Saturday 12 August 2023

Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! (1993): Introduction

by Alex
Al Lowe.

Jim Walls.

Jim Walls.

Al Lowe.

Al Lowe

Jim Walls

Al Walls.

Jim . . . Lowe?

These two men and their games loom large in my time here as a blogger for The Adventurers Guild. Of the 11 titles I’ve reviewed since 2015— Leisure Suit Larry 1: Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (VGA Remake), Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patty Does A Little Undercover Work, Police Quest III: The Kindred, Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood, Robin of Sherwood: The Touchstones of Rhiannon, Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (VGA Remake), Lure of the Temptress, L.A. Law: The Computer Game, Quest for Glory III: Wages of War, Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, and Blue Force—a whopping six, or 55 percent, have been designed by either Al Lowe (Larry 1, Larry 5, Freddy Pharkas) or Jim Walls (Police Quest 1, Police Quest 3, Blue Force). If my math is correct (dubious), that’s over half. Of the remaining five, two have been about Robin Hood, one has been a Quest for Glory game, and two have been garbage. Ah well. They can’t all be winners.

(I did get to interview Conquests of the Longbow designer and all-around legend Christy Marx, which was really cool, but interviews don’t count as reviews.)

The point is, with Larry 6, my total of Al Lowe or Jim Walls games reviewed for this site is up to 7 out of 12, bringing that total up to 58 percent. I swear, when I signed up for this blog, I did not expect to play cop games or immature sex games. It just . . . sort of happened.

So here we are, with Al Lowe’s sixth Leisure Suit Larry game, played by me for your reviewing pleasure here on The Al Lowes Guild The Adventurers Guild. I’ve played this before a long, long time ago, and as you’d expect, it’s a really stupid game.

But fun. And therein lies the dichotomy of Al Lowe, the paradox, if you will, of this complex, multifaceted man, this artist—nay, auteur—a musician, comedian, programmer, and game designer who infuses his games with all of the things that make life worth living . . . that make life life.

Things like horse flatulence.
Al Lowe, finger on the pulse of what binds us all.
You know what you’re getting with an Al Lowe game: puerile humor, lots of sex jokes, insults, more jokes, absurd situations, and generally well-designed puzzles. His games might not be high art, though the graphics can be quite pretty and the music quite good, but his writing tends to be snappy. Some, in fact, may say his skills with a pen are “perfect,” and I don’t use that word lightly. For if a game sets out to make you laugh with lots of boob and dick jokes, and does exactly that in a clever way featuring lots of wordplay, innuendo, and dramatic irony, has that game not done exactly what it promised? Has it not delivered? Are you not entertained?
Al Lowe
In general, the puzzle design in Mr. Lowe’s games is just as good as the presentation. While not always super-challenging, his games are satisfying to overcome and avoid the twisted moon-logic of games by, say, Roberta Williams and her King’s Quest series, or Lowe’s own Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist. Of the Al Lowe games I’ve played for this blog, all have been good, though the aforementioned Freddy Pharkas had some puzzles which weren’t intuitive and caused no small level of frustration and consultation of walkthroughs. Leisure Suit Larry 2, which, to be fair, I didn’t play for this blog, likewise had some questionable puzzle design but was on the whole an entertaining game, while Larry 1 and 3 were both tightly designed and, if not terribly difficult, at least highly enjoyable. Larry 5 nailed the comedy part down, but the puzzle aspect was nearly nonexistent. In fact, Larry 5 truly came closest to that misguided ideal of making games “interactive movies”: it was possible to advance and win without doing anything. A disappointment despite the excellent presentation and jokes.

“Excellent” being a relative term, because these are stupid sex jokes that a 13-year-old would be like “Man, that’s dumb.” But I find some of them funny. Go figure.
Before I dig into the manual and the game itself, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room. Yes, this means we’ll need to talk about comedy. Some people find talking about comedy awful or boring or unnecessary. I disagree. If you are interested in a thing, you want to know how it works. Unfortunately, in our very polarized political climate, things get heated, and while comedy has always been political to a degree, it never felt quite like this.

I mean, this game makes fun of women, men, gays, blacks, whites, straight people, fat people, everyone I can think of. In my playthrough 20 or so years ago, I remember a particular homosexual character who is depicted in a way that would never be allowed now. Sensibilities have changed, and when discussing comedy from a different time, you need to remember that. But still . . .

Ever watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)? I did for the first time around 2011. Remember Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of Holly’s landlord, Mr. Yunioshi?
Good Lord! I mean, why not just call him “Mr. Ching Chang Chong Ah-So!” and be done with it. For real, it’s that bad. The offensive part isn’t that they got a white man to play an Asian man. The offensive part is . . . I mean, just look at him! Watch the movie! It’s the Asian equivalent of a white actor donning blackface, dressing like an exaggerated version of a gangster rapper, brandishing guns, and calling everybody the N-word. It’s just not funny. It takes a lot to offend me, and that’s when I tend to dislike comedy from any era: when it’s just mean and not funny.

Back to the gay character in Leisure Suit Larry 6: I remember being . . . off-put by him when I played the game back in the day. It seemed a bit much to have the token gay be a flamboyant lisper, although it made some sort of sense in the context of the game given that (a) such a stereotype exists for a reason, (b) I can turn on my TV and find actual gay men who speak in this manner, (c) everyone is a broad stereotype in Larry games, and (d) everyone in Larry games is really, really horny.

The gay character rubbed me the wrong way, though, because it felt too overdone. Have a gay character, make fun of them, whatever—I remember the lesbian character in Larry 6 being funnier and far less offensive—but this just felt mean. And it’s none of that b.s. about comedy “punching up” instead of “punching down”: comedy always has punched down and still does to this very day, so stop kidding yourself. It’s about being funny, being technically competent, delivering the joke well, and revealing a deeper truth underneath the laughter that we can all recognize and relate to.

I’m sure I’ll have more to talk about when I actually start playing the game. I’m sure you will to. In light of this, I will give everyone my solemn pledge:

I, Alex, who reviews games for The Adventurers Guild (formerly The Adventure Gamer), am only reporting what I see in this game and my impressions of it, and in no way, shape, or form intend my write-ups of jokes and situations in this game to offend anybody reading them. Further, I will not add insult to injury by insulting any commentor, and merely ask that you all do the same, for if you do start levying personal insults my way, I will not hesitate to respond in kind.

