Reviewed By Dave E In EGG #007: Nintendo NES
In 1987, the old MS-DOS PCs boasted a peculiar graphic adventure. It was called Leisure Suit Larry and, in it, you played a 40 year old, bald-headed trier (Larry) and your mission was to hook up with a lady for the first time. It spawned several sequels and Larry himself became a cult "adult" character (Every few years he seems to pop up again in another adventure for the most recent format!).
Well, the ladies may not have loved Larry but K-Han Games clearly did, because Larry And The Long Look For A Lucious Lover (Yes, that is a long title, isn't it?) is his original first outing, remade for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (the one of Mario Bros. fame). Now I never played the original back in the day but clearly what appeared risqué in 1987 seems less than tame by modern standards. Indeed, when I unboxed LATLLFALL and read its cartridge-emblazoned tagline "Just the release you were looking for", I think a tiny part of me cried just from the sheer unassuming innocence of it.
On to the game proper then, or should I say the part of the game that I have managed to explore so far. It runs in the standard Nintendo mode (with approximately 32 colours) and you have control of the suited would-be lothario who begins his mission out on the pull (alone) outside Tusky's bar. You can interact with the barman, the jukebox, the toilet and another patron, or you can jump in the taxi and make your way to one of three other locations, keeping an eye out for any of them that contain women.
Unlike the first text only, and later point-and-click, formats of the PC Leisure Suit Larry games, LATLLFALL has a more "arcade" feel to it, with the user-interface mapped to the Nintendo controller's D-pad and two buttons.
This makes playing the game a question of simply interacting (using the A button) with everything you can, in order to discover objects. For example, in the toilet you'll find a discarded engagement ring (pressing A picks it up automatically) and the ring comes in useful for wooing one of the ladies (who likes "nice things") in the disco. Bring up the menu with the B button and offer it to her to get hearty congratulations from the game but unfortunately little in the way of "mission complete".
Something very nice about the game is its sense of pace. With the cartridge as medium, loading times are cut to mere seconds making wandering, interacting and sitting in the taxi a joy. I should also mention the amazing "finish" of the physical product itself too. It comes in a lovely glossy cardboard box with a full, colourful instruction manual, a purple cartridge and even a copy of the original plastic placeholder found in the old NES releases.
Unfortunately, all of this also comes with a hefty price tag. LATLLFALL will set you back, after you convert your pounds to dollars and pay the import fees, the best part of £70. And don't think you'll just download it for free; there's no ROM of the cartridge available - it's a limited physical release game only.
Having said all that though, I do quite like it. Well, like is maybe too strong. It's more that I have a high regard for it in that it's nice to see this original "naughty" PC adventure on Nintendo's ultra-clean, family-friendly little gubbins. The suggestion of sex on the NES in the Eighties alone would probably have seen the head honchos faint (before they said no).
Its high price and limited distribution also mean that, if you do shell out your £70, you're practically assured of bagging a game that will increase in value over the next few years. The two elements combined mean that, whilst LATLLFALL may be almost mind-bogglingly dated in itself, it's being reborn as almost a new variant of forbidden fruit.