[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shenmue_3763.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:''"Great, superb, remarkable, extraordinary, wonderful, monumental..."''--[[http://www.ign.com/articles/2000/11/04/shenmue IGN's review of Shenmue in 2000]].]]

->''"[[TheChosenOne He]] shall appear from [[AnimeLand a far eastern land across the sea]]...\\
A [[YoungConqueror young man]] who [[HiddenDepths has yet to know his potential]]...\\
This potential is a {{power}} that could either [[CastFromLifespan destroy him]] or [[HeroicWillpower realize his will]]...\\
[[HeroicResolve His courage]] shall determine [[ScrewDestiny his fate]]...\\
[[TheQuest The path]] he must traverse, [[InHarmsWay fraught with adversity]], [[IWillWaitForYou I await]] whilst praying...\\
For [[TheProphecy this destiny predetermined]] since ancient times...\\
A [[DarkestHour pitch black night]] unfolds with the morning star [[HopeBringer as its only light]]...\\
[[SequelSeries And thus the saga]]...'' '''''begins'''"''.
-->--{{Opening Narration}}, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNDChSl42Xw by character Shenhua Ling]]

''Shenmue'' is a game developed by Sega-[=AM2=], released in 1999 for the {{Sega Dreamcast}}. A sequel, ''Shenmue II'', was later released in 2001 also for the Dreamcast and then later for the {{Xbox}}. ''Shenmue'' was originally meant to have more titles ranging from 4-7 over which the complicated story would be told, yet due to disappointing sales, {{Sega}}'s withdrawal from the console market and the high production costs needed to make Shenmue games fans had to make do with only two games.

The gameplay was really original. The first game placed you in a rather small town with complete freedom, and the second had you in a truly massive sprawling area to explore. The game made use of a weather system which as the name implies would change the weather; some days it'll rain, others it'll snow, or it'll be bright and sunny or cloudy and overcast. The days would pass and the seasons would change; if you really wanted to you could wait until spring (the game is set during winter). All the [=NPCs=] had their own lives too; in many other games characters would simply walk in a certain pattern or stand there all day, while in ''Shenmue'' people came out of their houses around 9am, went shopping, chatted with their friends, headed to the bar at night and then walked home. If it was raining they had raincoats, and add to this that the characters had more than one stock phrase all voiced in English! (in the first game; the second game had Japanese voice overs and English subs - until the Xbox port).

The game probably also popularized the [[PressXToNotDie Quick Time Event]]. ''Shenmue'' [[TropeCodifier made it big]] (''VideoGame/DragonsLair'' [[TropeMaker did it first]]), and on top of that, in most [=QTEs=] if you didn't press the button in time, the story would keep going just slightly differently. There were also random encounters with people, conversations, fights, and the like, so no people ever played the same game. Also, you had [[EmbeddedPrecursor mini-games based off Sega arcades]], you could collect little toys, and you could even look after a small kitten... basically anything you wanted to do within the world. In the second game, Ryo could gamble, take part in fights, and get part time jobs to get money.

Of course, ''Shenmue'' wasn't all about walking around asking people about the day the snow turned to rain and if they had seen a black car; there was fighting too. Based of the ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'' games, Ryo would enter a free fight where he would either fight a group of people or one worthy opponent. You could learn new moves, and practice them to become more powerful.

The story is a simple one. Ryo's father was killed by the BigBad Lan Di after he refused to give up the location of the Dragon Mirror (a mysterious jade engraved item). So Ryo goes out on a quest to get revenge on Lan Di. As it turns out Lan Di is part of a [[TheMafia very powerful crime organization]], the Chiyoumen, and has connections with the Mad Angels, a group of bikers that hang around in the docks. He meets up with Master Chen who then reveals there is a second mirror which Lan Di is also looking for, the Phoenix Mirror, which just happens to be hidden under the dojo in Ryo's house. After finding the mirror Ryo then proceeds to beat up 70 bikers and learns that Lan Di headed towards Hong Kong. The first game ends with Ryo getting on a boat to Hong Kong.

The second game attempted to cram much more of the story in, clear in the knowledge they wouldn't release as many games as planned. Ryo ends up in Hong Kong and searches for Master Lishao Tao, the only link left to Lan Di. On his search he meets and befriends gang leader Ren and sexy martial arts expert Xiuying. He learns that the Chiyoumen have connections in Kowloon with the crime organization Yellowheads. After defeating the massive army of the gang and fighting his way all the way to the top of their headquarters (with help from Ren), he defeats TheDragon, Dou Niu, just in time to see Lan Di fly off in a helicopter. The last section of the game takes place in Guilin where Ryo meets the very important character Ling Shenhua who leads Ryo the place where the jade for the mirrors was mined. The second and currently last game leaves us with many unanswered questions and a cliffhanger.

