It took an Olympian amount of effort, but it's finally happened: I've started Shenmue 2. I actually bought it months ago - before I'd even finished the first game - but it seemed like such a mammoth task, I just thought "fuck it." However, in a maelstrom of boredom earlier this week, I plucked up the courage to once again assume the identity of one Ryo Hazuki, pack my hideous luminous green 80s rucksack, and head to Hong Kong in search of answers, Goddammit.
Initial impressions are very positive. If you've never played Shenmue 2 (how it was meant to be played - on a Dreamcast (Xbox doesn't count I'm afraid)), it's much more of a spectacle than the first game ever was. The graphics appear much more vibrant, the locations are simply massive (bigger than any of Shenmue's) and the music is pretty decent - much more modern and 'dancey' than the string based tunes of the original.
So far so good - I've had my bag stolen, kicked some ass to get it back, been humiliated in an arm wrestling contest, met a fit bird on a motorbike, and got a small dingy room in a back street 'guest house.' My only bugbear is that I've had all my money nicked, so must shuffle around the harbour and surrounding districts grovelling at shops for a part time job...just to pay the fucking $38-a-night rent on the shit hole room I call home. It's just a tad to close to reality for my liking...
I wonder if it's possible to get ridiculously pissed in an attempt to forget about my woes, then collapse in a heap contemplating suicide when the money's all gone. Hmmm.
Anyhow, this post was intended to bring something more interesting to light: Ryo's sexual preference. Before you leave in disgust, uttering "freak" under your garlic breath - hear me out. We all know the jokes about Ryo running around Dobuita searching for sailors (whilst constantly rejecting Nozomi's blatant attempts to get a shag) in Shenmue 1. Come on, laugh it out.
But check this out:
Here is the front of the cardboard sleeve of the PAL version of Shenmue 2. Very artsy I'm sure you'll agree. Note Joy sticking her tits out (the bird on the left), and the lovely waterfall on the right. All well and good. Apart from the title font, which is a bit shit:
Now, here is the cover of the actual CD case that goes inside the cardboard sleeve. Notice anything strange? Well, for starters the two women have been given the elbow...and note the position of Ryo and the dude in the bandana...
They've been mirrored - and even stranger - look at the position of Ryo's hand (helpfully outlined in red, just in case you don't know what a 'hand' is):
The guy's belt is even positioned so it looks like it's being pulled down by Ryo's wandering hand!
You can just about make it out in the above picture (my mega-budget camera, as previously divulged, is about as useful as a salmonella infested Cadbury's chocolate fireguard), but if you're one of the 7 people on Earth who own this game, go on - have a look!
Sega - you've been sussed! Ryo bats for the other team! Not that the Dreamcast Junkyard cares of course, being the multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-racial, multi-er-sexuality set up that we are...(***lawsuit threat level reduced from Critical to Moderate***)