After several years of rumor, a multi-million dollar development, and much anticipation, Shenmue finally saw its release for the Dreamcast in 2000. Though it didn't set a new record in sales, it did gain very respectable reviews and a cult following that still clamors for the series to continue to this day.
He shall appear from a far eastern land across the sea
A young man who has yet to know his potential.
This potential is a power that could either
destroy him or realize his will.
His courage shall determine his fate.
The path he must traverse, fraught with adversity.
I await whilst praying,
for this destiny predetermined since ancient times.
Awaiting in anticipation.
A dragon emerges from the earth
as ominous clouds fill the sky.
A phoenix descends from the heavens
trailing purple from its wings.
The pitch-black night unfolds
with the morning star as its only light
And thus, the saga begins.
The year is 1986. The place - Yokosuka, Japan. The normally tranquil day-to-day life of Ryo Hazuki is suddenly and irrecoverably shattered.
Ryo walks to his home and finds that the gate to the house is broken. Something is wrong. Just as Ryo is entering the dojo, Fuku-san comes flying through the doorway. Like any normal person who sees someone getting their ass kicked, Ryo charges in. He finds his father in a life-or-death battle with a man wearing dark green Chinese clothing. After seeing his father, Iwao, beat down, Ryo uses his superior logic and attacks the man, holding up about as well as Fuku-san.
Now with a hostage, this mysterious man asks Iwao, "Where is the mirror?"
With nothing else to do, Iwao reluctantly tells him that it's buried underneath the cherry tree.
"Do you remember Zhao Sun Ming... It's the name of the man you killed. Get up. I'll allow you to die like a warrior."
With these words, the man delivers Iwao's death blows. Ryo crawls over to his father to hear his final words, "Keep those you love close to you."
"Father... No!" Lightning and thunder strike through the night.
Vowing to seek revenge, Ryo embarks on a journey to unravel the mystery surrounding his father's death and deliver justice to the man responsible.
Shenmue was touted as creating a new genre in video games, FREE. Standing four Fully Reactive Eyes Entertainment, it amounted to less of a new genre, but a combination of many, combining primarily adventure gaming with RPG elements, fighting, QTEs, varying side quests, and old school Yu Suzuki games.
Much of the game will be spent adventuring, for lack of a better word. This is where you walk around and pretty much do whatever you feel like. You can talk to people to continue the story or go through every single drawer in the Hazuki house. Spend your money on toys, buy cokes, pet a kitten, stare at Ryo's watch, practice your martial arts.. There's a lot to do.
As previously mentioned, there are several ways to blow your money. Ryo gets a daily allowance to replenish his funds, so have fun. There are several toy capsule machines around featuring Sega characters as well as a few other things. Special toys can be won from the drawings at the Tomato Convenience Store. Chocolate, caramel, cassette tapes, matches, and a few other things can also be purchased at these stores.
Magic weather mixes up the weather in the game. Just like in real life, some days it rains, some days it pours, some days it snows, and some days the sun shines the whole time. A special option allows you to turn to the actual weather for those dates in 1986.
Time plays an important element in the Shenmue universe. Ryo has to bee home by 11:00 PM and sleep at night. Shops are open at certain hours and people's daily schedules determine when and where you'll see them.
There are many individual characters in the game, each with their own story, even the stray cats. They have different schedules, attitudes, and habits. Many already know Ryo, giving the game quite a "small-town" feeling.
The fighting in Shenmue is extremely similar to Virtua Fighter, with a more realistic approach. Four buttons, punch kick, throw, and dodge are combined with the directions to control Ryo and his moves. Additional moves can be learned from other characters and purchased from the antique store.
Quick timer events are reflex tests that pop up throughout the game, some important - others not. Partially to keep you on your toes and partially to prevent you from taking a piss during the movies (experience is a great teacher), commands pop up on the screen dictating a button to push. Push the correct button in time, and you'll be alright. Otherwise, you'll suffer the consequences or repeat the QTE. QTEs can control fighting events, chases, and more.
Yu Suzuki Games
Venturing into the arcade, and you'll run across a few classic games of Yu's. Hang On and Space Harrier are here in all of their original glory. If you're lucky, you can win them to play on Ryo's Saturn.
Having lost his mother at an early age, Ryo has devoted his entire young life to rigorous martial arts training under the guidance of a strict but loving father.
