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Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work

aka: LSL5, Larry 5, Larry 5: Fala milosci, Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti macht beim Geheimdienst mit, Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti se fait Détective Privée
Moby ID: 408
DOS Specs
Buy on Windows
$4.99 new on Steam

Description official description

Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work! is (despite the number) the fourth game in Al Lowe's Leisure Suit Larry series. The middle-aged would-be-womanizer Larry Laffer fell off a boat during a cruise and sustained amnesia, forgetting how he and his sweetheart Patti got separated, how Larry got a job in LA, how Patti got a job with the FBI, and what happened in (the never released) Larry 4. Now Larry and Patti are working independently on two cases that are connected to each other, even though the heroes aren't aware of that. Larry's new bosses are involved in shady business, while Patti agrees to take a break from her career as a performing pianist and become an undercover agent. Will the two be together ever again?

Unlike the previous games with their text input, Larry 5 utilizes a graphical, icon-based interface. The player uses verb commands ("Look", "Talk", "Use" etc.) to interact with the environment. In a way not quite typical for Sierra's adventure games, it is impossible to "die" in Larry 5, and the amount of "dead ends" (unwinnable situations) is greatly reduced. The game is also less puzzle-oriented, allowing the player to proceed even if he/she fails to solve the required puzzle in some cases. However, the player is awarded more points for finding the "right" solution. As in the third game, both Larry and Patti are available as playable characters during different chapters of the story.

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Critics

Average score: 76% (based on 22 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 76 ratings with 6 reviews)

Hey Ma! Look what they did to Larry!

The Good
I fell in love with the antics of poor, little ole' Larry in LSL1 and have played every one in the series. We gals have always chuckled in the shadows watching the "one liners" and gags you guys try on us, but Larry takes the cake. That said, I'll cover a little bit about this particular game.

I agree that the graphics and music are better than in any of the previous games. The gameplay aspects overall are also better. But ... but .... now read my major complaint about the game below.

The Bad
They RUINED my Larry! Man was I disappointed when I saw how ugly they made him. Sure, he was always dorky and nerdy, but they drew his head WAY out of proportion. The ~old~ Larry really grew on me and I hated the new look they gave him.

The Bottom Line
A good game overall, if you can get beyond the awkward looking lead character. Bring back the old Larry, I say!

DOS · by Jeanne (75928) · 2001

What happened to you, Sierra?..

The Good
Larry 5 is one of Sierra's VGA titles of the early nineties, a row of games with wonderful graphics, rich MIDI music, and conveniently elegant interface. The technological gap separating this game from its predecessor is so huge that sometimes it seems there really must have been a "Larry 4" between them. It also has a cartoony look that later became widespread among comedy adventures: some rooms are viewed from strange angles and have strange shapes, planes wave their wings when taking off, and a few people look appropriately disproportional, such as the hilarious maitre d' in Hard Disc Cafe. The visuals could be the game's saving grace, although the much more rewarding remake of the first game looks just the same.

Al Lowe probably could not have created a completely unfunny game even if he tried. While much less memorable than the previous installments in that regard, Larry 5 still has some spark here and there. The situations themselves leave a lot to be desired, but there is attention to detail that has always distinguished the series, and it has survived the departure of the text input. Some of the game's optional actions - looking at unimportant objects, etc. - may yield jocular descriptions that belong to the more tolerable material it has to offer. The company directory with omitted letters (where ".uck You.." ends up being deciphered as "Duck Youth") is a definitive highlight.

And, of course, playing as two different characters is always a good thing. At least seeing Patti nicely recreated with 256 colors could be vaguely stimulating, especially if you got attached to her in the previous game and want to know whether she and Larry will ever be together again.

The Bad
I have no idea what exactly happened there. Rumors of the company's boss actually instructing the designer to make a game anyone could finish may be quite close to truth, because Larry 5 ended up being just that. Perhaps they were intimidated by the success of LucasArts with their death-free policy. In any case, by throwing all danger overboard, they went further and eliminated any kind of challenge altogether: Larry 5 is unabashedly, mind-numbingly, infuriatingly easy.