We good? We good. With that out of the way, let’s get into the manual.

I’m playing the collection I downloaded from a quadrillion years ago, so I don’t have the actual, physical thing to get my sweaty hands on (hey, is that an Al Lowe-tier joke?). I like to scour these manuals for hints and get the flavor of a game. I don’t recall Larry 6 having copy protection hidden in the manual, but before starting it’s worth making sure so I don’t do that ass + u + me thing.
Wow, just like the real thing!
Al Lowe begins the manual with an interesting write-up describing his intentions for the game:
“In some ways, a return to the original. With Larry 6, I wanted to provide an area where the player could roam around and see almost anything within the first few minutes of play, and yet provide enough depth of play that the game would challenge most players. No long auto-pilot cartoons. No Passionate Patti to provide political-correctness. No involved heavy plot. Just more babes, more silly situations to humiliate Larry, and more babes. (Did I mention the babes?)”
From my memory of playing Larry 6, I would describe this as accurate. Otherwise, that’s it for the manual besides the technical information of how to install and play, an explanation of the interface, and so on. No codes, no maps, no secrets, no nothing. In one way, that’s a relief, but in another, detailed manuals are one of the things I enjoyed about old adventure and RPG games. C’est la vie, times change, and change is the only constant in life. And as Confucious said, may we live in interesting times.
“That’s cultural appropriation!”
Moving on, let’s boot this thing up. The Sierra logo turns into a multi-frame title screen where Larry drops a heavy barbell on his toe, complete with a digitized yowl of pain.
I’m reasonably certain this copyright notice says 1994 because I’m am playing the later CD-ROM version with improved graphics and the addition of voice acting.
We then get a creatively animated credits sequence showcasing all the various perverts, weirdos, and immature clowns who made this game.
Hey look, it’s Al, who actually plays the saxophone and wrote the Larry theme himself. Hi Al!
The game’s introduction proper starts on muscle beach where Lary likes to go and ogle chicks. What a creep, right? He’s like the character in Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung,” but at least Mr. Laffer here is eyeing grown women with bad intent and not “little girls.”

By the way, “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull is a pretty disgusting song.
Wait, you’re telling me this guy wrote a disgusting song?
You’ll have to forgive the text-free screenshots because I don’t know how to add text boxes until the game actually begins. So I’m going on my recollection of what the narrator said, voice with a dry snideness by Neil Ross. Larry, voiced by Jan Rabson, is perfect, but you can’t hear that through text so it sucks to be you! Check it out on YouTube if you’d like to experience it for yourself.
And so the story beings.
It’s an exceedingly stupid story that harkens back to Larry 2. There, if you remember, Larry ends up on a dating show and somehow wins a cruise.
Here, Larry ends up on a sleazy dating show called Stallions, is fed pre-scripted answers which he promptly uses, and is pre-determined to lose, winning the consolation prize of a two-week stay at some sunny health resort called La Costa Lotta.

Prefiguring today’s horrid cultural landscape, the game calls this “embarrassment TV.” It’s so embarrassing, that when some lady named Shallow shows up in her overly huge “Hollywood limo” . . .
“Blah blah blah.” This lady has as shrill a voice as you can imagine.
. . . the three other muscleheads approach, inadvertently dragging Larry with them. However, when they hear what show they’ll be on, they quickly leave, making Larry the odd man out. What a brilliant premise.
I forgot this dumb-dumb’s name, but there’s obviously a Richard Nixon joke. Al Lowe is a Boomer, so if his frame of reference wasn’t Richard Nixon, it was going to be Woodstock.
Each of the ladies up on stage is a literal genius/nuclear physicists type with names like Charli Tan and Charlie Mayne (har har), and Larry ends up forgetting to read the cue cards saying things like “I’d like to buy a vowel, Pat?” but it doesn’t matter because it’s stupid. It’s so stupid, in fact, that even the narrator twice fast-forwards the proceedings to get to the end.
Thank you, Mr. Narrator sir.
And so, very quickly, the game begins. Larry is whisked away by a shoddy and dropped off at La Costa Lotta’s front gate, where he strolls into the lobby and the player assumes god-like control over poor, hapless, horny Mr. Laffer.
This is where we’ll pick things up next time. Thanks for reading everyone, and get settled in. I have a feeling this will be a long one.


  1. 55

    I've played this through once, over a decade ago, so I don't remember much. It's probably above average, but only somewhat, because it didn't really leave an impression on me.

    1. Interesting! Usually this is considered one of the better games in the series.

  2. I was never a big fan of the Larry series, mostly because of the really bad humor.
    Probably this is the reason why, even if I played them all back in the days, I don't remember very much about them.
    In any case, let's say 52.

    1. Bad humor? Bad humor?! Sir, you can pee on things in this game.

    2. Not new. You could pee on certain things in #2, and you could get peed on in #1.

  3. 49

    This was the first Larry game I actually played to the finish (aged 15, natch), and while on the one hand I would say it's better that it's sleazy reputation, it hasn't really aged well. The puzzles are certainly leagues above LSL5, where they were virtually nonexistent, but the plot and jokes are not at the same level I would say (also, using the CD version for 1993 is kind of cheating, since the CD version came out a year later and spotted really good SVGA graphics, as compared to the really grainy, lores VGA graphics of the floppy version that weren't really that much better than it's predecessor's.

    In my recollection the jokes are really hit or miss, some are really good, some are really bad, a few are have aged terrible (I find the transphobic joke almost worse than the overtly gay stereotype - at least with the latter it's obvious, and I got a chuckle out of the ""death message " you get when using the zipper icon on the guy - yeah it's a bit tasteless, but it makes fun of all parties involved, and it's clearly completely over the top. The former was icky back then, and comes off in an even worse light now. And I'm saying all this even though I kind of like the game...

    1. Yeah, the trans joke is reealllly bad by today's standards. Most of it is standard Larry crude/poor taste but that one, yikes.

