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A Blast From The Past: Shenmue

May 6, 2010

Shenmue wherefore art thou? Back during the Dreamcast days, a true classic that will always be remembered is Shenmue. I remember my father getting me this game and I didn’t know what the hell it was about & I’ve never heard of it. So the story is about a guy named Lan Di searching for two mirrors and your father in the game seems to have one in possession. Lan Di finds out that your father is in possession of one of the mirrors and breaks into your home, beats down on your father and other family members and that’s where you come in. You try battling Lan Di but to no avail you fail. At this stage Lan Di threatens to kill you if your father doesn’t tell him where to find the mirror, the ‘Dragon Mirror’ if I remember correctly. So your father tells him and then Lan Di speaks a line that I will never forget. He tells him “get up, I will allow you to die like a warrior.” Then he evidently kills your father.

So the story from here is you trying to locate Lan Di and avenge your father’s death. You then gain access to free roam in a really lively world. Running around investigating to find out where to go and what to do next. “Have you seen a black car go past here?”, “Have you seen men in black suits?”.

Shenmue had a lot of gameplay going for it as it was one of the lengthiest action/adventure games I’ve ever played. With one of the first games to introduce Quick Time Events (QTE). If you’ve all played Resident Evil 4 or 5 you will know what I’m talking about. A cutscene would be played and you will have to press the correct buttons correctly & this was a really nice step in the right direction in gaming at the time. You can also try purchasing & finding some scrolls to be able to learn new moves and then test them out on your enemies. Drifting away from the main story, Shenmue & I share lots of memories. I still don’t forget going to the arcade and trying to get a highscore in darts, so I can get a collectible action figure or try riding the motorcycle in the arcade. Then maybe check my watch to see if it’s time to go advance in the story, but then again I find myself phoning Naomi (a girl thatbecomes part of the story later on during the game) or maybe hit the supermarket and try my luck with the lottery tickets or maybe I would go and practice my new abilities at the dojo or at the parking lot.

There was so much you can do in Shenmue’s world it’s difficult to know where to begin. Sometimes I would just go and feed the cat just for the sake of feeding it. Sometimes I would come home late on purpose so I can get told off the next day why am I coming late. I loved collecting my pocket money everyday when I woke up. I remember purchasing a cassette player to hear the music while walking around the streets. I remember riding the motorcycle to save Naomi. What about the warehouses? I bet everyone remembers when they got the job and they had a race everyday in the morning and you always tried becoming first but couldn’t but you would always say “I will try again tomorrow.” Then you will try putting as many crates in the warehouses before lunch time to add as much money as you can before the end of the day and then you visit the arcades and waste it there again.

I also doubt anyone forgot the epic 70 player battle! There is no doubt that Shenmue was way ahead of its time and till this day we remain lost to if we ever will get to avenge Ryu Hazuki’s fathers death, but we all still wait patiently for that day to return so we can all relive our Shenmue memories again for another day.

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