1001 Video Games

Shenmue II appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled version

The US version of Shenmue II for Dreamcast was cancelled at the last minute due to a deal with Microsoft which allowed them exclusive rights for the US distribution on the Xbox console only. The Europe version was still released but this made the English version a much harder game to come by.


A character from Shenmue II, a giant Chinese fighter, is called Dou Niu. Those two words mean "bull fight" in Chinese ("niu" being just a cow).


  • Ryo was originally to meet Shenhau in Tibet. In the final game, he meets her on the way to Bailu Village.
  • The game producer had Joy changed from a brunette into a blond. In the final game, she has red hair.
  • Joy originally had a tattoo of a rose on her chest.
  • Early on, Fangmei was modeled after a shrine maiden, but shrine maidens do not exist in Hong Kong. Her outfit was changed accordingly.
  • Ren of Heavens was originally going to be called Ryu or Fei. His name was changed so as to stand out from other companies' games, which commonly used these names.
  • An early layout picture shows Ren riding a horse. This seems unusual given that the game takes places in the mid 80s.
  • Lan Di (Cang Long) was originally named Hei Long, which means Black Dragon.
  • Lan Di originally had a "lion-like" hair style. This involved a large amount of polygons and therefore a large amount of processing power and made his hair difficult to control, so in the final game, he has his hair tied.
  • There is a character in Shenmue II who was originally designed to be Wong's mother. The story was changed so that Wong is an orphan in the final game, but the character designed to be his mother is still in the game.
  • A scene that never made it into the game was where Wong was captured by the Yellow Head Gang (Yuan/Ewan and co.)


Shenmue and Shenmue II both feature bad endings that appear if it takes you too long to beat the game. In Shenmue, you have to wait for 15th April, 1987 and in Shenmue II for June 31st to see the bad endings.


The word "Shenmue" (actually, the two Chinese words "shen mu") means "holy tree" (or "holy wood", to be exact). However, it is a quite specific tree that grows in China. You can also see this tree in Shenmue II.

Version differences

  • The character called 'Cool Z' (the guy with the ghetto blaster on his shoulder) is called 'Cool J' in the Japanese version. The J was changed to Z for the Europe release in order to avoid potential problems with rapper 'LL Cool J'.
  • The voice-overs of the European version of were not translated into English or any other European language. The subtitles and menu are in English, while the voices are original Japanese. All Chinese names are, naturally, also pronounced in a Japanese manner.
  • While the European version comes with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles, It does not recognize the save game from the American version of Shenmue, thus spoiling the experience for importers since much of the game’s subtleties comes from exported data over the first game.
  • In the original Japanese Sega Dreamcast version, one of the main characters, Yuan, is supposed to be a transvestite. In the Japanese version, he/she has a deep male voice but obviously looks feminine. Sega of America who did the translation (although they ended up not publishing the game) thought this was inappropriate and dubbed over the voice with a female one.
  • The subtitles are not always 100% accurate to what the characters are saying. When the subtitle says, "What have you done to my partner?" the character is actually saying "What have you done to my sweet little love thing?". Ryo explaining to the kids "looks like a female, dresses like a female, has a d**k" was changed to something like "She wears a purple vest".


  • 4Players
    • 2001– Best Action-Adventure of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2002 – The "Almost Righted A Wrong" Award (Xbox)
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #66 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
Information also contributed by David Mckenzie, Juan Pablo Bouquet, Supernintendo Chalmers and Unicorn Lynx

Contributed by Sycada (191) on Dec 03, 2001. [revised by : FatherJack (62758) and Patrick Bregger (199916)]. -- edit trivia