Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up Or Slip Out

Leisure Suit Larry 6 removes all the pretense of having a larger story line. It removes things, that Al Lowe felt were dragging down the previous games and concentrates on one thing: Larry trying to get laid. There's no more Passionate Patti, not even as a reference. There's just Larry at a spa, trying to figure out turn-ons and offs of various women, ending up with a short end of a stick in most cases.

LSL6 expands upon the dating show idea that was presented in LSL2. Larry is recruited to appear as a loser on Stallions show and for that he's rewarded with some expenses paid holiday at La Costa Lotta resorts. And that's it for the plot basically. No mad scientists or KGB agents trying to capture Larry. It's just Larry and the women, who he thinks are more gullible than he is.

Larry's main conquest lives again at the penthouse of the resort. She's Shamara, a lonely, rich woman, who's trying to figure out the meaning of existence. Through his many conquests and failures Larry figures out a shaky philosophy of his own, which he shares with Shamara. After that, the gates of heaven open up to him, at least till Larry 7.

LSL6 goes pretty much back to the basics. It doesn't try to cram in any more plot than it really needs and everything it has is just a setup for a joke. As such it's not the greatest adventure game ever made, but as far Larry series goes, it's not the worst entry to the series either. Each girl in the game is a puzzle, that you need to figure out. They all have a task you need to complete in order to make closer acquaintances with them. The task in most cases is to try and figure out where to get things that are not available at a health spa, be it a new party dress or a bottle of cold beer in a place that doesn't serve alcohol.

As far game play goes, Larry can again die in a numerous ways, but again, dying isn't penalized. Instead each death gives you a prompt that allows you to load a saved game or just take a step back to a moment before the death swept Larry away. So all in all, it's again a nice reminder that despite Sierra still produced hardcore adventure titles, they were adding in elements, which made the games a bit more tolerable.

Thunderbird, one of the women Larry thinks he's going to score with more than just to add to the final game score. Oh Larry, it's a good thing you don't know what's ahead of you.
Thunderbird, a stern bodybuilder, Cavaricci, a butch fitness instructor, Burgundy, a country singer working in a blues bar, Gammie, a receptionist, Shablee, a shopaholic, Rosee, a colonic specialist, Merrily, a bungee enthusiast, Charlotte, a lover of electricity and Shamara, the business woman looking for the meaning of existence are the women Larry needs to conquer this time around. Of course, as it's the case with almost all the women in the Larry series, he doesn't really manage to get it on with them, as while the flesh is at times more than willing, Larry's bad luck often turns against him.

All the women have specific puzzles that you need to solve before any progress happens and this time around these puzzles can be solved pretty much in any order. Shamara, being the main conquest, is obviously the final puzzle, as the other women provide pieces of wisdom that Larry needs in order to deftly drop the answers of existence upon her. That final puzzle is the thin red line tying the otherwise seemingly unrelated tasks together. As I've said, it's not the grandest of plots, but it works well enough.

The art is filled with all kinds of little innuendo here and there.
Larry has never had a very good luck with the women he happens lay his lusty eyes on and this is true this time around as well. Out of all the women, Merrily is the nicest towards him, but that boat sails because of Larry's own misfortune. Also in this sordid tale, some of the women are downright nasty towards Larry, some even sadistic. It actually wouldn't be unfair to say, that Larry is pretty much raped on a couple of occasions.

Larry 5 didn't have much of nudity in it and LSL6 continues on that path. There's an occasional glimpse to a breast or a buttock, both male and female, but surprisingly enough LSL3 still is the raunchiest of the series. But then again, LSL6 again underlines the difference of Larry being a comedy about sex, not a game where people explicitly have sex.

Sweet, innocent, bungee addicted Merrily. Out of all the women Larry meets in the game, she's the nicest.
Art wise LSL6 is at places a pretty horrible looking game. The main culprit to this is, that most of the background art has been constructed by cutting elements from photographs instead of being fully hand drawn. This makes most screens look like ugly, splotched messes, which is especially jarring after the fantastic artwork of Larry 5. The character close up art looks mostly nice, but especially on the high resolution version there's a fair amount of blurry effect on it. Then there's the character sprite art, which has an ugly, molten wax like quality about it.

Animation is mostly okay. It's not anywhere near the quality Larry 7 is, but it's mostly serviceable. Interestingly enough, while the close ups are animated when the people speak, they do lack some of the nuances Larry 3 had in the facial animations. For an example the women in Larry 3 had more animated expressions with flaring nostrils and so on, but here we see only basic mouth animation and occasional bat of the eyelids.

As there's a low resolution version of the game as well, it does make me wonder if the high resolution version was a bit more of an afterthought. Sure, it does make some things look considerably better, especially the close up art of the women, but at the same time, some things look ugly as sin. Especially because the whole interior of La Costa Lotta is so terribly kitsch, that seeing it upscaled is a bit too much (or little).

Maybe if you'd be sticking saxophone reeds under my fingernails I'd be calling LSL6 a good looking game.
 Unlike its predecessors Larry 6 is fully voiced game. A lot of Sierra's older talkie titles suffered from highly compressed and in many cases a bit unprofessional voice work, but in general Larry 6 has dodged that bullet. The voice acting is more reasonably compressed and is mostly free of hisses and cracks, which plague many of the older titles. The acting also has been given to real actors unlike the crew members of the game development team, like happened with King's Quest 5 for an example, so there's a bit more professional air about it.

All in all Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up Or Slip Out is a solid entry to the series, especially after a bit lackluster Larry 5. Sure enough, it's not a pretty game by a long shot, nor is the story anything special. but it does have its moments of hilarity. And sometimes that's just enough.

Larry 6 can be bought from GOG as a part of Larry collection.

Shamara, rich, misguided and spiritually lost.


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