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!!Contains examples of the following tropes:

* {{Aborted Arc}}: We still have 11 or so chapters to go. They'll come out soon though, right? ...Right?
* ActionGame: [=QTEs=] and fights add some spice to the ''melting genre pot'' of the game.
* AdventureGame: Of an unprecedented scale, with its huge explorable [=3D=] world.
* AllThereInTheManual: For the first game, at least, every single character is unique and has their own name and detailed backstory. Everyone from Ryo to his friends to the [=NPCs=] who spout generic lines to the guys getting beat up in the 70 Man Battle to the animals running around. None of this actually comes through in the game itself however.
* AmateurSleuth: You've got to wander around garnering clues about the whereabouts of [[BigBad Lan Di]].
* AnachronismStew: Besides the SegaSaturn [[note]]released in 1994 in Japan; 1995 in North America)[[/note]] in Ryo's living room, there are other references to franchises that didn't exist yet in 1986, such as Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog.
* AntiHero: [[BettingMinigame Gambling]]? check. [[YouKilledMyFather Going into a bloodthirsty quest of revenge to kill the murderer of his father]]? check. [[BarBrawl Getting to fight in the underworld for money]]? check. [[WouldHitAGirl Beating some teenage girls in school uniforms]]? Unnaceptable! Completely gross! Stop right there!, Now we are talking about something completely socially unacceptable, little Ryo-chan!
* BackToBackBadasses:
** Ryo Hazuki and Gui Zhang perform some of the best moments in the series when they ally with each other and start breaking the Hell loose all over the place. Like the epic ''70-men'' battle towards the end of the first game.
** Ryo and Ren in the second game are just as epic, fighting their way on Hong Kong.
* {{Badass}}: Ryo, Ren and Lan Di most prominently. Xiuying likewise, though she's not one to flaunt her badassery.
* BadassBiker: Quite a few.
** Ryo feels this trope in his blood towards the end of the first game, when he borrows a touring motorbike and rushes to save [[TheCutie Nozomi]].
** [[ActionGirl Joy]] rides a vertiginous, sports motorbike.
* BarBrawl: One of the most epic scenes in the series happens to be one of these, with nice [=QTEs=] included. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pL_ACUHYVY You can see it here, in all its QTE glory!]] Too bad that scene marks the end of [[MemeticMutation Ryo's quest for sailors]].
* BeatEmUp: You live in TheEighties, know martial arts, and have {{Bar Brawl}}s and fights against gang members, doing things like going to the streets and kick 7 asses all by yourself. ''Shenmue'' could as well be an affectionate homage to Sega's BeatEmUp games, like ''StreetsOfRage'' and ''GoldenAxe''.
* BettingMiniGame: [[MemeticMutation Would you like to play a game of Lucky Hit?!]]
* BigBad: Lan Di.
* BigNo: Ryo's anguished "NOOOO!!!" after his father dies.
* BoringButPractical: The "Hold Against Leg" kick. Probably the least flashy move Ryo can use, but it deals good damage and, more importantly, quickly puts some distance between you and your opponents, allowing you to keep spamming it before they can close the gap.
* BottomlessBladder: You follow Ryo pretty much every minute of every day, and he never hits the bathroom.
* BumblingSidekick: Fuku-san, God bless his dumb little heart.
* CatchPhrase: Ryo has some (sort of).
** ''"Maybe I'll buy just one..."''
** ''"I see..."''
** ''"I understand"''.
** ''"Yeah"''.
** ''"Let's get sweaty"''.
** ''"KORRA!"'' (said when Ryo is fighting, it remains from the original Japanese voice)
** ''"Do you know where I can find some sailors?"''
** ''"Do you want to play a game of Lucky Hit?"'' (when he is working in a "Lucky Hit" game's stand)
* ChainedHeat: Ryo and Ren.
* ChasteHero: You can practically hear the stuck clockwork in Ryo's head anytime an attractive girl hits on him.
* {{Cliffhanger}}: Second game ends with one, and seeing its the last installment in the series to this day, the cliffhanger remains unresolved...