    2. The puzzles are certainly leagues above LSL5, where they were virtually nonexistent

      To be fair, the jokes in LSL5 were mostly time and pop-culture related, so it didn't age well at all to anyone younger than the specific target audience. Most young people today wouldn't know why former vice president J. Danforth Quayle is a buffoon in the game, for example, or why the references to Ivanna Trump, Michael Milken, etc. About the only thing that is still relevant is that rap music is inferior to jazz music.

    3. @El despertando

      Yeah, that death message is pretty funny. That character is actually pretty funny and nowhere near as offensive as I had remembered.

    4. @ Lisa H.

      I don't remember any trans jokes. To be fair, my last playthrough was in 2002 or so.

    5. @ Michael

      The jokes in Larry 5 are a bit outdated, but the puzzles in that game were basically optional. Go read my Final Rating post for that game and see where I did an ALAP Run (As Little As Possible). You can just . . . skip puzzles and still win.

    6. @Alex then you're forgetting one whole "quest line". It's definitely in there.

    7. @Lisa to be fair, if you don't do anything stupid or unnecessary (yvxr, sbe rknzcyr, pyvpxvat gur mvccre vpba ba bgure zra) the only real "trans joke" is all about false advertising. It could be considered a rip-off of "Npr Iraghen: Crg Qrgrpgvir", which was a reference to/parody of "Gur Pelvat Tnzr".

      I guess that's the reason I'm not as offended as some people here who are holding the game to modern standards. False advertising makes Larry the victim, no matter WHAT was being falsely advertised.

      @Alex I rot-13d some of this post, only because I don't want to spoil the scene. Nothing I wrote will actually help you solve a puzzle, the problem was what happens after you solve it.

    8. The problem isn't whether or not Larry is the victim, it's the presumption that such "false advertising" is the norm for trans women, or indeed, inherent in the nature of being a woman while trans.

    9. @Ross thanks, I wasn't sure even where to start with that.

  4. I can't help but feel like if your standard for garbage is Lure of the Temptress, you've had an extremely lucky blogging career.

    Actually, "May you live in interesting times" is an English quote, commonly attributed as a Chinese curse, though no such thing exists. There is a similar quote, but "better to live as a dog in times of peace than a human in times of chaos" isn't a curse, just a saying. As it turns out, a lot of Victorian/Edwardian era Englishmen thought their quotes would be better if attributed to someone older, there's also The Thucydides quote about scholars and warriors, which was really written by William Butler.

    Anyway, it seems to me like the gripping about old politically incorrect jokes may just take up more time than it should, so I'm going to guess that'll affect the score. From what I remember of what little I played of the game, the backgrounds were somewhat bleh, so that'll affect things too. 47

    1. @ MorpheusKitami

      Explain why Lure of the Temptress is good. What am I missing?

      And I did not know that the "interesting times" quote was actually an English and falsely attributed to the Chinese! That's, what, reverse appropriation? Cultural . . .sharing?

      Griping about old politically correct jokes is not my bag. I just felt the need to bring it up since comedy in the Year of Our Lord 2023, where everything is politicized, is a particularly touchy subject.

    2. I haven't played Lure of the Temptress yet, just observing that a game you gave 42 points to is a strange standard for garbage. That's even above the average score games get here.

    3. @Alex well, it may be a touchy subject now, but it was also a touchy subject when Larry 5 & 6 were made - I remember there were many fans but also complaints of comedians like Andrew Dice Clay, who specialized in jokes about women and minorities. There's a pretty good interview with fellow comedian George Carlin on YouTube regarding that subject that's certainly worth watching, where he says he will always support Clay's right of free speech, but that doesn't mean he also supports his style of humor.

      I Just finished playing the latest Larry games last night, and as far as I am concerned, it proved that you can indeed make a sex comedy in 2022 and make fund about stuff like autoerotic asphyxiation and include a campy trans character and still be funny without being (too) controversial. In fact, there is a whole segment that lampshades that fact by including an old comedian that insists on doing his old 80s comedy routine jvgu wbxrf nobhg sbervtaref naq oybaqrf naq fhpu. Jura ur qbrf fb, ercrngvat fbzr byq wbxrf gung V qrsvavgryl erzrzore urnevat va gur fpubbylneq onpx va gur qnl, vg pbzrf bss nf cngurgvp naq, riraghnyyl, dhvgr fnq ernyyl.

      Of course it may come down to personal taste, but for me It shows that the whole "you can't make these jokes these days" stick is overblown. You CAN still make these jokes and go with the time. It's usually the guys and gals who don't come up with any new material and still do the same old jokes they made 20, 30, 40 years ago that keep complaining - and will always do so regardless of decade.

  5. "I’m am playing the later CD-ROM version with improved graphics"

    The screenshots still look like the low-resolution version, though?

    I haven't played the game in ages, so I don't remember if the high-resolution version is an improvement or not.

    1. The releases for this game were weird, because this is where they started playing around with having Windows versions of the game. Which, I recall, was impossible to get fullscreen at the time in high resolutions (of course, using a magnification filter nowadays in ScummVM or DOSBox fixes this). And they take up a percentage of the bottom of the screen with a full-time inventory and speech area, I suppose because they realized how lazy LucasArts was in regards to filling the screen, and figured they could do it too.

      But the point I was going to make was that, if I remember correctly, the high-res versions looked better, but with tradeoffs. I could be wrong, though, just doing this from memory. And at this point, I don't think I ever purchased any more Sierra games on floppy, so I may have never seen the low-res version.

    2. @ Torbjörn Andersson

      You are correct. I mistakenly assumed that all CD-ROM versions with voice acting were the SVGA versions. I am wrong.

  6. I've only played one Larry game, magna cum laude. I though it was.. fine! Not game of the year by any means, but funny in a crude way, and only occasionally straying over the line into offensive (although I guess everyone's line is different).

    What struck me at the time was that real attention had been put into the writing and presentation of NPCs. Characters may have been thin stereotypes on a surface level, but the conversation system was a key part of the game and most of the scenarios had at least some nuance to reveal.

