Tag Archives: Al Lowe

Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up Or Slip Out!

Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Sierra
Year: 1993
Platform: DOS; Mac; Windows 3.x

One can divide the six Larry games into two distinct eras. The first three were all released in the 1980’s and used a typing interface.  The final three were all released in the point’n’click era with better graphics and sound available. The first games in each era had pretty shoddy game design and reeked of amateurish handling. Each game improved upon itself, with the final game being a masterpiece, representative of the era it was released in. The main difference is that while the first cycle advanced quickly with LSL2, the improvement was much more gradual with LSL6.

Like its more successful stepchild, Love For Sail, LSL6 is the first game in the series (except arguably the first) to ditch the complications of working with a plot and focuses entirely on the babes. Passionate Patti has left you for good. You win a trip to a resort, La Costa Lotta (puns abound in this game). There are many babes to be wooed (e.g. Char Donay, among other fine…um…spirits). And in sweet simplistic fashion, you must bring each of them the item, or items, necessary for them to feel obligated to return certain favors to you. While a lot of horrible games of an adult nature have the same premise, Larry is the perfect setting for these antics, as the nature of the beast is parody rather than titillation.

Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! DOS There is a floating bar in the pool. (MCGA/VGA)

It’s hard to review this game and not compare it to the one before and the one after. Its predecessor was the worst commercial adventure of all-time, and its follower is great and considered by some to be the best commercial adventure of all-time. This one seems to fall exactly between the two extremes. The graphics have improved a little, but are still tacky and gaudy (and while the narrator points this out several times, it still hurts the eyes).  The sound and music is slightly better, but usually painful to listen to. The puzzles are a little more clever, and usually fair, but do not impress. And the game engine is easier to use, but still contains many bugs that cause the game to crash.

But despite the sea of mediocrity, I enjoyed this adventure mainly due to the talkie version, which employs narrator Neal Ross to comment on Larry’s bumbles and successes. The fourth wall doesn’t even pretend to exist here, the narrator belittling Larry constantly, with Larry commenting back with regularity. I found this banter to be mostly amusing, and I even laughed out loud a few times. And despite using two different actors, this style was copied and perfected for the next and final game in the series. As for the rest of the voice acting, it is capable if not memorable.

Easy, quick, and relatively painless, Shape Up Or Slip Out! cannot be considered a black mark on the Larry series, but is not strong enough to warrant recommendation to casual fans. Those who do play should definitely find the talkie version, as it turns an otherwise lame adventure into a charming gambol.

Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! DOS Hmm, this mud bath is too hot! (MCGA/VGA)

Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards (VGA Remake)

Leisure Suit Larry 1:  In the Land of the Lounge Lizards DOS Front Cover

Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Sierra
Year: 1991
Platform: DOS, Macintosh, Amiga

The remake of Land of the Lounge Lizards (which was a remake of a the text game Softporn Adventure) could have turned a funny game with subpar game design into a masterpiece. Instead we are left with pieces. And none of them are masterful.

Continue reading Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards (VGA Remake)

1: Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does A Little Undercover Work

Year: 1991
Designer: Al Lowe

One can sum everything up by stating Larry 4 was by far the superior game.

Leisure Suit Larry 5 is the most abominable commercialized computer game ever, though I admit I have not played Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude. Al Lowe hated the latter and went out of his way to make sure people knew he had no role in its design. For some reason he hasn’t apologized for this game yet.

The “new and improved” graphics are so wretched that after five minutes you’ll find yourself wishing you were staring directly into the sun. The music will make you want to go listen to a middle-school band performance. The point-and-click interface is only there to give you tendinitis. The puzzles are insultingly easy, the worst of them having you get into a wrestling ring where you must grab as many female private parts as you can; it’s like whack-a-mole, only less arousing. The great news is you can skip several of the puzzles if you feel like three hours is too long for an adventure game. The plot is more thread-bare than the women Larry meets. Nearly every joke falls flat. There is not one redeeming quality in this entire game.

Play it only to see how low Sierra sunk in the early 90’s.

21: Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love For Sail!

Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Sierra
Year: 1996
Platform: DOS; Windows; Macintosh

Review: Al Lowe redeemed himself with his final installment in the series, taking everything good about previous two games in the series (see: not much), and extrapolated it into a massive game that manages to score in several areas.

The premise behind the game is familiar. Larry is left by the girl he wooed in the previous game (count that five times out of six) but manages to get tickets to a cruise, where there are quite a few luscious babes to be had. Of course, Larry can get every girl he desires just like any normal person would do–bring them an obscure item. All of this practice will allow him to bring the super item to the ship’s captain who will ensure Larry has the ride of his life.

Victorian Principles

I jest a bit.  There are quite a few puzzles in this game and they are not all of the lock-and-key variety. Some are fun and logical, some are fun and stupid, and some are just stupid. But since the last couple of games did not list “brain” under the requirements section, all puzzles are welcome.

