Leather Goddesses of Phobos! 2: Gas Pump Girls Meet the Pulsating Inconvenience from Planet X

aka: LGOP2
Moby ID: 480

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 66% (based on 9 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 2.3 out of 5 (based on 14 ratings with 4 reviews)

A good game on its own.

The Good
+ Exploration

+ Optional content

+ Humor

+ 1950s B-Movie charm

+ Multiple paths

+ Presentation

The Bad
- Briefness

- Oversimplified puzzles

- Interface irritations

- Waiting periods

The Bottom Line
Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2 is to me the most unjustly reviewed game of all time. Everyone only compares it unfavorably to its predecessor, which is apparently a much superior game. I haven't played the original, but I feel that this second installment of an unfinished series is a good game on its own.

LGoP2 sets out to capture the style of campy 50s science fiction movies and it succeeds perfectly. You'll get all the superficial archetypes you could hope for, like the reclusive scientist, his nerdy, hyperintelligent son who's shy of sunlight, the hot, but hard to get daughter, the scientists hopeful future son-in-law Zeke, who is a handsome and good built macho guy, and others like the green tentacle-y alien or the commiephobic general. The opening cutscene, narrated in hammy exclamations, introduces us to a pulp fiction back story involving the titled women, and features faked special effects. Typical pseudo science with its impossible inventions and nonsensical scientific terms is sprinkled through the game.

The presentation transports the style perfectly: the music is as over the top as it should be, consisting of dramatic and mysterious themes, but also featuring Rock 'n Roll tracks, a pompous march and funky, happy ditties. Voice acting is wonderful, with appropriate overacting and terrible accents. The graphics are mostly beautiful, but they vary in quality. Some places look a bit bland, devoid of details and shading. Dialog screens consist of closeups of your conversation partners. The characters don't move their lips while talking, but at least there are stills for various expressions.

Compared to its predecessor, the interface is hugely simplified. At the same time, a huge arsenal of interaction possibilities got stripped away. The game features a "smart cursor", an epidemic that has spread through countless contemporary adventure games. The implementation here is pretty good, though. Depending on the hotspot the cursor changes its form. If you hover your cursor over a character it turns into a mouth, but changes into a hand over items you can manipulate and pick up. So, contrary to other implementations, you always have vaguely an idea what will happen when you click, letting you still feel in control. Dialogs are multiple choice with each topic represented by an icon. One interface irritation I experienced was that some inventory items are so big that it's hard to hit the hotspots. You might call it a reverse pixelhunting problem.

The humor of LGoP2 mostly stems from the self conscious silliness of the situations and characters. The absurdity and bizarreness expectable of a game imitating corny 50s sci-fi films helps, of course. Planet X, which sports a giant X on its surface discernible from outer space, inhabits aliens apparently much more advanced and peaceful than human beings, yet they name themselves "Pulsating Inconveniences" and "Tanned Annoyances". Their life style and technological advancements might be what people of the 1950s envisioned the future to look like. While Steve Meretzky got a bad rap for his work on this title, I thought LGoP2 was much more amusing than both Superhero League of Hoboken and The Space Bar.

LGoP2 offers three paths through the narrative, yet fundamental differences only exist between the humans and the alien, while the last third is basically the same for all. The humans Lydia and Zeke share the same tasks that have to be done to complete the game, but the optional content, like the dialogs, vary. These progression irrelevant portions are of great interest, though: barely any dialog has to be witnessed to complete the game, yet you might talk to poker players at the local barber shop, a bartender, gypsy and more. You can visit locations you don't have to, but are included to create a sense of place. They aren't only backdrops for puzzles, but often there to be explored. And that's the most fun you can have with the title: exploration, like the experience of the small town and and its inhabitants. The puzzles on the other hand, one of the main criticisms, aren't the high point of this adventure. If you found out what has to be done then you already nearly did it. You never have to ask yourself for long how to solve a problem. This isn't tragic while you're having fun exploring the small town, though even then I wished the game would throw some more obstacles in my way, but it hurts the game when you're leaving planet Earth. From then half the time will be spent waiting until events happen. You'll wait til someone arrives, til something is said or til you land back on Earth. There's nothing else you can do, except listening to some shreds of dialog weirdly interrupted with long pauses. While you'd expect the adventure just to get started when you fly out of the earth atmosphere, it's nearly already over at this point. Additionally, there's not much to explore besides the main path in the last third, making it a weak ending.

People who bought the game at full price were understandably disappointed: even if you play through the eyes of all three characters it won't take longer than six hours to experience everything the game has to offer. On the other hand, the valuation based on price isn't appropriate anymore. Today LGoP2 is, more or less legal, widely available in abandonware circles. And collectors who buy it off eBay know what they'll get. So while the game is disappointingly shorter than it should be, even from a structural and dramatic point of view, it shouldn't hurt where your pocket is.

