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 Love is 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!

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6 thoughts on “39: Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking For Love (In Several Wrong Places)

  1. I remember a couple of those “missing inventory” spots (like the lifeboat), but don’t recall having to go back terribly far. It’s been so long. I didn’t know or remember that you had written Al Lowe. Was this back in the prodigy pay-per-email days? Do you make him apologize for LL5 too while you were at it?

  2. ah, that game brings back fond memories; I don’t remember the missing inventory items at all, but then maybe I never finished the game? Ha ha about Ryan’s comment: “Was this back in the prodigy pay-per-email days?” — before I read his post, I was thinking the same thing, as in, hmm, does Beau owe Mom & Dad more phone bill money?” That’s cool that Al Lowe responded back to your email.

    • I don’t remember you winning it. I do have a distinct memory of you and Dad arguing over whether or not you had searched in Eve’s garbage can. Turns out, you had to look twice to find anything there.

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