    These days I'd say the industry has entirely caught up, but the animation and voice acting in this janky, low budget National Lampoon of a game was of a higher fidelity than most AAA games were managing at the time.

    1. That's unusual for someone reading this blog! Any other big graphic adventures of the 90s you missed? By the way, Magna Cum Laude seems to belong more in the mini-game genre from what I've seen.

    2. I've only played one Larry game, magna cum laude.

      Goodness, I'm sorry. Is there anything we can do?

    3. ""Any other big graphic adventures of the 90s you missed?"

      I haven't played many Sierra games outside of the Quest for Glory series. To anyone young enough to have been introduced to the genre via LucasArts, they just seem hopelessly retrograde.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. To anyone young enough to have been introduced to the genre via LucasArts, they just seem hopelessly retrograde.

      I'm not sure how age applies here, LucasArts was designing graphic adventure games just a few years after Sierra was, and I'd certainly call Maniac Mansion "retrograde" compared to, say, LSL6 or Gabriel Knight or the like.

      I'm assuming that your introduction was something like Grim Fandango or Escape from Monkey Island. Fine games, but towards the very end of Lucas's relevance in the genre.

    6. I dunno if Sierra is hopelessly retrograde, since I found all the early Sierra titles I've played to be better than the early LucasArts titles I've played. Once you get to the '90s both are pretty much as modern as can be. (though that might be mostly thanks to developers endlessly cribbing from that time)
      TBH, if one is concerned about dead ends, a lot of walkthroughs mention what has to be done to avoid getting dead ended. Though I wouldn't try Gold Rush if that's your concern.

    7. I haven't finished every single Sierra and Lucasarts adventure and the first Monkey Island and Indiana Jones games are pretty much my favourite 2 games in the genre, but I don't think Lucasarts games were that far ahead.

      Firstly, Sierra was clearly better in the 80s, even after Last Crusade came out in 89. They released many more games, and some of them were as fun as Last Crusade (Space Quest 1 and 3, Larry 3, the first Quest for Glory for fans of that one...). I don't think I'm alone when I say that Lucasarts games were a bit frustrating before Last Crusade, even with the mouse interface.

      In the later era of 1995-2000, both companies released few games, and we could probably conclude that Lucasarts finished on a higher note with Monkey 3 compared to the latest King's Quest and Gabriel Knight installments, but I still haven't played those and some people have different opinions.

      So the real battle would be the classic 1990-1994 era. And in that era, Lucasarts used a Nintendo approach of releasing about one big game per year, but a very polished one, and Sierra used more a PS1 approach with many more games, but more mediocre games too among them.

      The aspects that could make Sierra games "retrograde" compared to Lucasarts are basically deaths, dead ends and moon logic. But I don't think deaths are a problem (it's part of the fun, many people like them), and moon logic was also present in Lucasarts games (see Sam & Max, Maniac Mansion and some Atlantis puzzles). So it's all about the dead ends. And Sierra clearly had way too many in the 80s with Larry 2 being the worse offender (other have mentioned Gold Rush and they're proably right), but I believe they almost removed them after 1990 with a few exceptions.

      And then there's the UI: Sierra used a more advanced UI in that 1990-1994 era compared to the multiple verbs taking 1/3 of the screen from Lucasarts. So in that sense, it's Lucasarts who were "hopelessly retrograde". ;)

      My sister's life partner hates Sierra and would only play Lucasarts games OR games that look similar, like Simon the Sorcerer... I feel sorry that someone somehow decides that playing Simon (which they finished, probably watching the character slowly walking for about 10 hours total) and The Dig (which they couldn't finish because the game "didn't have that Lucas feel", as we all know) is more important and urgent than playing Space Quest IV and V, honestly.

      But the good news is that you can still experience some of the best Sierra games for the first time, and maybe in this blog we can recommend you some Sierra games that don't have dead ends. In my case, I would recommend you start with the 3 VGA Space Quests: IV, V and the 1991 remake of I (those have no dead ends assuming you "take note of every message you see on the screen", something you also need to do in Last Crusade, BTW). Since you appear interested in Larry, Larry 6 is the best in the series and doesn't have any dead ends (only multiple death scenes), but you should also try the first one at some point because it's fun (researching the dead ends first to avoid them and remembering than in some Sierra games, looking at things a second time gives more information!).

    8. Torbjörn Andersson15 August 2023 at 17:05

      "So it's all about the dead ends."

      And the arcade bits. And the over-reliance on slot machines as game padding. And falling off stairs, bean stalks, whale tongues, etc. for the umpteenth time. And... :-)

      But as you say, the later games did improve a lot. At least the ones I played, and at least until the FMV craze. (I sometimes try to imagine what would have happened if Monkey Island had gone that route.)

    9. I have a love-hate relationship with the idea of a Monkey Island game in FMV...

    10. I have a hate-hate relationship with that idea. The best comedy games were cartoonish. Monkey Island, Leisure Suit Larry, Sam & Max, and so on... but to be fair, even the serious games suffered. I know I'm not the only person who had about 0% interest in Gabriel Knight 2, for example.

      @Torbjörn: imagining FMV Monkey Island? Just watch one of the Pirates of the Carribean films. One of them cribbed ideas from another, but it's all fair now since Disney owns both IPs now.

    11. @Michael Since I'm in the "please no" camp, I'm imagining FMV Monkey Island with 90s game technology and budget. :-)

      I've only played a few though, and admittedly they weren't all bad.

    12. Ooh, LucasArts going down the FMV route with their adventure games is a fascinating thought. They did a great job with it in other genres (Dark Forces II, Rebel Assault). I can imagine that they would have done something interesting with it at the least.

    13. @Torbjörn Andersson Good points! But perhaps a bit exaggeraed?

      - How many Sierra adventures have arcade sequences (not counting "click fast" sequences) and how many Lucasarts adventures have? I believe Sierra has SQ1, SQ3 and SQ4 while Lucasarts has Last Crusade, Atlantis, Sam & Max and Full Throttle, but I'm probably missing something.

      - How many Sierra adventures have a slot machine? I believe only Larry 1 and Space Quest 1, but again, I'm probably missing some games. If only 2 games have, it would be like saying that Lucas overused pixel hunting for books in libraries just beause Last Crusade and Monkey 2 did it.

