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During the "Golden Age of Adventure games", Sierra reigned king. My first experience with the genre was Space Quest III and I consider myself a fan. I was never particularly good at these games. I usually couldn't make much progress without the aid of a walkthrough. I have a lot of nostalgia for these games, but when I revisit them, I must admit they aren't all that good. Still, there seems to be some special quality about them that makes me like them anyway.
Now on to Leisure Suit Larry 3. This series is supposed to be the horny yet funny game series. The sexuality is very prudish and the humor is dad joke quality, mixed with a little bit of slapstick. I'm guessing the reason this game is so tame is because Sierra was very self conscious that their "adult" game was being played by lots of children.
The story picks up where part 2 left off, with Larry on the tropical island Nontoonyt..... "none tonight" get it? yea.... that's about the level of humor this game has to offer. In the last game you defeated the evil Dr. Nonookey and married the village chief's daughter.
This story begins with her dumping you, and you decide to use your newfound freedom trying to shack up with women around the island. The very first screen gives you some pixelated boobs, right off the bat. The rest of the game fails to live up to this early promise, as the remainder of pixelated nudity is always strategically concealed by the environment. (aside from the locker room where Larry lets it all hang out). Even still, how much (or little) the game shows is dependent on an age verification quiz, where you must answer such timeless questions as "what was the 1979 Vice President's nickname?" or "Who played Rowdy Yates on Rawhide?"
Leisure suit wearing lotharios used to be a common character trope, such as Larry Dallas from Three's Company or the 90s nightclub version with SNL's Roxbury guys. Today we'd just call them incels or pick-up artists. (although Leisure Suit Larry is one of the least smooth pick-up artists I've ever seen) The various girls you try to get with are wooed by typing "talk to girl" and you'll regale them with some dull banter. Ultimately it's not your pickup game that gets you anywhere, its the seemingly valuable treasures you bribe them with as payment for sleeping with you (such as a credit card, or a deed for land.) It's situations like these where I feel that LucasArts, with their witty dialogue trees, might have been much better suited to this type of game.
The world itself is terribly small, with about 3 screens (the fountain, the jungle, and the hotel) that you have to walk back and forth across dozens of times. And some locations such as Chip&Dales or the comedy club that serve no game design function other than being places to collect some points. Navigating is tedious.
The puzzles are either super obvious, or so esoteric that you would have to read Al Lowe's mind to figure it out. The game can soft lock at certain points too, like forget to close the locker while you're working out, and you come back to find everything missing. Might as well have you die at that point, because you're going to have to restart. The little bit of wood on the ground. I wonder how you were supposed to pick this little block of pixels from similar looking branches and leaves in a jungle scene? How would you know to tie pantyhose around your waist and a rock to impromptu bungee jump over a cliff; something that no one would ever think to try because it makes no sense.
When I was younger, I remember the bamboo forest maze as being one of the challenges that stopped me dead in my tracks. This time, I had my paper and pencil in handy ready to make a map, but it turned out to be unnecessary as a I made it through on the very first try.
There is a part where some wild marijuana is growing, and if you it eat it, you float into the air and then fall to your death. Then they tell you to "just say no". For an "adult game", Leisure Suit Larry sure is square.
Near the end, there is one of those infamous Sierra "arcade sequences", this one features a postage stamp size playfield, where you ride a log down a river and dodge rocks that are coming at you fast. That finale is this weird meta scene where you crash into Sierra studios where the adventure games are "filmed", and you end up being hired to program Leisure Suit Larry 1. It is reminiscent of the meta-ending of Space Quest III. Weird, bad, but still kind of a charming.
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