The cartoon graphics actually work well, in that they don’t completely clash with the game environment. Gameplay is fairly intuitive and there were few times I felt myself annoyed at the production values.

On a positive note (must be some reason the game is ranked this high), there are a few features that were unique to the adventure game world. Before starting the game, the player can read lines for a character that will show up during play, save them in the directory, and hear your horrible acting in one scene. Also, as you score with each girl, your desktop wallpaper changes to the image of your latest conquest. Not groundbreaking, just unique.

One of the best features is the reintroduction of the keyboard into a Sierra game. Several puzzles require you type in the verb you want to use after you point-and-click the screen to death. Some of them are a little unfair, but it’s refreshing all the same.

The main reason, though, the game nearly makes the top twenty is that I found Love For Sail genuinely funny.  “Where’s Dildo!” is a giant help, as you search the ship for 32 red and white dildos. The easter eggs are some of the best in PC history, and they are numerous. The narrator is hilarious. And the game goes a long way for stupid, elaborate puns. Despite the plot and a few nagging faults, I thoroughly enjoy playing this adventure every time.

Contemporary RatingHigh. Only a couple of pixel-hunting issues, and this is the type of game one feels okay going to a walkthrough if necessary.

Cruelty RatingNasty.  Oh, Al.  There is one way to make the game unwinnable. Most people will probably figure they screwed up, though it’s unclear how badly at the time, as you can still complete most of the game if you ignore the gaffe.

26: Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals

Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Sierra
Year: 1989
Platform: DOS; Amiga; Atari ST

Review: How do you take the success of the Looking For Love and turn it into something better?

1)Crank up the laughs. Al Lowe is at his absolute funniest here.
2)Include lots of sex, but use it simply for the comedy material it presents.
3)Change the perspective. Halfway through the game, you get to play as Patti!


Larry has lost his wife to a lesbian affair and thus his job when nepotism is no longer an option for him. So, Larry is without money, a job, or a place to live (something all too familiar to him), and must regain his sense of purpose in life.

Everything is improved, including the graphics, music, and parser. The puzzles are also more fair, without being ridiculously easy, providing a good pace to the game. And as mentioned already, the game is relentlessly funny.

Contemporary RatingLow. There is one puzzle that is tied into your computer’s memory.  On faster computers, the time needed to beat the puzzle approaches infinity.  Playing the game in DOSBox can help, but it still is touchy.  There is also a puzzle that is copyright protection.

Cruelty Rating: Tough.  Unlike the previous game, you can only go walking dead if you do something obviously dumb.

39: Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking For Love (In Several Wrong Places)

Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Sierra
Year: 1988
Platform: DOS, Amiga, Atari ST

Review: Released only two years after the first installment, Looking For Loveis an exceptional game, much better than the original. Also, while the game is still rated for adults, the sex has been toned down considerably, delegated to jokes and conversation rather than the act.  In fact, the easier you are to the various women you meet, the more likely you are to die! This game is appropriate for most teenagers.  This was the only game in the series my parents allowed me to play before high school and I understand why.

Poor Larry has been dumped by Eve (his primary conquest from the first game) and with no money, job, or place to live, he must wander the streets of Los Angeles once more. If Larry gets lucky he’ll also wander a cruise ship, a tropical island, and an airplane! The plot, rather than focusing on sex, involves a KGB conspiracy that Larry accidentally gets himself in the middle of without knowing it!

Using their new SCI engine, the graphics have been vamped up considerably.  The parser has also been upgraded as well, able to understand some complex sentences. Unfortunately, the sound effects and music are mostly unimaginative and flat.

What really makes or breaks this game for most people are the puzzles. While most are creative, this game probably holds the record for most ways to put yourself in an unwinnable state and not know it. The main difference between this and most games is that here they are all intentional. There are at least four different points in the game where Larry dies, only then realizing that he forgot an important item near the beginning of the game! In fact, I think I encountered every single one the first time I played. The game is already quite long as is, and the playing time was quadrupled for me due to these gaffes. I’d like to think I was able to forgive these torture puzzles as they are humorous, but more likely the reason is I played the game when I was ten and had no other games to boot up. I had an e-mail exchange once with the game’s creator, Al Lowe, and asked him about the design.  He pretty much admitted designing a game in this manner is unforgivable and was glad I liked it anyway.

If you can put up with the puzzles, you should have a good time.  The humor is ubiquitous and quite refined. Along with the gags are more subtle jokes, pleasing fans of both with some laugh-out-loud moments. And the end game is a satisfying conclusion to a satisfying adventure.

Contemporary RatingMedium. The parser is actually pretty good, and the jokes hold up well.

Cruelty Rating:  Cruel.  The cruelest game ever!