Review by Larcen Tyler

Reviewed: 11/10/00 | Updated: 07/16/01

My longest review ever, and with good reason!

OK, so even I was a little skeptical about Shenmue (which is typical of me, but still.) Still, the features, such as real-time, mini-games, and a gripping storyline had a sparkle. After picking this up and logging not even half an hour into it, all I can say is that not only am I speechless, but I don't even know where I should begin!

Graphics: 10/10
Now this pushes the Dreamcast to the max. Full rendering with no breakup whatsoever! Amazing animation that is completely realistic and lifelike! They even went as far as to make sure that the lips were in complete synch with the newly recorded English dialogue! Couple that with detailed environments and some classic games that even I was delighted to see, and you've got what could definitely be the biggest phenomenon of 2000!

On the subject of classic games, you've probably heard that there are various mini-games to play. A couple of them include classic games Hang-On and Space Harrier. The graphics are perfect replicas, just as if you were playing them in the arcades!

Sounds: 10/10
The music is just breathtaking. It suits every situation perfectly. You'll be glad to know there's also a soundtrack bundled somewhere on one of the discs, and with good reason: Every song is incredible! You can even play certain songs on jukeboxes, or buy cassette tapes with songs from the game!

As for the classic games, the sounds are replicated perfectly, and with good reason! I've always yearned for a home version of Hang-On complete with the original music in it's original form! To make things even better, you can also buy cassette tapes with the main themes from those and other classic Sega games!

Controls: 10/10
When you're playing as Ryo, you have, basically, the ability to go anywhere, see anything, and interact with just about anything. You can look at something with your analog stick, or get a closer view with look mode. Regardless of how you look at something, it's extremely well detailed and looks realistic enough to actually be real (OK not that realistic, but you get the point!)

Hang-On gave me a little trouble at first. Unlike the arcade version, where you could just lightly tap the control to steer slightly, you must push fully on the stick to begin turning. This can lead to oversteering, but with a little practice, you'll be as good as you were back in 1986! Space Harrier's only gripe is the fact that the controls are normal instead of reverse (i.e. Up is up and down is down.) Otherwise, it's classic gaming nirvana!

Story: 10/10
It's 1986 in Japan, and a young man named Ryo watched his father die by the hands of a very mysterious man. Now he must set out to find the truth about what happened. Along the way, he meets new friend, gets a job, learns strange and interesting things about the past, and countless other things.

Replay: 10/10
There's no time limit, so you can take your time and explore the cities freely. You can do things like stop in a convenience store and buy a soda in hopes of getting a can that wins a prize! Try stopping at the arcade and seeing if you can beat the record in Space Harrier to earn a prize! So many things to do, so little time! Be prepared to invest a lot of time into this one! To top that off, there are so many people to find in this game, it's almost like a real life simulation!

Overall: 10/10
Words don't begin to describe this game! Shenmue is definitely reason enough to buy a Dreamcast if you don't have one! If you have one, then why don't you have it? Go out and buy it already! See what the phenomenon of 2000 is about! And thank Mr. Suzuki for it!

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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