Leather Goddesses of Phobos
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|Leather Goddesses of Phobos|
|Release date(s)||Release 50: July 11, 1986
Release 59: July 30, 1986
|Distribution||3½" or 5¼" disk|
Leather Goddesses of Phobos is an interactive fiction computer game written by Steve Meretzky and published by Infocom in 1986. Like many other Infocom titles, it was released for DOS, Atari 8-bit, Amiga, Apple II, Apple Macintosh, Atari ST and Commodore 64 computers. This game was Infocom's first "sex farce" and featured selectable "naughtiness" levels ranging from "tame" to "lewd". It was one of five top-selling Infocom titles to be re-released in Solid Gold versions including in-game hints. It is Infocom's twenty-first game.
The game begins in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, in 1936 and is presented in the manner of a science fiction serial of that time. The Leather Goddesses of Phobos are just finalising their plans for the invasion of Earth. The player's character has been abducted by the Leather Goddesses for the final testing of the plan which will enslave all of humanity. Unless this nefarious plan is stopped, the Earth will be turned into these twisted vixens' pleasure dome. Despite the player's possible motives, this outcome is considered unfavorable.
The game featured no copy protection as such, but like many Infocom games, it included puzzles that were nearly impossible to solve without hints from the accompanying documentation (the so-called feelies). Leather Goddesses included the following feelies, one of which was quite uncommon among Infocom's games:
- A small scratch and sniff card which bore seven numbered areas (at certain points in the game, the player would be instructed to scratch a certain number and then whiff the resulting odor. Given the possibilities for a game featuring a "lewd mode", the scents were relatively innocuous, such as pizza and chocolate.)
- The Adventures of Lane Mastodon, a 3-D comic book containing vital hints to the game
- 3-D glasses for the Lane Mastodon comic book
- A double-sided map of the catacombs
This creative take on copy protection earned Leather Goddesses a SPA Excellence in Software Award for Best Software Packaging in 1987.
In a particularly unusual way, Leather Goddesses forces the player to "choose" a gender for his or her character: the game's first scene is in a bar, and the player's character has a sudden, powerful urge to urinate. The player has a few turns in which to enter either the men's room or the ladies' room, or else face an early, embarrassing end to the game. The game assumes that whichever restroom is entered is "appropriate", so entering the men's room means that the player's character will be male. Further, LGOP assumes that the player's character is heterosexual, in that in "Lewd" mode a variety of sexually suggestive situations with the opposite sex are encountered. (As another note, the first scratch-and-sniff moment occurs in the bathroom – fortunately, the item is a piece of day-old pizza.)
An additional by-product of the player's chosen gender is the nature of the "sidekick" character. If the player's character is male, he will meet a burly but dim-witted man named Trent; if the player's character is female, she will find an attractive but somewhat ditzy woman named Tiffany. There were a few differences in game-play between the two sexes, so players would often replay the game as the other sex, just to see what would happen. If the player referred to things pertaining to one gender when playing as the other (such as using the words "bikini" or "Tiffany" when playing as a male), the game would reply, "I see you've played the game as both a male and a female. You must be the kind that swings both ways -- wink, wink, nudge, nudge!"
So as to appeal as widely as possible to Infocom's existing customer base, the game included three different "naughtiness levels", offering the player a choice between a sexually explicit ("Lewd") game, a merely titillating ("Suggestive", the default) game, or a family-friendly ("Tame") game. The basic puzzles are the same in any mode, just described differently. For example, at one point the player can gain entrance to the harem of a Sultan(ess), one of whose spouses is also present. With the right information the player can get help from this spouse which is necessary to complete the game. The player may also choose to interact more "personally" with the spouse, which in Lewd mode produces a detailed description. These explicit descriptions of sexual activity do not vary much between genders; a female player playing in Lewd mode will have encounters with somewhat passive, submissive men. Tame mode restricts the interaction to stimulating discussion about such subjects as jazz music and the writings of Jules Verne.
Another feature was the inclusion of a Boss Key that displayed what looked like a Cornerstone-like spreadsheet, so that if the boss walked by, the player might seem to be really working, instead of playing a game. However, looking closely at the spreadsheet gave the secret away as it included some "unique recreational items," such as leather whips.
Leather Goddesses of Phobos bore a difficulty rating of "Standard".
The game has 75 locations, including the maze known as the catacombs, the planets Mars and Venus (which must be explored extensively), outer space, and the city of Cleveland, which is a single location with one building and two exits. When the player reaches the north pole of Mars, he or she is told that there are exits "south, south, and south".
The game was followed in 1992 by the sequel Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2: Gas Pump Girls Meet the Pulsating Inconvenience from Planet X!