Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love For Sail!



I have no reservations what so ever in calling Love for Sail! as the pinnacle of Larry series as well as the best game Al Lowe has designed. First of, the game itself looks great with all the cartoon aesthetics and with character design that could come directly from a Disney animation (you know, those older, hand animated ones, not the modern CGI animations). Secondly, the script is funny and the voice acting nails the jokes more often than not. And third, its approach to puzzle design is very modern, with no dead ends, sudden deaths and with solutions you can actually figure out from the context of the game itself. Sure, it has one or two puzzles that are a bit pixel huntey, but other than that, it's overall a funny, well designed game.

Again, just like with Larry 6, there's no grand plot. The story begins shortly where the previous game ended, Larry having a good time with Shamara, who then comes into a conclusion, that money is indeed better than the faux new age philosophy Larry managed to bed her with and she leaves him handcuffed on the bed. Unluckily for Larry, a fire breaks out and he has to make a hasty escape with some feet acrobacy, after which he ends up sucking a cactus on which he lands on when he jumped out the window to the firemen's safety net. But no such bad luck without some good luck as well, as Larry managed to grab a winning ticket to a cruise ship. And we all know what happens in cruise ships, don't we.

Larry notices all that matter at the first hand shake.
The setup is as follows: the shapely captain of the ship, Thygh, is holding a competition to the male and male like passengers of the ship. The main price is a weeks cruise inside captains cabin. So the task of the game itself is clear: there's several competitions, like best dressed, best cook and so on, which Larry needs to win in order to get to the captain. There's also several women all aboard the ship, all with names playing with names of famous actresses, like Dewmi Moore and Jaimie Lee Coitus, whom Larry tries to seduce, and often fail at that as usual. This time around the women unwillingly help Larry to cheat in the competition, like by making him momentarily the flavour of the month in the fashion industry.

So, just as I said, there's no real grand plot, just like there wasn't one in the previous game either. It's more like Al Lowe perfected the formula of Larry trying to seduce women and ending up empty handed. Or maybe it would be more fair to say, that this time around Larry does manage to get it on with some of the women, but it all ends up in an embarrassment from his side.

Every time Larry thinks his embarrassment can't get any worse, it does.
The great innovation of the game is in the user interface. While the game itself is fully mouse driven, it doesn't have any icons familiar from the previous Sierra games. Instead it has a smart cursor that you can click things with in order to get a verb menu as well as the inventory item list, so you can use stuff on other stuff. But then there's a possibility to use a text parser, which allows you to not only hunt for hidden jokes and easter eggs, it also allows some outside box thinking in solving the puzzles by giving a possibility to use unlisted verbs. Personally I think it's one of the most fun interfaces ever coined for adventure games, as it does make the verb system much more flexible.

The overall game design has also gotten a great overhaul. As I previously stated, the game design itself feels positively modern. In Larry 6 you still could die, but that has been fully eradicated from LSL7 even in the form of a joke. There's no dead end situations, which would leave you wondering in a no win state and the game is almost void of pixel hunting. Only on a couple of spots you need to locate an important object from a background, but overall the design is very fair. It very much feels like that Al Lowe learned quite a bit from his old design mistakes and was hell bent on improving the game and himself.

All the UI elements are hidden away. Even the score just briefly flashes on the screen and then hides again each time you score. From the puzzle solving. And from scoring.
Then again, I guess Al Lowe always was like that. Larry 3 is the pinnacle of his parser driven games. It's not a perfect game by any means, but it's a great improvement over the previous two games, just like Love for Sail! is a great improvement over the previous two mouse driven Larry games. Thank god for that.

Love For Sail! is probably the raunchiest Larry title since LSL3. And this time around, thanks to the higher resolution, the nudity actually does look like nudity. A lot of the nudity is hidden behind easter eggs however, so if you really want to see all the women in all their glory, you do need to make an effort for that, as the easter eggs are pretty well hidden.

Jaimie Lee, former model, current top fashion designer.
After Larry 7 there were two more games published under LSL moniker, but neither were designed by Al Lowe and he didn't have anything to do with them either, not even as an advisor. Magna Cum Laude and Boxoffice Bust star an unlikeable looser Larry Lovage instead of Larry Laffer. I've only played Magna Cum Laude, and while it has its moments, that one is more like a repetitious collection of minigames. Boxoffice Bust I've not played, but judging from the reviews, it's one of the worst games ever made. So in short, I won't be talking about them here. For me, LSL7 is the final Larry game and as such it's a grand conclusion to the series, as it is rare that something goes out with a bang (or maybe the Lovage games made sure that it didn't go that way).

After the end credits of Larry 7 there's a quick blurb for a possible Larry 8, which would have taken Larry in space after being abducted by aliens, but sadly that didn't happen. It would have been interesting to see where Al Lowe would have taken the lovable loser next, but as Sierra crumbled down, the old adventure series ceased to exist, as the bottom line was already starting to look much better with FPS games and the transition to 3D wasn't very easy for adventure genre back then, as the technology wasn't mature enough for a genre that wasn't as straight forward in design. 

Peter the purser, who's also an obstacle for a couple of puzzles.
In any case, if there's one game I can recommend to play in the Larry series, Love For Sail! is it. It's funny, looks great, has great animation, voice acting and a swinging sound track. In a word, it's a bulls eye.

Love for Sail! is available through GOG as an only Larry game not a part of a collection. But that's okay, it's the only game in the series that really stands on its own anyways.

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