Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
First posted on 15 September 2007. Last updated on 11 August 2009.
In 1987, game designer Al Lowe (a musician and a former school teacher) established an iconic status for himself among gamers when he created a new subgenre of computer games. He did this by successfully combining comedy, sex, and gaming into an adventure game unlike any that had ever been done before. In his creation, the male libido is symbolized by a polyester leisure suit. The game is called Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, and you are put in the role of Larry Laffer—a leisure suit wearing nerd who is trying to find love in the city of Lost Wages (a parody of Las Vegas) that is chock full of urban lights and loose slots. Larry, a 40 year old disco dancing hipster, has apparently a single agenda in his mind—the search for pixelated love, and he has only a single night in this sinful city to find it.
Before even playing the game, you are already given a taste of Lowe's humor in the form of a tourist pamphlet touting the Palamino Ranch and a visitors' guide to the city of Lost Wages that are included in the game package. Also included are an instruction manual and a dating service letter that doubles as a password legend. When the game first starts, you must complete a tongue in cheek age quiz which supposedly verifies that you are matured enough (or not) to play this game.
There have been 2 releases of the game. The game is originally released in both 5.25" and 3.5" Floppy Disk versions, whereas the enhanced version is released only in 3.5" Floppy Disk version. The original version is built on the Adventure Game Interpreter (AGI) that supports only 16 colors and EGA graphics. The enhanced version, released in 1991, is a remake that uses the updated Sierra Creative Interpreter (SCI) that supports 256 colors and VGA graphics. The new engine also replaces the text based parser from the original with an icon driven interface. The new interface includes a number of icons on screen: Walk, Look, Action, Talk, Item, Inventory, System, and Help. Mouse support is perfectly implemented, and joystick support is also included in the remake. The enhanced version allows the gamer to truly "point and grope" (as humorously touted by the game package), so that the player and the suit can finally become one and the same.
The graphics are both grainy and pixelated, which strangely work in this game to give the feel of an old stag film. The game package jokingly advertises that the game is 3D (which is simply not true), but the claim is actually for the "Dancing, Drinking, and Dames" in the game. From time to time when interacting with a character, a casino game, a puzzle, or an item, the camera changes from a third to a first person view.
The sound quality is low, which is more of a hardware limitation of the bygone days. Still, there is an ample soundtrack that plays intermittently throughout the game. There is little or no voice acting, with the exception of a sparse D.A.C. here and there.
In this game, your goal is to help Larry win over the women of his dreams. You must complete a number of linear tasks, all of which are not overtly difficult (which is good). This allows you to enjoy the humor without the frustration of getting stuck. You will need to solve puzzles, find items, as well as interact with a number of non-player characters. Most characters in the game harbor much distaste for Larry and his leisure suit (sometimes existing as separate, autonomous entities), including the women whom Larry meets (Fawn, Faith, and Eve, amongst others). There are many different locals Larry must venture, such as Lefty's Bar, Quiki Mart, the Casino, the Disco, and other nightspots. You can die in this game. The many death scenes are, however, quite humorous to watch.
As Larry travels around in Lost Wages by cab or on foot, you will find a rich and humorous story that will surely keep your attention. Larry gets to meet a lot of beautiful women in this game, though not many (if any) pay much loving attention to him. There is a lot of hidden humor that can easily be missed. This is a rather short game. When you are stuck at a dead end, you can always save and reload to restart, and the "climactic" ending at the end will definitely leave you wanting for more.