Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Leisure Suit Larry 5 – WON!

Written by Alex

Another Larry game in the books. This one . . . this one was a real doozy. Between the lack of puzzles, the overdone hand-holding, the repetitive nature of the gameplay, and the controversial nature of some of its jokes, I’m ready to move on. After my last post, things can’t get any worse. Can they?


I guess they can! Unless you find jokes about Mexican accents not to be as inflammatory as blackface! At least I got 1 point for looking at this billboard. What’s that, you say? There are no jokes about Mexican accents in the above text box? Let’s see what happens when Larry calls the number (7 points):


I don’t find this offensive at all—it’s just an accent joke, for crying out loud—but your outrage mileage may vary.

Anyway, in order to call this stupid number, Larry needs to find a quarter. Just like in New York and Atlantic City, Larry does so by exploring the airport. Here in Miami, the western section of the terminal has a cigarette vending machine that Larry can snag two quarters from (5 points). I also check out the rest of the advertisements to find the number for Miami’s limousine company (1 point).

These used to be a thing.

So with two quarters in hand, why not call the fake green card company? Even though nothing in the game whatsoever has tipped me off that this may be a good idea—other than the fact that I’m in Miami, I guess, and trying to find a Latina—but since this is Larry 5, of course you should call the number. The green card will then be waiting for Larry in the trashcan outside. I call the limo company, too (3 points) for good measure.

See the BLUE thing sticking out of the trashcan? That’s the “green” card.

There’s the limo, just like in the other two airports. And there is Larry’s fake green card (12 points). This doesn’t even qualify as a puzzle, since I didn’t figure anything out: There was nothing to figure out, and by the time Larry learns he needs the green card, he’s already got it. Unless, I suppose, you don’t call the green card forger’s number at the airport, and do at the dentist’s office. Is this game trolling me by parodying adventure gaming tropes, or is it just way too easy? You be the judge.


In any event, the limo, this time driven by Bobbi Biang, deposits Larry in front of Doc Pulliam’s office, situated above a gymnastics studio. Full disclosure here: My lovely wife is a dentist, so I approve of all of these jokes.

Full disclosure part two: I spent about 10 minutes trying to make Larry open the stupid door to the dentist’s office due to what I at first thought was a fatal bug. Clicking the “Hand” icon on the door made Larry inch towards the door without interacting with, sort of like an asymptote, agonizingly close but never touching. I searched online for help through this bug, and found no one else reporting this particular problem. I restored to an earlier section, and ran into the same problem. In frustration, I made Larry go down the stairs, back up, and then tried the door. It worked. Go figure. Was this a puzzle? If so, this game can kiss my asymptote.


The dentist’s office is quite garish, what with all of the tooth-related artwork. There’s a door to the right I presume I need to enter, a telephone to the left I presume I’ll have to use to (sigh) call the limo again, a receptionist whom I assume will be my adversary for this section, and a doily on the table to the right I assume I have to take. I take it (5 points), and proceed to talk to the receptionist.

She’s quite rude, and makes Larry fill out a questionnaire in order to get an appointment. There are many questions, and getting one wrong takes Larry back to the beginning of the sequence. Just be cynical and answer them as you think Al Lowe would intend you to, and you’ll be fine. Here they are, because I enjoy sharing pain:

  1. Do you have dental insurance?
  2. Do you have LOTS of dental insurance?
  3. Are your teeth overly sensitive?
  4. Are you allergic to pain?
  5. Do you ENJOY pain?
  6. Do you enjoy sharing your pain with others?
  7. Do you enjoy mechanical objects in your mouth?
  8. Do you enjoy other people’s hands in your mouth?
  9. Do you enjoy rubber in your mouth?
  10. Do you swallow?
  11. Have you ever heard of AIDS?
  12. Do you know anyone who has ever hired a lawyer?
  13. Do you know the definition of “malpractice”?

Doing this correctly (13 points) gets Larry an appointment . . . nine months from now. Trying to talk to the receptionist again gets Larry no further. I scroll through my inventory, thinking like an adventure game programmer. Larry just picked up a doily. It is the only new inventory item since getting to the doctor’s office. I click it on Larry, and he wraps it around his head (8 points), feigning a toothache. This actually works in getting Larry to see the hygienist (he never gets to visit with Dr. Pulliam, probably for the better) (17 points). I suppose Larry could have done this first to get in, foregoing the points from answering the questionnaire, but getting into the office quicker. I don’t know if this technically meets the definition of alternate solution, but it underscores how pointless the questionnaire is. If there was any reward for maximum points, I could see why such a design choice was made, but since there is no reward for maximum points, I’ll chalk it up to . . . copious cocaine consumption, I guess.

