Platform: DOS; Mac; Windows 3.x
One can divide the six Larry games into two distinct eras. The first three were all released in the 1980’s and used a typing interface. The final three were all released in the point’n’click era with better graphics and sound available. The first games in each era had pretty shoddy game design and reeked of amateurish handling. Each game improved upon itself, with the final game being a masterpiece, representative of the era it was released in. The main difference is that while the first cycle advanced quickly with LSL2, the improvement was much more gradual with LSL6.
Like its more successful stepchild, Love For Sail, LSL6 is the first game in the series (except arguably the first) to ditch the complications of working with a plot and focuses entirely on the babes. Passionate Patti has left you for good. You win a trip to a resort, La Costa Lotta (puns abound in this game). There are many babes to be wooed (e.g. Char Donay, among other fine…um…spirits). And in sweet simplistic fashion, you must bring each of them the item, or items, necessary for them to feel obligated to return certain favors to you. While a lot of horrible games of an adult nature have the same premise, Larry is the perfect setting for these antics, as the nature of the beast is parody rather than titillation.
It’s hard to review this game and not compare it to the one before and the one after. Its predecessor was the worst commercial adventure of all-time, and its follower is great and considered by some to be the best commercial adventure of all-time. This one seems to fall exactly between the two extremes. The graphics have improved a little, but are still tacky and gaudy (and while the narrator points this out several times, it still hurts the eyes). The sound and music is slightly better, but usually painful to listen to. The puzzles are a little more clever, and usually fair, but do not impress. And the game engine is easier to use, but still contains many bugs that cause the game to crash.
But despite the sea of mediocrity, I enjoyed this adventure mainly due to the talkie version, which employs narrator Neal Ross to comment on Larry’s bumbles and successes. The fourth wall doesn’t even pretend to exist here, the narrator belittling Larry constantly, with Larry commenting back with regularity. I found this banter to be mostly amusing, and I even laughed out loud a few times. And despite using two different actors, this style was copied and perfected for the next and final game in the series. As for the rest of the voice acting, it is capable if not memorable.
Easy, quick, and relatively painless, Shape Up Or Slip Out! cannot be considered a black mark on the Larry series, but is not strong enough to warrant recommendation to casual fans. Those who do play should definitely find the talkie version, as it turns an otherwise lame adventure into a charming gambol.