      - The "stairs nightmare" was not a good example of game design, but I only suffered a bit in some little Space Quest 2 sections, and I didn't considerd it a game-breaking feature. Is this very bad in early King's Quest games or other series?

    14. @SpanishCoktelVisionFanClub I agree that he might be exaggerating a little, but I'll add a couple more examples:

      Arcade sequences: add LSL3 to that list, although you can skip it and suffer only the points. SQ3, for arguments sake, if you don't play Astro Chicken, you could still win the game as well, it's just there to give you a hint to be decoded.

      Slot Machines: I think Torbjörn was referring to gambling in general, and that list expands greatly. PQ1 (the poker sequences), Conquests of the Longbow (the board game), Codename:ICEMAN (ugh, those freaking dice, and you can't save scum it!), LSL7 (the dice game is entertaining, but thankfully that one you CAN save scum), and I'm sure there's others I'm neglecting off hand.

      Stairs: Oh, dear, you haven't experienced enough Sierra if you think this wasn't a problem. LSL2 made fun of it, because by that time, Sierra had gotten a reputation for it. KQ3 and 4 are notable entries in this list. He mentioned a tongue in his post, and it's KQ4. LSL3 parodies the scene in the closing sequence, but basically, you have to find an invisible, diagonal path up a slippery whale's tongue to proceed. You don't get killed, but rather, you slip down and have to restart the path over and over again. Many people would take one step, save, then another, save again, using alternate save spots. KQ3, the treacherous path up/down the mountain from the evil wizard's house... and since you were on a game timer for some puzzles, there was a sense of urgency as you were dashing up there.

      I say all this, but I still loved these games. Product of the times.

    15. "To anyone young enough to have been introduced to the genre via Lucasfilm , they just seem hopelessly retrograde." This was exactly my opinion until...a month ago. I have been introduced to adventure games with Monkey Island when I was a kid (discounting some earlier forays in text adventures, together with my dad) and grew up with this view of old Sierra games being punishing and unfair and generally light-years behind anything Lucas produced at the same time (admittedly I played just a couple of those old Sierra's titles back then: if i remember correctly, the first Larry and King's Quest 3). A couple of years ago I decided to start streaming new and old adventure games, as a way to keep in contact with friends, and played in succession the whole Quest for Glory original series, King's Quest, Conquest of Camelot and Conquest of the Longbow: I was favourably surprised by how much I enjoyed getting to the end of each of those and by how little frustration I experienced even when playing through some annoying sections. Last month I decided to stream Zak McKracken and Alien Mindbenders: a game I narrowly missed when I was a kid, since when the time came to fork out for it, my dad was convinced by the store keeper to instead buy the freshly published Monkey Island. I've always wanted to play ZMKAM since, and through the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia, I was prepared to have a blast. Boy, I was in for a surprise: the lack of "look at" action, the anxiety inducing money system, the multiple ways of getting locked out of the game with no apparent warning or notification, the horribly designed and completely useless mazes and some really obscure puzzles made playing the game an excruciating experience. It's incredible not only how more refined and user friendly (without being dumbed down) Monkey Island is when compared to this game, but also how this chasm in game design quality between pre and post Monkey Island Lucasfilm games is generally ignored when comparing Lucas and Sierra production.

    16. I'd argue that the LucasArts quality divide began a bit earlier with Loom. Some may even say Last Crusade, although that game still doesn't quite work for me.

  7. The gay character rubbed me the wrong way, though

    Well you see, in sexual relationships it's very important to communicate one's needs-- oh, wait.

    I remember the lesbian character in Larry 6 being funnier and far less offensive

    Yeah, by Larry standards she's not that bad. Exaggerated as all stereotypes are, but I find her a lot less grating as a butch lesbian than the lithping flamboyance of Gary the towel guy.

    Hey look, it’s Al, who actually plays the saxophone and wrote the Larry theme himself.

    Fun fact, the Larry theme's title is "For Your Thighs Only".

    So I’m going on my recollection of what the narrator said, voice with a dry snideness by Neil Ross.

    In a VERY different performance than the one he gives as the cartographer, Wally Feed, in the Monkey Island games! And Gary Owens he may not be, but actually I rather like the narrator in this game.

  8. Thanks for mentioning and linking to the Christy Marx interview. First I've heard of it, but I read it and enjoyed it. Nice job! I look forward to your review of this one.

  9. I never played this one, so I won't give it a guess, but then I found the old LSL collection with this on it (albeit the disc version, not CD), so I might play along with you :)

  10. As the years go by, the jokes in the average Larry game age worse and worse, and while I haven't played this one, it sounds like it's got some real stinkers in it. The fact that you have to pre-warn us about it makes it seem particularly bad.

    I'm gonna guess a 49 but who knows.

  11. I've been looking forward to this one. I've never played it but do own it, and I seem to have heard generally good things.

    I've had a quick comparison of the VGA and SVGA versions and I have to say that on first impression I prefer the graphics of the older VGA version; they just have more charm. Both versions are fully voiced CD-ROM releases.

    I'll be playing along, anyway. I'll guess a score of 59.

  12. 56

    This is not the strongest Larry game (I personally vote for #3, but I think the majority would choose #7), but it's no slouch. The music, as usual, was quite good, there's some fun humor and ways to die (sbe rknzcyr, ol hfvat fbzr unaq ybgvba gur jnl n grrantr obl jbhyq va gur erfgebbz jvgu n ivrj).

    Yes, you have to be able to look past some of the jokes and judge it for the time it was in. Just as in shows like Married... with Children, the goal was to make fun of EVERYONE. Sure, there were fat jokes and promiscuous dumb blonde jokes and whatever, but at the end of the episode, the real buffoon of all the jokes was usually the straight white male, Al.

    And yes, Neil Ross and the late Jan Rabsen absolutely nailed it. By this point, Sierra knew what they were doing with voice acting.

