"While "Tame" doesn't allow even remotely suggestive language, in "Lewd", anything goes. Sexual encounters are spelled out and dirty language is recognized by the computer. Obviously, that was the only mode I ever played, although, upon further review, the sex scenes aren't any more titillating than those in the average romance novel read by bored housewives looking for any sort of release from day-to-day life with their unemployed husband who just drank himself to sleep in front of the television yet again."
I'd guess that explaining the joy Infocom's text adventures have brought me to someone not familiar with them would be about as difficult as explaining something like the Internet to a neanderthal. After all, the vast majority of these games have no graphics or any of those other aesthetic pleasures. All you'll see is a screen filled with words. There will be nothing but brief paragraphs explaining your current location, as well as any objects you can pick up or manipulate followed by commands such as "GO NORTH", "TAKE WRENCH" or "FUCK GIRL".
Well, I guess that last one was only applicable in one particular game: Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Programmed in 1986 by Steve Meretzky, this was sort of the pure text version of today's hentai-style games that generate such stimulating conversation in such places as THIS VERY SITE!
Back in my youth, I was a crafty little bastard, so I was able to convince my parents that the problem-solving nature of text adventures was "educational", making it simplicity itself to get them to buy me this game. If they only knew the real reason I wanted this floppy disk. Meretzky implemented multiple forms of play in Leather Goddesses. While "Tame" doesn't allow even remotely suggestive language, in "Lewd", anything goes. Sexual encounters are spelled out and dirty language is recognized by the computer. Obviously, that was the only mode I ever played, although, upon further review, the sex scenes aren't any more titillating than those in the average romance novel read by bored housewives looking for any sort of release from day-to-day life with their unemployed husband who just drank himself to sleep in front of the television yet again.
Take away the sex and you still have a pretty fun romp through a number of locations. As someone who grew up pretty close to Upper Sandusky, Ohio, I must say finding out that is the game's starting point was pretty damn cool for me. After slurping down some beers in one of that town's bars, nature calls and you need to relieve the ol' bladder. Your character's gender is determined by which restroom you enter. Don't get too accustomed to these surroundings, though, as moments after hitting the lavatory, you get abducted by aliens and dumped into a prison cell to be used as a guinea pig in the evil Leather Goddesses' plans to take over Earth. Back in the day, I remember thinking it'd be so cool to hit a bar in Upper Sandusky when of drinking age to see if that led to me being captured by aliens. However, as I've aged, I've changed and the concept of chilling in a small town bar listening to the locals hoot and holler while "Why Don't We Get Drunk (and Screw)" plays repeatedly as I fervently pray to be abducted THIS TIME just isn't as awesome as it was when I was 13.
Anyway, it's pretty easy to escape your cell (just open the door) and you quickly find a comrade of your character's gender. This person has the perfect plan to destroy the Goddesses, but the two of you need to collect a number of random objects, so your buddy can create a device that will win the game for you. This leads the two of you to travel to a variety of cool locations like the jungles of Venus (with its gigantic, flesh-hungry flytraps), as well as far less habitable places such as Cleveland.
The game is loaded with both a wacky sense of humor and a million or so ways to die. Not actually owning Leather Goddesses (ie: downloading it) can easily lead to a number of these deaths. Like most Infocom games, the materials included with Leather Goddesses are pretty useful in providing clues for a number of the game's puzzles, as well as making it possible to get through the incredibly frustrating catacomb section of the game. I've heard that some versions of this game make it possible to just type in a code to avoid this area completely. I wish I knew about that option back in the day, as it wasn't fun to type in various commands like "hop" and "clap" every so many moves to prevent repeatedly being killed by a number of critters.
Still, much of the frustration caused by things like this was dispelled by the comedic aspect of the game. One way to dispose of a gigantic venus flytrap is to hiss, causing it to think you're a spray can of weed killer and die of fright. You'll encounter a bizarre take on legendary King Midas, whose touch turned everything to gold. This version's unfortunate ability has resulted in most objects in his kingdom, including his daughter, becoming 45-degree angles. Your sidekick is involved with a running joke that results in him/her repeatedly getting horribly killed, only to unexpectedly pop up with a ludicrous tale of what really happened.
Maybe the sex scenes were a bit underwhelming, but most of Leather Goddesses was quite fun. A certain amount of deductive work must go into figuring out how best to use certain items, such as the "TEE remover" in order to defeat the goddesses. While I wish I hadn't been forced to endure the really tedious catacombs with its many cheap ways to die, most of this game still only leaves me with pleasant memories -- making me want to try out a few more of Infocom's titles again to see if I still like those, as well.
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (February 25, 2009)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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