the other woman did, so once again, I was forced to restore and ignore her requests.

It's sad, but even if this happened to me in real life I would assume she was a serial killer.

So, now my inventory contained some dip, a wig, some fruit, a sewing kit, a soda, a swimsuit, some sunscreen, my passport, a whole heap of cash, and the onklunk. How would any of that lead to me getting off the ship? I spent some more time at the lifeboat, but was satisfied that it wasn’t going anywhere. I still couldn’t understand why I’d needed the sunscreen or swimsuit either! I went to the only place where I hadn’t achieved anything, the captain’s bridge. The KGB agent would still enter if I moved too far across the room and any movement in front of the captain caused him to catch me and throw me overboard, so I was left to investigate the panel of controls behind him. “Look at controls” was met with “there are many flashing dials, lights, video display terminals, etc. Mostly they just confuse you.” I took a slightly different approach and typed “look at screen” and this time the response I got was “The ship’s flashing dials and lights reveal nothing, but there is a large switch on the center console, directly behind the Captain.”

Larry put his LSL2 floppy disk into the computer, dreaming of a time where computers didn't take up half the room

This is the second time in the game that I felt the parser had failed me (after the bin incident). There’s so little difference between “look at controls” and “look at screen”, you’d think the game would respond the same to both. Anyway, feeling thankful that I made the distinction, I pulled the switch, and was informed of a noise somewhere on the ship. It was pretty clear where it would have come from, so I went back to the lifeboat. Apparently the switch had set off a lifeboat drill, so I hopped in the boat and was lowered down into the ocean. I started drifting away from the boat, and thought for sure that I must have missed out on something on the cruiser and would soon suffer a dead end. It didn’t help that the game told me “Slowly you drift away from the cruise ship. You wonder what you forgot to pack.”

Don't ask me questions like that! I'm already on edge man!

The next few minutes were made up of concern, then horror, then laughter, then confusion, then more concern, then pure happiness! I watched Larry drift through the ocean for days on end, with a little calendar next to him ticking them off one by one. After 4 days, the sun was beating down, and I was told that my use of sunscreen was the only thing that saved me, but on the 5th day, my head went black and the sun “turned my brain into an omelette”. I restored back to where I first left the cruiser and put the wig on from the barber. This allowed me to get through the 5th day, and the enormous soda got me through the 6th. I was starting to feel pretty confident at this point that perhaps I’d actually managed to find everything I needed, but on the 7th day I turned bright green and died after eating the spinach dip that had sat in the sun for a week.

Hey, now he looks like that demon guy from the show Angel

I tried to think of any item on the cruiser that might have helped me to keep the dip fresh, but couldn’t come up with anything. I resolved to try to hide the dip in the lifeboat somewhere in the shade. I didn’t feel too confident about it, but I restored back to where I’d just put the wig on and typed “hide dip”. This worked perfectly, but not in the way I’d expected! Instead of hiding the dip somewhere, Larry just threw it overboard! I got points for it, so I figured it must be the right thing to do. But what was I going to eat on day 7? Well, I still had fruit! I drifted through the first 6 days again, and once I reached the 7th, Larry took the sewing kit and used a safety pin and thread to catch fish. This got me through and I eventually made it to an island, which is where I stopped playing.

No-one does self-referential better than Al Lowe

It appears, unless I’m in for a nasty shock, that I’ve made it to the island of Dr. Nonookee without running into a dead end. Now’s your chance to tell me if I’m wrong! If I am wrong, then consider this a Request For Assistance. I have other questions too that I wouldn’t mind getting answers for. Now I’m on the island, I no longer have the fruit in my inventory, presumably lost at sea. What was its purpose if anything? Also, I tried reloading back to when I first got on the ship and went straight to the captain’s bridge and successfully lowered the lifeboat. What would stop a player from getting the wig from the barber and the sewing kit from Mrs Bimbo, then hopping on the lifeboat and leaving the cruiser behind? From what I can tell, you’d have everything you need, and the only negative would be you’d miss out on points.

Alright, tell me, do I have everything I need!?

Session Time: 3 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've recently 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 have requested assistance, but only if I've not got everything I need at the time of arriving on the island. Thanks!


  1. In response to your RFA:

    Lrf, lbh ner ng n qrnq raq abj. Lbh arrq ng yrnfg bar zber vgrz sebz gur pehvfr fuvc.

  2. Dead end hint: Lrf, lbh ner qrnq raqrq.
    Dead end hint2: Lbh ner zvffvat fbzrguvat sebz gur fuvc.
    Dead end spoiler: Lbh ner zvffvat n ovxvav gbc.

    Fruit spoiler: Gur sehvg unf ab hfr.

