It’s weird that the release of Koei Tecmo’s Berserk and the Band of the Hawk had to go through a number of different modifications for the regional releases in Japan and North America. If you have no idea what Berserk is about, there are spoilers ahead, so you’ve been warned.
It was mentioned previously that the Japanese version was going to have its gore censored in order to achieve a decent Cero rating. Over in Japan they’re a lot harsher on violence depicted in games, so Koei Tecmo had the dismemberment and gore censored in the Japanese release of the game. In the West, certain other changes were made, such as turning Casca’s body into a silhouette on the cover of Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, and censoring the tentacles that are holding her up. You can see the comparisons in the video below from Censored Gaming.
The censorship doesn’t end there, though.
The most devastating moment in Berserk was when Casca was ravaged by the demon monsters during the eclipse, which preceded Femto raping her in front of Guts to complete his transformation into a demon prince.
In the actual Berserk and the Band of the Hawk game, the entire rape sequence is changed where Casca is simply stripped naked and held up by tentacles, giving the impression Femto is taunting Guts more-so than raping Casca. You can see how the scene was altered drastically in the Western release of the game, thanks to FightinCowboy. The actual sequence in question starts at the 22 minute mark.
Instead of Guts confronting Femto as he rapes Casca, they simply show Casca being suspended while Guts attempts to fight his way close to her, but is then subdued by one of the demon monsters.
The scene plays out more-so for insinuation than inference. They only show Casca imagining Femto as his old Griffith form, and then they embrace in a kiss while Guts goes crazy. In reality, Femto was actually raping Casca while she was restrained by the demon tentacles; Guts had his arm chomped on by the demon meanwhile.
The game also censors lot of the gore during the Eclipse sequence, including censoring most of the gruesome ways in which the Band of the Hawk die. In particular, though, the rape sequence being censored was accompanied by censorship of one of the most gruesome scenes in the entire Berserk series: Guts cutting and ripping off his own arm.
In the game, they use freeze framing and slow-mo to obscure Guts’ own self mutilation. You can see how the actual scene plays out in the video below, courtesy of Cenyce the Black Swordsman, although I should warn you that it’s not safe for work and not for the squeamish.
The real difference between the original scene and Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is that you can see all the bone, sinew, muscle tissue and arteries being ripped apart as Guts severs his arm from the monster’s jaws. In the game, they cut all of that out, only hinting at what Guts is doing with the broken sword in order to get to Casca.
Guts still fails to rescue Casca and is promptly subdued by even more demons. In the original film the demons dig their claws into Guts’ body, and while he attempts to lift his head, the talon of a demon begins to penetrate his right eye. In the film this is shown in great detail, showcasing how he loses his eye and becomes a bloody mess (even more-so than before). The entire end sequence of the Eclipse, which is also not safe for work, not suitable for minors and not for the squeamish, is available for viewing from Youtuber Francesco Gianinalli.
It’s odd because they still kept the attempted horse rape sequence in the game even though they completely altered various other scenes that happened during the Eclipse nightmare sequence. What’s more is that the horse scene still retains lots of gore and mutilation, despite the fact that they censored all of that during the Eclipse scene.
The horse scene is still NSFW but Ichi on PC shows it in full.
It was pretty obvious Koei Tecmo was going to censor some of the more disturbing elements of Berserk given that the source material really pushed the boundaries. They were likely afraid of the all-dreaded AO rating and decided to play it safe by removing the sex. However, it’s also interesting that they also decided to remove more of the gore form the game as well, despite the fact that the Western version still features dismemberment and gore in the actual game.
But then again Koei Tecmo also got scared about releasing Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in the West due to fear of Western feminists and SJWs.