For different reasons, the European versions of these games had less information than the American versions.
When it comes to computer games, Europe always gets the worst ones. Because both North America and Japan used NTSC TV technology, games from Japan would come to North America as soon as they were translated. Europe used PAL and SECAM and had more languages to translate into, so they would have to wait much longer for their approved releases. Mega Man 6, Parasite Eve, and almost every other SNES RPG never made it over the pond when they were at their best.
Even then, the slightly better resolution and picture quality of PAL and SECAM didn’t make much of a difference because they slowed the game down by almost 17%. Most Brits, Germans, Swedes, and other Europeans didn’t get to play games at full 30 or 60FPS until the Dreamcast/PS2 era. But that wasn’t the only issue with releases on the other side of the pond. These are just a few games whose European versions left out parts.
Some European countries didn’t like how violent Konami’s famous side-scrolling shooter was. So, to make them happy, Konami changed Bill and Lance into robots, swapped the human enemies with aliens, and gave the game a new name: Probotector. This would last until Contra: Legacy of War, when the name and people would finally make it to Europe.
Even then, the series didn’t do very well. Contra 4 for the DS never made it to the mainland except through imports. But this “Probotecting” only worked for the NES, SNES, and Genesis versions. Bill, Lance, and the rest stayed in the Spectrum, Commodore 64, and Amstrad CPC versions, which used the old Gryzor name from the arcade game. Maybe it wasn’t so much that it was deadly as that it was called “Iran-Contra” after the Iran-Contra Scandal.
The shinobi killer game from Tecmo never did very well in Europe. Because Germany didn’t like violent games and the UK was afraid of the word “ninja” at the time, both the famous NES game and the less exciting arcade game were changed to Shadow Warriors and made less intense. Still, getting out is better than not getting out at all.
The third NES game was never released in Europe, but it was ported to the Atari Lynx and kept the “Ninja Gaiden” name. Even if Xbox came back in the 2000s, nothing would be better. The word “ninja” was no longer against the rules, but being beheaded was. European wouldn’t be able to cut off heads until the game came out again in the future.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors!
The popular top-down run-and-gun game from LucasArts wasn’t as short as some of its competitors. Every level and character was the same for European. But it had some strange cuts. All of the enemies that looked like Jason Voorhees got axes instead of chainsaws. This changed the names of most of the levels (“I Was a Chainsaw Maniac” became “I Was a Maniac Lumberjack”).
The Genesis version kept the bloody Game Over screen, but the SNES port changed the purple American version to a bright green one that hurts your eyes. The “Ate My Neighbors” part of the title was also taken out in Europe. So, kids in Europe in the 1990s had to play Zombies! and fight lumberjacks in masks to keep from getting covered in Nickelodeon Gak. Still sounds like the 1990s.
The well-known racer from Stainless Games, in which players could or had to run over pedestrians to win, was sure to cause trouble. It came out in 1997, the same year as the first Grand Theft Auto, which gave players the same violent thrills. Still, there was something worse about running over people in 3D than in 2D.
The UK completely stopped its release for 10 months until the developers changed the people who bled red into zombies who spit green. Germany went even further by getting rid of the zombies and replacing them with robots that leaked black oil. Even in this state, Carmageddon had so many 18+ grades that it looked more mature than it really was.
Grand Theft Auto 3
By the time Grand Theft Auto 3 came out, the UK had changed enough that Claude could drive up on the sidewalk and run over rival gang members. Germany also backed off a bit, but they still said that the game had to be less violent before their people could play it.
In the German version, players couldn’t kick or shoot helpless enemies. They also couldn’t blow off limbs or blast heads. They didn’t bleed when hit and didn’t drop money when killed. If you think that would make the Rampage Missions boring, the game got around that by taking them out of the game entirely.
Hyper Street Fighter 2: The Anniversary Collection
People love Street Fighter 3: Third Strike now, but in the early 2000s. It wasn’t as popular as a re-release of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo that had been changed. Hyper SF2 was made to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the series. It let players choose which versions of the characters they wanted to face off against each other. Like the original World Warrior Ryu against Super Turbo Chun Li, who could do super combos.
Both the PS2 and Xbox ports in Japan and North America came with Third Strike as a bonus extra. Third Strike is a more current game with smoother animation. But it only got to people in Europe who owned an Xbox.People with a PS2 had to settle for a version of Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie that had been cut down. As a consolation gift, it wasn’t much of a consolation.
No More Heroes
Grasshopper Interactive’s silly “slash ’em up” and “odd job simulator” could be seen as a case where the US got more content than Europe did. Travis Touchdown’s attacks would cut off so many limbs that the blood flow would be like the Bellagio Water Show in Las Vegas. In some places, it could even slow things down. This is because it is not sold in other places.
Both the Japanese and European versions of the game had less blood, blacked out any stumps. And made dead enemies look like black dots, like in a video game. Some might say that the censored version is more true, since Suda 51 liked the way it looked. Though it can be hard to make the case that less visual energy is a good thing.
Professor Layton And The Last Specter
The Professor Layton games might be the Japanese games that feel the most European. Many of the places and people in the series are from Britain. Even though there are some anime touches. The art style is like that of French-Belgian comics like Tintin or Sylvain Chomet flicks. That doesn’t even talk about the music, which is full of violins and accordions and sounds more French than most French. So, how did Professor Layton’s London Life never make it to Europe?
This RPG side game was in every other foreign version of Professor Layton and the Last Specter. But it was taken out completely for Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call in Europe. Nintendo says it’s because they didn’t want to delay the game’s release by translating even more hours of text into French, German, Italian, etc., on top of the rest of the game. So, the only Londoners who could watch the Professor’s London Life were the ones in Ontario.
South Park: The Stick Of Truth
We’re in South Park. The show does best when it’s being looked at closely. Even when Trey Parker and Matt Stone are told to change something, they find a way to be more vulgar (like in the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut) or get their jokes across anyway (The Fractured Butthole became The Fractured But Whole). But Ubisoft was the one who chose to ban South Park: The Stick of Truth in Europe.
The full version of the US game did pass PEGI with an 18 grade. But Funny Shooter 2 game was resubmitted with a facepalming figure over the EU flag instead of the more questionable content. It was still rated 18+. If that was a joke, the cuts to Germany weren’t, because the Nazi Zombies broke their laws. The Nazi salutes and swastikas had to be covered up, and the Hitler lines had to be turned down.
The Last Of Us
The heavy survival game from Naughty Dog keeps coming back. After impressing PS3 owners, it would get the highly acclaimed DLC Left Behind, a PS4 port, a sequel, a remaster. And an HBO show that has won over viewers with its touching stories. That, and making Pedro Pascal the “Internet Daddy”. But there was something about the first game that kept it from ever being played in Europe.
Violence was toned down in the online mode by taking away the ability to blow people’s heads off or cut off their limbs. This could still happen in the main story mode. The only thing that was a step too far was doing it online. People think that the cuts were made to make Germany happy, since other European countries didn’t mind. No matter what, the only game that doesn’t have it is the PS5 version. Which has no social mode at all.