Review by Seifersoul

"This games blends some of the best qualities found in other genres and properly delivers!"

Some four years in the making, Shenmue is the latest title from Yu Suzuki, and once again he revolutionizes the gaming world. This games blends some of the best qualities found in other genres and properly delivers!

Gameplay: 9/10
Become transported into a world where you can take a look at every drawer, every closet, everything within an unlocked room. The game is extremely detailed, and beautiful with hundreds of characters that you can all interact with. The bulk of the game is basically going around asking people for information.(This is free mode.) While it may seem boring, it isn't. These people don't hang around in the same place all the time. You have to follow their trails while not letting time go by. Everyday lasts for about a good 30 minutes (I think) with 1 or 2 minutes passing by every ten seconds. The hundreds of characters will go to different places, shops will open up and close. While you get up at 8:30 it is mandatory for you to go sleep at 11:30. The puzzles in this game isn't how to solve it, it's where do I go to meet the person or to get the neccesary item? It's very logical, they are common puzzles we solve everyday. Who has locked a door with crests, and then put one of the crests in a wall with a tiger with two diamonds in his eyes blocking the hiding the crest, and then locking it by taking one of the diamonds and putting it in a large statue which took a long time to make, and break, and unlock the tiger bust, take out the crest unlock the door, and then once again put the crest back in hole and placing the tiger bust to hide it, and then locking it by taking out it's eye, and placing the eye into another statue? If the scientists kept repeating that locking and unlocking process, they deserved to be zombified.
(Side note: This isn't the first game to incorporate a real time system. I don't think Zelda 64 did because you played an ocarnia to change time, but I do know Harvest Moon follows a 2 minute day. The best one though would have to be Squaresoft's Brave Fencer Musashiden. This game was truly real time. A 24 hour day lasted about 20 minutes. You could have gone to bed at anytime and wake up 8 hours later refreshed. Musashi gets tired if he doesn't get sleep for about maybe 5 or so days. As the fatigue meter goes up he ends up collapsing and taking a nap. You don't have to go to an inn to restore HP or bring your fatigue meter down, because you could take short naps on the floor with a certain command. When napping time goes by faster like an hour every ten seconds or so, and then you can turn off sleep mode anytime. There were seven days in the game, stores might have closed earlier or opened later on certain days (mainly the weekend). While weather changes were not present it did rain in a certain forest every morning on Sunday.)

Shenmue has two other game modes: Free Battle, and QTE.
Free Battle is just like fighting in a fighting game, and the QTE is when you watch a scene and they make you press a proper button within the time limit. The game also boasts lots of really cool minigames. The game is really fun.

Story: 10/10
Every character is deep and has a special story. This game is like watching a Japanese soap opera.
(Side note: The Japanese Soap Operas (which I prefer to call drama) lasts for 12 weeks with an hour episode every week. The acting isn't bad, and the stories aren't stupid, all very realistic no ''she had a twin sister'' crap...)
While Shenmue throws in a lot of mythical power stuff into it it still retains it realistic story of a teen in Japan looking for a Chinese mobsters who killed his father. I presume the second chapter contains more information on the female lead ''Ling/Rei Sha/Shen Hua'' who doesn't play an important role in this one. The real female lead would be Nozumi Hirashi the worried ''girl next door.''

Graphics: 10/10
This one is self explanatory. But there are flaws in here too. Some trees look crappy. There is a bit of slowdown in ''trafficy'' areas, character emerge and pop up from thin air right in front of you, some of the joints are a bit jagged, and Ryo runs funny. Nice weather effects, and realistic faces.

Localization: 9/10
While the localization seems a bit shaky, the game has gone through a good translation. While in FREE Mode asking questions and stuff Ryo tends to sound robotic when saying Hello, Bye Bye, etc. The other character do a good job also. The major cutscenes are where the voice acting is really good. They did something to get the synching right.
(Side note: Shenmue in Japan is pronounced as (Shen mweh) and in the English version it was pronounced as (Shen moo).
Another thing:
Most charaters in the Enligsh version call Ryo as (yo rhyming with so) which is the proper pronounciation.
Ling Sha Hua's Japanese name was Rei Shen Hua.
Lang Di/ Chong Long's Japanese name was Shoryu (Show yoo) This name change was the one that stuck out, and I wonder why did they change it. Shoryu sounded pretty Chinese. ''Ryu'' means something in Japanese but I forogt (I know ken is the hand attack or something that why ''Hado-KEN!''), could Shoryu's translation be Lang Di?)

Overall: Shenmue's only flaws are the certain graphic problems, the B+/A- class movie voice acting, and the fact that the game is short, and easy, and leaves you hanging. The game is a must own for any Dreamcast owner, and a
must-play for those who like all kinds of videogames. My overall: 9.5 (I couln't give it this so I rounded up in the frontline.)

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/12/00, Updated 11/12/00

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