They say that it’s hard to keep a good man down. And apparently it’s even harder to keep a perverted little man in a leisure suit down. The year is 1989, and Larry is back in business once again. And this time he’s not the only one looking for (and losing) love, joined in Leisure Suit Larry III: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals by the passionate and lovelorn Patti. This is, quite frankly, one of my favorite Larry games, and probably the most underrated of the series. With LSL3, Sierra took the Larry series to a whole new level in raunchiness, length, and the untimely deaths that cause you to scream at your computer monitor, throw your mouse across the room and start the game over because you haven’t saved recently…ahem.
Once again our hero Larry has found true love, only to have it go horribly wrong in a hilarious instant. Dumped by new wife Kalalau for a lesbian Amazon slot machine repairwoman (and who amongst us hasn’t been through that one before), Larry is suddenly single, unemployed, and flat broke once again. But never one to dwell on the past, Larry merely slides on the now-familiar suit and discos down the island trail looking for the ladies. And after a one-night stand with a newly pumped-up Larry, the lovely Patti is on his trail as well.
LSL3 adds to the fun of the previous game by allowing the user to play not just one obsessed little pervert, but two. Users play the first half of the game as Larry, and the second half of the game as the lovestruck Patti. But rest assured; even as Patti, you will still get to experience all of the humor, all of the insane puzzles, and all of the frustrating deaths that you do as Larry.
One thing to get out of the way before starting the review in earnest is that this is an adult game, much more than the previous stories. There is ample male and female nudity in this game, and I for one have seen much more of Larry than I ever thought I needed to. Of course this is late 1980's computer nudity and there are no close-ups, so unless you get turned on by pixellated nudity, you probably won’t see anything that will shock you too much here. But, that being said, if you are a kid, or handing off games to the young brothers, sisters, and kids, this is not the game for you.
Sound effects and music in LSL3 follow the pattern of the previous games, and the MIDI songs and sound effects, while still good, are a little sparse considering the length of the game. The Larry theme is still used whenever possible, and never loses its catchiness, and the other music fits in well with the environments. But sound effects are almost non-existent, even when they would have fit in perfectly (such as Larry being used as a human bowling ball by his soon to be former boss), and this does detract from the game, making it strangely silent at times and screeching with MIDI tones at other times.
LSL3 is the second Larry game to use the 16-color SCI engine, and Sierra has really pushed all 16 of them to their limit in this game. Background graphics are much more detailed than LSL2, and close-ups of the ladies you are talking to are much more realistic than the previous games. But, that being said, there are still plenty of instances where items are easy to miss due to them blending in with the backgrounds, and as with the previous games a LOOK command is essential when entering a new location.
Gameplay follows the previous game (and most SCI games), utilizing a point & click, keyboard, and parser combination for movement and puzzle solving. A nice addition to this game is a save-game reminder that pops up when a certain amount of time has passed since your last save, hopefully saving you from having to go back too far in case of an unfortunate accident. And it’s a good thing, because there will be plenty; Sierra really upped the death ante with this one. New adventure gamers take note: one save game just doesn’t cut it on the older games (back then we had to walk 3 miles in the snow to buy a LucasArts adventure), and you will die in this game many, many times, usually from something you never would have considered. This is nothing new to any seasoned Sierra gamer, but definitely something to consider: when the game says to save, you’d better listen.
The amazing Al Lowe parser is back, and just as great as always, and everyone will spend way more time than they should typing in naughty phrases to see what the parser has to say back to you. And since this is a Sierra game, you have to have the standard Sierra point system, always keeping you coming back for just one more run time after time, just to have bragging rights about your perfect score.
One thing that never changes from Larry game to Larry game is the structure: girl x needs object y and then she will give you xxx for object y. LSL3 is no exception, but thankfully the puzzles are a lot more logical than LSL2's brain teasers. And the added bonus of playing as Patti during the last half of the game is a nice touch that keeps everything fresh just as it’s starting to seem a little long-winded.
And this is a game that could easily seem long-winded. While LSL1 was a quickie afternoon game for most gamers, and LSL2 wasn’t much more than a weekender, this game really goes for the long haul. I haven’t played the game in a few years, and sat down with a walkthrough just to see how fast it could be done, and still ended up spending over 8 hours walking through the game. And if you are anti-walkthrough, you will easily spend as much, or more, time on this game than most new titles on the market. Before that’s taken as complete praise though, some of that is due to issues with playing the game on modern computers. In particular, there is an issue with a section of the game that takes place in a weight room that can take almost an hour to complete without a program like Mo-Slo or save games available on the web or at Al Lowe’s website.
I’m always surprised at how many old-school gamers have never played LSL3, even after all these years, while the first, sixth, and seventh of the series are raved about as classics. This is really the game that made Sierra see that there was money to be had in raunchy, funny entertainment, and that true gamers were not afraid of a few head scratchers and bizarre death sequences. This is definitely near the top of my list for the Larry series, just below my personal favorite LSL6, and just above LSL7. This is a game that should be played by any adult with a love of gaming, if only for one of the funniest endings in adventure game history, but ultimately for so much more.