Despite a tendency to be reckless and bit too quick to fight, Ryo has a tremendous amount of potential and an iron strong volition.
Determined to uncover the mystery of his father's murder, he begins a journey that will eventually take him west to a land he has never seen... China.
As a close friend and classmate, Nozomi is well-acquainted with Ryo. A liberated and flexible thinker, she has a tendency to speak her mind clearly and an ability to get quickly to the core of any matter, except when that matter involves feelings of the heart. When she cares for someone, she finds it difficult to express herself, instead simply gazing at them with affection in her eyes.
Chang Long (Lan Di)
A master of a powerful from of martial art that was supposed to have disappeared long ago, Lan Di's chilling stare alone is enough to intimidate most opponents. But, those brave enough to ignore his tare usually forfeit without a fight once they see his deadly moves.
Evil to the core, he is incapable of showing mercy and will stop at nothing to bury anyone who dares to cross him.
Ling Sha Hua
Raised in a pure environment surrounded by nature, this young woman has never known what it is to distrust people. Filled with courage and a strong zest for life, behind her innocent and childlike demeanor is the heart and soul of China.
Innocent and pure, this mysterious young woman is very kind-hearted and gentle.
He is Ryo's father and the foremost expert of the Hazuki style of martial art.
In his youth he traveled to China to undergo martial arts training and during this time he met various people. Because of his devotion to martial arts, both Iwao and his school of martial arts is held in high regard and well respect in the community.
This charismatic friend of Ryo's owns the local hot dog truck.
Because he is friendly and interacts with people well, Tom can often provide helpful information.
Prior to settling in Yokosuka, Tom is said to have hitchhiked around the world. Always cheerful and optimistic, Tom can be found near his truck dancing to rap and reggae music.
A calm and sensitive man, Mark works at the harbor as a forklift operator.
Not very talkative and reluctant to discuss his past, he seems to have an ulterior motive for being in Yokosuka.
This strange man sneaks around following Ryo as he investigates the mystery surrounding his father's murder. Lurking in shadows, Chai spies Ryo with beastly eyes.
His physical presence is so frightening and creepy, one dares not imagine how he came to be.
That's right, the locations in Shenmue are all based on their real-world counterparts of Sakuragaoka, Dobuita and Yokosuka in the mid '80s. In these screenshots you can see the similarities and inspirations for the game.
There's a large amount of collectibles and memorabilia of the Shenmue universe.
Shenmue Orchestra Version
- Endless Earth
- The Lion's Banner
- The Morning Fog's Wave
- The Beggar
- A new Journey
- Shenfa (Vocal)
Shenmue Original Soundtrack
|Disc One||Disc Two|
*Arranged by Yuzo Koshiro
The are a few differences between the Japanese version and the American version of Shenmue:
- In the Japanese version, Tom is from New York and speaks a mixture of broken Japanese and English. In the North America release, Tom has a Jamaican accent - not quite the same thing.
- The Jet Cola machines were originally Coca-Cola machines. The other drinks in the machine were Diet Coke, Orange Fanta, Grape Fanta, and Sprite.
Shenmue originally started development as a Saturn game. Some information about the game leaked, and rumors spread that a Virtua Fighter RPG was in development ("That's something of an urban myth. When we were first planning the game, Akira (from Virtua Fighter) was scheduled to be the main character, and the working title was Akira's Quest. As development progressed, we felt it would be better to start with a brand-new character."). In 1998, Yu Suzuki announced that he was indeed working on the project, now for the Dreamcast, and that it was code-named "Project Berkeley." Why? Suzuki simply liked the name.
Looking for a few more places to get your Shenmue fix? Look no further.
Shenmue Network - A fan site with Shenmue .mp3s, movies, and rare Shenmue goods.
Shenmue Eye: And Thus The Saga Begins - A French site filled with information and interesting stuff on the Shenmue series, including the Project Berkley movie.
Shenmue Fan Site - This massive fan site is filled with Shenmue info and hard to find items. Walkthroughs, humor, and a message board round out the site.
Shenmue Dojo - One of the larger and more well-known sites out there. Find info, humor, wallpaper, screenshots, downloads and much more here.
The Real Shenmue - Pictures and info on the real-life areas of Shenmue - Dobuita & Yokosuka.
Shenmue - Yokosuka - Another all-around site with info on locations, items, a FAQ and screenshots.