When we think about some of the best non-Sonic video games that Sega has produced during the 90’s or quite possibly ever; the original Shenmue game from ’99 is one of the few titles that comes to mind. Shenmue was initially released in Japan on December 29th three days prior to the start of the new millennium. Shenmue appeared in America in November 2000 while being released in Europe in December 2000. Since its release Shenmue has not only been praised by various gaming magazines but its regarded as one of the greatest Dreamcast games of all-time. One of reasons why the original Shenmue game was so unique was because it was a action-adventure game that also featured both life and social simulation gameplay. Also, the plot for Shenmue was very intriguing along with revenge being the central theme of the story. Shenmue is set in Yokosuka, Japan during ’86 where the main antagonist Lam Di kills Iwao was the father the main character Ryo Hazuki. Players learned that Lan Di was was searching for an ancient artifact known as the Dragon Mirror along with the fact that Iwao was responsible for the murder of a man in China.
Following his father’s Ryo seeks revenge by investigating and looking for leads involving Lan Di and his men. Not only does Ryo find a second mirror but he also learns that Lan Di had left Japan for Hong Kong. The information regarding the second mirror and Lan Di’s departure was revealed to him by Master Chen and is son Guizhang. While attempting to pursue Lan Di he gets ambushed by his criminal organization known the Chi You Men; who is connected to the local gang known as the Mad Angels. Not only does Ryo become enemies with the Mad Angels but they also end up kidnapping his friend at school named Nozomi. While the Mad Angels attempt to use extortion Ryo by having him attack Guizhang he ends up forming an alliance with him instead. After taking the Mad Angels down together Ryo is ambushed a second time by Chai before attempting leave for Hong King on boat. The game ends on a cliffhanger after Ryo defeats Chai and leaves for Hong Kong to seek the help of a man named Lishao Tao.
The original Shenmue title for Dreamcast provided players with approximately 40 hours of gameplay; it also had a budget of around $70 million making one of the most expensive video games made during the 90’s decade. Shenmue ended up reaching over 1.2 million in sales while becoming the fourth best selling game on the Sega Dreamcast. Shenmue was a pretty unique game for its time since it included various distinct gameplay elements that made it stand out from other titles from the Dreamcast era. Despite, being released over two decades ago Shenmue ended up becoming so popular that it was remastered in HD for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One and PS4 in 2018. Shenmue had also spawned a successful sequel that was released for Dreamcast during ’01 before coming to Xbox in ’02. Not only was Shenmue one of the most memorable titles from the early 00’s; but its regarded as one of the greatest video games that Sega has ever produced in general.