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There is but one game
that will make any and every hardcore Sega Dreamcast fan
break out in a cold sweat
and it's name is Shenmue.
It was billed as the most interactive and immersive game of its time.
Beginning life as a Sega Saturn game starring Virtua Fighter characters
Shenmue blossomed in to a massive, 16-chapter epic
created and produced by Yu Suzuki
a man best known for some of Sega's most memorable arcade hits
such as Outrun, Afterburner and Virtua Cop.
Shenmue was Suzuki's magnum opus
and Sega put all of its weight behind the game.
Until it was beaten by Grand Theft Auto 4 in 2008
Shenmue was the single most expensive game the industry had ever produced
costing over 70 million dollars to create.
Today, ten years after the launch of the Sega Dreamcast
and around nine years since the first game was released
it's clear that Shenmue did not set the world on fire.
But ask any ardent Sega fan and they will tell you:
Shenmue was amazing.
But was it amazing enough to justify its 70 million dollar price tag?
Ryo: "No!"
Shenmue follows the story of Ryo Hazuki in 1980's Japan.
As Ryo arrives home one day
he bares witness to his father, Iwao Hazuki
doing battle with a man named Lan Di.
Lan Di is seeking an ancient artifact called the "Dragon Mirror".
After Ryo's father reveals its hidden location in order to spare his son's life
Lan Di murders Iwao in front of Ryo's very eyes.
This sparks Ryo to hunt down Lan Di and exact his revenge
while simultaneously learning the secret
of why the "Dragon Mirror" was so important to him
The first Shenmue game is considered only "Chapter One" of
Ryo's planned sixteen-chapter quest, and involves
raising enough money to leave Japan and travel to Hong Kong
the last known place that Lan Di was seen.
Shenmue 2 picks up as Ryo docks in Aberdeen
following him through chapters Three, Four and Five
of the Shenmue storyline.
Over the course of the series we learn that
Lan Di is one of several high-ranking members of
the Chi You Men, a powerful chinese crime syndicate.
The Dragon Mirror - and its counterpart, the Phoenix Mirror
are to bring about the resurrection of the Qing Dynasty
an ancient Chinese rule known for their
tyrannical and barbaric practices.
Though the story begins grounded in reality
towards the end of Shenmue 2, the game begins to hint at concepts like
destiny, and the mystical arts, suggesting
Lan Di sought the mirrors for the otherworldly powers they posses.
Unfortunately, because no games were
ever produced after Shenmue 2
not much else is known beyond this point.
Though Sega and Yu Suzuki
coined a new genre for the game called
Full
Full Reactive
Full Reactive Eyes
Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment
Shenmue is primarily a 3D Adventure game
with an overbearing emphasis on immersion.
As Ryo, your primary goal is playing detective
as you gather clues about your father's murder
and Lan Di's whereabouts.
This means talking with people on the street
asking them questions about the day of the murder
and following up any leads.
The world in Shenmue is governed by a clock, just like real life
and as you roam around cities, day will eventually turn to night.
If it gets too late, Ryo will be forced to go home and get some rest.
The clock plays in to more than just a graphical effect, though
if you make an appointment to meet somebody at a specific time
and you get there early, you must wait for them to arrive.
This plays a fairly large role in the game
as certain locations are only available at certain times of the day
Ryo will typically wake up before most shops open in the morning
and seedy locations such as bars are only open late at night.
Should Ryo find himself in a bad situation
the game usually presents the player
with one of two ways to deal with it:
the now-famous
Quick
Quick-Time
Quick-Time Event
which involves watching a cutscene and pressing a button when prompted to
or a more traditional fighting game engine
reminiscent of games like Virtua Fighter.
Though it'll be hours before you see
any of this stuff in the first Shenmue
Shenmue 2 ups the ante considerably, throwing you
into multiple encounters within 20 minutes of stepping off the boat
and it's these moments that really help liven up the slower parts of the game.
Between appointments, Ryo can waste time (and money)
at the video arcade playing classics
like Outrun and Afterburner
practice his martial arts skills in empty parking lots
seek out side quests, or do part time jobs for extra money.
Even with all of these distractions, however, you'll occasionally find yourself
with spare time to kill and nothing to do.
All of this is done in the name of immersion
Shenmue is paced this way to give the game a sense of reality.
To intentionally make parts of your game boring
strictly for the sake of realism is a bold move
and depending on the type of person you are
this will make or break Shenmue for you.
Shenmue 2 makes strides to avoid these boring moments
by including a feature to "fast forward" to an appointed time
but there's simply no avoiding the tedium
of a part-time job involving moving crates.
But for those who really understand Shenmue and what
it is trying to do, the game provides
an unparalleled sense of immersion.
Just like real life, there are hundreds of people
that populate Shenmue's towns and cities
and each character looks and sounds unique
though most of them obviously have no reason to talk to you.
Woman: "I'm sorry, but"
"I don't have time to talk right now."
Likewise, the world is stocked with thousands of objects
for Ryo interact with
allowing you to look in places that most games explicitly ignore
even if they don't contain anything you can use.
Even today, there are few games that offer
anything close to this amount of detail.
All of Shenmue's game mechanics work towards
the singular ideal that you aren't just playing as Ryo Hazuki
you ARE Ryo Hazuki
seeing and experiencing every exciting
or mundane moment the world has to offer.
It's this unflinching dedication to immersion and realism
that was one of Shenmue's many undoings.
Though the game was only on the fifth of
sixteen planned chapters
Shenmue and its sequel did not sell anywhere near enough to justify
its ridiculous production costs
and Sega was already in enough financial trouble
with the Playstation 2 digging a grave for the Dreamcast.
In the end, Shenmue's intimate sense of immersion
became a double-edged sword
all of those who became so heavily invested
in living the life of Ryo Hazuki would never see
the story get proper closure.
Lan Di would go unpunished
and the fate of the two mirrors would be left a mystery.
Perhaps it was for the best
to many people, Shenmue was simply
paced too slowly
and by the time Shenmue 2 made an effort to
streamline the game mechanics
the damage had already been done.
But regardless of how many people
appreciated the goals Shenmue was trying to accomplish
it was these kinds of daring, weird games that had come to define
the Sega Dreamcast, and you'll have
a hard time finding any game that matches Shenmue in
tone, style, and pure ambition.
Ryo: "Ah, good."
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[電玩遊戲 Sega Dreamcast經典大作《莎木》系列遊戲回顧]TSSZ News-BLTN #3: Shenmue

2729 分類 收藏
阿多賓 發佈於 2013 年 6 月 17 日
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