Christmas 2000 was a surprisingly cold Christmas in Belfast and I still remember it being a weird time. I was in my early teens, we were starting to notice girls, get cell phones and find out that none of that matters when you have Shenmue. It was like no other game. There was no magic, no lasers and in its place there was Sega, collectable toys and fork lift driving, what more could you want?
The story of Shenmue begins on November 29, 1986 from the perspective of the protagonist Ryo Hazuki. One day he returns home to his family dojo, because that’s what every family needs, to witness his father battling with a ominous yet stylishly dressed man known as Lan Di. He demands that your father hand over an item known as the “Dragon Mirror”, though Iwao refuses to reveal where it is. Ryo tried to help in battle after his father is beaten, but is injured by a blow from Lan Di. He then lifts Ryo from the ground and threatens to kill him with a final blow, which prompts Iwao to reveal its location underneath the cherry blossom tree. After Lan Di’s henchmen recover the mirror, he mentions a man called Zhao Sunming, who was allegedly killed by Iwao in Mengcun. The two warriors then engage in combat for the last time, as Lan Di allows Iwao to die “like a warrior”. Lan Di finishes the fight with a deadly blow, and he and his party then leave.
Iwao dies shortly after in Ryo’s arms, this leaves Ryo with an all-consuming hatred and anger. After a few days of mourning and resting from his injuries, Ryo does the completely logical thing and decides to hunt down Lan Di and kill him. You know like any other self-respecting teenager, because calling the police would be too main stream. Along the way you will have to deal with drunks, a female friend whose feelings you’re oblivious to, fight a gang, get a job as a fork lift driver, save a cat, fight your father’s student in daily spring matches, get jumped by a scary homeless dude and take part in a pretty epic bike race.
So why am I telling you all this because 15 years later, we are finally getting a part 3 to this series. We will finally get the closure we should have gotten all those years ago on my Dreamcast.
On a side note the Dreamcast was the most underrated console of all time.
The second game is bigger in scope and takes you from Hong Kong to Northern China in Guilin, so God only knows where you will end up on the third instalment, which brings me to my point. Its taken 15 years and some of the quickest crowd funding ever but we now have a possible sequel to the 2001 Shenmue 2. The games were beautiful for their time but they have aged pretty well and they have a pretty strong hard core fan base.
Their Kickstarter page describes what Shenmue is best- Where we left off… Ryo Hazuki has made his way to China in search of his father’s killer. There he meets a new travelling companion, Shenhua, and learns of a legend from her village that has foretold their path together. The story continues as Ryo and Shenhua start off on a new journey that will take them farther into enemy territory, deeper into mystery, and ever closer to their destiny. Will the mystery of the mirrors be revealed? How is Ryo’s father connected to all of this? Will Ryo track down the Chi You Men cartel and face Lan Di in a final showdown?
This game is being made for the fans and that’s what makes it truly beautiful and special so check out its kickstarter page here.