Shenmue I & II is a rerelease of Shenmue (1999) and Shenmue II (2001) that was released in August 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. D3T developed the rerelease port and Sega published it for newer consoles so fans could relive the joys of the original games and new players could experience the magic for the first time. The rerelease was also designed to prepare fans for Shenmue III, which debuted in 2019. Allegedly, a full-fledged Shenmue remake was in the works, but it never came to fruition. After Shenmue I & II’s remaster finally hit shelves, stories about a canceled remake surfaced. While fans aren’t clear on the reason D3T went with a remaster instead of a remake, many speculate it’s likely due to budget constraints.
Shenmue I & II is an action-adventure game where the player controls a teenager investigating his father’s murder. Both of the original games feature an open-world concept that allows players to explore, search for clues, and talk to non-player characters (NPCs) for more information. When taking into consideration the subject of the original story, in addition to being an action-adventure game, Shenmue I & II also has mystery elements weaved throughout. Although the series doesn’t have many games in it, the original games are often credited for innovation in the gaming industry. This mostly refers to the open-world exploration and massive layouts of their maps. Shenmue walked so modern open-world games like Grand Theft Auto could run.
Although 2019’s Shenmue III received mixed reviews, Shenmue I & II was released to a mostly positive reception from fans and new players. The franchise has something of a cult following, so fans were eager to play these classic games on modern consoles. According to Metacritic, most critics, publications, and fan reviews claim that Shenmue I & II is an overall favorable game that most people will enjoy playing. Some fans even go as far as to claim Shenmue I & II are some of the greatest games ever made.
Shenmue I & II Premise
Shenmue takes place in 1986 Yokosuka, Japan, and follows teenage martial artist, Ryo Hazuki’s, story. Players play as Ryo, who witnesses a serious confrontation between his father, Iwao, and a mysterious man Lan Di. Lan Di demands that Iwao give him an artifact known as the dragon mirror, which the latter seems firm on protecting. It isn’t until Lan Di threatens to kill Ryo that Iwao relents and tells him the location of the relic. Lan Di strikes Iwao down and he dies in his son’s arms. Unsure of what he witnessed, but knowing he needs to uncover the truth about the confrontation and his father’s murder, Ryo begins investigating. Ryo’s investigation eventually leads him to the discovery of a second mirror, the phoenix mirror.
Shenmue II is a direct sequel to Shenmue and picks up where the first game left off. At the end of Shenmue, once Ryo finds the phoenix mirror and defeats the final boss, Master Chen tells him to go to Hong Kong, where he’ll find the help of Master Xiuying. Shenmue II picks up with Ryo once he’s arrived in Hong Kong. Ryo seeks Master Xiuying’s help, but she turns him away because she believes his quest for vengeance is stupid and reckless. Her refusal doesn’t dissuade Ryo, though, as he continues on his path with the help of some new allies.
Shenmue II answers a lot of questions left over by the original game, including what the pair of mirrors are for. It also unveils many new questions that are left unanswered. The ending of the game clearly sets up a sequel, so it’s surprising that the franchise didn’t release Shenmue III until 2019, 18 years after the release of the second game.
Shenmue I & II is a faithful adaptation of the first two games. The rerelease did add some new features, like the ability to save anywhere in the game, an updated UI, and updated controls to make the gameplay smoother. Most of these additions were quality-of-life updates that made the game handle more like a modern game. While the game did change some details, mostly throughout the open-world exploration, it still sought to tell the same story.
Shenmue I & II Main Characters
While looking at the main characters of Shenmue I & II, it’s important to keep in mind that the games are filled with NPCs. As one of the pioneering games in open-world mechanics, massive maps, and quick-time events, Shenmue and Shenmue II both featured plenty of NPCs and side characters to help flesh out the world. The 2018 remaster is much the same, so while there are a lot of characters, not all of them are important.
- Ryo Hazuki: Ryo Kazuki is the main protagonist and playable character of Shenmue I & II. Ryo is an 18-year-old martial artist from Yamanose, Yokosuka, Japan and he endures a rather tragic introduction. After returning to his family dojo one night, Ryo walks right into the middle of a heated argument between his father and antagonist Lan Di. Lan Di threatens Ryo’s life, forcing his father, Iwao, to give in to Lan Di’s demands. Lan Di delivers a final blow, leaving Iwao to die in Ryo’s arms. Ryo vows to get revenge for his father’s murder. The most tragic part of Ryo’s character is that he was a perfectly normal, innocent teen before witnessing his father’s murder. His youth sometimes plays against him, as he can be extremely naive, but he’s stubborn, competitive, and never backs down once he’s set his mind to something.
