EIGHTING/RAZING deliver what's undoubtedly the best videogame adaptation of TAKAO SAITO's seminal manga series.
1999 saw the release of two arcade sniper gun shooting hit games : 「SILENT SCOPE」by KONAMI, and「GOLGO 13」, which was developed by the shooting game wonder studio EIGHTING/RAIZING for NAMCO (now NAMCO-BANDAI Games).
But while both games shared the cool novelty of having a kick-ass mounted sniper rifle replica for a control, they were actually drastically different from each other.
SILENT SCOPE was of course the more technically proficent game of the two. However its gameplay concept wasn't that differen't from most of the other gun shooting games on the market. It basically only added the sniper rifle control gimmick (a cool gimmick nonetheless) to an already proven formula.
GOLGO 13 on the other hand was developed around the more original game idea of letting the player experience the pressure and high-tension of precise sniper shooting, pretty much as depicted in the game's superb source material.
■THE ARCADE GAME WITH THE CUSTOM M-16 RIFLE
It goes without saying that the stellar feature of GOLGO 13 is its scoped M-16 rifle controller. Unlike SILENT SCOPE which uses an LCD screen to give you the zoomed-in effect. GOLGO 13 has a motion sensor at the base of the controller that when activated changes the first「far-way」screen to a second「zoomed-in」one.
Note that if you play the game on the MAME emulator the screen switch can be done with a key. However, I think it's very important to point out that on the arcade cabinet you normally don't get to see the whole zoomed-in screen, but only from within the scope sight.
The scope also has crosshairs to both help your aim and make the experience more realistic, something which obviously is also missing from the emulator.
Thus it goes without saying that the whole sniper zoom effect is much more impressive and also a lot more smoother on the arcade cabinet. Actually, I would say that it just doesn't work at all without the rifle controller.
【 STORY SELECT 】
The game has a total of 20 different story episodes but only 5 will be selectable in the beginning. Completing the first row of episodes will unlock the next one and so forth. The final episode (marked with the「 ! 」sign) will be unlocked automatically when the other 19 have been completed.
【 DIGITAL COMIC 】
Each episode is presented in an all original digital comic sequence made exclusively for this production. Both the drawings and storylines featured here are of the highest quality and flawlessly capture the essence of the source material.
■SNIPER SCENE INFORMATION
The sniper gameplay in GOLGO 13, to put it simply, it's just plain awesome.
As DUKE TOGO one of the world's top professional assassins, you will be required to make exceptional feats of precise sniper shooting to eliminate your targets. Thus you can be sure that GOLGO 13 is among the most skill demanding gun shooting games out there.
▲When taking the sniper position the screen will switch like this.
Apart from a few missions where you'll be able to open fire freely, most of the times you will only get to fire one shot within a extremely limited time limit (we're talking about seconds here) and sometimes also under not the most comfortable or stable sniper positions.
But while GOLGO 13 is indeed a very challenging game, it really isn't punishing nor frustrating. You won't get a game over for failing a job for example, but rather you will lose some of your confidence as a top professional assassin.
You start the game with a confidence rating of 100%. Failing to fulfill an episode's objective will lower your confidence rating accordingly to how much you messed up.
Of course successfully completing an episode with a high enough accuracy rating will help you regain some of your lost confidence. So basically as long as you've got the skill you will continue playing the game.
Something else that deserves special mention is the sniper scene design itself, which is just incredibly cool and original.
For example, in one episode you must assassinate a woman, but the catch is that you have to make it look like an accident.
So what does you, as DUKE TOGO get to do in this situation?
Well, within a time limit of 6 seconds you must shoot off one of her high heels in order make her trip to her dead from a stairway. Just how awesomely bad-ass is that?
GOLGO 13 is overall a fantastic and original gun shooting game that goes well beyond doing justice to its source material. It's a real shame that not too many people got to play it outside of Japan, but those fortunate enough to have it available at a game center near them could go and play the game for the first time today and they still would find in it an unique and awesome gameplay experience.
As previously mentioned, the game (as well as its first revision) can be played on the MAME emulator. Although of course without the rifle controller the gameplay just can't work as it was intended.
So the obvious question is「is the game still worth playing like this?」. In my opinion : absolutely, specially for fans of the franchise. Sure you won't get experience the unique gameplay but you still can enjoy the great storylines and the cool sniper scenes.
■ENDING (SPECIAL STAGE)
Considering all the tough jobs you had to care of to get this far, what better way to end the game (and relieve some stress along the way) than with a good old go-for-all shootout sequence.
So at least for this small bit the game forgets its precise shooting gameplay premise and becomes OPERATION WOLF.
OH NO !
THE GUERRILLA COMMANDER BAD GUY IS GETTING AWAY !!!
OR SO HE TOUGHT....
UNFORTUNATELY FOR HIM, DUKE TOGO NEVER MISSES HIS TARGET.
ANOTHER JOB WELL DONE, ANOTHER MILLION ON THE SWISS BANK ACCOUNT.