Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Game 19: Leisure Suit Larry 2 - A Day of Nonookee

Larry Laffer Journal Entry 1: “What a day of conflicting fortunes! Things started horrendously when Eve decided she didn’t want to know me anymore, despite the almost inhuman seductive powers that I produced to win her over in Lost Wages. I guess she was too good to be true! I did steal a dollar from her garage though as revenge. Lucky I did, because that one single dollar would lead to a huge shift in fortune! I used it to buy a lottery ticket, and while I didn’t actually win, I somehow managed to convince the receptionist at KROD Studios that I did. She sent me out the back to go on live TV, but while I was waiting, I was confused as a contestant for Dating Connection. My luck still hadn’t run out though, as I not only won the show, and received tickets to spend a few weeks on a cruise ship with the beautiful Barbara, I was then dragged onto Lucky Life where I won a million dollars every year for the rest of my life! My thoughts that this must all be a dream have now been reinforced, as I now find myself involved in a bizarre plot involving an item called an onklunk (which I have in my possession), and a man called Dr. Nonookee. Oh well...I guess I’ll just see what happens before I wake up. I am going to wake up...aren’t I?”


I guess Eve never finished the first game

What a ridiculous plot! Never before have I played a game that begins with so many implausible events and matters of chance, all for the purpose of setting up what appears to be a completely nonsensical storyline. Do I care? Not one bit! Leisure Suit Larry 2 is all about having fun and Al Lowe really does know how to get a consistent flow of chuckles out of the player. He appears to have pulled out all the stops for the sequel, with more outrageous characters, gratuitous language and sexual innuendos. But...is it a better or more enjoyable game than the first one? The jury is well and truly still out on that, particularly as I feel like I’ve been more of a spectator to the majority of what has occurred so far, rather than a participant.


Dr. Nonookee - Surrounding yourself with attractive women and porn isn't conducive to celibacy

The game starts with Eve telling me to get away from her house and never come back. Before I left, I snooped around in the garage to see if there was anything useful in there. All I could come up with was a dollar bill left in an old pair of pants, so I took it. I then spent the next forty-five minutes wandering around Los Angeles, mapping each screen as I went. The grid is limited to sixteen locations, which isn’t surprising given I know at least part of the game takes place on a remote island. Unusually, during my initial trip to each of the locations, I couldn’t find anything to pick up or anything to do, apart from one thing. I spent that one dollar I stole from Eve to buy a lottery ticket at the Quikie Mart.


Larry failed probability at school, which is also why he flirts with every cute girl


Um...Zenic...the clerk at the Quikie Mart says hello

Apart from the Quikie Mart, the only other locations of note were the KROD TV studio, the Musicology Shoppe (which hadn’t yet opened), a stupendously expensive clothes store called Molto Lira, a drug store, a pub called The Scurvy Dog (which isn’t open during the day) and a barber called Hairy Reams. Without having any cash, the majority of these places were completely useless to me, so I figured somehow the lottery ticket would be the key to my progression. Purely by chance, the first thing I tried to do was show the ticket to the receptionist at the TV studio. I have to admit, I was really showing it to her just to see what would happen, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed to do. She told me what the winning lottery numbers were and then asked me what I had on my ticket. Simply repeating the numbers she said was enough to fool her into sending me through to Lucky Life to see what I’d won.


Blatant mocking of homosexuals was fair game in the eighties!

While waiting to go on stage, I was mistaken for a contestant on a dating show called Dating Connection. It’s here that a bimbo named Barbara asked air-headed questions to me and two other contestants. It was pretty funny stuff, with the other contestants answering every question by describing their own physical and sexual prowess. It quickly becomes apparent that it makes absolutely no difference what Larry says, especially as the game won’t allow you to type an answer of more than a few words. In the end, Barbara is clearly responsive to the overtly sexual answers of contestant three, but accidentally presses button number two. So not only have I fudged my way onto the show in the first place, I’ve now won a cruise of the South Pacific with Barbara by pure chance.


