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Shenmue on the SEGA Dreamcast

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Shenmue on the SEGA Dreamcast

Postby Jerrid » Fri 10.01.2010 4:04 am


Well since this part of the forum is about video games and this is a Japanese language forum, I figured I would tell you all of one of my favorite games of all time, Shenmue. The game came out on the Dreamcast and was one of the biggest reasons I bought the Dreamcast. Shenmue is about a young man in Japan, back in the 80's, trying to track down the killer of his father. It will take him from his humble town to the big city with in Yokosuka and even to China it self. The game was reportedly $70 million to make, including all the advertising etc. That was one of the most or the most expensive game in it's day. It received mixed reviews with most complaints coming from the main character, Ryo, always asking the same questions almost every time in parts of the game. But I would think, looking for the killer of your father, you would be asking the same questions too.

Regardless of that, every thing is spoken in real time. There is nothing to read unless you want to read it by putting captions on. That means you are getting the complete movie experience. Even today a lot of games use text instead of full voice acting or go half and half. Also the voice work, at least for the main characters and some side characters, is rather good. Obviously, the talent work for the many people on the street are just so so and some times redone by the other voice actors, but you are talking to literally hundreds of people in the cities so it is understandable.

You can talk to any one you see and stores and shops open and close at their own hours. Want to go out early to explore and you will find a lot of shops do not open until late morning or early afternoon. Want to go to a seedy joint, you will have to wait till well after dark for some of the more colorful places, like bars and casinos, to open.

The seasons change and the weather also changes to reflect that. It may be snowing during the winter or raining in the spring and people will use umbrellas.
In addition, records of actual weather conditions of the Yokosuka area during 1986/1987 (the time period in which the game is set) were implemented into the game, giving players the option to experience these weather conditions in addition to those which are randomly generated.(wiki)

The fighting system is great with moves and combos you can learn through out the game and improve upon those and the ones you already know. Usually, you will fight a few guys at the same time, using punches, kicks and even throws. You also have to face off to the occasional boss as well, which is usually one on one, but they are stronger and harder to beat.

They also have QTEs (Quick Time Events) that could be you avoiding an accident that may just randomly occur or chasing after some one and you have to dodge other people and traps set along the way or even in fight encounters. Think of God of War with the button presses. However, that is my biggest complaint about the game, the QTE's. The game is so beautiful to watch, even to today's standards, that I have to miss it to look down at the controller to press the corresponding button or I am trying to concentrate and miss the beautiful details of the game.

Another neat thing about the game is the interactivity of it all. You can buy soda's from vending machines and watch him drink it, buy toy capsules such as from the Sonic the Hedgehog and Virtua Fighter franchises and collect them (And at least while SEGA had the server up for the Passport, you could even trade them with others as I recall.) You can even go to the local arcade and play old SEGA hits like Super Hang On and Space Harrier, among others. Later you can buy or win the game cartridges and play them at home. You could virtually wake up in the morning, follow a person to work, either by walking all the way or even following them onto the bus later in the game, watch him work through out the day, maybe even take a lunch break and then follow him home. Now I am not saying you would want to do this, but you can as I recall.

You can also virtually explore every thing you can get your hands on. You can find useful items so you do not have to buy them later or even important quest items. Open drawers and closets to find photos of family and friends, a flash light, batteries, cassette player and tapes and you can also buy different ones from the shops around town.

The music was great with different themes through out the game and going into different shops would also have their own music playing. Some catchy tunes where I have just stood there and looked around to see what was to buy and listening to the music.

The game in a nut shell is a living, breathing Japanese city. It is not like a RPG where you run around looking at it from the top down or even at an angle where people stand behind a counter or just stand on a corner. People actually go about their business talking, walking, selling, cleaning their store fronts, cooking food, fixing their motorcycle, etc. The game is gorgeous, even to some of today's standards. What you see in that video from Youtube I posted at the top is the game's graphics. The cut scenes simply use the games graphics so it all blends together. Every thing you see, feel, touch and hear... it all seems so real. I even use to order Chinese food in real life and get it delivered and then while playing the game, go into a Japanese or Chinese Restaurant and eat my dinner while playing the game listening to the music or watching other people come and eat and then go while the owners cook and prepare the food.

