Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work
First posted on 05 October 1999. Last updated on 11 August 2009.
I have to make a confession. I have been a fan of the Leisure Suit Larry series ever since I play Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards in its original 16 colors. I find the original game to be very funny. From the moment I finish playing that game, I know that I want to play more from the series. Among all the titles in the Leisure Suit Larry series, my favorite is Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work. My reasons are plentiful—a decent plot, lots of humor, nice looking graphics, and great music.
In this fifth (or rather fourth) game of the series, you alternate playing Larry Laffer and his girlfriend Passionate Patti. Patti is the lady who Larry has met in Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals. The game has Larry and Patti going on separate adventures. For the first adventure, Larry is hired by his new boss Silas Scruemall to videotape 3 girls who are auditioning to be on a show called America's Sexiest Home Videos. As Larry, you have to fly to the 3 cities (Miami, New York, Atlantic City) to find and videotape the 3 beauties. For the second adventure, Patti is hired by the FBI to go undercover and investigate 2 criminals, Reverse Biaz and PC Hammer. Both men have been illegally putting subliminal messages into music records. As Patti, you must complete your assignment by going on a hunt to find the criminal organization to which these 2 crooks belong.
The production value of this game is excellent. The 256-color graphics are clean and pretty. The newly redrawn Larry character looks great. Larry now appears more modern, angular, and artistic.There is no speech in this game. Instead, huge message boxes appear during conversation, inside which the dialogs of Larry or Patti and other characters appear. You can advance through the dialogs by pressing the Enter key. A series of icons appear on screen when you are ready to perform an action that includes walk, talk, hand, and fingers. When the hand icon appears over an object or a hotspot, it means you can interact with that item or place. The fingers icon is used to pick up inventory items. There are a couple of ways that you can activate the icons. The first way is to use the mouse to scroll down to the menu of icons and select the action that you want. The second way is just to use the right/second mouse button to cycle through the icons one by one. This novel mouse based interface is both effective and totally user-friendly. The developer describes it as a "no-typing 'grope and click' interface for quick-feel, one-hand action scoring". All the graphics in the game are hand-painted and then digitized. The game features original score by Emmy nominee and Hollywood composer Craig Safan, whose credits include the Cheers TV show, The Last Starfighter, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4. This is the first game in the Leisure Suit Larry series to make use of the Bodily Function Keys, according to Al Lowe, "We added these about three days before we shipped because it was late at night, we were tired, we were high on caffeine and pizza, we were all Letterman fans, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and we could."
Gameplay is extremely entertaining. There is a lot of humor in this game. Among the cities Larry has to travel in the game, my favorite is Atlantic City. This is because you can gamble as Larry on the Video Poker machine. I am not sure how much money you can win playing Video Poker, but I just keep going until I have enough money to go on with the game. Gambling is integral to your success in Atlantic City, since you must then have enough money to buy a pair of roller skates, get into the theater to see a show, and even participate in a mud wrestling match with a girl whom you are after.
Speaking of the girls (or ladies), the 3 girls that Larry has to find are Michelle Milliken, Lana Luscious, and Chi Chi Lambada. You can find Michelle at the Hard Disk Cafe in New York, Lana at the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, and Chi Chi at a dentist's office in Miami. In Atlantic City, you get to mud wrestle Lana which in itself is pretty humorous. Later in the game, you get to control Larry's girlfriend Patti who is an absolute knockout. She is the most beautiful female cartoon character that I have ever seen in a computer game. If Sierra On-Line ever decides to make another sequel, I hope that there are more gorgeous women like Patti to look at! My favorite song in this game is the one that Passionate Patti and Reverse Biaz practice together. It has a great beat to it, even though the music is FM and not MIDI synthesized.
This game has many positive attractions and only few negative drawbacks. A highlight of this game is its clean interface. Personally, I believe an icon based system is a fantastic way to interact with the game environment. The humor in the story is very good, and gamers who love tongue-in-cheek humor should enjoy this title. The hand-painted environments and characters in the game are wonderful to look at. Kudos to the artists who draw these great graphics! On the other hand, I really wish that the game includes speech, since it can get tiresome quickly reading large blocks of text on screen. The game is targeted to mature gamers who are 17 years of age and up. Personally, I think that people of all ages should be able to play this type of adventure games no matter how old they are. While this is not a fault in its own right, if Lowe has not included so much adult humor and sexual innuendos, the game may have been much more accessible to a younger audience.
Without a doubt, Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work is the best game in the Leisure Suit Larry series. It has an engaging plot, great graphics, and endless laugh out loud humor. I recommend this game to both fans of the Leisure Suit Larry series and fans of adventure games who may not be familiar with the series. I hope that there is Leisure Suit Larry 8 someday. Until then, have a great time in front of your computer and laugh hard with the "cult hero of the computer geeks" Larry!