The game makes a Three Stooges reference here. I approve.

Chi Chi Lambada, I presume?

Yep.

Here, Larry can do his standard “talk to the woman until she either tells you what she wants or you get points” shtick, so I do just that, remembering to switch Larry’s camera on. It turns out that Chi Chi is an “undocumented worker” who missed out on Reagan’s amnesty a few years prior (1986, to be exact), and would really like to be legal. Good thing Larry has this random green card lying around in his inventory. But first, remembering from an earlier play through, I rather creepily and repeatedly click “Hand” on Chi Chi’s straining blouse, until it comes unbuttoned, offering a shockingly graphic picture I’d rather not reproduce (2 points). Wow, how pervy can Larry get? I hurry up with things and give Chi Chi the green card (15 points). Thrilled, she does a sexy dance and invites Larry downstairs to the gymnastics studio for some one-on-one time (40 points). You can see where this is going.


The entire sequence here involves Larry injuring himself on gymnastic devices and not getting any action. Good thing he taped it (20 points). Nothing left to do but call the limo company again, get my boarding pass for L.A. (4 points), and give my tapes back to Silas.

Here’s where the endgame kicks in: There is a cut-scene of members of C.A.N.E. paying a politician to clean up the airwaves, but guess what: It doesn’t matter. There are exactly two more actions for the player to actually participate in, but first, Larry imagines he is Humphrey Bogart talking to Ingrid Bergman in the final scene of Casablanca. This morphs into Inspector Desmond talking to Patti about all the great evidence she’s found throughout the game. I suppose this is where you learn what you did and didn’t accomplish, but since it’s impossible to lose this game, who cares?

Still, it’s nice to be recognized for your hard work.

ENDGAME PART ONE: Larry’s plane to L.A. begins to fall, fast. It turns out that the airline pilots’ union contract ended while the plane was in the air, so they walked off the job until the conflict gets resolved. You can imagine how this is a problem.


Larry’s life flashes before his eyes, and among other things, he ruminates about the choices the player made throughout the course of this game. I suppose, like Patti’s conversation with Desmond, it’s to let the player know what they’ve missed. Larry inexplicably regrets not degaussing his videotapes before he left his lab . . . but the thing is, I did! Damn you, game, trying to short-change my playing! I call foul.

Back to the task at hand, Larry has a humorously calm conversation with the stewardess about the plane’s slight altitude problem before volunteering to help since he, as a former traveling software salesman, sold flight simulations—including Sierra’s own Red Baron!—obviously making him qualified to land a commercial aircraft.


Here’s another blown situation for a puzzle. See the top portion of the screen? Just keep clicking “Hand” and eventually Larry hits the autopilot button, saving the plane from doom (100 points). No puzzle, no brainpower needed, and no need for ANYTHING, since doing nothing causes Larry to run out of the cockpit in a panic and accidentally hitting the autopilot button, garnering him no points but still safely landing the plane.

After a bunch of dick-jokes, of course. What did you expect?

A gaggle of reporters (the technical term) is waiting for Larry in the airport, and President George H.W. Bush even calls, inviting Larry to the White House for a special honor. The President, of course, will not be attending, but Larry will still get to meet Vice President Dan Quayle, something our hero is inordinately excited about.

No one can get Larry’s name right.

So it’s off to Pennsylvania Avenue for a date with destiny!

ENDGAME PART TWO: We now take control of Patti, waiting in the White House with Inspector Desmond, where she has been asked to perform.


Just then, who walks in but Larry Laffer! Something stirs in Patti’s memory, and her heart. She leaps up to meet her erstwhile lover. They embrace . . . and then:


Patti and Desmond join Larry at the head table. Larry gets the seat next to the Vice President, which thrills him so, and Patti is next to an stinky loudmouth bore who goes on and on about working to scrub the airwaves clean of pornographic content while also searching for a host for some show where they’re trying to find the sexiest woman in America. This gets Larry’s attention, but what Patti notices is the song this person, who introduced himself as Mr. Bigg, keeps humming.

And then the bombshell drops!


So now we know what happened in Larry 4, and we come face-to-face with that game’s villain! Julius, you bastard! How dare you cheat Patti out of royalties! Compared to the maniacal supervillains, flesh-hungry cannibals, and, uh, dogs with poor bladder control that we’ve faced as antagonists in the Larry series, you’re the worst! Actually, the cab driver from Lost Wages was the worst, but I digress.

