Fact: Mention the name Duke Togo (aka hitman extraordinaire Golgo 13) to any anime fan under age 25, and they’ll give you a perplexed look similar to the old RCA dog. Additional Fact: Mention the name Duke Togo to any anime fan over age 25, and smiles, high-fives, and yelps of “oh shit!” will erupt in that circle. The reason for such hypothetical exuberance is that Duke Togo is unquestionably the manliest man to appear in anime or manga–even more so than Hokuto no Ken‘s Kenishiro. Bold and blasphemous words for sure, but the seemingly heretical speak is truth.
The legend, for most westerners, began with the animated movie, Golgo 13: The Professional. In it, Duke Togo kills, fornicates, and acts unaffected by pleasure or pain for a testosterone-filled 90 minutes. Vic Tokai’s 8-bit NES action games starring the master assassin (Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode, and Golgo 13: The Mafat Conspiracy) skirted Nintendo’s censor hammer and walked the same path. The carts were mish-mashes of mediocrity, but they presented gameplay elements that would be totally awesome with the application of modern sensibilities and programming techniques. Here are five reasons why it’s prime time for Duke Togo’s return.
The Video Game Industry Has Gotten Freaky
Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode is the crappiest game that ever pushed the NES envelope in terms of so-called “adult themes.” Remember how you could regain health in Grand Theft Auto III by inviting a street whore into your stolen vehicle? Duke Togo nailed that (ha!) in ’88 by making happy-fun-time with an eager lady in a German hotel. The game only hinted at the back dance; crude sprites of Duke and his lover get up close in personal as the hotel lights fade to black. In a post-Hot Coffee industry where two crudely designed and animated polygonal characters knocked boots, a M-rated Golgo 13 can get down and dirty with Nazi superwomen. For “intelligence,” of course.
Gamers Love First-Person Shooters
Besides the godless fornication and cigarette smoking, Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode also features first-person sniping, which as any mainstream gamer knows, is in every damned title that doesn’t involve sports. If a developer would implement a Black Ops-styled sniping mechanic, Gologo 13 will be back popping skulls from long distance. And gamers would eat it up.
Video Gamers Love One-Man Armies
Sam Fischer. Solid Snake. Mario. Gamers love the concept of a singular bad ass that’s capable of bringing down swarms of enemies, and Duke Togo completely fills that archetype. In Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode, Duke can avoid receiving damage from enemies by jumpkicking their bullets. Yes, you read that right, JUMPKICKING BULLETS. Granted, a modern spin on Golgo 13 would probably see a form of bullet time used instead, because, you know, that’s far more realistic. Load Duke up with big guns and it’ll be on.
Video Gamers Love Cut Scenes
Tecmo and Ninja Gaiden receive the lion’s share of gamer praise for adding cinematic cut scenes to console video games, but Vic Tokai also used the them to propel the story along in Golgo 13: Top Secret and Golgo 13: The Mafat Conspiracy. If the Metal Gear Solid 4 can get away with being a CG movie interspersed with action sequences, Duke can survive in today’s gaming environment provided that the gameplay and storytelling are up to snuff.
Video Gamers Love Downloadable Titles
Although the chances of a U.S. company picking up the Golgo 13 license is probably very, very, very remote, the game, should it be made, would probably be released as a downloadable to save on production costs. Mega Man 10, Shank 2, and Limbo have proven that downloadable titles can be as rich, playable, and fun as boxed retail releases–and cheaper!
So, as you can see, the gaming landscape is fertile for Duke Togo’s return, and I don’t mean in a quiz game such as the one released a few years back by Marvelous Entertainment. Someone, anyone, bring badassedness back. Please.