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Video Game / Leather Goddesses of Phobos

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Leather Goddesses of Phobos is an Interactive Fiction game written by Steve Meretzky and published by Infocom in 1986.

As the title suggests, it's a parody of sci-fi B-movies, which has you battling the eponymous Leather Goddesses as they prepare to invade Earth and enslave humanity. The packaging of the game includes several B-movie gimmicks, including a 3D Comic Book and a scratch-and-sniff card with numbered areas to be sniffed at appropriate points in the game.

As the title might also suggest, the game contains quite a bit of sexual content; how much depended on the "Naughtiness" level, which could be set to Lewd, Suggestive, or Tame.

The game requires the player to indicate the sex of the player character at the beginning, and adjusts the other characters in the game accordingly, so that any character in whom the player character might take an... interest... is always of the opposite sex. (The exception being the Leather Goddesses, with whom female characters can make out in one scene.) It also affects the sex of the player's faithful sidekick: the male player character is assisted by the burly-but-dim Trent, while the female character is accompanied by the attractive-but-ditzy Tiffany.

The game received a 1992 sequel, Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2: Gas Pump Girls Meet the Pulsating Inconvenience from Planet X!

This game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Allergy: The mad scientist who switches the mind of the player character with the mind of a gorilla won't let the player character take a portable wormhole into his laboratory because he's allergic to portable wormholes.
  • Adjustable Censorship: The game can be set from "Tame" to "Lewd".
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The game opens in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
  • Attractive Bent Species: When the player is turned into a gorilla, the other gorilla in the cage with him/her suddenly seems a lot more good-looking.
  • Badass Normal: Parodied with Trent/Tiffany, who wrestles alien threats on a hostile planet. Though his/her tragic demise is a Running Gag, he/she keeps returning due to toughness, persistence, and bizarre luck.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: At one point you have to make one for Trent/Tiffany to climb down.
  • Clue from Ed.: The bundled comic book included several referring to (non-existent) earlier issues.
  • Cool Gate: The game is dotted with black circles, which transport the player between the various locations. One of the final puzzles is to purchase a portable circle, which takes the player to the Leather Goddesses' lair.
  • Copy Protection: The feelies for the game included a comic book and a map, both of which contained information vital for getting through the game. The later non-physical releases included them (and the similarly vital game manual) as additional files.
  • Death is Cheap: Played for laughs. Your faithful sidekick would occasionally get killed in the course of trying to solve some puzzle, with you mourning their loss. They'd show up again with some ridiculous Deus ex Machina explanation within a few turns.
  • Doorstop Baby: Leaving a baby on the doorstep of an orphanage lets you sneak inside the opened door to loot the place.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: When you get captured for the first time, you wake up to find that you are dressed in skimpy slave clothing, with the brass loincloth (male) a Shout-Out (probably) to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the brass bikini (female) a definite Shout-Out to Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
  • Heel Realization: Disarming Thorbast/Thorbala and then returning his/her sword causes him/her to realize that he/she is the bad guy.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The Naughtiness level, although strictly speaking it didn't actually affect the difficulty of the game at all, just the details of how certain events played out.
  • MacGyvering: The climax of the game revolves around MacGyvering a device out of Noodle Implements to save the day.
  • Man-Eating Plant: A large, mobile Venus Fly Trap is one of the hazards on... wait for it... the planet Venus.
  • The Maze: A particularly nasty one requiring you to hop, clap, or say "Kweepa" every so many moves, and pretty much impossible to navigate without the bundled map. Players found this so annoying that a later version of the game included a cheat code allowing you to skip the maze entirely.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle:
    • The player is captured by aliens and thrown into a cell. The way to escape is simply to open the door— it's not locked. Many players were stuck for weeks on this point. Lampshaded in-game as well— the other prisoner admits he/she never thought to try it.
    • On Venus, the player is captured by a Mad Scientist and turned into a gorilla in a cage. The only way to escape this is to have previously left a chocolate bar in the cage (which is never even hinted at beforehand), and then eat it as the gorilla. This sugar rush somehow gives you the strength to bend the bars and escape.
  • Noodle Implements: The components of the day-saving device include: A common household blender, six feet of rubber hose, a pair of cotton balls, an eighty-two degree angle, a headlight from a 1933 Ford, a white mouse, a photo of Jean Harlow (or Douglas Fairbanks), and a Cleveland phone book.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: After you restore Princess Theta to her normal self and get the eighty-two degree angle from her father Mitre, as soon as you leave the castle, you'll hear his reaction, implying that he has accidentally touched Theta and turned her into an angle again.
  • Phallic Weapon: The Leather Goddesses' battleship, which is described as "long" and "potent-looking" with "two pendulous, brimming fuel tanks".
  • Pit Trap: Constructed to deal with the mobile Venus Fly Trap.
  • Potty Emergency: You start the game in front of two bathroom doors, leaving you to choose one of the appropriate gender in order to empty your bladder. Which is a pretty weird and ridiculous way of choosing whether you are male or female.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Your first action determines the gender of almost every character (the only characters whose gender remains the same are Joe, the Mad Scientist, King Mitre and his daughter, and the titular Leather Goddesses of Phobos), but none of it has any impact on the plot or gameplay.
  • Rescue Sex: At one point you rescue a kidnapped aristocrat; depending on what naughtiness level you're playing on, you may get an erotic encounter with your grateful rescuee.
  • Riddle Me This: Correctly answering the riddle of a sultan/ess wins you an hour with one of his/her harem.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: The player character's sex is indeterminate for the first few moves of the game, then the player has to make a decision about whether to go to the ladies' room or the men's room. Whichever the player chooses retroactively becomes the correct answer.
  • Speak Friend and Enter: The player is captured by aliens and thrown into a cell. The way to escape is simply to open the door— it's not locked.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: At one point, the player is strapped to an exam table by a mad scientist and turned into a Gorilla. It's also possible to observe other experiments of the Leather Goddesses, but the game won't tell you what they are. Whether that is a Sexy Discretion Shot or a Gory Discretion Shot is entirely up to the player's imagination.
  • 3D Comic Book: Included in the feelies.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Your faithful sidekick's running gag.