Maybe Larry is looking in wrong places, but this is the right place to find a great adventure
"Larry 2" is for me a serious candidate for the "Best Sequel" award, together with games like LeChuck's Revenge
, Final Fantasy II
, and Suikoden II
"Looking for Love" doesn't surpass the original; those two games are simply too different to compare. In fact, "Larry II" is the least typical of all Larry games. Sometimes it seems the game was taken out of a different series or perhaps created by different people.
First of all, the whole point of the game is not to conquer women. No, Larry has way more important things to do here. There are actually very few women in the game, and basically no standard "seducing" situations. Of course, there are some unsuccessful attempts from Larry's side, as always, but not much more that.
"So what's so good in this?!" - you'll say. Well, I suppose some people really play Larry games just to look at women. They don't really care whether such a game has a plot or not. "Larry 2" is definitely not for such people. It is all about adventure, and good adventure means good plot.
The story of "Larry 2" is a very funny parody on Indiana Jones- or James Bond-like movies: the hero is always found in impossible situations, and always find a way to escape safely. Of course, Larry escapes mostly because of luck, but that's precisely the point of parody. Larry is probably the most unlikely hero for a globe-trotting Indiana Jones-like, and that what makes the plot so amusing. Larry, the well-known wannabe-womanizer, as a world-savior? Come on!
Classical Larry elements (trying to get a girl, taking stuff from everywhere, etc.), are wonderfully combined with a whacky, intriguing plot which involves escaping from KGB, cruising on a ship, participating in a TV show, shaving legs and wearing bras, diving into pools, fighting snakes, walking on a swamp, parachuting from planes, exploding bombs, and saving a whole nation from a bad doctor Nontoonyt or whatever his name was. All this, of course, done with the usual Larry clumsiness and casual encounters with women that prove to be lethal!
The gameplay is dramatic and tense such as rarely seen in an adventure game. Constant dying can be regarded as a bad thing, but it adds a lot of suspense to this rather meditative genre.
The graphics are clearly superior to those of the first game, and the new engine is more comfortable.
A point to make: with all those innovations, "Larry 2" is true to the spirit of the series. Larry is an unpractical guy, a loser, a romantic at heart, and not the dirty seducer later games tried to turn him into. And in "Larry 2", he is still our Larry.
The only downside of "Larry 2" is its puzzle design. It was typical for early Sierra adventures to let the players die constantly or get stuck because they forgot to pick up something earlier. It was still okay in the first "Larry", but "Larry 2" really exaggerated. There are locations where you can literally die at every corner, and plenty of possibilities to get stuck. Therefore, the puzzles are not about thinking, but about dying, restoring, trying again, dying again, restoring again, and figuring out you have to restore an earlier saved game because you probably forgot something. In fact, there are very few real puzzles in the game, and the once there are are very easy; but what makes the game unnecessary hard is the fact you have to keep tons of saved games in every location just because important items are everywhere, and you constantly travel from place to place without ever coming back. There was one "puzzle" (in the airport) that was really unfair: it required
you to try something and to die from it, in order to find out a hidden item. There was no other way to solve it other then dying, restoring, and getting an item you knew about only because you died previously. It is not as hard to figure out as it sounds, but it almost looks like cheating, while in fact being a part of the game's design.
Such a pity there wasn't enough music! It was, of course, a great fun to me to hear the tune from Mozart's "Le Nozze Di Figaro" each time you enter a barber shop, but that wasn't enough.
The Bottom Line
The most exciting Larry adventure. It has great variety of locations, plenty of suspense, dramatic situations at every corner, imaginative gameplay, excellent parody plot, and usual quality of humor. "Larry 2" is my personal favorite of the series. I really wish it would get a remake with more music, and perhaps some corrected gameplay issues.