Julius pulls a gun on Patti. Oh no! Remember that brasserie cannon she got at the FBI labs? Just click that on Julius to shoot him (100 points) and officially win the game.

Yet somehow the brasserie cannon didn’t kill Julius like it did that poor FBI worker.

Yay! We won! Larry, Patti, and Desmond take a trip to Camp David with the Vice President and his wife. The VP expresses interest in watching the video tapes Larry has. Off they go, with Patti seeming less-than enthusiastic to be getting back together with Larry.

The end, thank God.

But wait! There’s more! The game tells you how pointless it was:

“Hey person who spent upwards of fifty American dollars for this game: Thanks for playing! Even though everything you did didn’t amount to a hill of beans."

And with that one final F.U., Larry, Patti and co. fly off into the sunset. This little coda tells you that: Julius got off with a light sentence, nothing happened to the Mob, Reverse Biaz lost his job, and K-RAP and P.C. Hammer became an even bigger success. At least I got all 1,000 points, for what that’s worth.

Nothing.

At the very end, after the credits, the game prompts the player to save, as they have a surprise for them. It’s . . . a soundboard of the game’s digital samples. Yay? At least they are high-quality, and were probably pretty sweet at the time.


Ever wanted to make digital early-90s fart sounds? Click “Do Not Touch” and now you can. Leisure Suit Larry 5, folks! A game that started out promising, but soon wore out its welcome!

Whatever this means . . .

Oh brother. Final rating to come. I'm sincerely sorry to anyone who played this along with me.

Total Points: 1,000 out of 1,000

Inventories:
Larry: Hidden camera, charger, Michelle’s tape, Lana’s tape, Chi Chi’s tape, three resumes, napkin from Hard Disk Café in New York City, AeroDork Gold Card, AeroDork’s in-flight magazine, matches from Tramp Casino in Atlantic City, business card for Doc Pulliam in Miami, doily
Patti: DataMan, Reverse Biaz cartridge, P.C. Hammer cartridge, brasserie cannon, gold record, Reverse Biaz tape, evidence tape, photocopy of Krapper’s “Personal” folder

Session Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Total Time: 6 hours and 10 minutes.

47 comments:

  1. I recall the screams on the plane as it's going down being very annoying and repetitive. I actually turned my volume down after hearing them many times.

    I also was told I remembered not degaussing the tapes, which I did. I did not, however, charge the camera's battery, so didn't record any of Larry's 'encounters', which he remembered with disappointment.

    And, having now heard that I could have clicked on Chi Chi's blouse repeatedly to get a new graphic scene, I'm disappointed I already uninstalled the game.

    If I were you I wouldn't feel sorry for people playing along. At least we had the choice to stop at any time. You had to keep going no matter what :)

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    1. Let me go point-by-point here:

      --I actually turned the screams down, too!

      --The degaussing thing annoyed me a disproportionate amount because it underscores how pointless all of the so-called puzzles in this game really are.

      --There is more nipple in the Chi Chi blouse unbuttoning scene than you would expect, even for a Larry game. I would have felt creepy posting a screenshot of it. Creepier than I already did actually CLICKING the "Hand" icon there to begin with.

      --I DO feel sorry, because it was voluntary pain. Unless you're some kind of adventure-game-masochist. I must be, because I played this, and then have to do Police Quest III next . . .

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    2. The degaussing comment at the end is probably a bug, since you can't really get to the end without degaussing the tapes. It is a real puzzle, although not a particularly good one.

      If you don't degauss the tapes at the start, you can't use them in the camera. When you try to insert a tape, you'll receive a message like "This camera only works with tapes that have been degaussed. You did degauss them..., didn't you?" This forces you to restart from the very beginning. In other words, even more annoying than getting the bug at the end.

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    3. But the point is that you really don't need to use the camera at all - you don't need to tape any of the encounters and you can still complete the game.

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  2. Congratulations on winning this game! I hope the next one is more fun...

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    1. I kind of suspect it will be even worse.

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    2. It's actually a lot better (one viciously of-the-time gay stereotype notwithstanding). It has actual puzzles, death scenes, and is funny.

      I've played most of the series and this one is the worst. Six was a distinct return to form(s).

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    3. Oh yes, Larry 6 was definitely better than Larry 5.

      I was speaking of the next game Alex has to endure (Police Quest 3).

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    4. Police Quest 3 has a bad rep? Bummer, I was looking forward to it.

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    5. Police Quest 3 is quite possibly the worst Quest-title ever produced outside of Mask of Eternity. It had all of the buggyness surrounding games of its vintage along with little of the charm.

