Where are the sailors? 船員はどこですか？ Whether you ask this pertinent question in English or Japanese, one thing is true... you're talking about Shenmue (hopefully). This game is without doubt one of the best games ever made. Hailed throughout the gaming world, Shenmue is an RPG with a difference. If you haven't played it, go and buy it.
The differences between the Japanese and PAL versions are quite subtle. Obviously, the PAL version also includes some interesting voice acting - but aside from that, the games are near identical.
Not so when it comes to package presentation...
The Japanese version of the game clearly has a larger focus on the excellent artwork and less about brand recognition and an 11+ rating. Online functions are advertised on the PAL pack as this was a big pushing point in Europe.
The backs are largely different too. Similar use of graphics - I prefer the PAL version this time. A nice little blurb in each language, followed up with all of the other info. One thing I think the Japanese versions always win on though, is the column on the right - showing number of players, game type, accessories etc...
Jewel case vs. the PAL format... looks like there's 3 CDs in the NTSC-J version??
Why yes! We not only get the game but also a "Shenmue Jukebox" CD for our aural pleasures, with the following tunes:
What a treat! Typical of a Japanese release - extras that the fans will love are thrown in. As so often is the case - probably in a cost-cutting measure or just because the West "doesn't get it" (SEGA Europe or SEGA Japan deciding?? Take your pick), we were left short without this great little extra.