Leisure Suit Larry 5: Final Rating

Written by Alex

Leisure Suit Larry 5! Final rating! GO!

Puzzles and Solvability: 1

What puzzles? This game is impossible to lose, and as such, I cannot give it a higher rating than this. Here: I’ll show you. After getting all 1,000 stupid points in this stupid game during my initial playthrough, I proceeded to do an “As Little As Possible (ALAP)” run. Let me give an example of how this game goes beyond hand-holding into outright giving you the solution. See this?

I think I forgot to mention this in my gameplay posts. It lets you skip parts of the game. Not just cut-scenes, but actual “puzzles,” as far as this game has any. Remember this part?


Remember how I wrote that:

“Here’s another blown situation for a puzzle. See the top portion of the screen? Just keep clicking ‘Hand’ and eventually Larry hits the autopilot button, saving the plane from doom (100 points). No puzzle, no brainpower needed, and no need for ANYTHING, since doing nothing causes Larry to run out of the cockpit in a panic and accidentally hitting the autopilot button, garnering him no points but still safely landing the plane.”

OR you can click the skip button.

Or remember this part? As in, the final “puzzle” of the game?

Just skip it and jump straight to the ending! You don’t even need to pick up the brasserie cannon way back in the FBI lab at the outset of Patti’s adventure, because Inspector Desmond just gives it to her during a cut-scene.

Sure, this eliminates a dead end, but why just not create a true alternate solution for players who failed to pick it up? Or better yet, make the player automatically get it at the beginning of the game, when it is shown to them and actually makes sense to pick up?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here is the Official Leisure Suit Larry 5 ALAP Run. All of the stuff you have to do to trigger certain plot points, and what you can skip.

  • Larry: Get the three resumes and the AeroDork card to trigger the appearance of the limo outside of PornProdCorp. Open resumes to get what is inside. Leave for the airport. Buy a plane ticket to Atlantic City. Board plane.
  • Patti: Ignore all of the people in the FBI lab. Walk to the right. Get indoctrinated. Learn Desmond’s phone number. Get tracking device implanted. Leave FBI lab without taking anything. In limo, call Desmond twice to get two faxes. Show P.C. Hammer fax to driver to get taken to Baltimore or Philadelphia.
  • Larry: Get quarter from slot machine. Get limo company number from billboard. Call limo. Show matchbook. Arrive at Tramp casino. Talk to man outside of casino to call a limo for you. Leave for airport. Buy ticket for Miami.
  • Patti: Wherever you get taken to, immediately get back in limo. Leave. For argument’s sake, let’s say Patti went to Philadelphia first. Immediately get back in the limo and show the driver the fax for des Rever records to get taken to Baltimore. (If you skip Baltimore and actually do the Philadelphia sequence, the game won’t let you out of Krapper’s office until you have a) opened the desk, b) copied the files, c) returned the files, and d) returned the key, the letter opener, or both. You do the rest of the puzzles normally, but you don’t even have to take the tape Patti makes of 2 Live 2 Screw).
  • Larry: Get two quarters from cigarette machine. Look at billboards until you find limo company number. Call limo company. Show card. Arrive at Dr. Pulliam’s office. You can call the limo company from the lobby, but they will be out of drivers. Get doily and wear it. Talk to receptionist to be let in. Just keep clicking “Talk” on Chi Chi to trigger the next sequence. Call limo from lobby. Go to airport and buy ticket for New York City.
  • Patti: Arrive at the Shill Building in Baltimore. Go inside. Talk to guard. Show fax. Go up elevator. Walk past gold record to recording studio. “Skip” the keyboard “puzzle.” Click zipper on Reverse Biaz to get “evidence.”
  • Larry: Get quarter from tin. Look at billboard to get limo company number. Call limo. Get in and show napkin. As Larry leaves the limo, the game automatically makes him take the DayTrotter. Enter Hard Disk Café. Click “Talk” on maître d’ until he gives Larry tape. Use tape with old-fashioned music cylinder. Use tape on both purple machines. Keep clicking “Talk” on Michelle. Call limo from lobby. Go to airport. Buy ticket for L.A. Wait and click nothing to eventually land airplane.
  • Patti: Wait and Patti automatically shoots Julius with the brasserie cannon Inspector Desmond gives her in the earlier cut-scene.

Remember how at the ending, the game tells Larry that his efforts ultimately didn’t matter? Inspector Desmond tells Patti pretty much the same as she reports failure after failure.

It’s okay. Everybody wins!

Leisure Suit Larry 5 is the participation trophy of adventure games. It’s an adventure game for people who don’t like adventure games. There are no dead-ends, which is great . . . but it is impossible to lose or die. The tragedy is that, with a little tweaking, these puzzles could have been great! Some even have actual alternate solutions. For example, giving the maître d’ credit cards OR using the membership tape on the music cylinder to get access to the inner sanctum. Or renting the roller skates with the camera OR paying $500.00 in casino tokens. That’s how alternate solutions should be. Being allowed to repeatedly click “Talk” on a character in lieu of having the required item is not an alternate solution. Very disappointing for an otherwise well put-together and presented game.

Interface and Inventory: 6
Much like with the Leisure Suit Larry 1 remake, the interface is easy to use, manipulating objects is easy, and the game went the extra mile in adding clever jokes when you try clicking inventory items on each other. As in, nearly every single item has a unique message when clicked on every other message. There are too many good ones to mention, but let’s just say it gave me an extra reason to click around in the inventory.

Story and Setting: 3
Oh boy. Let’s get this out of the way: Leisure Suit Larry 5 has a stupid story. Which would be okay, and even entertaining given some of the social satire going on, but the fact that it is of no consequence whatsoever really diminishes the entire narrative. Plus, there’s a blackface gag which, sure, is as innocuous as a blackface gag can get in that it’s not deliberately setting out to insult or demean African-Americans, but it’s still a bit much. The setting itself—various cities across America—is great, and the only thing that gets this category up to a three. The story prevents it from going any higher.

