18 October 2007

We Remember: Vic Tokai's Golgo 13

I was never very big into video games; never had the attention span or the skill, really. I was cool with my Mario Brothers up to like the 5th level and then whatever, I got distracted by some other project or activity. I liked Blades of Steel, Double Dragon II, RBI Baseball and Double Dribble. Oh, and Sky Kid with "Red Baron" and "Blue Max"

But Golgo 13 was so over my head. I dunno how or why I even picked this one up and bought it. I had no idea what the fuck was going on with this game and never did but I was so intrigued by it. Even then, knee high to a grasshopper, I was a junior ostalgie in training.

Golgo 13 came out in 1988 and it was based on a popular Japanese comic, "Golgo 13" (also known as Duke Togo). Duke was an assassin whose objective is to destroy the leader of the Drek group.

At ten years old, I was like "what the fuck is this game?!"

"On the way, Golgo 13 must pass through several areas, including East Berlin!, Athens, and Alexander Island, off the coast of Antarctica. It is necessary to navigate several mazes in order to win, but one maze is a fake base with no way out. The mazes account for a large amount of the frustration players encounter with this game. The instruction manual contains maps for the mazes. "

Yes; I can certainly attest to that frustration.la-la-la and all of sudden, out of nowhere, this urgent panic inducing music would come on and you'd be taking on all sorts of enemy sniper fire and then next thing you know, you'd be dead; game over. It was nuts!

Like any good fun loving German assassin, Duke Togo was a smoking, drinking, ladies man. And in between sketchy late night rendez-vous with a guy named Condor at the Brandenburg Gate, Duke would often shack up with some hot 8-bit women of the night.

"Golgo 13 was one of the first Nintendo games to feature sex, drug use and graphic violence, an unusual release because at the time, Nintendo of America had strict content guidelines preventing the release of such content on its systems. Although the depictions were either implied or limited by the 8 bit technology of the NES, the content is mild when compared to modern video games, and was not controversial at the time of its release."

In the maze levels, as well as one "sniper mode" mission in East Berlin, enemies are seen briefly bleeding from the head when killed. While the depiction is fairly tame due to the limited 8-bit technology, most NES games at this time did not feature blood whatsoever.

In the beginning of the mission in Greece, if the player walks to the right several paces and then walks back to the beginning of the level, a pack of cigarettes is seen on the ground - Golgo 13 is seen smoking if the player walks over the cigarettes, and his health is restored.

"Throughout his lengthy mission, Golgo 13 / Duke Togo, encounters many female operatives who not only offer intelligence, but also themselves. The actual depiction of sexual consummation takes the shape of two small and primitive shaped silhouettes briefly coming together and voyeuristically viewed from a distant, wide-angle shot of hotel room window. In a strangely comedic twist, the player's energy is restored in the morning. "

The Cast:

Duke Togo (Golgo-13) - Uses a custom-made M-16 regularly, a sharpshooter with 100% accuracy, the ultimate sniper. His details are shrouded in secrecy. Dragged into the scene when a CIA chopper explodes and goes down, he now undertakes to solve the whole mess as requested.

Cherry Grace - Dispatched from FIXER, she is assigned to assist Golgo-13.

Condor - Because he has acquired information on Cassandra-G, the CIA, KGB, and DREK are after him.

Oz Windham - He is a FIXER investigator whose whereabouts are currently unknown. He is being held prisoner in the underground base of the DREK group somewhere in East Berlin.

Storyline: --From the NES Golgo 13 instruction manual.

"High above New York Ciy a helicopter explodes. Aboard the craft is the latest bacteriological warfare weapon secretly developed by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)... Cassandra-G. A vaccine and plans have been stolen from among the fragments of the helicopter wreckage. A shell fired from an M-16 has been discovered.

The copter was shot down from fire from an expert sharpshooter armed with an M-16 carbine..... The Cia concludes that the act was the responsibilty of the super sniper, Golgo-13. An official release by the CIA links Golgo-13 to the KGB(the Soviet intelligence group).

Under these circumstances, The CIA Copter Incident, and the where- abouts of Cassandra-G become entangled. A representative of the secret international organization called FIXER transmits a message. FIXER believes the affair is the work of the remnants of the DREK Empire and not Golgo-13. After the dispatch, the representative disappears. The situation becomes more and more mysterious. A man who calls himself Condor agrees to help FIXER.

In East Berlin because Condor has received some information on Cassandra-G, the CIA, KGB, and even DREK are threats to his life. On request from FIXER Golgo-13 has gone into action. He is to get information on a vaccine from Condor and eliminate the leader of the DREK group.

But wouldn't you know it? Just who is this ultimate target of Golgo- 13? Just where is this Condor? And just who is the real culprit behind the CIA helicopter explosion?

Many enemies await you... Now that you have become Golgo-13 let's go to East Berlin. "

What is lesser known about the U.S. release of the game is that DREK "empire" is actually the resurrected Nazi regime - Nintendo removed all Nazi references. The final boss, Smirk, is supposed to be a cyborg version of Adolf Hitler. The removal of all Nazi/Hitler references can be likened to NES game Top Secret: Hitler no Fukkatsu (released as Bionic Commando in the U.S.).
Although Nintendo of U.S.A. attempted to remove all Nazi references, some escaped censor. For example, a file retrieved by Togo during a base infiltration in Greece retains a swastika on it, which is visible in the player's inventory area.

Interestingly, "drek" is also a Yiddish word meaning "shit" or "crap", and it is possible this is where the name came from.


1 comment:

john torn said...

Hey buddy! Looking up info on Golgo 13, as I tend to do from time to time, because Top Secret Episode is one of my favourite NES games, and the character has always been intriguing to me. Luck should have it that on this particular Duke Togo hunt I should end up at your blog. There's some interesting religious stuff going on with Golgo 13 that I'll talk to you about at length, should you ever find yourself in Albany again! Maybe I'll even dig up my translated Golgo 13 manga that I picked up ain the early 90's.