Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) is the second game in the Leisure Suit Larry series of graphical adventure games, designed by Al Lowe and published by Sierra On-Line in 1988. It utilizes Sierra's Creative Interpreter (SCI0) engine, featuring 16-color EGA graphics and a mouse-based interface for movement. The story continues the exploits of Larry Laffer, who becomes stranded on a tropical island during an ill-fated vacation.
Sierra On-Line intentionally toned down the titular character's sexual escapades for the sequel. According to series creator Al Lowe, this lack of Leisure Suit Larry's trademark humor is an oft-cited criticism of the game.
Unlike the original Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, the game follows a linear story progression similar to Sierra's other adventure games, particularly later entries in the King's Quest series. The player character's movements are controlled via the cursor keys, the mouse or even the joystick, although a text parser is still used for all other actions. Rather than navigating through a single city, the player character is guided through a variety of puzzles and mazes. Players must take care in acquiring certain items over the course of the journey, lest they be stymied by an inescapable trap. Though there is no visible time limit, a number of pre-scripted events require players to act quickly in order to reach the next sequence.
As is standard in most Leisure Suit Larry games, the protagonist Larry Laffer's interactions with female non-player characters are accompanied by an on-screen portrait, though the images are much smaller than seen previously. The game actively punishes Larry for flirting with any woman he meets, a marked departure from the rest of the series; such acts invariably leads to Larry's violent death and a game over. Also included is a "Trite Phrase" option, which allows players to input a catchphrase which is repeated over the course of the game; the default is the notorious "Have a nice day".
The opening sequence of the game finds Larry mowing the lawn of Eve, his sexual encounter from the ending of the previous game, implying the pair have remained together. However, this is quickly revealed to be an instance of an unreliable narrator, as Eve pulls into the driveway with only the vaguest recollection of who Larry is. Realising that his affair with Eve was merely a one-night stand, a distraught Larry wanders off, winning the Lottery as well as a free vacation after stumbling into a rigged dating game show. During his preparations for the cruise ship, a microfilm falls into Larry's hands by mistake; this attracts the attention of the KGB as well as the mad scientist Dr. Nonookee (a pun on "no nookie"), who both want to recover the film.
The first sequel of the series used the new Sierra adventure game engine called Sierra's Creative Interpreter (SCI), with full 320x200 resolution, mouse, and sound card support. In addition to sharing the SCI0 engine, the game parallels the King's Quest series in its realistic art style—particularly in regard to Larry's character portrait—and grand-adventure elements, including a number of diverse settings (a cruise ship, tropical islands, etc.). It is also notable for being the only game in the series where Larry cannot cavort with women until the end. For this reason, the game did not include an age-verification test, although brief instances of pixellated nudity still occur at certain points. The engine also supports FM and General MIDI music.
Among the many women Larry meets over the course of the game is Rosella of Daventry—the protagonist of King's Quest IV—an example of Sierra's many cross-promotions. One of the game's final scenes includes a piano-playing "Polyester Patty", who features prominently in Leisure Suit Larry III: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals and Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work under the name "Passionate Patti". Patti is blond in this incarnation, whereas future games depict her as dark-haired.
With their SCI engine, Sierra dropped disk-based protection schemes. The game has a copy protection screen where one of several pictures of women are displayed and the user must enter their phone number as given in the manual. However, some versions of the game include an undocumented way to skip this screen (as well as activating a cheat mode) by entering 0724 as the phone number (the designer Al Lowe's birthday – July 24; he put this into the game while testing so he would not need to enter the copy protection codes whenever he restarted it).
Yngvi Th. Johannsson
Retro gaming enthusiast and all around computer collector.
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