Get that leisure suit out of the closet, it’s not over yet. Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail will give players more of what they have been asking for — beavers and boobs.
Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail is the sixth entry in the series. For previous look at these games (which is also recommended reading for this review), check here for 1-3 and here for 4-6. At the risk of sounding redundant at this point; the Leisure Suit Larry series is a series of adult oriented adventure games published by Sierra On-Line. They are the brain child of musician and programmer Al Lowe.
Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail was released on October 31st, 1996. This was just when Sierra On-Line started to change their adventure game engine. They upgraded their engine from the previous Sierra Creative Interface to its fourth version named SCI-3. The SCI-3 engine basically added support for 3D graphics and better Windows integration. This is why Love for Sail appears so different from its predecessors. Apart from this game, the engine did not see much use as adventure games were on the decline and Sierra attempted to delve into other game genres.
The story for Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail is about as basic as you can get. After falling in love with Shamarra from LSL6, she decides to take all his money and leave him. Larry then sets fire to the hotel he’s staying at and escapes to find a postcard for the PMS Bounty. What else is he to do but take a cruise. Upon boarding the boat he meets Captain Thygh. There is a competition aboard the ship for spending some “special time” with the captain if they are the winners in a set of different skill-based games. Through dumb luck and cheating, Larry will win these games and meet other women who are on the boat. A few of these characters are legally distinct versions of famous names such as Dewmi Moore, Victorian Principles, and Drew Baringmore.
The gameplay itself is a simple point and click interface. You have a condom-shaped mouse pointer which extends once it reaches a hot-spot on the screen. Clicking on it will open a menu with a list of actions. The game further expands on this by allowing the player to submit their own verb. Instead of breaking a branch maybe just push the branch out of the way for a better view.
There are also two minigames throughout the game. “Where’s Dildo” is one of the minigames; small red and white striped dildo is hidden in different backgrounds of the game. Finding all 32 of them are one of the keys to unlock a special scene at the end of the game. The second minigame is a variant of Liar’s Dice. The rules are slightly changed to accommodate new players. The only good point on this is it being a strip game.
Unfortunately, there are two gameplay aspects that were lost in the digital port of the game. There is the Cybersniff 2000 and the ability to mod in your own portrait and voice acted lines into the game. The Cybersniff 2000 was a small scratch and sniff insert placed behind the manual in the jewel case for the retail game. Amazingly, I still had my copy, but the smells have long since faded. Now, you just have to use your imagination for what salty sea air, a sex room, and shit smell like. The second aspect is the modding ability. This seems lost in the digital version. Since the game runs on an emulator, the items in the install folder reflect that. There are missing files from there that would tell you both the lines to say to have your voice in the game and the correct file to edit so your picture appears in the game. I encourage anyone to try and rectify this as I personally would love to know how to fix this.
As expected there are a few problems with game crashes and bugs. First and foremost, there is a crash around saving the game — I experienced it in my playthrough. If you try to continue a game instead of loading it the game may crash when attempting to bring up the save screen. While most of the game can be progressed through quite fast, there is a certain part in the game where you have to listen to a stand-up routine for approximately 30 minutes if you want to end the game with the full amount of points. I ended up having to play this “wait 30 minutes” part five times before discovering the cause of the problem. That, sadly, is not the only problem. I had a few crashes when trying to play videos from the game. They were 256 color 640×480 encoded videos. Getting those to work on a computer with 20 years worth of new hardware was also a problem.
Imagine two and a half hours of this.
What sets this apart from the previous games is not the amount of bugs, but the complete change in art style. LSL6 had a more realistic art style for the characters of that game at the same time Larry was extremely cartoony with his rubber banding appendages and eye popping. It ended up being hit and miss at points. Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail throws realism out the door and embraces the cartoon style. From “leggy pillars” with a flowing yellow liquid to whale’s mouth dining area, the areas are quite a sight to behold. The character designs seem to be a love child of Tex Avery and Ralph Bakshi. This makes them more a parody of themselves with exaggerated proportions. That being the case, the sex and nudity are far more comical than pornographic.
Just because something is intended to be non-pornographic doesn’t mean it can’t be erotic, though. Love for Sail takes the cake for nudity compared to previous entries in the series. If I had a dollar for every pair of bare tits in this game I’d have somewhere close to $25. Once again, there is male nudity for fans of the other sex. Sadly not quite as much, but at least you will finally get to see what Larry himself is packing. Most of that nudity is in plain sight, ranging from pinups to statues to plain NPCs laying out in the sun. However, if you want a close-up view, certain Easter egg qualifications have to be met. Most of these are easy to accomplish and can be found online. I remember my 16-year-old self rather enjoying Jamie Lee Coitus’ scene since it was easy to perform. Her horrible, broken French has been burned into my memory as a result.
The speech and music once again take a step up from the previous installment. Al Lowe and Don Munsil (assistant designer, writer, and programmer) were the driving force behind this. Every line from the game is voiced. Each character feels so much more real, even if a parody. Even the narrator becomes a character as Larry breaks the 4th wall to banter with him. Once again, Larry’s role is reprised by Jan Rabson from Larry 6. As for the music, Al Lowe did not work alone. Frank Zottoli composed most of the music for the game. He does a good job but nothing stands out as being amazing. The only music that I truly remember was The Juggs’ theme which was a remix of the Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist theme song.
First and foremost, this is not a porn game. Love for Sail is just a video game with lewd elements. Whether or not the game is for you depends on your own taste in video games. Adventure games are not for everyone. If you’re not willing to play through it the lewd elements will not keep it going. Overall it’s a great send off for the series. The following titles, leave quite a bit to be desired and lose what made Larry games good in the first place. The next game, Leisure Suit Larry: MCL, has a review available here. If you’re a fan of adventure games or the previous Leisure Suit Larry games, by all means, give this a shot.
Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail is available from GOG.com for $5.99. I do recommend a physical copy if you can find one, as that comes with a few extra goodies. The sad part about that is getting it running from a physical copy may require some tweaking.