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Aliens from another planet - right here in Atom City? You'll find that truth is stranger than fiction at your dusty Nevada filling station... stranger still when you careen across the galaxy to save Earth and Planet X from certain doom at the hands of the dastardly Leather Goddesses! Do you want to be Zeke, the gas station owner? Lydia, the professor's daughter? Barth, the tentacled alien?


MARVEL at the astounding attractiveness of shapely attendants lusciously illustrated in high resolution graphics! LISTEN to conversations and clues broadcast over your Lifesize Sound Enhancer’ to more than an hour of amazing digital sound track!

QUAKE at the unsightly sight of Barthgub, the Pulsating Inconvenience from Planet X who has crashed on earth... and needs you to save his world! You call the shots that take you to other people, other places, other planets!

SCREAM at the pig-headed residents of Atom City who get fooled by the Goddesses' conniving plot - they think you and Barthgub are the enemy! SET THEM STRAIGHT with the reclusive scientist and his beautiful daughter - they know the real story!

WRITHE in the clutches of the Amazonian Leather Goddesses when you travel to their evil Pleasure Place to rescue the love slaves from unspeakable torture. Save the human race when you sabotage the scheme to conquer Earth!
~ from the back of the box

You have to hand it to Steve Meretzky, he's a creative titan in the adventure gaming world. From The Space Bar to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and even a brief stint attempting to save Blizzard's WarCraft Adventures before its cancellation) he's perhaps best regarded for his work at Infocom. One of his more bizarre offerings began in 1986; a titillating sci-fi tale with a comedic 50's B-movie vibes named Leather Goddesses of Phobos. It was so seductive it earned a point-and-click sequel six years later.

Being interactive fiction, the first one did suffer from the usual pitfalls in the genre. Syntax is as important as logic, and Steve Meretzky's syntax and logic is more important than your own. What I found surprising about this obviously adult adventure is that, despite all of this, it's actually pretty darn easy - at least for a text adventure. If you're stuck, chances are you've skipped past a clue such as a word search puzzle that gives you a hint. An early example being a crumpled up piece of paper that contains a matrix. Once all of the recognisable words have been removed from the grid, the remaining letters spell out 'Hissing Frightens Flytrap'. When you encounter one while exploring the jungles on the planet Venus, simply type 'HISS' and you can get by unharmed. It's moon logic and the response is hilarious, but answers are definitely signposted to those observant enough.

An alien invasion is under way. The Leather Goddesses of Phobos have enslaved much of the human race to have their way with them and quite what that pertains to be is open to your perverted imagination. You will travel to many exotic planets the galaxy has to offer stumbling across a means to thwart their sexy ways. Depending on what gender you choose to play as (cleverly decided upon by visiting the correct bathroom at the beginning), you will be joined by either Trent or Tiffany. These hapless sidekicks follow you around to assist in some of the puzzles, but mostly they're there to have a laugh at. The game recognises a surprising number of nouns and all of them have a pithy response or punchline. Try licking everything you come across, and you'll see what I mean.

The 'smooch' icon will turn into a 'screw' icon if both parties are horny enough (left).
Cue low-res stock footage of rocket launches (right).

Your sex will determine who you can have 'relations' with. By this, I mean a few characters will swap gender and the text will remain mostly the same, so it's not like two very different games are open to you. And if you want those 'relations' to be more than just an innuendo or as chaste as the sex lives of those teenage 80's nerds playing it, you can select one of three lewdness settings. At any time, type TAME, SUGGESTIVE or LEWD to change the naughtiness level. Lewd is perhaps the best way to play - you'll get a lot of sex jokes and comedic cursing - but it's worth giving each setting a college try. Either way, any actual sex references are more Carry On than turn on.

One of the more infamous features of any Infocom game are the feelies - and Leather Goddesses of Phobos is no exception. The game originally came with a scratch n sniff card, a relic of the 80's I wish would make a comeback (at least until the moment that wish comes true). It features in the game itself too. Take the opening scene in the bathroom. You can type 'smell' while you're in there and be prompted to get a whiff of the one marked '1'. Even without the tactile feelie to hand, the responses are still laughably wonderful, and I won't spoil them here. Needless to say, the witty, succinct script and the involving puzzles and clever wordplay make it one of the most consistently enjoyable instantly accessible text adventures out there. Just don't let your kids play it.

Your inventory will differ depending on your character (left).
The copy protection requires you to look up codes un a manual (right)

Six years on from your first encounter with sex aliens, a sequel came about to cause havoc on our hard drives. Subtitled 'Gas Pump Girls meet the Pulsating Inconvenience from Planet X', Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2 is now a classic first-person point-and-click graphic adventure. All of the usual issues I have with text parsers are gone, but what remains is a little underwhelming compared to the first. For a game aimed at mature audiences only, it is incredibly easy. Much more so than any of Meretzky's other adventures I've played. It's like the gameplay was meant for young kids, but the content should be nowhere near them.

By today's standards, the sex isn't at all explicit. There is no nudity, and while you can bonk certain members of the opposite sex, all you see is compressed archive footage of a rocket ship launch, or a tall tower getting demolished in reverse. Even so, cleavage is on show in abundance and almost everyone has pert nipples peeking through their clothing. A 14-year-old's wet dream in 1992. Oh, and bare-chested muscle men are also everywhere, so there's equal-opportunity ogling no matter who holds the mouse.

You begin by choosing your choice of character; Zeke, Lydia or Barth. Zeke is your typical American Jock, reminiscent of Steve McQueen from the original Blob B-movie. He runs a gas station on the outskirts of Atom town centre with an employment policy that only hires women with a Double-D cup. Lydia is his girlfriend and daughter of a mad scientist living on the other side of town. Barth is a Pulsating Inconvenience, an alien from Planet X who has crash landed in the hills nearby. While Zeke and Lydia follow the same path (except with different dialogue exchanges and sexual encounters), Barth plays very differently. His gameplay is more of a scavenger hunt looking for arbitrary shapes throughout the town to fix the holes in his ship. In this respect, it's a little like the first but much more straight forward. You don't have to kiss a frog to get a blender, but you can trade your blaster to a child to get an iron. The moon logic of the first is something I quite enjoyed - it did fit with the bizarro worlds you were in - but in the sequel the puzzles seemed much more mundane.

The 'Tanned Annoyances' from Planet X will change gender depending on the player.
Naturally you can shake the sheets with both of them.

If there's one aspect you can't give that label to, it's the characters. Everyone you meet in town are all exaggerated personas of small-town America; the slimy car dealer, the frightened cop, the hot-headed army corporal. Each of them are written very well from a comedic stand point - I laughed out loud many times - but few integrate themselves into the overall plot. Some are only there as an obtuse callback to the first game. They are just loiter in their designated location waiting for you to hear their little stand-up routine until you leave. At least they're voice acted with over-the-top gusto - a feat in itself for a 1992 game. Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2 came on a whopping 17 floppy disks to allow for this, and while scratchy and compressed to all hell, the speech is surprisingly audible.

If you pick up everything you find and visit every location, a single playthough can last about an hour or two. Less if you skip all of the dialogue scenes, but if you do you're missing the one thing that makes the sequel special. I did enjoy every moment during each of my three playthroughs, but it wasn't because of the game or puzzle or half-naked character design; it was for the writing. And for a game about sex, that's the last thing I expected to praise it for.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox to run the first game and ScummVM to run the second on modern PCs. Manual for both games and Clue Book, Scratch n Sniff Card and Maps for the first game included. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 92.3 Mb.  Install Size: 149 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ




Leather Goddesses of Phobos is © Infocom
Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2 is © Infocom & Activision
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

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