Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (In Several Wrong Places) (1988)

Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (In Several Wrong Places) is my favourite bad game. And when I mean bad, I really mean a game with horrible design choices, which contain almost, if not everything, a designer can put in an adventure game in order to make it as frustrating as possible. As far design goes, Larry 2 is the worst game Al Lowe has done in his career. I never did manage to complete the game without a walkthrough and I honestly wonder how anyone could have done so, as it has so many things about it that feel like Al Lowe flipping a virtual middle finger to the player, while Sierra did a mint on selling the official hint books.

Let's start from the from the beginning. At the end of Larry 1, the polyester-clad hero thought he had found love from beautiful Eve at the casino penthouse. But at the very beginning of Larry 2, before the sinister plot, Larry is unaware of for the duration of the game, it's evident that Larry was nothing but a one night misstep for Eve and Larry finds himself void of love, again.

Remember kids: don't try to move in after one night of drunken sex. That ain't cool.
So here he is, in Los Angeles, wandering the streets and wondering what to do with himself. No money, no girl, no luck. And wander he shall if you don't find some cash and soon. If you've been scrutinous enough, or are fielding a walkthrough, you'll know that there's a dollar bill in Eve's garage. Larry just needs to go in there and stand behind the wall so that he isn't visible on the street and examine the place. This is the only way you can get a message about old jeans and a dollar, which you obviously take.

But dollar ain't much, so wander some more and Larry finds himself from a Quickie Mart, from where he buys a lottery ticket, with random numbers, which he then takes to the TV-station in order to enter in a TV-lotto show. The puzzle and the joke here is, that there's no puzzle. The receptionist has a bad eyesight, so she isn't able to read Larry's ticket. She gives you the right lotto numbers and all you need to do is type those 6 numbers back to her.

What follows is a pretty long-winded parody of a dating show, Love Connection. Larry enters in as one of the lucky bachelors, who are questioned by a pretty bimbo, both in name and brain capacity. Despite the other contestant are arrogant and rude Larry wins,  by a mistake, a cruise with the bachelorette. After getting his cruise prize, Larry finally gets to the lotto show, where he wins a whopping million dollars.

Speed 2: Cruise Control
Now that you are rich and have a cruise with a pretty babe, you need to do some item hunting before you enter the ship. This is the first point in time, where you need to get all you need, as otherwise, you'll end up in a dead end later on, which means you'll have to restore to a point before entering the ship, look for all you need and reply to the point where you got stuck.

Also, at this point, Larry enters into a plot, of which he is fully oblivious of during his whole adventure. By another mistake, he receives an instrument called Onklunk, which has a microfiche hidden inside of it. After this, there's KGB agents as well as henchettes of Dr Nonookee after Larry, but as said, he himself is oblivious about that.

The next stop is the cruise ship. And oh boy, the game doesn't inform about it, it is a timed sequence. If you fail to escape the ship in time, you'll die because of S&M loving mother of the bachelorette having her way with poor Larry.  Again you'll need to loot all you can, as if you don't, you'll end up in a dead end on the island later on.

She's not the date Larry was expecting
So the island. It's a location with repetitious jokes and slow advancement. There's the restaurant, that forces you to sit through a waiting period in order to get in and a jungle segment, in which Larry wanders aimlessly in the forest, looking for a next exit. Next stop after the jungle is an airport, where you'll get only if you've got a hard to find bikini part from the cruise ship. And then there's the one exact flower you'll need as well. Good luck finding that one. If you haven't, it's restore and replay time, baby. Oh, and it's possible to miss the aeroplane here, it's on a timer.

After you've boarded the aeroplane, you'll again wish, that you'd picked up everything, even an item of which existence you know only if you've died, as that's the only way to find out that particular item exists. As a puzzle, it's so unfair, that even the game cheekily acknowledges it. I am, of course talking about a bobby pin, which you find only if you eat a plate of food and suffocate on the said pin. Hopefully, you've saved shortly before finding it though. And the door you need to use the pin on you'll see only if you look specifically doors on the tail end of the plane, as there are three doors in the room, but only two you can actually see.

