Release: Apr 12, 2016 - Author: -Der-Tribun - Translator: -Der-Tribun
Great Naval Battles is a game released in 1992 from SSI on DOS. Point of the game is to win the battle on the Atlantic Ocean during World War II on with the German or British side, using smart tactics and quick decisions during surface battles. The German side wants to cut off England's supply lines, while the British side wants to destroy Germany's navy. After this first part the series was continued, partially with battles in the Pacific Ocean.
Of course it was clear to publisher Softgold when trying to publish the game as Burning Steel in Germany during the erly 90's, that very itchy censors were legion during that time. A game taking place during World War II was screaming for censorship or getting forbidden it return. Due to how abstract the simulation is, the censorship in the end only meant Nazi-censoring, even though one of the decisions made took away quite some atmosphere.
Compared are here the English Version and the German version.
Right at the start the most ugly censorship: The whole intro is missing in the German version, removing quite some atmosphere. Clearly it was completely removed due to the text, numerous swastikas and appearances of Hitler himself. They obviously didn't want to make the effort to repaint the entire thing an censor all the text.
The intro first describes (with Hitler in the background) how after he took power, he built up army, airforce and navy. Next a map of Europe with a huge swastika is seen and it's described how the Nazis took control of half Europe. However, England is still resisting and due to being situated on an island, its navy portects it.
Next we see a battleship in a bay while the text describes the naval arms race, incliding battleship Bismarck. Cut to a battle at sea. According to the intro, Germany now can challenge the British at sea.
The last screen is most interesting, since it quickly tells the player what goal each side has, before the title is shown. In the German version the title is shown right after the developer logo, which look kind of odd.
More Swastika Censorship
There are two more places in the game where swastikas got removed:
When chosing a side, the poster of the Kriegsmarine was (quite badly) touched up.
On the German map screen the swastikas on the flags outside the window are missing. At least in the tested version, the flags are just plain red.
Rewarded by Hitler
If the German campaign is finished successfully, then the player is rewarded by Hitler himself with a certificate. Nazi-teminology and a swastika are on the certificate. Of course its clear that this doesn't happen in the German version; sadly due to difficulty of the game and no fitting saved game for testing, a closer comparison is currently not possible.