- Lan Di: Lan Di (Longsun Zhao is his real name) is the main antagonist of Shenmue I & II. Players meet him early in the game because his search for the dragon mirror leads him to Ryo’s family dojo. Lan Di manages to get the artifact from Iwao and kills him on his way out, emphasizing that he will go to great lengths to get his way. Players witness his harsh cruelty straight away, leaving no room to believe that he may not be so bad after all. Lan Di is one of the leaders of the Chi You Men, a Chinese cartel, and he longs to acquire the dragon mirror and its counterpart, the phoenix mirror. When the two mirrors are used together, they can allegedly restore the Qing Dynasty, China’s final imperial dynasty. Since his obsession and focus is collecting the two mirrors, it’s safe to say that Lan Di’s main goal is resurrecting the Qing Dynasty.
- Ryo’s Allies: In Shenmue II, after being rejected by Master Xiuying, Ryo teams up with several people to help him during his time in Hong Kong. These allies include Wuying Ren, a motorcyclist and gang leader, Joy, and Wong. These three allies help Ryo find Yuanda Zhu, a man who wrote to Ryo’s father to warn him about Lan Di’s plans. With his friends’ help, Ryo locates Zhu but has to save him from Yellow Head, a criminal organization. Once the team saves Zhu, Zhu reveals more information about Lan Di, why he killed Iwao, and what the mirrors are capable of.
Shenmue I & II Titles in the Series
Shenmue is a well-known franchise thanks to the innovations the first two games offered the industry. As mentioned, Shenmue pioneered several key aspects of gaming that are still utilized today, including open-world environments, expansive exploration, and quick-time events that keep players on their toes. Because of its innovation and compelling story, the series has gained quite a cult following despite the relatively short lineup of games.
The Shenmue Franchise:
- Shenmue (1999)
- Shenmue II (2001)
- Shenmue City (2010)
- Shenmue I & II (2018) – This is a rereleased remaster of the first two games reimagined for modern consoles.
- Shenmue III (2019)
Shenmue I & II Cheats, Moves, & Easter Eggs
When searching Google for Shenmue I & II cheats or mods, the search results vary, but most of the authentic “cheat codes” that turn up will relate to the original Shenmue (1999) and Shenmue II (2001). During this time period, cheats, cheat codes, and exploits were far more common. Today, it’s much harder to cheat in games unless the developer chooses to include hidden ways to cheat. The Shenmue I & II remastered collection is available on consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so there aren’t many ways to authentically cheat. Console players will attest to how difficult cheating on a console is.
PC players may have a little more luck via modding. Wemod.com has a Shenmue I & II trainer that will provide the user with unlimited health, freeze time, set game speed, and unlimited money. Unfortunately, console players will not be able to utilize mods and trainers the way PC gamers can. Gamers should use these cheats at their own discretion.
While the range of usable cheats and exploits is minimal, Shenmue I & II does have plenty to offer without the use of cheats. For example, the game features many Easter eggs and side stories for the player to find and explore. There is also a long list of martial arts moves that Ryo can learn if the player finds them.
Shenmue Easter Eggs & Extras
- Nozomi: Players can choose how much they want to pay attention to Nozomi, a girl who has a crush on Ryo. Nozomi is a potential love interest for Ryo and if players want, they can work on their relationship as they play the game. In order to enhance Ryo’s relationship with Nozomi, players should call Nozomi whenever they get the chance. The more they call her, the more they’ll learn about the pair. There are several scenes that players can get with Nozomi if they actually pay attention to her. The first will be when Nozomi asks Ryo to meet her at the park. The second will be when Ryo meets Eri at an arcade. The third will be at the end of the game when Ryo is checking in with everyone. If players have kept up with Nozomi, they’ll receive another scene with her.
- The Mirrors: After obtaining the phoenix mirror, Ryo has the ability to ask some NPCs about it. If he asks the right people, the player will unlock a special cutscene. To get this cutscene, be sure to talk to Xia (Russiya China Shop), Keizo (Bunkado Antiques), Yamagishi (Sakuragaoka), and Liu (Suzume Park).
- Armour Stab Scroll: The Armour Stab Scroll is located in Hazuki Doji. If the player finds it, they can learn Armour Stab. Take the scroll to Master Chen. He will tell Ryo what the scroll says and send him on a mission to unlock its power.
