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Why not SHENMUE?

One of the holiday's best missed games

By Troy Roberts     December 03, 2002


You know, I rarely get irritated at fellow gamers. I mean, in a way, we are all joined for the cause to keep our favorite video games coming out, to keep our favorite companies up, and to basically kill any kind of censorship on video games, allowing us to buy whatever we want as mature adults (I believe that could be added to the list now, eh?). And, as I said, I rarely gripe about other gamers, but one matter has been pressing on my mind lately.


I've been playing through the recently released Xbox version of SHENMUE II. I played through the European version months ago, but the game is so good that I actually want to sit down and play it again. In my honest opinion, so far, I think the SHENMUE series is one of the best series of games ever made. The series sports one of the best storylines ever instilled into a video game. It just reaches out, grabs you and refuses to let go until the end. The game has a very realistic feel to it, and the thought of roaming around a virtual Japan or Hong Kong is enough to give you chills. There are thousands of people to talk to on the street. You are able to work, play video games inside the game, gamble, arm-wrestle, fight for money; sometimes you even have to wait for people to get off work that you have to talk to, or meet someone at a certain time (since there is a clock in the game).


Now, with all my gushing over SHENMUE, how can I have something to complain about? Well, I'll tell you. No matter how good a game is, if it doesn't sell, nine times out of ten, the series will end. And unfortunately this could possibly happen to SHENMUE.


The original Dreamcast game received great scores from most of the media, but wasn't accepted well by fans. And while I haven't seen any "official" numbers on SHENMUE II, I have a feeling that they could possibly be similar. And since there isn't even an inkling out of Japan about a third game, that doesn't really bode well for the series. And let me tell you, I'll be one extremely ticked off person if there is no closure to this series (especially with the way the sequel ends).


Now, why would I be mad at fans for this? Well, it really isn't the fans I'm mad at; it's just the way the video gaming industry has gone. Right now, gamers want fast, furious, violent games; not anything that could be remotely slow-paced like SHENMUE. Who cares if the game is really any good or not, as long as it has tons of action, then hey, it'll sell. Why?


I'm not saying that we gamers are violent maniacs who thirst for blood. I'm just saying that, for the most part, we want tons of action. And, yes, there are a lot of successful slow-paced games out there: FINAL FANTASY and any other RPG on the market attest to that. What I'm saying is that we're more likely to play bad games that are violent and action-packed than we are to play good games that are slower-paced.


I guess all I'm trying to say in this article is give this great game a chance if you haven't yet. It is one of the most addicting games on the market, and once you start, it is almost impossible to put it down. Nearly everyone I know that I have let play one of the games has fallen in love with the series and would be extremely disappointed if the series didn't continue. So if you want a great game, do yourself a favor and give SHENMUE a chance.


TIDBITS


Blizzard Entertainment released a demo of the ever-popular WARCRAFT III: REIGN OF CHAOS for those who have not yet bought the game...Nintendo announced the title of the new LEGEND OF ZELDA game, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WALKER...LEGENDS OF WRESTLING 2 has shipped to stores, so has DARK ANGEL....


ON SHELVES


New release

DRAGONBALL Z BUDOKAI

this week either has to go to THE CLONE WARS on Playstation 2, or GHOST RECON on the same system. But, look for the first DRAGONBALL Z game, DRAGONBALL Z BUDOKAI, for the Playstation 2 to make some waves in sales this week.


Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Video Game column.

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