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    6. I think the GOG version and/or ScummVM include bug fixes (hopefully for everything the developers didn't get around to fixing)

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    7. There's also a silly plot, the most boring driving simulator ever and a really uncool dead end.

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    8. Thanks Joe and everyone! I am looking forward to Larry 6 (I remembered it as being REALLY fun and well-designed) but kind-of dreading Police Quest III. I played it last in 1999 or so, and got stumped on a certain infamous puzzle. I remember the game being highly annoying, and finding the driving portion awful, especially before I was able to use MOSLO to make the speed manageable (these were the pre-DOSBox days). We'll see how it goes. I am NOT playing the GOG version, since I have the PQ Collection. Should I be worried?

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    9. Yep. The driving is rank and the game is... the game. The VGA remake of the original is better than the 3rd game, which feels like that should not be the case.

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    10. I think, Alex, you might want to check out this page for fan patches, particularly the last one...

      http://sierrahelp.com/Patches-Updates/Patches-Updates-Games/PoliceQuestUpdates.html

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    11. Larry 6 was fun. A lot of Easter eggs and that Where's Dildo minigame were nice distractions.

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    12. "Where's Dildo?" is in Larry 7, but it and Larry 6 are both very good.

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    13. Wait, it was? Damn I got my Larrys mixed up. Wasn't Love for Sail Larry 6?

      *Checks Wiki*

      Oh shiiiiiit... I find Larry 6 forgettable personally.

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  3. Wow...you made it! Now go do something fun.

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    1. Thanks The Mara! I am in the process of moving, so I guess that's fun? Naaah! I have a three-year-old son I get to play with. That's plenty of fun for me . . . until I have to play PQ III.

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  4. You have done us all a great service for suffering through this game! At least it was easy, you could have had to suffer through frustrating puzzles at the same time.

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    1. Thank you, Andy! In other words, I could have suffered through Les Manley (*shudder*)

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    2. The sequel is coming up shortly, somehow I think there won't be many people playing along!

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  5. Get in quick.

    Amnesia: The Dark Descent is free for the next 17 hours or so...

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/57300/

    It's a great first person horror game with some adventure-style puzzles

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    1. Thanks for the headsup! The Penumbra games (which I found far more enjoyable than Amnesia) are also heavily discounted for the next few days.

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    2. What are you doing to me? Now I really feel like playing the Penumbra series again! :)

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    3. I was very impressed by how well everything clicked in those games. True horror adventures. If you haven't tried it yet, do check out Dark Fall: The Journal -- it's a Myst-like slideshow rather than real time, but still an extremely creepy experience.

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  6. Okay. Wow. This was a long finale. I remembered with a little more smile on face back then when I finished the game. Then again, young teens are easily amused by dick-&-fart jokes. Heck, I still am. "Pulled out" in time? Hahaha! Oh well.

    Anyway, cigarette vending machines are still around in Japan and will still be there for a pretty long while. It's not easy to convince a country that smoking is bad for your health when their average lifespan is a whole decade longer than yours.

    Also, that soundboard thing gets to me.

    'Thanks for buying "Larry 5"! Aren't you glad you bought a DAC?'

    Had this been published by EA today, it would have read 'Thanks for buying "Larry 5"! Aren't you glad you bought a DLC? Want another one? "Alternate Audition Scenes" DLC actually gives you full control of Larry in FPS mode! US$99.99.'

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    1. Classic Kenny, and probably right regarding the DLC!

      As I fired Larry 5 up for this blog, I began with a smile on my face. "Gee," I said to myself, "this is better than I remembered!" And then I quickly remembered why I didn't like the game in the first place.

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    2. Let's not forget we already had a couple of modern sequels that came close to that vision, the names of which will be piously omitted for the sake of the blessed souls that are unaware of their existence...

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  7. I really wanted to say something nice about this game. I *thought* that it was at least passing the Bechdel test. But...

    Is there a single female person that Patti can interact with in her sequences? I went back through the walkthrough thinking there surely must have been one, right? No?

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    1. Come to think of it, no, there isn't.

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    2. @Joe: You can say the game is EASY, at least.

      Re: The Bechdel Test: I've always felt that this is a really simplistic way of judging a work of fiction, and I never understood two things: 1) Who died and made Alison Bechdel the judge of all criticism, and 2) why doesn't anybody question the Bechdel test?