There's a third door in this picture. Trust me on that. Or fourth, if you count on the door back to the seating isle.
But finally, Larry has arrived at Nontoonyt island, hopefully carrying an easy to miss knife, as otherwise, he won't be getting down from the tree he's stuck in. Larry has to avoid some killer bees, a constrictor snake, a swamp and a river full of piranhas before he finally sets his eyes upon beautiful native girl Kalalau, who gives some major exposition about the plot for Larry, after which they decide to marry if Larry gets the island rid of Nonookee.

Now that you're at the end game, you'd think it's all smooth sailing from here, but no. Matches and airsick bag, those are two of the three items you'll need. The matches are all the way back to the previous island, so if you don't have them, restore. And the airsick bag is, surprisingly enough, in the aeroplane. After you have all the things you need, you can finally proceed to the volcano fortress of Nonookee, make a bomb out of hairspray and airsick bag (and because of a parser bug you'll need to do it in specific terms or you'll fail). In any case, if you succeed, you can just sit back and watch the end sequence roll on.

Final harps for the evil Dr.
Larry falls in the lair of Dr Nonookee and stumbles around like a headless chicken. By an accident he turns on the defences of the fort, causing Nonookee to die in a freak piano accident, after which he releases the native women of their hypnosis. As he's carried out, we'll get a shameless plug for Larry 3 from Polyester Patty (who was named Passionate Patti in the actual game.).

Now that the village and the island of Nontoonyt are safe, Larry finally gets the girl and he and Kalalau are married. As a special treat, the witch doctor makes a potent potion, which restores Larry's youth and hairline and all is right in the world.

Death in the hands of KGB
As I said, LSL2 is a terribly designed game, but I've never found it in my heart to actually hate or dislike it. I actually quite like it, despite the repetitious jokes, dead ends, easy to miss objects and learn by dying puzzle design. Hell, it's not even the funniest game in the series, but still, I like it.

See, I like the atmosphere of it and the bumbling spy parody that it is. Larry is, most of the time, oblivious that he's in danger. In fact, the only way for him to learn that he's in danger is to die: if he encounters a KGB agent or Nonookee henchette, he's good as dead, so for the duration of this game, in very unlike Larry fashion, he just keeps letting down any woman who approaches him for closer liaisons, as while he doesn't know it, the player knows that offer for sex in this one is an offer of death. As for the KGB, well, they don't offer Larry sex, but they are obstacles, which Larry for some reason just knows how to avoid. As far the plot goes, Larry's behaviour makes no sense, as he just isn't aware of any of it.

Ah, Kalalau. Larry's second true love.
But still, I like it. I like it because how stupid it is. Al Lowe was clearly trying out different things after the first game, which was largely 1:1 design of SoftPorn it was a remake of. Here he's trying out things and while he doesn't succeed in a lot of it, Larry 2 still has this odd atmosphere about it, that makes me like it.

The story of Larry 2 is also an odd little moral piece, as unlike in other Larry games, the offer for sex is always punished with death. Even with non-Nonookee women, the bedroom exploits end up in death. Only after Larry marries Kalalau does he get the happy ending. And this all makes it a very odd Larry game.

The expected sexy times turns into laser beam to the groin. And that I don't think is sexy at all. And yes, Larry looks like that on his close-ups. The realistic approach makes this all even weirder, as he was more cartoony in the first one.
Graphically LSL2 is a step up from the first, as it's already using Sierra's newer SCI engine, that allowed higher resolution graphics than the old AGI engine did. Larry 2 isn't the best looking SCI engine game, but not the worst one either.

As for music and sound effects go through, Larry 2 is a disappointment. While it does support sound cards, unlike the first game, it still doesn't have a huge soundtrack. Even with the MT-32 emulator like Munt, it's pretty silent game in comparison to something like Space Quest 3, that made the most of the MT-32's atmospheric SFX capabilities.

This jungle. This jungle is one of the worst gags in the whole game. At the same time, it's one of the few places to use MT-32 SFX capabilities, so that's something at least.
Larry 2 is a bad game, no doubt about it. It actually would have deserved a remake much more than Larry 1 did, but it would have been a more costly thing to do, as it would have to be designed again from to ground up. While the plot by itself is fun, the structure of it is so off, that to remake would mean to make an entirely different game.

Yet still, I like it.

Larry series is available through GOG.

In the end, Larry gets the girl and gets young again. The barbershop is one continuous joke in the game.