- The Kitten: If players pay attention to the kitten at the shrine throughout the game, they can unlock a cutscene with Nozomi and the kitten. Make sure to visit the kitten, feed it, and search for the kitten when it goes missing by following its cries.
Shenmue II Easter Eggs & Extras
- The Duck Race: In order to enter the Duck Race, players need to collect three medals. Pay the Lucky Charm Quarter waitress to receive the Bronze Medal. After obtaining the Bronze Medal, talk to Eileen and Izumi and then go to the third floor of the arcade. Talk to the man to participate in a fight with Eileen. Ryo gets the Silver Medal after defeating her. Leave the arcade and return to fight Izumi. Victory will award Ryo the final medal. Once all three medals have been collected, players need to get a duck. Without a duck, they can’t participate in the Duck Race at the Tomato Convenience Store. Players can get their own duck at Man Mo Temple where they’ll have to catch two leaves at once. Do this three times to activate a duck quack and then catch a duck feather to earn yourself a duck.
- Fangmei’s Birthday: Fangmei’s birthday is March 3rd and there’s a surprising amount of content that comes with it. Unfortunately, this is a convoluted side plot, so let’s break down everything players need to do:
- Befriend Fangmei. Players will know that she considers Ryo a friend when she refers to him as “Ryo” instead of “Hazuki”. Make sure Ryo has $150 on him. Ryo can leave the conversation and restart it at any time.
- After befriending Fangmei, go to Pigeon Park to meet up with Eileen. Meeting Eileen will trigger a unique cutscene.
- The following day, Eileen and Fangmei will be eating at Man Mo Bistro. Follow Eileen afterward to trigger a conversation between Eileen and Ryo.
- Go to Complete Clothier on Three Blades Street to meet with Fangmei. Pay attention to the item she wants, buy it, and gift it to her for her birthday.
- Before leaving WanChai, speak with Fangmei one more time. This will reveal her final scene with Ryo.
Every Move & Where to Find Them
Wise Men’s Kung Fu at WanChai:
- Dragon Spin
- Oblique Air Kick
- Stepping Strike
- Twin palm Thrust
- Double Storm Kick
Win the Lucky Hit Stand challenge at Dragon Street, Kowloon:
- Monkey Roll Drop
- Heel Sweep
Thousand White Building first floor:
- Serpent Coil
- Dragon Spin
- Oblique Slam
- Machine Gun Fist
- Demons Triangle
- Rear Foot Sweep
- Double Storm Kick
- Diagonal Wipe
Man Mo Temple work:
- Mantis Combo
- Lunging Strike
- Horse Show Kick
- Stepping Strike
Learning Moves from Specific People:
- Iron Palm: Jianmin in Lotus Park
- Counter Elbow Assault: Learn from Xiuyung before going to Kowloon
- Hind Blow: Guixhang teaches Ryo this move after he helps her
- Brawling Uppercut: Delin teaches Ryo this move while collecting Ren’s donations
- Wild Throw: Zhoushan at the monk’s temple (must know Hind Blow first)
- Predictive Explosion: Kai, the blind musician in Kowloon
Shenmue I & II Cheats FAQs
Did Shenmue 2 sell well?
No, Shenmue II undersold after its release in 2001. Although the game is highly revered by fans, some of whom go as far as to call it one of the greatest games ever made, it didn’t originally sell well. In fact, Shenmue II’s underperformance is likely what caused the lull in the franchise. The Shenmue series didn’t receive another game until 2010 and Shenmue II didn’t receive a direct sequel until 2019. The franchise also suffered several projects that failed to come to fruition. In 2004, Yu Suzuki, the series’ creator, announced Shenmue Online. It was supposed to be an online MMORPG for PC, but it never saw the light of day. Shenmue I & II was supposed to be a complete remake, but the franchise likely couldn’t find the funds to remake the games, so they settled for a remastered rerelease.
Why did Shenmue 3 fail?
Shenmue III is a 2019 sequel to Shenmue and Shenmue II, but the game didn’t sell well upon release. Even the Shenmue I & II HD collection that came out a year prior couldn’t save Shenmue III. There are many factors that went into why the game underperformed, but the main complaints were a mixture of poor storytelling and a bad stamina system.
What is the maximum level in Shenmue?
Ryo can reach a maximum level of 21 Attack and 21 Endurance, for a grand total of 42.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©SEGA / D3T.