Description official descriptions
After his father was murdered by a mysterious Chinese man known as Lan Di, Ryo Hazuki swears to avenge his death. After a futile search for Lan Di in Yokosuka, Ryo is contacted by Chen Yao Wen, a Chinese master who advises him to travel to Hong-Kong and seek out Master Lishao Tao, who might be the only one who knows what had happened between Lan Di and Ryo's father in the past. Ryo arrives in Hong Kong and starts searching for a man who is his only link to the elusive murderer.
Shenmue II is a direct sequel to Shenmue, continuing its story. The game's structure and basic gameplay elements are similar to those of the first game, incorporating elements of adventure, fighting, and light role-playing within a life simulation experience. Ryo explores vast 3D environments, talks to people to gather clues, and occasionally participates in fighting sequences. Like in the previous game, Ryo can train to become stronger in battles, and gradually learns new moves, which constitutes the role-playing element of the game.
The game's environments are based on real locations in Hong Kong. The game world is significantly larger than that of its predecessor. The game also has a somewhat more linear story progression with numerous precise objectives, though free-form exploration is available during most of the game. Earning money plays a more important role, and many objectives are built around Ryo having to take part-time jobs (most of which are shaped like action mini-games) or participate in fights to win money. Like in the first game, Ryo can visit the arcades and play exact replicas of older arcade games, e.g. OutRun.
The sequel features a larger amount of characters who take part in the story. Some of them also accompany Ryo on his journey, helping him in fights or other dangerous situations. The game also noticeably increases the amount of quick-time events (QTEs). Several key sequences are composed entirely out of cutscenes during which the player has to rapidly press combinations of buttons in order to execute the correct action. Many major fights in the game also include extensive QTE segments, often serving as a culmination of the fight.
The Xbox version of the game comes with an additional DVD called Shenmue: The Movie, which contains a summation of the first Shenmue made into a feature-length movie.
- シェンムーＩＩ - Japanese spelling
- 莎木二 - Chinese spelling (traditional)
Credits (Dreamcast version)
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1001 Video Games
Shenmue II appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
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.
- 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".
- 2001– Best Action-Adventure of the Year
- 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
Related Sites +
The biggest Shenmue fansite online with videos, music, artwork and everything else related to this great series.
The Hazuki Dojo
A fansite that contains videos, fan fiction, downloadable material and all kinds of information for the dedicated Shenmue fan.
The Shenmue Legend
Comprehensive site including notebook, secrets, real locations, voice actors, free battle guide, merchandise, and information.
- MobyGames ID: 5405
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Sycada.
Xbox added by JPaterson.
Additional contributors: Julian McKenzie, Unicorn Lynx, Joby Kuriako, Игги Друге, —-, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.
Last modified March 9th, 2023.