This game could even be a help to others who want to learn to read Japanese, since every thing is in Japanese and if it is important and you zoom in on it it will tell you in English what it is. People's houses, store signs, bill boards, time schedules etc. I did a search before I posted this and read some one did not know what it all said, like useless symbols to him. But once he was learning to read Japanese, he could just run around and glance at it and know what most of it was with out having to zoom and cheat. I think that is great! I hope to get that good at reading Japanese. I was hoping to have the Japanese original spoken dialog, so that when I can speak and understand it, I could continue to improve. But I do not think I have that option unless it is hidden in the US version.

Anyway, if you have a Dreamcast and you enjoy Japanese culture and the language or martial arts or even just the 80's or a unique gaming experience you owe it to you self to get the game. If you do not even own a Dreamcast I suggest you go out to a used video game dealer and buy one and the game... if you liked most, if not all, of what I said you will love the game. Truly an epic experience.

PS. If you grew up in Japan around the 80's or even the Yokosuka area, could you please let me know how accurate the game was with how the places looked and how it all felt. I am really interested in it.
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Re: Shenmue on the SEGA Dreamcast

Postby Snowflake » Fri 10.01.2010 4:41 pm

I've often regretted that we didn't purchase Shenmue. We had a Dreamcast and rented Shenmue but didn't get very far before it was due back (this was back in the Blockbuster rental days). Now, the DC is in storage in another state and I doubt we'll get it back for at least another 2 years (long story).

It looked great back then and still doesn't look *too* bad based on the YouTube you linked. Do you think Heavy Rain is the spiritual successor to Shenmue? There certainly are some similarities.

In any event, it sounds like you'd like to see Shenmue (and Shenmue 2) re-released. I know there are a lot of others who would, too. According to Wiki:
...In January 2010, a Famitsu 360 interview with Sega took place, and the possibility of Shenmue 3 was discussed. Sega said that though sales are a big factor, they'd "love to do it" if the opportunity presented itself...
. So, keep your fingers crossed :pray: . You never know, right?
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Re: Shenmue on the SEGA Dreamcast

Postby Jerrid » Sat 10.02.2010 1:13 am

I do not need any rereleases because I have the original Shenmue on the Dreamcast and I can get Shenmue 2 on the original XBOX if I wanted to again. (Another reason why I bought an XBOX before I bought the PS2.) If they allowed for the Passport to be online again, the hidden areas that were found, but you have to hack to get to them and maybe even being able to play it with the Japanese original voice acting, then I would say yes. Or maybe just for every one else who did not have a Dreamcast or did not get part two on the XBOX, it would be good to rally support for part 3. The problem is there has always been talk, but they had lost a lot of money on both Shenmues. $70 million dollars, especially back then, was nothing to laugh at for part one. Per the wiki, every single Dreamcast owner would have had to of bought the Shenmue game twice, just to turn a profit. To be honest, back then when I was in the military and could afford to do such a thing, I could have afforded to buy more copies had I wanted to and to be honest I should have. But alas, others would have had to do the same thing and that is not just plausible. Sure, all the Shenmue fans could have bought it more than once, but not all Dreamcast owners.

The graphics for the Shenmue video on my original post is what it really does look like, although due to the quality of the video, it might look even better on the Dreamcast. Regardless, I am not too sure about Heavy Rain... I think Heavy Rain is the successor of a game on the PS2 and XBOX called Indigo Prophecy, that had a unique way of controlling events with the thumb sticks and the character was a guy who had been possessed and murdered some one and the detectives trying to find him, both of which are controlled by you.

Regardless, they were working on a MMORPG and that was suppose to be part 3 of Shenmue in essence or at least a bridge linking them together. But I believe they stopped that as well, but they still talk about doing it... it looked like Matrix Online.

The videos for Shenmue Online are below. Every thing that looks as good as the Dreamcast is actually just the CGI cut scenes for Shenmue Online. The game for Shenmue Online it self looks much less impressive as does the game play sadly. But then again I am not sure how far they got into the game it self though, so they could have made it better, at least in graphics, but I doubt it. And the game went from being realistic martial arts to Dragon Ball Z... so it turned off a lot of true Shenmue fans, including my self.



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Re: Shenmue on the SEGA Dreamcast

Postby TheZachReed » Wed 04.27.2011 4:24 pm

I loved Shenmue's soundtrack. There was this one really odd, sleazy tune they played in a bar. It was really bizarre and gets stuck in my head all the time.
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Re: Shenmue on the SEGA Dreamcast

Postby jetgrind79 » Fri 05.18.2012 11:46 pm

I still have my copy of Shenmue on DC too. Such a fantastic game
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