* ChekhovsGun: The beginning of Ryo's notebook at the start of the game has the numbers for the police and fire departments, information, weather forecast, Naoyuki, and Nozomi. You obviously can call them, especially the last two because they give more character conversations/interactions.
* CloseKnitCommunity: Yamanose, the fictional hamlet in the real city of Yokosuka, has only eight people living there--three of whom live in the Hazuki residence.
** the areas of Sakuragaoka and Dobuita are also like this.
* ConsoleWars: The tragic fate of the ''Shenmue'' series corresponds to the defeat of {{Sega}} by the {{PlayStation 2}} during TheSixthGenerationOfConsoleVideogames, and the consequent withdrawal of the company from the console scene, going through a delicate readjustment.
* CoolBike: The touring motorbike Ryo borrows from one of his neighbors towards the end of the first game, when He has to rush to the Harbor to rescue Nozomi, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XN48I9B0NWg complete with ass-kicking 80s style Heavy Metal music]]! Years later, in [[SegaSuperstars Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing]], this became Ryo's vehicle of choice.
* CoolCar: It's hard to resist to Ryo's ''forklift'' unique charm. It even managed to be one of his vehicles when he starred years later on [[SegaSuperstars Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing]].
* CosmicKeystone: Apparently there are two mirrors, the ''Dragon mirror'' and the ''Phoenix mirror'', which, when together, grant their holder unbelievable power.
* TheCutie: Nozomi is the precious, fragile, tender teenage girl who cries because she is going to {{Canada}} and thus won't be seeing her friend Ryo anymore.
* CycleOfRevenge: [[BigBad Lan Di]] kills Ryo's dad presumably to avenge the death of one of his close acquaintances, and this in turn ignites Ryo's need to avenge his father's death.
* DanceBattler: Tom, the hot dogs stand vendor who likes to dance to some funky hip-hop sounds, teaches you a ''Tornado Kick'' inspired in his dancing style.
* {{Determinator}}:
** He saw his father being killed in front of him, he was beat to an inch of his body's functionality, and yet just a few days later, he recovers and sents out to avenge his father and kick the hell out of the murderer's ass. Hard to be as determined, patient and cool about things as Ryo is.
** The fanbase counts as well, they aren't holding back until the series is resolved.
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: Ryo's dad.
* DistressedDamsel: Nozomi near the end of Chapter 1.
* TheDragon: Chai in the first game, Dou Niu in the second one.
* DullSurprise: Ryo, all too often.
* DoubleEntendre: A lot of the NPC dialogue regarding sailors feels like this.
--> '''Ryo:''' "Do you know where I can find some sailors?
--> '''Bartender:''' "You say sailors, but you don't mean just any kind of sailor, do you?"
* TheEighties: {{Yu Suzuki}} really wants to recreate how Yokosuka and Hong Kong looked like in 1986 and 1987, and also the kind of changes these places were experimenting at the time. The gameplay of the fights is like a homage to one of the '80s most outstanding game genres: BeatEmUp (complete with a me-against-the-neighborhood, kicking-asses-on-the-streets appeal).
* EmbeddedPrecursor: Not as hidden in the traditional meaning of the trope, but you can still play some of {{Yu Suzuki}}'s early hits in the local arcades in the games.
* EverybodyWasKungFuFighting: Not surprinsingly, since the game has its roots in ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter''.
* EverythingsCuterWithKittens: Very famously, the first game lets you help raise an abandoned newborn kitten. Probably put as a mean to tell the players to start looking for the little, beautiful things the game has to offer, and thus a cute little critter was the best way to start it.
* ExtremeOmnivore: In the first game, near the end of disc 2, Ryo goes to the You Arcade to claim his Hong Kong ticket. Suddenly, he his attacked by Chai!
-->'''Chai''': "Came for your Hong Kong ticket, did you? But you are not going to Hong Kong!" (Chai then eats it)
* FieryRedhead: Joy.
* FightingGame: Well the game started as a ''VideoGame/VirtuaFighter'' spinoff with Akira as a protagonist, so there are some remains such as the free battle mode.
* FinalBattle: Both games have a boss fight towards the end, first one against Chai, second one against Dou Niu.
* {{Flashback}}: Scenes when Ryo was a kid and he was talking to his father can be seen, ''some of them even teach you new fighting moves!''
* FrozenFace: Ryo is always staring around with his tough, serious looking eyes, it even gets funny when he gets to be photographed with a nice girl.
* FunnyForeigner: Tom, the owner of the hot dog trailer in Dobuita.
* GameWithinAGame: Lots of them: classics from arcades, pool, darts, gambling and forklift races.