      A work of fiction can be good even if it doesn't pass the test. And a work of fiction can be downright awful if it does passes the test with flying colors. Further questions I have are:

      --Is male-based fiction entirely bad?
      --Is something that is male-based, but does NOT contain any disparaging portrayals also automatically bad?
      --Is female-based fiction automatically good? What if all male characters are bumbling fools, juvenile schmucks, overgrown children, or otherwise incompetent?
      --Is something with no men in it automatically good?
      --Is the merit of a work of fiction solely based on if Alison Bechdel thinks it's okay?
      --And lastly, before I get doxed, slammed for being a part of "The Patriarchy" or whatever, or otherwise chased off of the Internet with digital pitchforks, can't things, such as decades-old video games, be judged on their own merits bringing identity politics into it? Just a few thoughts.

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    3. The Bechdel test is routinely questioned, and it isn't meant to be an indicator of artistic quality. It was merely used to demonstrate the lack of notable female characters in movies IIRC.

      It's not surprising that Larry games might struggle with it, because of the subject of the games. A single man searching for love and/or sex is unlikely to feature two female characters having a conversation that doesn't revolve around a man.

      Of course we can judge old games on their merits (or lack thereof), but personally I don't mind having a discussion on how they are viewed through a more modern perspective. It can lead to quite interesting conversations!

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    4. Here's the point of the Bechdel Test as I understand it: it sets such an easy criterion for fictional works to meet, such a bare minimum of what's necessary to make a movie not blatantly sexist-by-existing, that we as a society should be embarrassed about how few movies and video games meet it.

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    5. I'm not saying that we should judge old games by modern standards, but I also think that the basic idea behind the "Bechdel test" is sound and eye-opening.

      I only bring it up because having a female protagonist made this game unusually likely to pass it, for a Sierra game not made by Roberta Williams. And regretfully, it still didn't manage it.

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    6. I think as a test for individual movies/games etc., Bechdel test doesn't really say that much, since even the topic of the movie/game etc. might preclude the presence of women in a central role - for instance, a movie describing the political machinations in Vatican won't probably have strong female roles. It's more of interest when applied to large groups of movies/games etc. - you can see whether there are general tendencies for favouring male roles over female roles etc. Clearly, at this point in adventure game industry, it was still a big thing to have even a female protagonist, let alone a meaningful discussion between several females.

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    7. I remember watching Kim Possible on Nickelodeon years ago. I think it passed the test, actually. Then got disgusted by their line of Kim Possible merchandise that sexualizes the teen character to no end, thus, essentially turning it into Kick Ass Barbie.

      Good job, Nickelodeon.

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    8. Looking forward to Kenny's Test!

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  8. Perhaps one of the scientists in FBI headquarters? Or the secretary at K-Rap?

    Just thinking about what Adventure games we've been through that would pass the Bechdel test. King's Quest IV and the Colonel's Bequest almost certainly pass. Zac McCracken would definitely pass. Maniac Mansion probably does if you choose one of the women. Hugo II probably passes as well - basically any game where you can play as a woman (apart from, it seems, Larry 5.)

    I can't think of any non-female-protagonist ones off the top of my head (not surprising though seeing as most conversations take place between the protagonist and an NPC.)

    King's Quest V has 2 harpies talking about food, but as that food happens to be a man, it's disqualified.

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    1. Hmm...there's something to think about. Does it count as "about a man" if the women are objectifying the man, either sexually or as literal food? Or is turnabout fair play? Not a question I expect to be answered here.

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    2. Talking about Colonel's Bequest, there's actually a Colonel's Quest available. http://www.eater.com/2015/5/19/8625069/kfc-brand-makeover-colonel-quest-game-fried-chicken-hipsters
      Heh.

      Anyway, what about Xena: The Warrior Princess? I recall watching a few episodes that did not have the titular character talking about men with her sidekick Gabrielle. In fact, they even had some hot same-sex make-out scenes as well. That count?

      Also, Carmen Sandiego- Female mastermind who uses her wits and not charms (even though she's a hot Latina) to build a world-sprawling and time-hopping criminal empire. Strong enough role model?

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I have no idea what the flying f-ortress you're talking about, Karren.

      Try not visiting the drugstore too many times, m'kay?

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  10. Growing up on a diet of LucasArts games, I actually liked this a lot more than the other Sierra games I played, precisely BECAUSE it doesn't have any Dead Man Walking scenarios. The fact that I could get irrevocably stuck or killed at any time and have to restart always stressed me out and made it harder to enjoy the games. While the puzzles swung too much in the other direction, it was nice to get to enjoy the writing and comedy in a Sierra title much more than I usually did.

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