Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out!
First posted on 14 May 2000. Last updated on 09 August 2009.
The multitalented jazz musician and game designer Al Lowe has provided us with outstanding adventures since Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, and the quality of the series has improved with each successive sequel. Since all the games in the Leisure Suit Larry series center heavily around adult humor, not all gamers have identified well with the series in the past. So it is with some tension that I start up this latest sequel, see the shiny Sierra On-Line logo, and get sucked into its intro...
Larry Laffer, our sly hero and alter ego of Lowe, is still craving for love at the start of his sixth (or fifth) adventure, with no success of romance in sight. This time around, Larry is a last minute replacement for a missing contestant on a dating game show called "Stallions", where he actually wins a prize—a vacation at the infamous La Costa Lotta, a supposedly beautiful health spa. Of course, the luxurious spa is filled with beautiful women—beautiful, single women.
Like all his previous adventures, Larry longs for the companion (or just conversation) with a number of gorgeous ladies. The problem is that each of the 9 women Larry meets has some "problem" which Larry must help solve first. Surely, our wildly charmed Larry does not hesitate before setting off to find the items wanted by these ladies. In the end, Larry finally gets a chance to win the love of a spiritual, former material girl by bringing her 3 items of true romance.
Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! is a standard point and click adventure. Larry behaves as you expect him to behave. He follows around with every click of the mouse, picks up stuffs, use items, and so on. The interface is simple and neat, using Sierra On-Line's trademark system of icons and hotkeys to allow Larry talk to other characters and interact with his surroundings.
Lowe has done a decent job in designing this game. This sequel holds a certain distinctive atmosphere through a combination of Larry-esque graphics and sounds. The cartoonish characters juxtapose well against the photorealistic backgrounds, and scanned photographic images of clouds, oceans, trees, mountains are combined with the whacked out looks of the buildings. To me, the overall appearance of this game fairs even better than the angular polygon look of 3D models so dominant in today's action/adventure titles.
This time around, the women of Larry's pursuit no longer look like blobs of pixels onscreen. Larry's objects of desire are realistic, beautiful, and sexy. The contrast between hand-drawn background art and cartoonish characters adds a distinctive flavor to the game. While the soundtrack is made up of the standard MIDI tunes, several of them are actually quite catchy (seriously). The sound effects are of the quality fans can expect from the great Sierra On-Line. There is no need to hide this game from younger gamers, because like all previous games in the Leisure Suit Larry series no actual sex appears ever on screen in this sequel. While there is no visible onscreen sex, frontal nudity can be seen with a little "extra effort" from the player, as explained by Lowe, "Titillation is the key ingredient here, not pornography."
This latest Leisure Suit Larry adventure should not disappoint its fans. Larry is entertaining, even when you know how his every encounter of the opposite sex eventually ends. Larry always gets dumped, but knowing that he always fails does not make it any less fun watching him bark like a dog while being severely abused by his dream girls. If you are strangely compelled by the scene I have just described, then you are going to love this game! It is exactly this kind of awkward humor that Larry has attracted many fans.
Comedy remains as the savior for Leisure Suit Larry, given the game lacks a decent storyline or any unexpected twist. The conversations are funny, loaded with silly humor throughout. Some of the humor may be a little corny, but what do you expect from Larry? There are a number of "dirty" (snigger) jokes, but most of them are very inventive. A hilarious moment is when Larry falls off a very high springboard at night and alarms the entire police force, fire department, and the hotel management.
In all adventure games, a player's delight comes from figuring out how to get the needed items and use them correctly to solve the puzzles. The puzzles in this game vary widely in difficulty, especially near the end when they get weirder and weirder. For example, it has taken me days to find out that I have to dig in the sand to get a magic lamp, put bits of cellulite from the suck-o-matic in the Cellulite Drainage Salon, and light it up with matches hidden behind the counter from a bar. Some puzzles are just too hard and do not make much logical sense. I have found myself often wandering around aimlessly, without a clue on what to do next.
On the high side, this game has a funny script, decent graphics, and catchy music. Best of all, it is an adventure game! If you enjoyed Larry's previous adventures, then this game is definitely for you! The hotel may appear to be a limited location at first, but it really becomes "home" after a few puzzles. Once you know where the items can be found, the puzzles become a little less difficult. This game is also among the first adventure titles from Sierra On-Line in which you cannot die! Perhaps Sierra On-Line has finally learned from LucasArts! On the low side, some of the humor in this game may appear too raw. There is actually a "zipper" icon in the game. Sad, is it? Of course, this type of humor is exactly what the Leisure Suit Larry series is all about, and this sequel in the series succeeds with some brilliant comedy scenes without excessive gratuitous adult humor.
So what is the final verdict? Well, Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! is a fun game. It has kept me playing for days. The game is released in both Floppy Disk and CD-ROM versions. The later released CD-ROM version has much improved graphics over the original Floppy Disk version. Like all previous games in the series, this is a game about titillation not pornography. Watching Larry's bumbling failures gives enough humor to make me like this game, and I suspect you shall too.