** Examples of arcade games: ''VideoGame/SpaceHarrier'' and ''{{Hang-On}}'' in the first; the second introduced ''VideoGame/AfterBurner II'' and ''VideoGame/OutRun''.
* GenreBusting: Aside from being one of the earliest examples of a modern WideOpenSandbox game, it also touted AdventureGame mechanics and VisualNovel aesthetics, QuickTimeEvent action sequences, [[FightingGame beat'em-up mechanics]], and plenty of interactive minigames to keep you busy. It was revolutionary enough to be labelled as its very own genre by creator Yu Suzuki: ''Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment'', or '''''F.R.E.E.'''''
* UsefulNotes/HeavyMetal: Set in {{The Eighties}}, with rude sailors, mean bikers and a tough underworld, some elements of '80s UsefulNotes/HeavyMetal culture pop up.
* HeroProtagonist: Ryo Hazuki.
* HipHop: Tom, the American hot dog stand vendor, likes to dance to the rythm of some groovy tunes and he takes his stereo system everywhere he goes, even to work. He says his dancing could attract more clients.
* HopelessBossFight: The battle with Chai at the arcade is a subversion. The game progresses if you lose and it looks like he's invincible but the reality is he's just REALLY hard to fight. If you're good you CAN beat him and get a different cutscene. Unfortunately it doesn't really affect the story after so it's more for [[BraggingRightsReward personal satisfaction]] than anything else.
* IAmNotLeftHanded: In the second game you can play darts against a Jamaican guy for money. He throws with his left hand first and is pretty easy to beat. If you win twice in a row you can play for high amounts of money and then he will get serious. [[ThemeMusicPowerUp His theme music changes]], he starts throwing the darts with his right hand and will ultimately become an incredibly tough, almost undefeatable opponent.
* InstrumentalThemeTune: Soundtrack of ''Shenmue'' is composed of many orchestra scores.
** The aforementioned epic [[TheEighties 80s style]] UsefulNotes/HeavyMetal instrumental tune, which plays when you're in a motorbike rushing to the Harbor to save Nozomi, is in fact a synthesized instrumental remix of one of the songs from {{F355 Challenge}}, ''"Scarlatto"''. ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrKcjcbJgfw This is the original one, with a hard-rockin' singer!]]''
* JapaneseDelinquents: There are a couple of guys in black coats that hassle Ryo and Nozomi throughout the game, and there are several [=QTEs=] and fights against them.
* LadyOfWar: Xiuying could be a poster girl for this trope. She effortlessly avoids Ryo's attacks, then puts him in his place with a bare minimum of force... all while wearing a stunningly elegant ChineseDress. She can do the exact same to more than one opponent, too.
* Leitmotif: Several main characters have theme music whenever they have a cutscene, which can be purchased as cassette tapes in-game.
* LoveInterest: Ryo to Nozomi. Too bad Ryo is completely consumed in avenging his father's death and the cute Nozomi's feelings can't reach his heart. ''Shenmue II'' finds Ryo with various of these , though he stills avoid them.
* MacGuffin: The twin stone mirrors, Dragon and Phoenix, have never quite had their purpose identified in the series, so for now they're this (Master Chen speaks of some immense power if they're brought together and Lan Di seems to be trying to harness this but it's not clear what exactly this entails).
* {{Mafia}}: Lan Di seems to be the leader of a powerful chinese cartel.
* MobstacleCourse: Many QTE chases have you dodging around civilians in order to catch up.
* NewMediaAreEvil: Upon interviews with {{Yu Suzuki}}, he explained that back in [[TheEighties the early 80s]], video games were seen in UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} as the ''worst mother´s enemies'', taking place in dark, gritty rooms frequented by anti-social teens. So He came with the idea of broadening the video game public, bringing games from dark places to brighter places, and developing innovative, fresh games that would appeal to a more massive audience. Thus he created hardware like the riding motorbike in {{Hang-On}} or the 360° rotating cabinet in {{AfterBurner}}, and thus expanding games interface from the typical ''coffee-top tables'' seen until that moment. What does this have to do with ''Shenmue''? Well, that ''dark, gritty'' kind of atmosphere is the one you get when you enter the ''You Arcade'' place on Dobuita street, reflecting how the videogames scene looked like back then until he released his arcade hits.
* TheNineties: The time where ''Shenmue'' was originally developed, and released in UsefulNotes/{{Japan}}.
