LEISURE SUIT LARRY 6 / Sierra / PC
Larry 6 does Larry 5 one better by not only ignoring the preceding series but also ignoring the events of Larry 5! At the outset of this one, Larry is living in L.A. again, inexplicably Patti-less, and spending his life in the lonely pursuit of ogling babes on the boardwalk. A chance contrivance makes him a runner-up on the Stallions TV dating show, which wins him a 2 week stay at the luxury La Costa Lotta resort.
Though the plots of all the previous games are totally forgotten, the structure goes back to what worked in the best installments - Larry 1 and Larry 3. Larry's in the midst of a hedonistic paradise, with a cadre of babes (nine in this one) to pursue. The game thus feels more like a proper Sierra game, eschewing the linear non-interactivity of Larry 5, and a proper Larry game, with sharper writing quality and a more familiar ambience.
The structure here is also the best, from a design perspective - I can't think of any examples of being able to lose or miss a key item, as even when you take on the challenge of scoring The Penultimate Babe, you are still able to wander about the resort freely. Larry can meet with a few deaths, but you are strongly warned ahead of time in almost all cases, and there's no jungle mazes to wend through or scads of numbers to write down. No copy protection this time out, either!
Though the game probably has the most disappointing Ultimate Babe of the series, everything leading up to it is consistently solid and gives you a number of genuine laughs. This still isn't a game to come to for intellectual depth or insight into the human condition, but the womanizing, objectifying tone of the game is tempered a bit here by the fact that all of the women are smarter and more competent than Larry, and that all of his romantic adventures end in some comedic mishap due to his naive shortsightedness. I'm sure feminists still won't care for it, and gay gamers may not care for the usual caricatured stereotypes that appear as comic relief, but I honestly can't say I find anything really offensive here.
The cartoon style of the previous game has been wisely dropped in favor of a look more in tune with typical VGA Sierra games. The women look vastly more appealing than in any other entry in the series, and the background graphics are by far the most detailed and colorful. The music is still not quite as memorable as that of Larry 3, but it isn't as bland and forgettable as that of Larry 5. The one flaw with the sound is that the game seems to be really finicky with sound cards when it comes to digital audio, and even a stock Sound Blaster that usually has no problems otherwise somehow doesn't cut the mustard for this one. All you're really missing is an annoying "orgasm" noise every time you score points, however, so you might have ended up just turning the digital audio off anyway.
I didn't think the game had quite the creative energy of LSL1 and 3, but it also doesn't have the really annoying moments of those games either - from a perspective of structure and puzzles it is easily the best of the series to this point and stands up pretty well when compared to adventure games in general.
* 1993 Al Lowe interview w/ gameplay clips