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Leather Goddesses of Phobos Reviews
Author: Steve Meretzky
Date: 1986
Inform


What does AIF stand for? Adult Interactive Fiction. If you likely to be offended by games with sexual content, you are advised not
to open these files.


Reviewed by Graeme Cree (SPAG #4 -- March 2, 1995)

In this risque imitation of 1930's pulp fiction, you are captured by the Leather Goddesses of Phobos. For some reason, you escape, and with your trusted companion Trent/Tiffany, you tour the Solar System searching for a collection of incongruous objects, which when put together will form a super-duper-anti-Leather-Goddesses-of-Phobos-attack-machine. The game begins by patting itself on the back for the outraged reactions that it will likely induce in old fuddy-duddies, though truth be told it is not much dirtier than your average beer commercial (though it is much more clever). The game has three naughtiness modes for dealing with sex scenes:

TAME - No sex scenes
SUGGESTIVE - You're told that the scene is happening, but no more
LEWD - Level of description about equal to a Harlequin novel

In addition, Lewd mode has one or two 4-letter words, seemingly thrown in out of some sense of obligation, as they don't mesh very well with Meretzky's humour at all.

The game wonderfully recreates the feel of 30's pulp fiction, from the swordfight on the hull of the Space Battleship (without spacesuits, naturally), to the Sultan and other colourful characters you meet on Mars, to the delightfully contrived situation at the South Pole, to the marvelous running gag concerning the lucky escapes of your faithful companion. The final scene where you try to assemble your machine while under attack by all of the Leather Goddesses minions is one of the greatest moments in interactive fiction, and one that would be utterly impossible to reproduce with graphics.

I generally enjoy games like Spellbreaker that spread the action over a wide area, and Leather Goddesses has one of the widest areas of all, with  the action ranging between Venus, Mars, Phobos, Earth, and Saturn orbit. Leather Goddesses has some of the best freebies of any Infocom game, including a 3-D comic book, 3-D glasses, and a scratch and sniff card. It was one of the five games made into a Solid Gold edition. The Solid Gold edition contains not only onscreen hints, but the ability to get through the difficult catacombs maze with a single special command. The game also allows you to play as either a male or a female, depending on which restroom you
enter at the beginning.

Some early editions of the game had a Lost in the Desert maze in place of the Martian Desert room. I have only heard of this edition, not seen it, and if anyone has a copy, I'd love to see it. The non-Solid Gold editions of the game had a "Boss key," whereby you could bring a specially created text file onscreen by hitting Control-B. The file included with the game was a sample screen of Infocom's Cornerstone database, the easy-to-use productivity software that almost [Well, did. Let's be honest. -GKW]
bankrupted the company. Later Infocom games that used the same interpreter also had the Boss key feature, though it was never mentioned.

A sequel is promised at the end of the game. This was released as a graphic adventure in 1992 by Activision/Infocom, but this is already out of print, and probably getting difficult to find. LGOP2 promised yet a third instalment, but there is no word on this.

All in all, Leather Goddesses of Phobos is one of Infocom's best efforts.

[A few brief notes. MINOR SPOILER, beware! That boss key screen is a real chuckle, and if you have the version with it, definitely read it over once, just for yucks. Here's the scoop on avoiding the catacombs. As soon as you descend into them, type $CATACOMB. If it works in your version, you will have skipped past one of the most insidious and evil puzzles in all of Infocom-dom.]
 


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