* NonLethalKO: Ryo has yet to definitively kill any of his opponents, and the only way for him to die in the first game is via the NonStandardGameOver mentioned below. There are, however, several [=QTEs=] and one free battle in Shenmue II that can indeed be fatal to Ryo even if [[DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist the game just lets you take as many Mulligans as you have to]].
* NonstandardGameOver: You have until April 14th to finish the first game. When April 15th rolls around, [[spoiler:BigBad Lan Di reappears in the dojo and kills Ryo [[CallBack the same way he killed Ryo's father.]]]] Similarly, failing to progress to the next chapter in the second game in a reasonable amount of time would result in a game over as Lan Di's trail goes too cold.
* OldMaster: Several, in fact.
* PerpetualFrowner: Ryo has been in some of the most endearing, beautiful, funny and romantic situations, yet he always seems to have the same angry/serious ''modern-era {{Samurai}}'' look on his face. Averted with when he was a child, as seen in his {{flashback}}s.
* PresentDayPast: First game puts you between the end of 1986 and the start of 1987, second one takes place at 1987.
* PressXToNotDie: One of the earliest to make use of the [=QTEs=], and a good user on that. In fact you could say that ''Shenmue'' is ''The Godfather'' of the mid cutscene QTE (It even coined the actual term!). In ''II'', it managed to sneak in a subversion: when learning the Wude principle of Dan, [[spoiler: DO NOT press A]].
* TheQuietOne: Ryo, Gui Zhang, and the masters seem to be this.
* RealLife: {{Yu Suzuki}} did an amazing job recreating the {{Real Life}} Yokosuka and how daily life looked in {{The Eighties}}. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9F0RsbJLn4 You just have to look how the real Dobuita street looks like to truly appreciate his work in the game]].
* RealPlaceBackground: Yokosuka is filled with the memories YuSuzuki had when he was living there.
* {{Revenge}}:
** What ignites Ryo's motivations and what starts his adventure. WordOfGod says that Ryo's bloodthirsty quest for revenge would slowly be put aside as the series continued, and that other features from life, like inner feelings, personality traits, and relationships between people, would be explored.
** Likewise Lan Di speaks as if he's seeking revenge for someone (Zhao Sun Ming) during his fight with Iwao (claiming Iwao took this man's life and Lan Di intends to return the favor).
* RolePlayingGame: Some elements, like the powering up of skills and the [=NPCs=] talking, are brought to the game.
* RooftopConfrontation: The second game {{Final Battle}} happens here.
* SailorFuku: Nozomi and other teenage girls wear them in the first game. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuI4JM5Ad0I Some of them happen to be very rude and hurtful towards Ryo, as seen here]].
* {{Samurai}}: You could call Ryo's a ''modern-era Samurai'', going from his distant and tough-guy personality.
* SceneryPorn: The entire series is an ode to the beauty of life, and so you can see that message from its settings, from the crowded street of Dobuita to the magical forest of Guilin. The level of detail and depth just adds to its charm. In fact, it sort of [[DefiedTrope defies the trope]] in the traditional meaning that it wants to make gorgeous urban settings too, not just countryside or rural settings.
** The Hazuki's house garden has a fountain and some gorgeous trees and flowers.
** Dobuita street comes to life like if it were [[TheEighties in 1986]], with all the city's folks coming and going. You can feel like the street is breathing with life. Such a beautiful showing of daily routines and everyday life comes close as nothing more than pure ''costumbrism'' art style.
** When the Harbor starts to be painted by the falling snowflakes, it acquires an impressive and stark personality.
** Guilin forest couldn't be more gorgeous and magic than {{Yu Suzuki}}'s achieved after their trip to UsefulNotes/{{China}}.
* SchizoTech: Ryo owns a SegaSaturn. The game is set during TheEighties. WordOfGod says that little SegaSaturn was put as an homage to the console where ''Shenmue'' was originally programed and meant to be released.
* ShesAManInJapan: Yuan in ''Shenmue II''.
* ShoutOut: Given the depth of the game, you're bound to find quite a few.
** A SegaSaturn is in Ryo's room, to pay homage to the console where ''Shenmue'' started development.
** An ''VideoGame/AstroBlaster'' cabinet can be seen in the YOU Arcade in Dobuita, but it has an "out of order" label on it and is not playable.
** ''Katana''-brand cigarettes can be seen on [=NPCs=] smoking. Guess what was the codename of the SegaDreamcast during its development?
** Ryo certainly looks a lot like the character where his roots come from, [[VideoGame/VirtuaFighter Akira]], even after giving him characterization.