Sound and Graphics: 6
Call me a hypocrite, but I think the graphical style works better in this game than it did in the Larry 1 remake. From the computer-inspired designs of the Hard Disk Café to the tacky gaudiness of the Tramp Casino to the overdone monstrosity that is the K-RAP studios, the game presents a myriad of different settings for the player to poke around in. If only there were, you know, puzzles to solve in these settings.

Sound-wise, this game is fantastic. The Leisure Suit Larry series has always had great music, and this game is no exception. I don’t remember a single bad track, and some, like the Hard Disk Café themes and tune Patti plays at des Rever records often get stuck in my head.

Environment and Atmosphere: 6
I think both the environments and the atmosphere of Larry 5 hit the mark. The game is supposed to be a cheesy, risqué romp through some of the sleazier parts of the American landscape, whether that sleaze be sex-related, business-related, or politics-related. Crooked musicians, gangsters, scumbag Hollywood TV producers and yes-men coexist with an odd assortment of women whose only purpose really seems to get down and dirty with Larry. Okay, the female NPCs aren’t all that fleshed out, but let’s not forget that Patti is really the game’s only competent character. Larry lucks into and stumbles through everything. Patti—adventures in blackface notwithstanding—at least takes some agency through her solutions to the puzzles, and they tend to require more brainpower than just clicking “Talk” on a woman or giving her some random item.

All the same, I feel that the game missed a big opportunity for more spy stuff with Patti. Where are the other gadgets for her to use on her missions? There was a missed opportunity for a James Bond spoof a la Get Smart or Top Secret! (Ever seen Top Secret!? Pretty funny movie). Ah well. That seems destined to be Larry 5’s epithet: a missed opportunity.

Dialogue and Acting: 6
This is another category I can’t fault. Messrs. Lowe, Mandel, and their team of writers have again packed this game full of bad puns, witty jokes, and all-around cleverness. Most of the gags hit their mark, seeming to go for a chuckle and a playful nudge on the ribs as opposed to being offensive or mean-spirited. Aside from that blackface gig. I mean, come on! As far as blackface gags go, that’s about as benign as you can get. But really? A blackface gag?

Aside from the narration, each character is well-drawn enough that their personalities come through from just a few lines of dialogue. Patti is skeptical and street-smart. Inspector Desmond is a square-jawed defender of truth, justice, and the American way. Lana Luscious is a Jersey tough-girl. Michelle Milken is a high-powered Wall Street type. Julius is an bloviating bore. And Larry is . . . well . . . Larry. And so on. Nobody is particularly deep, but in a game like this, they don’t need to be.

Final Rating:
Let’s tally this up: 1 + 6 + 3 + 6 + 6 + 6 = 28 / .6 = 46.6 rounded up to a 47.

That seems fair, and a little higher than I would have expected. Ultimately, Leisure Suit Larry 5 has everything you want in an adventure game—good graphics, a great soundtrack, funny gags, clever writing, memorable characters and settings—minus what people in berets may call the raison d’être for adventure games: Puzzles. And that’s a pretty big omission. Tough luck, Larry. Better luck next time.

As for me, I get to move on to Police Quest III. Should I be happy to move on from Larry 5—as I think I’ve spent more time with this game than anybody else, God help me—or am I about to wade into even stinkier waters? My memories tell me the latter, but a guy can be optimistic, can’t he?

CAP Distribution:

100 points to Alex
  • Blogger award - 100 CAPs - for blogging through this game for our enjoyment 
60 points to Joe Pranevich
  • Classic Blogger Award - 50 CAPs - for playing Questprobe #3 for our enjoyment 
  • Classic designer blogger award – 5 CAPs – for linking to a Reddit thread on Ron Gilbert's blog 
  • Look what I found award - 5 CAPs - for linking to a citation of The Adventure Gamer 
45 Points to The Mara
  • Tell me a story award - 30 CAPs - For submitting a What's your story with extra bonus questions
  • Necromancy award - 15 CAPs – for catching up and commenting on many old posts, reminding us of games we hadn't thought about for years
20 points to TBD
  • True companion award – 10 CAPs - for keeping Alex company through his Leisure Suit Larry 5 journey
  • Mindbending multiples award – 10 CAPs - for helping Joe find games with multiple protagonists
15 points to Dehumanizer
  • Late night personality award – 10 CAPs - for helping Joe find games with multiple protagonists 
  • Snakes alive award – 5 CAPs - for trying to say something nice about Princess Python 
10 CAPs to Ilmari
  • Psychic prediction award – 10 CAPs - for guessing closest to the score of Questprobe #3
10 points to Laertes
  • Psychic prediction award – 10 CAPs - For correctly guessing the score of Leisure Suit Larry 5
10 points to Splitting image
  • Genuine People Personality award – 10 CAPs - for helping Joe find games with multiple protagonists
10 points to Rowan Lipkowitz
  • Multiple personality award – 10 CAPs - for helping Joe find games with multiple protagonists
5 CAPs to Corey Cole
  • I lived in the past award – 5 CAPs - for details on turntables
5 CAPs to Aperama
  • I lived in the past too award - 5 CAPs - for linking to a video on the weirdness of 80s comedies
5 points to Scott Adams
  • First hand account Award – 5 CAPs - for commenting a smack down on Dehumanizer and TBD 
3 points to Kenny McCormick
  • Is that a snake in your pocket award – -2 CAPs - for telling us about his trouser snake
  • Science and religion award – 5 CAPs – for pointing out that a candle should blow out in a wind tunnel, then somehow trying to make it tie into the bible? Or something?

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