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Retro Review: Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail

By: Kirk Hiner

 

Genre: Adventure/Humor
Platform: MacOS
Format: CD ROM
Developer: Sierra
Publisher: Sierra
Requirements: Any Macintosh or compatible, System 7.1, 8MB RAM, CD ROM, color monitor, Sound Manager 3.1 (if you have an earlier version, you will need Quicktime 2.5 which is included on the CD).
Network feature: No
3Dfx Acceleration: No
Year Released: ????
Availability: Out of Print

 

My love/hate relationship with Sierra began back in 1989 when a college roommate first introduced me to Al Lowe's "Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards." Many a class was missed and many an exam failed as my friends and I huddled over the 286 with no hard drive and a sixteen color screen, busting our butts to help Larry Laffer get a little action. After graduation, I took a job with the Ohio Department of Transportation. There, the taxes of the citizens of District 3 paid not for me to write press releases, but to make sure that me and my colleagues were able to help Larry meet his one true love, Passionate Patty.

Oh to be back there again, when times were simpler, games were better, and Al Lowe still had a job.

If you've played any one of the previous five Larry games (there was no 4), you've played this one. After being dumped by yet another lover, Larry's won a trip on a yet another cruise liner (having never been on a cruise liner, I can't vouch for their sex appeal). The puzzles come as a series of contests, the winner of which gets a week of sex with the ship's captain, Captain Thygh. So Larry bowls, tosses horseshoes, cooks, "does it" with robots, shoots craps, etc., etc., all to win a week with the Captain. Along the way, he meets many women (Dewmi Moore, the Juggs, Victorian Principles, Jaimee Lee Coitus...you get the idea here). He also interacts with the foul-mouthed maid, Peggy the pirate (sadly, the game's most engaging character), the snooty homosexual, Peter the Purser, and yeah, yeah, yeah. We've seen it all before.

Sierra must've known this, as they threw in a bunch of gimmicks to try and liven up the otherwise dead game. First and most obvious is Cybersniff 2000. At certain points in the game, the player is told to scratch and sniff one of nine boxes on a card provided. We get to smell everything from musty cabins to sea air to Larry's farts. Yeah, that's a good idea. Got no story? Add a fart. Sure am glad I bought this 9600/200 so that I could smell artificial fart.

After finishing a puzzle with one of the women, the game automatically downloads a picture of that woman to your hard drive. If pixilated eroticism is your thing, then this is a pretty swell feature. If not, it's just more hard disk space gone to waste.

Another new twist that works a little better is "Where's Dildo?" Throughout the game, the player can occasionally find a vibrator in a red and white striped outfit and glasses (ala "Where Waldo?"). Clicking on Dildo causes him to dance across the screen to a funky bass beat, and finding all of them is supposed to yield a surprise. I didn't find them all, however, so I have no idea what that surprise is. If anyone was successful in this quest, e-mail me to let me know if it was worth the effort.

Then there's "Be Your Own Star." LSL7 gives you the option to load your own pict file and voice recording into the game. Your image will then pop up periodically throughout the game, and, in the scene with Drew Barringmore, you can become Larry's voice. Sierra gives you the dialogue to record, but I recommend you have a little fun here. It's your one chance to make the game earn it's "Mature" rating.

Speaking of voices, I'll admit to being diappointed with those chosen for the characters. It was nice to finally not have to read Larry's dialogue on the bottom of the screen, but Larry's voice is just annoying. Perhaps it's because I had five previous games with which to formulate the perfect voice of my hero. Sierra's choice didn't match up. Of course, it could've also been the dialogue between Larry and the witless narrator.. There were a few good jokes (some nice jabs at Bill Gates and computer industry "in" jokes), but not nearly enough.

Despite all this, there were a couple of incredibly strong aspects in this game. First--and anyone who's played a Sierra game on either the Mac or PC will rejoice in this knowledge--I played this entire game and it only crashed my system once. Pick up your jaws, I'm serious. A Sierra game only crashed once. Miracles do happen.

Then there's the music. Good Lord, how far Larry's theme has come since the one note melody in LSL1. Now a wonderfully arranged piece for a full jazz band, the song embodies the attitude of Larry more than Larry himself. Make sure that when you play you go into the Juggs' dressing room. In there is a radio that allows you to play each of the songs in its entirety. If you time it right, the Juggs are in there too...and that isn't a bad thing.

Special attention should also be drawn to the graphics. I'm not a big fan of live video in computer games, so I was thrilled to see that Al and his crew stuck with classic animated graphics. The sets are fun, the colors are lively, and most of the good jokes come from what's going on in the background. (Al, was that Ron Jeremy by the pool?)

I do have one other problem, and maybe this is just me, but...well...Larry's been in six adventures now. He's been laid in each of them, often by more than one woman. Fact is, this "loser" Larry Laffer has now seen more action than most people who play his games. There's something fundamentally wrong with that.

Despite this negative review, I won't pretend that I wasn't greatly saddened when Sierra announced that they'd told Al Lowe, Larry's creator, to clean out his desk. Just when it looks like they'll start giving us more titles, they kill their only line of interest. Sure, the later Larry games never lived up to the original, but they were always good for a couple laughs and many wasted work hours. With the major advances in gaming technology, I can't help but feel as though Larry never reached his peak. Here's hoping that Sierra, or anyone for that matter, finds a wide open space for Al on their payroll.

 

Recommended instead:

Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards

Developer: Sierra

Publisher: Sierra

 

Applelinks Rating

 

Raised on Intellivision and "Tron," Kirk Hiner has been an avid gamer ever since he was tall enough to look through the viewfinder on the Battlezone upright. Although he makes a living using a PC (not by choice) to design websites for Dynamics Online, Inc., Kirk never strays from his 9600/200 or 3400c for computer gaming. When he's not playing the latest Logicware release, he can either be found working on his next "never to be published" novel, rereading anything by Kurt Vonnegut or watching RAW is WAR.

 

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December 19, 2014

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