** In fact some characters, like Gui Zhang himself, look like those of the [[VideoGame//VirtuaFighter]] anime and such.
** Many fighting moves are also similar to those from the [[VideoGame/VirtuaFighter]] series.
** When Megumi finds the little orphaned kitten at the start of the game, she begs ''"[[SarutobiSasuke to call her Sasuke, so she'll grow up big and strong like a ninja!]]"''.
** [[CocaPepsiInc Drinking machines, all colored red]].
*** Though this is just because they couldn't secure the license to Coke's logo in the United States. In Japan it's straight-up ProductPlacement.
** Lots and lots of collectable toys are from well-known {{Sega}}'s franchises.
** You can [[GameWithinAGame play a few of the other creations]] of YuSuzuki himself at the arcades, like AfterBurner and OutRun.
** The MJQ Jazz Bar is a reference to jazz group Modern Jazz Quartet.
** If you examine the cassettes closely you'll find that most of the names on there are mash-ups of various NBA players. Examples include Kobe O'Neel (Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal) and Michael Barkley (Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley) among others.
* SnowMeansDeath: It's snowing on the day Iwao Hazuki is murdered.
* StalkingMission: To find [[BigBad Lan Di]], you've got to first find some sailors, then find a guy named Charlie, then find another one named Jimmy, and so on.
* StockYuck: Young Ryo doesn't like carrots.
* TheStoic: Ryo is a hard-ass stoic teenager who happens to live in a perpetual stoic life full of harm and he doesn't seem to change a little by the environment.
** NotSoStoic: Ryo cries out loud in the intro when he hears his father's last words spoken to him.
* StoutStrength: Dou Niu, Lan Di's [[TheDragon Dragon]] in ''Shenmue II''.
* TalkToEveryone: The game cannot further emphasize the importance of interacting with the world: in this game, the [=NPCs=] have a lot of things to say, and these things themselves change as the plot moves on, too. Plus, some characters like the hilarious Goro, Tom the hot dog stand vendor and the cute Nozomi are quite pleasant to chat!
* TimedMission: In both games, you have a time limit. Go overboard and you get a NonStandardGameOver (Which is ironically the only way to get an actual Game Over). Fortunately, you are given way more than enough time to beat the game.
* TranquilFury: Gui Zhang's fighting style, his deep, penetrating voice even seems to reflect that in some way.
* TropeCodifier: Some things got huge thanks to ''Shenmue'' despite appearing sometime before.
** [=QTEs=].
** Weather system.
* TropeMaker: For a game as innovative as ''Shenmue'', you're bound to find some.
** The {{Wide Open Sandbox}} genre started in its modern form with ''Shenmue''.
** Full voiced [=NPCs=], with their one designs and complex strolling patterns too.
** Picking up and examining items.
** Bringing people from the film industry to develop the cinematics of the game.
* UnskilledButStrong: Dou Niu's knowledge of martial arts is basically limited to just slamming his fists into his victims. He makes up for it by being built like a gorilla.
* VisualNovel: The game's aesthetics are compared to the ones from this genre.
* WaxOnWaxOff: Ryo learns techniques from a myriad of masters, but almost none in the game actually simply give him straightforward lessons,
* WideOpenSandbox: ''Shenmue'' was possibly the first 3D sandbox game, to the point that Sega gave it its own genre -- FREE, short for '''F'''ully '''R'''eactive '''E'''yes '''E'''nvironment.
* WildMagic: Towards the end of ''Shenmue II'', magic forces begin to engage into the history, which hints the series was going to do a turn for the supernatural.
* WhatTheHellIsThatAccent?: In the Japanese dub, Tom the American hot dog man has a heavy American accent. However, in the English dub, everyone speaks with an American accent, so Tom speaks with a bizarre mix of Chinese, Russian and Jamaican accents.
* WorkingClassHero: When Ryo gets a job at the Harbor working with forklifts, He defends his fellow workmates against the bullying Mad Angels gang members, and fights against the gang. He loses his job, but ultimately frees his mates from the Mad Angels yoke and defeats the gang.
* WouldHitAGirl: Some rude, hurtful teenage girls wearing school uniforms get the crap beaten out of them by Ryo in the Harbor in the first game. In an optional scene, JerkAss bully Enoki winds up to slug Nozomi – for protecting a little kid the bully was picking on, mind – when Ryo steps in and kicks his ass.
* YouKilledMyFather: Ryo will track Lan Di down and avenge his father's death.
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