The story continues the exploits of Larry Laffer, who becomes stranded on a tropical island during an ill-fated vacation. Due to earlier criticisms of Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Sierra intentionally toned down the titular character's sexual escapades for the sequel. According to series creator Al Lowe, this lack of Leisure Suit Larry's trademark humor is an oft-cited criticism of the game.
Unlike the original Leisure Suit Larry, the game follows a linear story progression similar to Sierra's other adventure games, particularly later entries in the King's Quest series. The player character's movements are controlled via the mouse, although a text parser is still used for all other actions. Rather than navigating through a single city, the player character is guided through a variety of puzzles and mazes. Players must take care in acquiring certain items over the course of the journey, lest they be stymied by an inescapable trap. Though there is no visible time limit, a number of pre-scripted events require players to act quickly in order to reach the next sequence.
As is standard in most Leisure Suit Larry games, Larry's interactions with female NPCs are accompanied by a on-screen portrait, though the images are much smaller than seen previously. The game actively punishes Larry for flirting with any woman he meets, a marked departure from the rest of the series. Such acts invariably leads to Larry's violent death and a game over, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to Sierra's restrictions on adult content.
The opening sequence of the game finds Larry mowing the lawn of Eve, his sexual encounter from the previous game, implying the pair have remained together. However, this is quickly revealed to be an instance of an unreliable narrator, as Eve pulls into the driveway with only the vaguest recollection of who Larry is. Realizing that his affair with Eve was merely a one-night stand, a distraught Larry wanders off, only to win a free vacation after stumbling into a rigged game show. During his preparations for the cruise, a microfilm falls into Larry's hands by mistake; this attracts the attention of the KGB as well as the mad scientist Dr. Nonookie (a pun on "no nookie"), who both want to recover the film.
The first sequel of the series used the new engine by Sierra called Sierra's Creative Interpreter (SCI), with 16 colors and MIDI sound. In addition to sharing the SCI0 engine, the game parallels the King's Quest series in its realistic art style — particularly in regard to Larry's character portrait — and grand-adventure elements, including a number of diverse settings (a cruise ship, tropical islands, etc). It is also notable for being the sole instance where Larry is forbidden to cavort with women for the entire game (excluding the ending). For this reason, the game did not include an age-verification test, although brief instances of pixellated nudity still occur at certain points. Also included is a "Trite Phrase" option, which allows players to input a catchphrase which is repeated over the course of the game.
Due to a very serious bug, at the very end, the parser required the word THE before the nouns or it would understand them as verbs and return a mistake. The only acceptable syntax was PUT THE XXXX IN THE XXXX, which troubled many players.
Among the many women Larry meets over the course of the game is Rosella of Daventry — the protagonist of King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella — an example of Sierra's many cross-promotions. One of the game's final scenes includes a piano-playing "Polyester Patty", who features prominently in Leisure Suit Larry 3 and Leisure Suit Larry 5 under the name "Passionate Patti". Patti is blond in this incarnation, whereas future games depict her as dark-haired.
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- Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (In Several Wrong Places) - Adventure Classic Gaming Game Information & Screenshots