Overall, despite its shortcomings, I had much fun with the adventures of Zeke, Lydia and Barth, especially thanks to a great sense of exploration, my constant amusement and the perfect campy 50s scifi movie style.

DOS · by Ozzie Mandrill (2) · 2009

Horrible adventure game

The Good
In fact there is not much that I can honestly say I liked in this game. Apart from the concept of the selection of one of three characters where the main plot is perceived from three different perspectives and you can complete the game on three different ways, this game basically contains nothing interesting. There are some nice touches like clear and friendly interface and the fact that all the dialogues are spoken but it can not make the rest to be forgotten.

The Bad
Basically the whole plot is weak and ridicilous. You are playing either as a gas station owner Zeke that is a past incarnation of Larry Laffer with much more luck with women or as a daughter of the scientist Lydia that seems to be a female equivalent of Larry Laffer. There is also Barth - the alien that visited Earth in its spaceship. Zeke (or Lydia) is trying to save the Earth from invasion of matriarchal race of goddesses from Phobos but in order to do so he/she needs to help Barth. Barth on the other hand is collecting objects to fix its spaceship in order to go home. Even if the concept of crossing over of the plot played by one of three characters works nice, the realisation is horrific. The idea that Barth needs to collect iron, pumpkin, vine or pool ball to fix his spaceship is disastrous to the game. The same goes with Lydia and Zeke who are trying to gather all the possible objects only to find some unbelievable usage for them. Everything is filled with a sexual context but unlike to what can be seen in Larry series it is completely idiotic making the main human protagonists acting like horny and full of lust people who are looking for a chance to get laid. The music does not exist and fully spoken dialogues does not save the day.

The Bottom Line
Do not play this game even if you are counting to see some "flesh" (if you know what I mean). Cartoon graphics are nice but they do not make this game attracting. The concept of the game does not save it due to horrible plot and horrible presentation of the final result.

DOS · by mailmanppa (6285) · 2016

Ho hum

The Good
The art was sexy (but it could have been a lot more sexier). The humor was quite good, and the interface (a simplified pointer interface popularized by Myst years later) was also nice. Finally, kudos to the sound enginering team, who probably supported more sound cards then any other game ever (including the in--package sound dongle you could attach if you didn't have a sound card!)

The Bad
The puzzles were a bit baffling, despite (or sometimes because) of the simplistic interface. Also, the storyline of the Man and Woman were virtually the same (only the sex of the characters they interacted with changed), so it was kind of a cheat to say "play 3 different characters" when 2 of them had the same puzzles.

The Bottom Line
If you have never played this game, you aren't missing much except the novelty of it.

DOS · by Tony Van (2797) · 1999

Worst Adventure Ever!

The Good
Okay, I'll admit, there are definitely worse non-commercial games out there, and there are a few things to recommend this. It's got some funny/clever bits, the graphics and music are okay, the sound is pretty good unless you're tight on memory.

The Bad
But that's where it ends. The actual gameplay is Bad with a capital SUCKS.

First off, there hardly is any game: All three variations can be finished with thorough exploration in about an hour apiece, and the two human characters' plotlines are virtually indistinguishable aside from gender. As the game comes on approximately 8 billion 3.5" disks, it takes longer to install the stupid thing than it does to play it. Because of the simplistic interface, there's barely any hidden stuff to discover. Once you've played all three characters, you've seen everything there is to see. Considering this was a $44.95 game at the time of it's release (and still goes for that much now due to its collector's value), you will feel SO gypped.

Second, while the early parts are interactive, a lot of the game consists of waiting. You wait for people to finish talking, you wait while travelling through space (twice), you wait for game events to happen. Were it not for all of this waiting, the entire game would take about 30 minutes to play through. And these are not like the "cut-scenes" in many games these days: There is very little animation, nothing to interact with to pass the time, and it's duller than the most boring visit to great-grandma's house.

Third, it locks up. A lot. Especially if you're playing with the voices and have less than 600K of base memory. Meaning you have to restart and go through the waiting parts AGAIN.

The Bottom Line
Activision apparently released this game only to try to recoup some of their losses from developing it. It's too short to be worth the exorbitant price you'll spend acquiring it, and not entertaining enough to keep you from feeling royally ripped off. This game should be Avoided with a capital DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME.

DOS · by Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe (1673) · 2000

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Patrick Bregger, Terok Nor, Scaryfun, Skippy_Chipskunk, Mr Creosote.