That's strange, I always found the announcement of war to be quite the aphrodisiac

After exiting the stage, I was confronted by a woman who’d been desperately trying to find me for Lucky Life Lottery. Given I was so late to the stage, they didn’t bother to check my ticket and sent me straight to the spinning wheel to see what my prize would be. Of course it turned out to be the jackpot, a million dollars a year for the rest of my life! It’s worth pointing out at this point that I did pretty much nothing during all of this. I didn’t even have control of Larry, and apart from typing my answers to Barbara’s questions (which were irrelevant), had gone from owning nothing and having a total of 7 points out of 500 to owning a million dollar note and a ticket for a South Pacific cruise, and having a total of 63 points, without doing anything.


The eternal underdog just became a genuine contender

Now that I had money, I figured I’d be able to go purchase a few things that were previously unavailable to me. The first thing I attempted was to buy a soda at the Quikie Mart, but that didn’t end well. The woman behind the counter told me should couldn’t break a million, so without any way to put the soda back, I walked out to see what would happen. She hilariously jumped on the counter and shot me, spouting foul language like the chick in Pulp Fiction. OK, so how could I possibly get change for a million dollar note!? The answer was obvious...Molto Lira! I spent a little bit of time trying to chat up the cute Italian shop assistant, but when she wasn’t impressed by my lottery win (she asked how many shipping lines I owned), I bought a swimsuit for $108500 and left.


What type of guy could possibly get a gorgeous girl like this!!!???


Oh!

The next place I decided to throw my cash around was the Hairy Reams barber shop. This was actually a very funny little section of the game, but I’m yet to understand what affect it has if any. The barber spouts the sort of half natural, half scientific tosh that so many pseudo-scientific solutions do these days, and I laughed out loud to lines such as “I assure you, I use only the trendiest products, all organically grown and available only in undersized, overpriced, biodegradable bottles!” Even funnier were the daydreams Larry had while the barber worked on him, firstly of a more handsome self, but soon enough degenerating into running along the beach with a big breasted brunette followed by Brutus the reappearing dog weeing on Larry’s leg. The fact that the barber can see Larry’s dream bubbles and exclaims how strange they are just makes it even better. Anyway, since the game makes it clear that I look exactly the same after my macrobiotic styling as I did prior to it I have no idea yet what relevance this whole scene has.


Daydreaming - Larry Laffer style


Thanks Chumazik for letting me know about the Trite Phrase setting. It has proved quite useful!

Next up I went back to the Quikie Mart to get that soda. I love the way the game takes the piss out of itself when describing how Larry adds the massively oversized soda to his inventory. “Ah, what the hell. This isn’t real life...but merely an incredible simulation! You decide to put it in your pocket along with everything else.” By this point I was running out of places to go, but since I’d done nothing at the drug store, that was my next destination. I tried everything I could think of here, but haven’t found anything I can purchase or give to the “not too bright” surfer dude behind the counter. I’m hoping something comes up later that will make its purpose obvious. Thankfully it wasn’t long after this that I noticed the Music Shop was finally open!


I tried to explain to her how selfless you are Ilmari but she wouldn't have it


The purpose of this drug store has so far avoided me

Just like in King’s Quest IV, characters only appear and places only open after certain events have been triggered. I’m not sure exactly what it was I did to cause the Music Shop to open, but I wasted no time in entering once it did. This is where things got even more outrageous! Larry attempts to speak Spanish to the Latin American girl behind the counter and of course does a terrible job at it. “Your ears remind me of whale breasts.” “My pencil is long, hard and yellow.” Coincidentally, that second effort just so happens to be the secret passphrase for the girl to give Larry an item called an onklunk. Alright, I’ve already embraced the fact that Leisure Suit Larry 2 makes no attempt to tell a story based around the laws of possibility, but isn’t Mr Lowe pushing it a bit far with that one? More notably though, it’s yet another scene that takes place without any input from me, the player!


One of the finest pick up lines I've come across!


The cute Latin American girl hopes you stick around Jarakith!

After leaving the music shop with my newfound onklunk, which apparently contains a microfiche, which in turn holds the secrets to the recent United States superconductor research wanted by Dr. Nonookee (the guy we saw on the island in the intro), I then watch a dead ringer for Larry enter the music shop and try to retrieve the item. It’s also at this point that a KGB man started following me, so I decided to stop playing before any further complexities arise to make writing this first post more challenging than it already was. So what do I think so far? Well, I’m having a lot of fun playing Larry 2. I’m just concerned at the lack of player input so far, and hope that things settle down once the preposterous plot is irreversibly set in motion. I’m also wondering whether I’ve already missed something that will cause one of these dead ends you guys keep warning me about. I don’t plan to get on that cruise ship (when it arrives) until I’m quite sure I’ve done all I can.


