Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39781)
Written on  :  Nov 29, 2002
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
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Women named after wines are so sexy... and kinky

The Good

For the life of me, I don't know why people considered Leisure Suit Larry 5 so weak. I enjoyed the game and couldn't find any flaws, apart from the password protection and non-death scenarios. Anyway, for LSL6 - and once more in the last game - Al Lowe follows the same tradition that Roberta Williams took when it comes to using puns in the titles (this game's subtitle is a pun of Shape Up or Ship Out).

LSL6 sees Larry participating in a dating show called “Stallions”. He has no idea about the rules of the game, and ends up confusing the show with the likes of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Nevertheless, he manages to win a two-week vacation at the La Costa Lotta health spa. I liked when Larry participated in “The Dating Connection” from Leisure Suit Larry 2 better, because at least you had control of what Larry says; and no matter what the answer was, you win yourself a trip on the computer game equivalent of The Love Boat. But I digress.

The first thing I noticed is the impressive interface. The playing area has now shrunk down to make way for the icon bar, score, and inventory. There are about eight items you can see at one time; and if there are more than eight, arrows appear at the side that let you scroll through the inventory. The red and purple background blends well with this bottom half of the interface. The top half of the interface is reserved for the menus which look like the ones from the earlier LSL games, giving the game a more nostalgic feel.

Unlike previous Larry instalments where the action takes place in multiple locations, the game is restricted to just one. However, La Costa Lotta is quite big, and there is plenty to see and do there. There are plenty of “babes” that you have to meet and interact with, and give them gifts to progress through the game. Larry's ultimate goal is to find the woman of his dreams, but doing this will not be as easy as it seems.

There are two versions of LSL6. The disk version of the game uses the low-resolution SCI1.1 engine that Sierra games have been using for quite some time. Not only does the CD-ROM version feature the same engine with full speech throughout the game, but it also has an updated version that has gorgeous graphics. You also get to see Larry's ugly mug all throughout the game. I prefer the version with the older engine. I feel that this version is more cluttered and has too much pink in the interface. In my opinion, the SCI1.1 version gives the game a more nostalgic look when it comes to the menus and the dialog boxes.

The puzzles in LSL6 are not that difficult, and mainly involve you talking to a girl completely to find out what she wants, then finding the item somewhere in the hotel. Not all girls want you to get an item, though. In one situation, you need to fix the Cellulite Drainage Salon so that the girl at the front desk can tone down her figure. Most of the girls will leave something behind that will help you with the final girl. There is a lot of humor in the game. Just clicking every icon on everything provides a hilarious response, or something that will lead to Larry's death. My favorite is clicking the zipper icon on the hotel's towel attendant. Neil Ross, the narrator who did Freddy Pharkas as well, is just as funny in this game. Then there are those kinky situations and unexpected conclusions. In my opinion, the best scene is where Larry goes bungee-jumping naked and against the side of the hotel tower.

The soundtrack in LSL6 is excellent. The main background piece is reminiscent to a certain elevator music from Police Quest IV, except that it is longer. Other than that, the music in the game ranges from easy listening to techno. My favorite is the piece that plays when Larry gets it on with a girl, and the way a note gets added to it as you give items to her is quite neat. Also, the music that plays when Larry gets out to the beach at night is excellent as well. Other neat features that I like include the window that reminds you to save you game, which you can choose how long before you get a reminder again. Finally, I like how the random video clips seen in the ending demonstrates the power of the SCI2 engine; it is a precursor to Sierra's own interactive movies such as Phantasmagoria and Gabriel Knight 2. The same sort of engine can also be seen in the SCI1.1 release, but it struggles a bit when the same video clips are used.

The Bad

I agree with the other reviewers in pointing out that LSL6 is quite unoriginal. What you have to do is basically the same as in Larry's previous adventures: give a woman what she wants, and she'll show her appreciation. Only this time, there is no making out or sex involved. Also, the game intends to crash when you do certain things you don't even need to do, like trying to steal handcuffs from a security guard's belt without adjusting the cameras first.

The Bottom Line

LSL6 is the best Larry game that I have played. It has fantastic visuals and an excellent soundtrack. It has plenty of things you can do, even in a limited area. There are a lot of neat features, and the game should provide plenty of laughs. However, Sierra has decided to go for the “Larry goes round each area looking for a root” objective seen plenty of times already; and this makes the game a bit boring.

If you have a machine with a CD-ROM drive in it, make sure to get the CD version of the game; as well as full speech, you will also get two releases for the price of one. I think Sierra has two versions on the CD because they probably felt that some users were incapable of running the newer engine.