Leisure Suit Larry's Casino Review
By Michael Richter |
It's only fitting that Larry Laffer's latest appearance is in a casino simulation. After all, everyone's favorite nerd first hit computer screens in Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, set in a city named "Lost Wages" -- which bore more than a passing resemblance to Las Vegas.
And this isn't the first time the luckless Lothario's been featured in a gambling sim: a few years back Sierra created a couple of Larry Laffer casino games, though for the life of me I can't remember just what table games were featured in them. That's probably because they didn't have a lot to recommend them except they gave you the chance to blow make-believe money with Larry Laffer and friends. Thankfully, Leisure Suit Larry's Casino is much better than those budget titles -- but how much you enjoy it depends on what you're looking for in a gambling simulation. If you really groove on the characters in the last couple of Leisure Suit Larry adventures and enjoy chatting up people while you play online (for free), then LSL Casino is a decent buy. But if you want a full-blown casino simulation that has a full array of options for customizing each game and provides easy-to-understand tutorials on how to develop winning strategies, you're probably better off looking elsewhere.
Before you actually start tossing those cyberbucks around, you've gotta pick a persona that'll represent you when you go online -- and given the average play of the computer opponents in the single-player mode, you'll be online in pretty short order. All the characters you can choose to represent you appeared in Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail! (Cavaricchi Vuarnet is actually from LSL 6, but what the hey?) -- a subtle plug for the game, no doubt, and annoying for those of us who'd like to tweak our images a little bit to more accurately represent who we really are (or aren't).
LSL Casino features simulations of four casino favorites: slots, blackjacks, poker, and roulette. Poker variations include Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hold'em, Omaha Hold'em Hi-Lo, and an online-only version of Five Card Draw; there's an option to play Wheel of Fortune, but apparently this thing was shoved out the door before the WOF game could be programmed.
The big question, of course, is how well these casino games play. Well, all of them share a couple of flaws. For one thing, there's no way to set the number of players at a table in single-player mode, a fairly standard feature in most any casino sim. Another is that you're always asked if you want to go online to play when you play a game for the first time. That might not sound like a biggie, but here's the sticky wicket: if you answer "yes," you're not taken to a room hosting the game you were trying to play, but instead to a general lobby where you pick from any of the games (including "party games" -- more on that later). Why ask me if I want to "go online to play" blackjack when all you're going to do is kick me into a game lobby where I have to pick from all the offerings in LSL Casino?
-- Chris Buckman