I'm completely serious when I say that what is supposed to be the meat of the game - the plot-related tasks - can be completed by clicking through them. You see, in an inexplicable move, Sierra made all the puzzles of the game optional. I really mean it: all the puzzles in the game are there only to score extra points. You can procure an item and give it to a person who might need it - but you can also fail to do that and still proceed with the game as if nothing happened. This terrible decision utterly ruins the game. There is no sense of reward and no feeling of achievement, which is a crucial component of game design. The final segment is particularly horrible: Larry manages to fly a plane, safely land it, meet several people, and stop the villain in the final scene without a single input from the player!.. Often the game simply becomes a string of cutscenes with barely any control, almost like a Japanese visual novel.

It gets worse: Larry 5 is also aggravatingly linear. Whether you play as Larry himself or as Patti, the chapters all follow the same routine: you are taken to a single location where you must make a few steps, perform the most obvious actions, and automatically proceed to the next segment. There is no exploration involved: most of those areas consist of a few screens at best, each offering next to nothing to do. You can't even wander around, take stuff, or talk to people aimlessly - each chapter confines you to one tiny area only, without anything connecting between them. The scarcity of available objects and the restricted movement would make all the puzzles too easy even if they were mandatory.

Even in terms of humor, Larry 5 fails to reach the bar. The situations depicted in the game are simply not funny - not even in a vulgar sexual sense. Speaking of which, there is something coarsely lewd in the entire premise of the plot - having sex with overly horny young women and videotaping the act. This is a step below the risky, yet for the most part tasteful humor the series is known for. Since seducing all the woman requires no effort whatsoever from the player, the whole thing feels even cheaper and less attractive.

The plot makes little sense - and not in a good, entertaining way, like in the second game. The whole amnesia issue and the spy activities intertwined with corrupted porn industry are not particularly amusing and feel fake and disjointed. The overly symmetrical, formulaic structure of the game precludes any surprises already from the lukewarm start. And, like a sour icing on a stale cake, the omnipresent copy protection is more annoying than ever.

The Bottom Line
Even the greatest ones have their dark hours. The lovely visuals and the remnants of humor in Larry 5 prevent it from completely tarnishing the glory of its developers, but its inconceivably simplistic, shallow gameplay comes close to doing that kind of damage. Sadly, this is not only by far the weakest installment in an excellent series, but also a game way below any kind of standards set by its creators.

DOS · by Unicorn Lynx (181749) · 2019

Where's Larry 4?

The Good
The last time we saw Larry Laffer, he was wondering around Nontoonyt Island, doing nice things to every girl he met, and he was lucky that he screwed every one of them. Eventually, we found him programming Leisure Suit Larry 1, while spending the night with Passionate Patti, his one true love. Al Lowe initially intended for the LSL series to be a trilogy, therefore the series would have ended with number three. It was later revealed that LSL4 would be a multiplayer adventure game, but that never saw the light of day.

Both Larry and Patti also feature in this game. Each character has an assignment that seems to be connected with the other. While Larry's assignment is to audition three hostesses to appear on a popular TV program under certain conditions, Patti has to go undercover for the FBI to stamp out any corruption in the music industry. Of these two, I have to say that Larry's is interesting since he eventually has to use a camcorder to film the bizarre actions of the finalists.

In LSL5, the player controls both protagonists. But instead of spending the first half of the game as Larry and the other as Patti, you will go back and forth between them when the active character has completed a portion of their assignment and is traveling to their next location. There is copy protection, but this only applies to Larry's part. This is where you have to look up something in your documentation and enter five symbols that correspond to the location where you want to go next. The paper that serves as the copy protection sheet has some humorous names that go with the humor of the game.

It doesn’t hurt to enjoy the many jokes the game offers. For example, read the many ads in the airport terminal, or listen very carefully how the boss and the president mispronounce Larry’s name (ie: Daffer, Luffner, Lenny, Lipper). Oh, Larry happens to save the plane carrying the vice president’s wife, and you do this by clicking like hell on the controls. Then there's the dreams the characters have when they are traveling to their next destination. I quite enjoyed Patti fantasizing about Donald Trump and Bill Gates.

