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Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode

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Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode (ゴルゴ13 第一章神々の黄昏, Gorugo Sātīn Dai-Isshō Kamigami no Tasogare?, Golgo 13 Episode 1: Twilight of the Gods) is a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which was released in 1988. In this game, based on a popular Japanese manga, the player takes on the role of Golgo 13 (also known as Duke Togo), an assassin whose objective is to destroy the leader of the Drek group. On the way, Golgo 13 must pass through several areas, including East Berlin, Athens, and Alexander Island, which is located 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.

Background

High above New York City a helicopter explodes. Aboard the craft is the latest biological warfare weapon which has been secretly developed by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)... Cassandra-G. A vaccine and plans have been stolen are among the fragments of the helicopter wreckage along with a shell fired from an M16. The copter was shot down from fire of an expert sharpshooter armed with an M-16. The CIA concludes that the act was the responsibility 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 unknown where-abouts of Cassandra-G become entangled. A representative of the secret international organization, 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 threatening his life Upon a 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...

Nintendo censorship

At the time, Nintendo of America had strict censorship polices concerning what sort of content could be depicted or referenced in any game published for a Nintendo system. In the original Japanese version, the DREK "empire" is actually the resurrected Nazi regime, but this was changed so as to fit the prohibition against political advocacy, racial and or ethnic stereotyping. Yet, some of the changes were more complete then others. The final boss, Smirk, is clearly a cyborg version of Adolf Hitler and 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. It should be noted that Nintendo required that Golgo had his profession changed to spy rather than assassin, per its prohibition on graphic violence and gore.

Sexual themes, violence and smoking

Golgo 13 is one of the first NES games to feature sex, drug use and graphic violence. It was 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 toned down from the original Japanese counterparts and limited by the 8-bit technology of the NES, it was not all together clear how this content was released uncensored.

For example, in the maze levels featured in the game, as well as one "sniper mode" mission in East Berlin, enemies are seen briefly bleeding from the head when killed, despite the prohibition on graphic violence and gore.

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 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 a hotel room window. In a strangely comedic twist, the player's energy is restored in the morning. The Japanese version even had an alternate sequence (prompting the player to "press the B button and have the kids look away from the screen") which had Cherry remove her top and expose her bare breasts for a few seconds. In the sequel, The Mafat Conspiracy, scenes are even more 'graphic' taking into consideration the technology of the time

Acts

Golgo 13's energy level starts at 200 and continuously declines. Destroying enemies increases his energy level and bullets. The game consists, chronologically, of 13 acts (all named for classic films):

  • Act 1 - The Iron Curtain
  • Act 2 - The Moving Target
  • Act 3 - River of No Return
  • Act 4 - A Farewell to Arms
  • Act 5 - Spartacus
  • Act 6 - The Third Man
  • Act 7 - Sleeping Beauty
  • Act 8 - All About Eve
  • Act 9 - Apocalypse Now
  • Act 10 - From Here to Eternity
  • Act 11 - The Godfather
  • Act 12 - In the Twilight
  • Act 13 - And There Were None

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