    1. Correction to fruit spoiler: Vs lbh qba'g trg frjvat xvg, Yneel jvyy rng sehvg. (Actually it's no spoiler anymore...)

    2. Ah, never happened to me, so V arire unq nal hfr sbe vg.

  3. Spoiler for the question in the last picture: Ab, gur fjvzfhvg vf zber rffragvny guna lbh ernyvfrq.

  4. Oh, and spoiler(ish, since you've already got it)for the passport: Frnepu genfu. Gjvpr.

  5. I wonder how long it'll take you to start recognizing critical ROT13-coded words so we have to switch to another cypher? :p

  6. Ahh death by spoiled mayonnaise. I knew you wouldn't be able to avoid it. :-)
    Still, the lifeboat trip and the collection of stuff you must pack with nary a hint was by far the most infuriating thing about my experience with LSL2 (if I ignore getting stuck at the very end). Would it have killed Al Lowe to add some leaflet on the ship detailing the "things you need in case of a shipwreck", for example, providing some guidance for the object hunt? Later, Monkey Island would handle a similar scenario in a much better way, of course.

    If there ever was a case of a game relying on a player's prescience or forcing them to pick up stuff at random just in case, this is it. It's just bad design, IMO.

    1. To be fair, once you've seen how Larry can die in the boat, it's pretty easy to deduce what you need (Larry dies of sunburn -> you need to find some sunscreen; Larry dies of thirst -> you need something to drink; well, wig as a protection for frying brain is perhaps a bit of a leap). Furthermore, most of the required objects are easy to find out (enormous soda is pretty hard to miss and wig is practically handed to you). I think that the sunscreen is the only one that is really tough to find.

    2. To me, a well-designed game should not rely on the player's repeated deaths to to solve a puzzle. (Unless that game is Planescape: Torment, but that's an RPG and an exception to the rule anyway.) Once in a while a "haha, gotcha" type of death/puzzle is okay, but some Sierra games go back to that gimmick a bit too often.

    3. If death is just a means to explain how a puzzle is failed, I can see it as being interesting to watch. It wasn't only Sierra games, as the Macventure games relied on various ways to die as well. It was a staple of many adventure games.

    4. Well, this is all a matter of opinion, but I don't consider getting information from a death scene a major fault in a puzzle - at least you know that and even what you did wrong. I dislike more games that leave you really stranded in a dead end without any info as to what you should do. Of course, it isn't very realistic to "die and come back to life and do it again with better resources", but in a cartoonish game like Larry 2, realism is not so crucial.

    5. I don't think getting information from a death scene is in question - in fact, I consider it essential! (Not that Sierra worried about that to the extent of sparing us the dead ends).

      But to me the boat sequence is the poster child for the typical Sierra unfairness. You´re asked to check out items off an invisible laundry list, pick up objects you don´t have a reason for, and then foresee the unforeseeable. For each "failure" you're repeatedly whacked in the head in what I can only imagine was Lowe's idea of "humorous" gotchas. Puzzle-wise, I believe it's just a step above the random deaths on your way to California in Gold Rush!.

      This approach is pretty much what LucasArts set out to fix with their adventures, and even mocked openly with their brilliant "rubber tree" gag (screenshot, not really a spoiler):

    6. Well, these are questions of personal preferences, but I didn’t find the boat puzzle of the worst Sierra kind. Picking up seemingly useless items is, I guess, something that one becomes used to when playing adventure games, and I only have gripes with it, if the required items are somehow ”out of sight” (small and not mentioned in the general description of the room etc.). I find, for instance, KQ IV’s whale puzzle to be much worse in this sense.

    7. Just to clarify it further, it's not the worst Sierra puzzle kind by a long mile... (I'll have to wait for KQV for that). And Trickster seems to have fared fairly better with it than I did back in the day actually. It's just shoddy design. Dead ends and stuff like the whale, OTOH, I view as simply beyond acceptable - much worse than frustrating reloadings & sudden character deaths.

  7. Like Lars-Erik said in much more concise wording, you got lucky typing get passport after already searching trash. What you were supposed to do is to tell Larry to look through the trash a second time. Don't you just love how games keep insisting on doing this? Could have at least had something like "Are you really so low as to dig through the garbage?"

  8. Génial! Je suis dans le jeu moi aussi :)

    1. I almost used Rot13 on this comment. Then I realized the letter frequencies were unfamiliar because it was in French. :P

    2. And thanks to Google Translate, I now have a perfect understanding of the French language.

      Awesome! I'm in the game too :)


    New adventure game on GOG (Can I have 1 point for each new adventure game I find? I bet I can almost keep pace with the old school adventure gamers then)

    1. I'd be willing to give you points for this, if I hadn't got in first in another post. ;)

    2. Also, you can take Portal (1986) down: They realized they had no chance of getting half a million and took down the project to rethink things.

    3. Oh, I see you did already.

  10. As much as I loved the Sierra games, I think my least favorite aspect of them was the limited scope of their text parser. I was adamantly against their switch to an icon-based system because of how much it "limited" interaction, but looking back on it, the games rarely gave you many options anyway, just the illusion of options.

  11. Also, is that KGB agent The Red Skull?