That sounds truly terrible! Whatever will I do!?

Session Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've recently written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is the first gameplay post for this game, the opportunity to bet on puzzles that I will need assistance with or to make PISSED rating predictions has passed. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. Thanks!

15 comments:

  1. Man, you have me on pins and needles when talking about going to these different stores. I hope you don't find out in a bad way, later. Look around at some stores again...

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  2. So far this seems incredibly entertaining, even if it hasn't required much input. Looking forward to the rest (if it keeps up at this pace, you'll be finished in no time) :)

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  3. There are some events in the game, after which you cannot return to the earlier locations anymore - thus making the infamous dead-ends possible.

    If you want, we could post a list of items in rot13 that are required before proceeding to next parts of the game - then if you get stuck at a later point, you could check whether you missed something earlier or not.

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    1. The problem is that Al Lowe appears to have used all evil tricks of Sierra for cleverly hiding the items, so a mere list might not be enough...

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    2. I was thinking the list would be good for:
      1.) A possibility to check, that nothing was forgotten in a location that is no longer accessible later in the game
      2.) If something was missing, then at least Trickster knows where to concentrate his efforts
      3.) And of course as a last resort, we give more detailed hints / spoilers..

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    3. At this point, I want to have a real shot at finding everything without assistance. You're welcome to put a list of items I need to leave LA in ROT13, but please make sure it's not obvious how many items there are.

      But...this is not a request for assistance...yet.

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    4. So add in totally random items in the middle: for example

      FAKE SPOILER:
      1. Lbh arrq gb trg gur fcbex sebz gur birejrvtug crathva orsber gur lryybj sbk syvrf ng zvqavtug
      2. V yvxr cvr
      3. V nyfb yvxr cv
      4. Vs gur genva yrnirf orsber lbh trg gur thccl vg vf tnzr bire
      5. Ohezn funir

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  4. Good to see you are enjoying this combination of senseless plot and good humour, and nice use of the trite phrase! Will you be planning to import more of your readers into the dialogue?

    The music shop opens after you've been to the TV shows, I think. And yes, the beginning is quite automatic - it's probably meant to lull you into false security before all the nasty bits. But the rule appears to apply, and it's time for a...

    SPOILER for drug store (the higher the number, the bigger the spoiling):
    1. Lbh ner ba gur iretr bs n ybbzvat qrnq raq, vs lbh zvff fbzrguvat urer.
    2. Erzrzore ubj va Fvreen tnzrf jung lbh frr qrcraqf ba jurer lbh fgnaq?
    3. Jura lbh ner ybbxvat ng bar furys, lbh qba'g xabj jung'f va gur bgure furyirf.
    4. Purpx bhg gur furys ng gur onpx bs gur fgber sbe fbzrguvat erdhverq va n gebcvpny gevc.

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  5. Nice to see you get so much use out of the "trite phrases"!

    I wonder how many dead-ends you'll run into, I think there are only a few potential ones, but can't really remember.

    In terms of final ratings, how much do you think you'd remove for particularly awful dead-ends?

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    Replies
    1. That probably depends on whether I get caught out by them. ;)

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    2. As a side note, I don't think dead-ends are necessarily a bad thing - as long as they are fair, unlike some recently seen ones.

      For an example, let's assume you have been taken as a prisoner. In the later LucasArts games, you know that you already have the means to escape, otherwise the game wouldn't let you become a prisoner. You just carefully search the prison and try everything in that room and eventually you will get out.

      But in Sierra games, you always have the uncertainty "maybe I've missed something earlier", which requires you to carefully search every location as you move on (as it is possible that you cannot return later). And if you cannot get out of the prison, you have to start thinking "what have I seen earlier that could benefit me in this situation", thus making the scope of the puzzle much larger and the situation much more challenging.

      That said, unfortunately Sierra wasn't very good in implementing this, often relying to cheap tricks to make the player stuck..

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  6. Woooo. My name in game! I think I only played through LL2 once, so I'll be of no help at all! Still looking forward to reading about it though. :)

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  7. I made it into a video game! ;)

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  8. Henchettes sound dangerous. Like flechettes.

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