Throwbacks are fun. Games are fun. Marry the two and what do you get? Well... in this case, a bit of a headache.
Leisure Suit Larry was created in 1987 for MS-DOS. It appears that its primary appeal is the vulgar language and sexual humour. I was challenged to play this game as an assignment for a Game Studies program in what was probably an attempt to highlight sexism in gaming, and BOY did this title not disappoint.
The game starts out in Los Wages (an appropriate satire of the casino city of Las Vegas) as you play as Larry: a middle-aged virgin desperate to get lucky. I played the 1991 version, which offered better detailing on the characters, but really didn't improve on the controls or narrative.
Larry is the slowest character to walk from 8-bit to 16. This 'point and click' soon became a 'point and smash until the mouse is broken' because the avatar was slower than Aunt Gladys after her hip replacement. In the time it took to move him across any small room, I successfully finished an essay, wrote out cue cards for an upcoming midterm, and finally emailed my mom back. This game made me so productive, it was infuriating.
To change your actions as you interact with the world, one would hover their mouse at the top of the screen and select the action icon that ranged from grab and walk to unzip pants and lick.
The roaming around without an idea of what to do is very typical for these early point-and-click adventures, but this was made better by the humorous interactions you could have with just about any person, place, or thing you came across.
Larry comes across a number of potential bedmates as the story unfolds, from gold-digging con artists to back-alley prostitutes. To win this game you've got to find someone willing to sleep with Larry for his charm, and that is a challenge I was not up for without a few visits to a walk-through due to the impatience I built up trying to even get this guy to go anywhere.
But—get this—the most difficult part of the game isn't finding Larry a one-night lover, but actually getting in to play the game! In the opening screen, the game asks for your age; selecting any of the ones putting you above 18 will generate a series of questions in an attempt to challenge that claim. The difficulty is that most of the questions are based on American current affairs... in the 80s.
You could just play a guessing game through the multiple choice, but your life is worth living and if you've bothered to play this game, you shouldn't waste any more precious time on it. Look up the copy protection answers.
Honestly, this game should not have made it to the Computer Gaming World's November 1996 list of 150 best games of all time (which it did). Although I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with so many objects with different text depending on the action I performed (they spared no detail in some cases), the game is so overtly misogynistic and plays to such a tired male virgin trope that you should probably skip it if offered an opportunity to play.
It's hard to judge old games by today's standards, but it's harder to look past these glaring offences in what should have been uncomfortable even for the late 80s. The goal of this game is to lose a 38-year-old man's v-card (gross) and, when successfully done with a sex worker, the game is not considered complete as this isn't "satisfactory" sex for Larry (yuck). I don't know if this is more problematic for the comment on sex workers or the idea that this game is trying to argue authentic relationships are the true goal of sexual relations (because the ending has you bone a girl you meet in a hot tub and process less than five text phases through).
Final Rating: Leave this one in the filthy back alley you found it.
Recommended: Go play Conker's Bad Fur Day for N64 to meet your need for raunchy with less blowup dolls.