    1. Wait, make that 66. Voice acting, dialogue, graphics, and other factors will all help boost the score.

  13. This is the best Larry game of the first six of the series by far in my opinion.
    Two things that are ingrained in my memory: the very catchy music in the hotel (it will get stuck on you forever) and the really awful, offensive scene with the trans carachter. It wasn't funny 30 years ago and today is just inexcusable.
    Having said that, my guess is 60

  14. Here is PC Format magazine's review of Leisure Suit Larry 6, from the March 1994 issue:

    It's fair to say that PCF were never big fans of Sierra's games, punishing them quite harshly for the unfair design and general writing. I always though that they went a bit too far with this and failed to see the fun side of them.

  15. 63?

    I have no idea, haven't played any LSL except the first 2. My friend and I had hours of fun playing both (verb: pee - a warm feeling spreads down your leg, your suit is not as white as it was).

    But the humour is truly "of its time"

    1. Perhaps not a coincidence that you stopped after experiencing 2.

    2. I've only played 7 once so I don't have a good memory of it to judge, but of the other 6, 2 is definitely the one I've replayed the least. Somehow it's less satisfying than the others. And I'm including 5 here as being generally satisfying; I don't really understand or at least don't agree with the statements that it's basically puzzle-free and too easy. But then I may have a bit of a bias in that it was one of a few games I got a cracked version of back in ye aulden days via sneakernet, that is, a guy I knew from a BBS literally came over to my house disks in hand. (This seemed normal in 1992!)

      LSL6 is superior in just about every way to LSL2.

    3. Maybe the only thing where LSL2 is better than LSL6 is the initial setting with the city and the girl dumping you. Not leaving the hotel in LSL6 feels a bit claustrophobic, even if you can go to the beach and gardens.

    4. @Lisa LSL5 isn't puzzle-free, but the puzzles are almost entirely optional. If you leave a location without a required item, for example, either another character will just happen to give it to you, or you could just not solve the required puzzle and still advance. You could probably do a speed run in 5 minutes, skipping the cutscenes.

      I'd probably rank the Larry games in this order: 3, 7, 6, 1, 2, 5.

    5. The current record for Larry 5 on is a little under 16 minutes, but I don't know what techniques they're using.

    6. Okay, so I might have exaggerated a little, or maybe there's some unskippable animations.

    7. It was perfectly plausible! One thing I've learned about watching adventure game speedruns is that sometimes they discover tricks that permit ridiculously low times (on Any%, anyway). For example, the current record for QFG1 is less than 1 minute! So guessing 5 minutes for LSL5 didn't sound at all impossible to me, not knowing any details about it.

    8. Michael's list of Larrys sent 2 interesting ideas to my brain: 1) Is 2 actually better than 5? 2) Is 7 really the best Larry?

      For me it's clear that 5 and 2 are the worse ones, but I dunno... Even with the optional puzzles issue, 5 feels more "fun" in a way. I mean, Larry 2 forces you to watch 15 seconds animations of you walking in the jungle, to listen to 5 annoying ADLIB renditions of classical music every time you enter a barber shop, to navigate the stairs of the boat in what could have been the final level of Stairs Quest... And most importantly, to restart the game multiple times after you reach a dead end (if anyone reading this feels like playing the Larry series from start to finish but they're afraid of Larry 2 infamous dead ends, you can use this guide I created to avoid dead ends: ).

      About Larry 7, since I haven't played it... Michael, could you explain why you consider it the best one so maybe Lisa and I feel encouraged to play it?

    9. For me, besides puzzles design, Larry 5 big problem is that is an awfully boring game. I remember the first time Ioad it, that intro cut scene seemed to last forever...

    10. I kind of prefer the overall, more elegant look of Larry 2 to the exaggerated and ugly cartoon style from 5, but at least in 5 there are many things to interact with and you feel like you're doing something. In 2 is more like "okay, what crazy thing do I have to do next to avoid dying or getting stuck forever without knowing it".

    11. @Leo the first time I played it, it was in a computer that didn't meet the requirements. I'm thinking maybe this was just before I upgraded to a 386, so I had an XT with a decent size (for the time) hard drive. ALL the cutscenes dragged. I got to the end of the game, and it took almost an hour for the characters to cross the screen in the final standoff. I started it before dinner, sat down with the family, came back, and it was still going.

      @SpanishCoktelVisionFanClub Some thoughts:
      1. You could skip most of the jungle animation. After you got the flower, any time you went there afterwards, just type exit or leave or something like that, and you find an egress rather quickly.

      2. Those few bars of music as you entered the barber shop were to help remind you that each one was identical to the next. The musical cues were effective at their job.

      3. I personally think LSL3 is better than 7, but still, 7 is a fine game for many reasons. First, the interface was tweaked by AL to not only allow mouse input, but optional typing as well, which also opened up the door for some fun easter eggs. The mini-game of Where's Waldo (well, not quite Waldo...) was a fun addition, gave some replay value, and I think was personally better than the implementation in Thimbleweed Park with the specks of dust.

      There's no deaths or dead-ends. Honestly, LSL deaths are worth the entertainment, but still, I know some people hate that aspect of classic gaming.

      The puzzles ran the gamut from inventory manipulation to dialogue, and while there's still some dated pop culture references younger people might not get, unlike in LSL5, they have very little bearing on on the puzzles. While some of the puzzles are goofy, none of them really cross the line to moon logic.

      The introduction scene is a playable tutorial of sorts, where you cannot die, and you learn how to use the interface and the game's humor. It's a good bridge to modern gaming, where no one reads manuals anymore, since they don't exist.

      I found more than one review that echoes most of my thoughts. Although I have no clue what that so-called dead end the second one is talking about, and a Google search isn't coming up with it.

    12. @Lisa as I recall, the QFG speedrun in question involves a glitch in the game and positioning the character in just the right locations to force his way into something he shouldn't be able to access yet. That's a lot different than LSL5, where you could speedrun it in minutes by design.

    13. Also @Lisa

      LSL6 is superior in just about every way to LSL2

      I'd make two small arguments to that, but they are minor. First, LSL2 has a few of puzzles with alternate solutions, such as using either the sand or the ashes on the ice, how you survive the lifeboat trip, or what you stuff in your bikini top. To my memory, LSL6 has none.

