Adventure Gaming

I've been getting back into playing old adventure games recently. I suppose I've played quite a lot of them over the years. It used to be one of the few genres I had a chance of finishing (along with RPGs). Thankfully, my reflexes have improved and this is no longer the case.

It is no real surprise that Day of the Tentacle is worth the time. It is also no real surprise that a lot of the other adventure games I have sitting around are rather ordinary -- Mystery of the Druids is fast becoming my least favourite game of all time.

What is a surprise is the experience I'm having with Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail. This was meant to give me something to giggle at when the weather was unpleasant and my brain had regressed significantly. Plus I've never played a Larry game and, well, it was there. But I'm actually surprisingly impressed by it.

It is of course trash. It's full of bad jokes and unrelenting sexual innuendo. And it is in no way politically correct (though at the risk of getting hit with the feminist stick I actually appreciate this). But beyond all that I'm amazed at the number of things it does right as an adventure game. Often simple things that are terrible in the vast majority of adventure games I pick up.

1. You are given a large area to explore straight away. This means not being put in a situation with two rooms and four items to bash your head against until something interesting happens.

2. You can move instantly from any one part of the ship to another.

3. The individual areas are small enough that it doesn't take a year to walk from one side to the other.

4. Typing in verbs is utilised in a way that isn't just annoying and frustrating. I honestly didn't think it was possible to make that mechanic fun. Though it does have the unfortunate side-effect of making me try to lick every object I come across.

5. I find "Where's Dildo" a fun optional addition. That would be a matter of personal taste of course, but it is optional.

6. There is a lot to look at/talk about that isn't critically important. This adds interest and takes away some of the constant pressure of problem-solving.

7. Sometimes, Larry will overcome a simple problem for himself without you having to spell out every tiny little thing for him.