Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of Pulsating Pectorals! (1989)

The intro makes it clear: LSL3 is raunchier than the previous games
The full name of the third part of the adventures of Larry Laffer is quite a mouthful, so I'll just call it Larry 3 for short.  Or LSL3.

The most interesting aspect of the third outing of Larry is, that this time around you'll also be able to play as the titular, pulsating pectorals seeking Passionate Patti, who was quickly introduced as Polyester Patty at the end of LSL2.

LSL3 kinda returns the series on its roots. In Larry 2 the hapless dork we all know and maybe even love was dumped by his one night stand Eve. He won a cruise and a million dollars in the lottery, was chased by KGB and henchettes of evil Dr Nonookie and ended up at Nontoonyt island, where he fell in love with beautiful Kalalau. Life was smiling again for again youthful looking Laffer. And then Larry 3 begun.

The life of a married man has left its mark on Larry.

At the beginning of LSL3, we'll find again a different looking Laffer. He's not old this time, but the life of leisure has left its mark on him in the form of weight gain. As he's about to return home, Kalalau informs him, that the marriage if off. She's found a new lover, a cannibal slot-machine repairwoman Bobbi, and again Larry is out of love.

So Larry leaves, thinking of visiting the office when an epiphany hits him: no more is Larry for monogamous relationships. He's a swinger, always has been and it's time for him to shed his aloha shirt and don again the white polyester. He's back, ladies. Rejoice.

But another strike is coming for Larry: his father-in-law owns the company he's been working at and gladdened by the coming of senses of his daughter, chief Kenneth tosses the white-clad dork out, declaring that just like his marriage, the career stops here. Larry isn't discouraged though, as this will give him more time to swing around. And that's pretty much it for Larry's side of the plot: there are women all over the island and Larry has to figure out how to get them to the sack (just to suffer coitus interruptus in some form or an another), the ultimate goal being Patti. It's all pretty basic after the previous spy spoof that was Larry 2.

Another Larry, another Ken Williams cameo

Besides Patti, there are 4 other women Larry can score with, of which 2 are optional. Tawni is a shopaholic tourist, Bambi a fitness instructor looking for inspiration, Cherri a dancer who wants to be a farmer and Suzi a workaholic lawyer who handles Larry's divorce.  Only Tawni and Cherri are plot essential, the other two are optional conquests. In a proper Larry fashion he really only manages to get to the end with Patti. When you think of it, LSL3 is actually just a rehash of LSL1, but with a better script and stronger design.

After Patti and Larry have had their date, they both realize, that they've just found a soulmate from each other. But disaster strikes, when Patti murmurs a name of her current boyfriend while thinking how to break up with him because of Larry, who of course hears her and thinks that Patti's been thinking of other men during their affair. So he stands up and decides to vanish into a bamboo jungle, swearing off women for good. And from here begins Patti's part of the adventure.

Patti's first adventure is to find herself something else to wear than bed sheets.

It doesn't take Patti long to realize why Larry has vanished and where has he gone to. She gathers her belongings, some money and everything else that's not tied down, as this also is a part of the game that is filled with dead-end situations. You can get almost to the ending just to find out that you missed one easy to miss object back at the casino.

After getting dressed Patti can either go straight to the bamboo jungle or go and see a local stripper first. Either way, she has to navigate through a dry, scorching jungle, then cross a long ravine, battles some wild boars and rides a log through a rapid river before she finds her man. All in all, this part of the game is pretty simple and you can even jump over the arcade river log ride scene. It's just that this part is also filled with a lot of possibilities to die and, as mentioned, dead ends if you missed something important previously. It's one heck of a save/restore mire.

It's actually pretty interesting, that Patti's side of the game is more punishing, traditional adventure, as the part of Larry feels more modern and almost void of dead ends like that. Larry's side has a few, but it doesn't feel like it's drowning in them. But overall the game doesn't come close to being a design mess LSL2 is. Design of it feels like Al Lowe learned a lot from the mistakes he made in the past. For some reason, he just designed the final part of the game in more unforgiving fashion. I'm guessing it might be, because the part of Patti is much shorter, so the amped difficulty probably is to add more length. These hitches aside, LSL3 still is the best of the parser-driven Larry games.

Ladies and gentlemen: it's Roberta Williams, directing the infamous whale tongue scene from King's Quest 4. Oh and look, 68 points over the max.

Anyhow,  after Patti and Larry are reunited, and if you've collected all that's necessary, Patti breaks the wall of reality and transports the couple as a real deus ex machina manner to the Sierra game studios. There they walk past several known Sierra titles only to find themselves from the company of the mother of graphical adventure games, Roberta Williams, who offers the duo a job as game designers.

And so Larry 3 tied a bow to the saga of Larry in a fashion that made Al Lowe skip Larry 4 all together. If there's ever been a corner a game designer has painted himself into, this was it: Larry ends up as a game designer, happily together with Patti, telling his stories. In the end, Larry even is coding LSL1, while sipping wine on the balcony. It was such a happy ending, that Al Lowe himself was stumped on how to continue from there until he got the idea of going straight to Larry5, thus making LSL4 one of the biggest jokes in the computer gaming: a sequel often referenced, but never made or played.  But let's talk more about that later when I get to Larry 5.

LSL3 might have its own share of issues. One of which is the latter half with Patti with its dead ends, other being that the first half is just a refurbished Larry 1 with a removed need for casino games. But all said and done, I still think it's the best of the first three. Sure the script might not be as interesting as LSL2 is, but the design of the puzzles and the game itself trumps over the previous games, especially LSL2.  The story is, very much, a retread to LSL1 from Larry's part, but there's no need to waste time playing casino games. And playing as Patti gives a new flavour to the game.

Larry 3 also has some interesting camera angles. This scene contains explicit nudity.
Graphically speaking LSL3 looks pretty good. Overall I'd say it looks a tad better than LSL2 did and definitely a lot better than the original AGI version of LSL1. While it's not the prettiest SCI engine game out there, it does have its merits. Also, the close-ups of the women do deserve a special mention, as they've been pretty nicely animated with moving eyes and flaring nostrils and all.

This time around LSL3 also has a strong soundtrack. There where LSL2 had a couple of tunes here and there and almost lack of sound effects, LSL3 makes the best of MT-32, having both sound effects and music everywhere. In a word, the Nontoonyt island feels more alive in both, visual and audio.

While Larry 3 is a simple game, at least as far the plot goes, and a Sierra adventure through and through, it also feels like it has bested the test of time better than the games that came before it.  LSL3 also feels many ways like it was meant to be a conclusion of sorts to the series. Obviously, there were more games after this, but the way it ends did pose a problem for Al Lowe: Larry was genuinely happy, so where to go from there.

Patti, the lounge pianist of Larry's dreams.
 But that's that. After the pile of horrible design that was Larry 2, Al Lowe learned his lesson, at least in part and designed a much better game that made much better use of the technology that was available at the time. Had Al Lowe pulled the part of Patti through with same finesse he did with the part of Larry, I wouldn't hesitate to call it the best game in the Leisure Suit Larry series. Now I just call it the best game in the parser-driven series. And the raunchiest as well.

Larry collection is available through GOG.