      Second, LSL2 was one of the few times you had cute in-joke references to other games. LucasArts were masters at this, like finding the statue of Sam & Max hiding in Indiana Jone's college office, or Guybrush offering to sell a pirate a fine leather jacket. Sierra rarely did this, but there are references in some of the AGI games and the very early SCI games, and then they stopped. (Sonny Bonds can find Larry Laffer in Lytton, for example, in the second installment of his series.)

      I still agree that 6 is a vastly superior game. Sophomore efforts often disappoint.

    14. Thanks, Michael. Considering I recently completed all Larry games for the first time in order, maybe I should give 7 a go. The girls look worse than the previous games, but I guess I can live with it.

      About the deaths, it's easy to say 30 years later, but I don't understand how nobody saw that the perfect approach was in the middle. Having deaths that force you to reload is a pain that forces you to save often, but removing them completely takes away many fun moments. That's why I wonder why nobody decided to leave the deaths, but have them return the player to the immediately previous state.

    15. @Michael, I dunno, self-referential humor is incredibly cringey and I know I'm not the only one who thinks like that. Especially in otherwise serious games.

      @SCVFC, modern text adventures have something like this baked straight into the engine, by typing undo, well, you undo the last action, which is usually used for whatever killed you. I think a lot still don't have deaths though.

    16. @MorpheusKitami Sierra often was tacky about it (for example, Ken hawking games at the end of LSL1). Lucas made it an art form.

      That said, Rosella the barber was funny. The whole ending to LSL3 was genius.

      @SpanishCoktelVisionFanClub back then it was all about the playing time. The more time you spent saving, restoring, etc added to the "hours of fun you'll have" with that game.

      To me, the middle ground was when games starting auto-saving. So every 5 minutes, a saved game, or perhaps at the start of each level. There was still the difficulty (and entertainment) of character deaths, but a safety net in case you didn't learn the adventurer's credo, "Save Early, Save Often."

    17. @Michael I seem to recall that Larry 6 had at least one self-referential joke: isn't a certain song performed in the game essentially a tale of Marie Bonds (née Wilkans) from Police Quest series?

    18. @Ilmari ah yes, forgot about that one. I'd argue that one is well done, because it's subtle. If you don't know what it's referring to, you'd think it's just another stereotypical country song about a relationship. It's just missing lines like "my dog ran away" and "my car broke down".

      Guess I should play along with this playthrough. It's been a while. 6 is my second least replayed game of the series, behind 5.

    19. @Michael Just be careful not to mix up the two games you're playing as they both have similar elements. For example, remember that Lost in Time's beach is the one with the fish and Larry 6's beach, the one with the cock.

    20. I think you'll appreciate my final post, when I get there. I already have part of it written.

  16. I just did a "larry 6" Google Image search and then one with "larry 5" to compare.

    It's crazy how Larry 6 looks. Something tells me that it looks better than 5 and 1 VGA, but I can't explain why. It's like they started with the same style but decided to finish Larry 6 graphics as if they were pop art paintings.

    For example, some of the floor textures are alligned to the screen instead of the ground visual level. The interface has lots of pink on it. The graphics include some digitalised elements that make them look like collage art. And they clearly went for some intense colors with this one.

    1. They were showing off the enhanced SVGA palette, as well as making fun of what would have been considered a tacky tourist-trap resort for the 90s.

  17. As a total aside, being a Brit it's always jarring for me to hear these games spoken of with the American pronunciation of "Lee-zhur Suit Larry", whereas I grew up with them as "Leh-zhur Suit Larry".

    1. Sorry, Sierra didn't make British versions of the games, there wasn't enough disk space to store all the extra, unnecessary letter Us in all of our "favourite" game's dialogues. :P

    2. Ha! It wouuld have uused uup so muuch extra space, it's truue.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. The soundtracks for Monkey 1 and 2 are undoubtely masterpieces and other Lucas games have good tunes, but I wanted to make a quick homage to how consistently great Sierra's graphic adventure soundtracks were since the late 80s until at least 1994. Some tunes I remember are:

    - The epic and funky end theme in Space Quest 3
    - The killer/sexy "map theme" in Larry 3
    - The unforgettable "nectarine theme" in Larry 3
    - Pretty much all the music in Space Quest 4 (with some songs, including the sinister one that plays in the ruins, being homages to the original Star Trek series)
    - The fun parody of Ravel's Bolero in Larry 6 (powered by the dialogs at the ending)
    - The cute rendition of White Rabbit in a shop in Quest for Glory 3 (without having even played the game)
    - A hidden gem called the Eco Quest soundtrack
    - The whole Gabriel Knight 1 sountrack

    Even the Castle of Dr. Brain songs are great and can be listened independently from the game... What are your favorite Sierra songs?

    1. >What are your favorite Sierra songs?

      Regarding music that isn't necessarily sung, I have a soft spot for the King's Quest 1 remake soundtrack. King Edward's leitmotif is wistful yet noble, the beanstalk/cave melody is mysteriously devious, the giant theme is epic, and so on, all in a catchy hummable way; only the woodcutter's theme is rather generic and forgettable.

      From other Sierra games, I also particularly like Ludwig II's theme in Gabriel Knight 2 for its otherworldly wonder and beauty. (Almost all Gabriel Knight music is great but that piece is especially soulful and transcendent.) Then there's the sad intro music from King's Quest 3 when Gwydion's situation is described (play with a Tandy or an Amiga for full polyphony) and the vigorous medieval-style opening credits theme in Conquests of the Longbow.

    2. @Laukku I just realized about the "it's not a song if it doesn't have vocals" affair. It looks like many people (most of them native English speakers) use it incorrectly, but the general usage will probably add "or instrumental" to the meaning at some point. I guess I was fooled by so many people using it, but here's the most interesting part: I've been doing the same mistake in Spanish too with the word "canción". So apparently I should have been using "piece"/"tune" in English and "pieza"/"tema" ("piece"/"theme") in Spanish for instrumental stuff... Dang. As someone who was obsessed with music for 20+ years and who works as a translator, I feel cheated. Thanks for a very interesting correction, man!

