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Developer(s) Sega AM2
Publisher(s) Sega
Release date(s) November 8, 2000
Genre Action, RPG, FREE
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: Teen (T)
Platform(s) Sega Dreamcast

Shenmue (莎木 or シェンムー) (2000) is a story-based action/RPG for the Sega Dreamcast, directed and written by Yu Suzuki of Sega AM2. Suzuki coined a new genre title, FREE (Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment), for the game, based on its unparalleled interactivity and freedom, as well as the innovative real-time and weather systems.

The story centers around a young man named Ryo Hazuki (芭月涼 Hazuki Ryō), who returns home one day to find a man called Lan Di questioning his father, Iwao Hazuki, about a mirror. Iwao refuses until Lan Di threatens Ryo's life. After finding out where the mirror is, he asks if Iwao remembers a man named Zhao Sun Ming, and then accuses Iwao of killing him. Lan Di and Iwao then begin to fight with Lan Di eventually gets the upper hand, killing Iwao Hazuki. Afterwards, Ryo embarks on an epic quest for revenge and to discover why his father was killed. Shenmue is based in and around Yokosuka, Japan, in 1986, while its sequel (Shenmue II, 2001) is based in 1987 in Hong Kong, Kowloon Walled City, and Guilin, China.

Gameplay is diverse; while most of the game is spent walking around the atmospheric, lifelike locations in a third-person 'chase cam' mode (talking to people, searching for things, solving puzzles, and so forth), it is interspersed with dozens of 'mini-games', including forklift and motorcycle races, bar fights, chases down crowded alleys, full versions of Sega arcade games Space Harrier and Hang-On, dart games and 'free fighting' sequences.

The free fights pits Ryo against one or more enemies in a cross between Virtua Fighter and Final Fight; Ryo has a large list of martial art techniques, almost worthy of a full one-on-one fighter, but he fights many enemies at once instead of just one. The culmination of the game involves a gigantic brawl between Ryo, a friend, and exactly seventy enemies.

Fights can also take place in QTE (Quick Time Event) sequences, in which a button can flash on screen briefly and the player must press the relevant button to trigger Ryo's moves. The player's success or failure in these scenes can affect the flow of gameplay as well as the current cutscene, and they were reminiscent of Laserdisc games such as Dragon's Lair. This style of interactive movie was also used more recently by Capcom in Resident Evil 4.

Shenmue was called Virtua Fighter RPG while in early (pre-Dreamcast) development, and this is reflected not only in the VF-like fights and RPG elements, but in the variety of toys and posters relating to that game which Ryo finds. Upon completion of Shenmue II, a clip of Shenmue for the Sega Saturn is unlocked, allowing fans to see how the game would have looked had it been released on that system, with elements of Shenmue II even present at that stage (e.g. Ren).

It is notable for entering the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive video game ever developed ($40-60 million).

It was voted the "Best. Game. Ever." by GameFAQs in March 2000.

In 2003, music from Shenmue (composed by Streets of Rage composer Yuzo Koshiro) was performed live at the first Symphonic Game Music Concert, taking place in Leipzig, Germany.

External links

fr:Shenmue ja:シェンムー


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