The hand-painted backgrounds look good, and both the icon bar and the control bar are quite colorful. I like the appearance of the dialog boxes, which you have a certain amount of time to read. In the control panel, the text slider is ideal for people who are slow readers. With these cartoon-style graphics, Patti looks sexier than ever. Sierra recommends this game to mature players due to its adult content.

The music in this game is excellent. I liked the tunes when Larry is in Atlantic City, but mainly whenever Patti is in control. You get to hear most of the soundtrack through a stereo in one of the rooms at PornProdCorp. The sound effects blend in with what Larry and Patti are doing, and you get to hear them all at the end of the game, post credits (if your sound cards has DAC). It was Al Lowe who invented the game’s “bodily function” keys. To hear them, all you have to do is just press one of the unused function keys to hear a disgusting sound. I don't see much point to this, other than create some sort of “rap” of them.

Unlike previous Larry adventures, LSL5 has alternate solutions throughout the game, and these solutions add to the replayability of the game. An example of alternate solution is at the dentist, where you can wrap a doily around your head and pretend to be in real pain, instead of phoning up for an appointment with Chi Chi Lambada. As far as I know, the fifth game is the only one that has these alternate solutions.

The Bad
For the first (and only) time in LSL history, there is password protection in the game. I don't mind it as a way to prevent minors from playing the game, but it gets annoying if you start up LSL5 and want to restore a game, and this happens every time. There is no typing meaning that your interactivity with the environment is reduced. Finally, you cannot die in the game, which is the shame because I enjoyed reading those humorous dialog boxes.

The Bottom Line
If you enjoy the previous Larry games, you will definitely like LSL5. It may have the same amount of jokes and the same protagonists you get to control, but the graphics are gorgeous and the sound is excellent. There are also alternate solutions that make the game worth playing more than once. At the very end, you get to hear someone say “Better Babes Through Technology”. Now, I have to agree with whoever said that. The babes are definitely better in the next game, as well as the one after that, but it's too bad that Patti doesn't look any better.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43086) · 2014

[ View all 6 player reviews ]

Trivia

Date

Examining your boarding pass at the airport shows that the date of Larry's next flight is always exactly 60 years from whatever date your computer is set to. Considering the game's release year of 1991, this means the game would've possibly taken place in the year 2051 at the earliest. Though more than likely it's just a programming gag than anything else.

Difficulty

According to Josh Mandel, the reason for the relatively low difficulty was not only because of the new point & click interface, but mainly because Ken Williams evaluated customer feedback and discovered that almost no one finishes their adventure game. So he gave Al Lowe the order to make a game that everyone can finish.

Product placement

You thought product placement would only occur in the movies? Not quite. Sierra might well have been the first company to place an advertisement in a computer game. US-American telephone company Sprint paid to be featured in Leisure Suit Larry 5. Whenever Larry or Patti were making a phone call in the game (which happened quite a few times), the call would end with the line "Thank you for using U.S. Sprint!" and later in Space Quest V: The Next Mutation. See the screenshot section for graphic proof of the advertisement.

Releases

Leisure Suit Larry 5 was available in four packages: a 16 color version (supporting EGA, MCGA, VGA, Tandy/PCjr) with either 3.5" DD or 5.25" HD disks, and a 256 color version (supporting MCGA, VGA) with either 3.5" HD or 5.25" HD disks.

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1993 – #2 Best Adventure Game of 1992 (Readers' Vote)
  • Enchanted Realms
    • January 1992 (issue #9) – Distinctive Adventure Award
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #69 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking

Information also contributed by Servo

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by MajorDad.

Macintosh added by Eurythmic. Amiga added by POMAH. Windows added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: -Chris, Katakis | カタキス, Jeanne, James Isaac, JRK, Alaka, Vaelor, 6⅞ of Nine, Amayirot Akago, Patrick Bregger, Narushima.

Game added November 10, 1999. Last modified February 13, 2024.