    3. @Laukku I didnt' include King's Quest so... tunes because I rarely play medieval fantasy, but your message fixed that. You made me search for the (I assume SCI) King's Quest remake sountrack and I must say it's quite good:

    4. This is a super geeky musician thing, but the main theme to Space Quest III taught me the Lydian mode! Regardless of that I love it for just being brilliant too.

    5. Along with the entire LSL3 soundtrack, Erana's Peace from QFG is a beautiful piece, especially on an MT-32. There's a couple.of cool tunes in the Codename: ICEMAN soundtrack as well.

  20. Imagine you're Ken Williams. It's 1991 and one of the big Sierra IPs is not doing well. After a few sequels, it's clear people are not interested in Police Quest/Larry/King's Quest/Conquests of Things/Quest for Glory/Space Quest anymore. You need to create a new game series. You do a brainstorm with the team and some ideas pop up, but you're not sure:
    - Doctor Quest
    - Fireman Quest
    - President Quest
    - Pirate Quest
    - Sea Quest
    - A Tribe Called Quest
    ...........................What would you do?

    1. There's quotes from Ken about this, he seriously did want to do everything Quest at one point.

      And Sea Quest = EcoQuest btw

      But just think if he had come up with GTA before Rockstar did. Grand Quest Auto...

    2. What would I do? License Elfquest. Success guaranteed.

    3. @Ilmari yes, because ElfQuest projects like an animated film have never languished in production hell yet. ;)
      Not saying I wouldn't play an ElfQuest game... but an ElfQuest game done by Sierra? Iiiiii'm skeptical they'd have anything like the right touch.

    4. More ideas:
      - Guitar Player Quest
      - Archaeologist Quest
      - Kimball Quest ("The police is after you, but you're innocent and simply want to go back to your wife")
      - Drug Dealer Quest ("The police is after you, but you're guilty and simply want to go back to your bitches")
      - Taxi Driver Quest ("Are you clicking on me?")
      - The World of the Gnomes Quest
      - Rome Quest ("This time without the isometric nightmare")
      - Quest for Aliens
      - Processing ReQuest ("An operator follows the procedures until she discovers a crime")
      - Number 6 ("The Prisoner") Quest ("Be Solving you!")

    5. Number 5. A game where you have to disassemble a robot and rebuild it from spare parts.

      And, um Archaeologist Quest, wouldn't that be Indy? The game belongs in a museum.

    6. Also @SpanishCoktelVisionFanClub

      There WAS almost a President's Quest published by Sierra.

      Check it out here

    7. Yeah, yeah, but...
      - SeaQuest (the 90s series) is not exactly EcoQuest.
      - I didn't know about ElfQuest... Looks like a hippie version of LotR. Probably the creators of the X Quest naming style?
      - Number 5 Quest (for Short Circuit) and Numer 6 Quest (for The Prisoner) sound really nice... I would play those for full points assuming the company survives the lawsuits.
      - Archaeologist Quest doesn't have to be Indy exactly: See Romancing the Stone, The Mummy or the boring Amazon graphic adventure (the fun one being the more clunky!). Just put a different hat to the guy and that's it. Or maybe turn him into a mysterious girl called Laura Craft.
      - President Quest needs to exist, needs to be an adventure and totally needs to be about the existing Sierra character Donald Tramp.

    8. There kind of is a Guitar Player Quest in the form of Mel Odious Goes Six String Searchin'. Made by an actual musician. Unfortunately, it was in the GameBuilder engine, which was a very poorly thought out engine and just completely sucks.
      I got nothing that wouldn't just be a thinly veiled adaptation of some exploitation film. (Female Prisoner Scorpion Quest, can you survive the hosing scene?) Though I guess Detective Quest and Jury-Rigger Quest would be neat, since The Big Sleep and MacGuyver star adventure game protagonists that are trapped in another medium.

    9. @SpanishCoktelVisionFanClub

      After Codename: ICEMAN, I don't think I would ever trust a SeaQuest from Sierra.

    10. @Laukku an excellent choice. Especially since it sounds like Norm MacDonald is narrating the video.

  21. @SpanishCoktel As a longtime fan of ElfQuest (since 1989), that is a very peculiar description of it! (And anyway LotR already kind of is "a hippie version of LotR". There's strong anti-industrialization and anti-war themes in it and in the US at least, was quite popular with hippies.)

  22. By the way, I'm currently playing the latest two, made in Germany Larry Adventures back to back (I've finished "Wet Dreams don't dry" last week and I'm pretty sure I've just entered the final act of "Wet dreams dry twice"). Humor-wise they are typical LSL adventures, but I've also enjoyed the story and puzzles more than I expected, particularly with the latter one. And it's kind of amazing how many details and references they've included to the parser-based Larry games - the first one is clearly heavily based on LSL1 (what with it takink place in "New Lost Wages and all - it takes the "What if 1980's Larry would be present in the modern smartphone-, Social Media and Dating App age" premise and makes a pretty solid run with it - and it also includes Trans- and Gay jokes that, unlike in LSL 6, are funny and have a ... Kind of sweet outcome, actually), while the second is very heavily based on LSL1 2 and 3 (with the secret agent plot, the Island Atoll setting and even a free name references). Strangely enough, the only Larry games I didn't find any explicit references to are 5 and 6 - even 7 got a few nods here and there. And they lampshade the "80s sensitivities vs 2020s sensitivities every once in a while, and while the first game stumbles over the thin line every once in a while, overall I'm pleasantly surprised how the devs managed to balance these things and still managed to create two genuinely fun (and funny) games.

    Oh, and with Wet dreams don't dry it occasionally feels like what they really wanted to do was a fun Lucas Arts style romp, not a Larry one... The female governor of the Caribbean island is called Marley, she has a picture of a three-headed monkey in her office, one puzzle requires a green tentacle that looks suspiciously familiar, and one puzzle chain is ripped straight out of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. I definitely recommend checking these games out.

    1. Agreed about the Wet Dreams games. They're fun and manage to keep a lot of the campiness while being a little more in line with the 21st century. And yeah, Dry Twice has got a whole lot of Monkey Island references in it.


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