Shenmue PAL vs NTSC-J

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. 

Here's one of the songs:

15 comments:

Caleb said...

Alas generally the Japanese versions of many video games have better extras and packaging.

I don't think we got a fraction of the special editions that the Japanese released on the Dreamcast.

In fact I can't even remember even one special edition Dreamcast game I saw in a store in the US.

Unfortunately I can't comment on the NTSC version of Shenmue 2 unless I pull out the Xbox version...

Some North American companies like Altus have been trying to give us better stuff over the years.

The special edition of Devil Summoner 2 with the little Jack Frost in the plastic case was pretty nice.

NebachadnezzaR said...

Nice comparison.

You know the Japanese market, always better with the goodies. In here if you want a little extra you have to pay for the collector's edition.

Barry the Nomad said...

The U.S. Dreamcast special editions that I can recall were the SA2 Birthday Pack, Jet Grind Radio with the JGR Music Sampler CD, Shenmue Limited Edition with the mentioned Jukebox CD and Samba de Amigo maracas (though I actually thought the game was packed separate from the maracas).

Fun article Martin! Though it sort of just ended abruptly, I'm assuming we'll get a part 2? :) I myself have all 3 region versions of Jet Set/Grind Radio and am thinking of doing a comparison video someday.

Tomleecee said...

Did someone ask for a Sailor?!

Barry the Nomad said...

I wish the PAL Shenmue was dubbed in very thick British English. Ryo gets a toy capsule: "Jolly good!" Ryo talks sweet to Nozomi: "Your a right good bird n' that. I'd 'ave it away with you if it weren't for me dad."

NebachadnezzaR said...

Barry, you just made me lol. Hard. xD

The GagaMan(n) said...

I would re-buy the game yet again for that version, Barry!

I did at one point own the PAL, Japanese and US versions of the game but sold off the PAL one as it's identical to the PAL but the PAL boxes the twice the shelf space. I own a few games twice, and only Samba De Amigo 3 times ( if you count ver.2000). Pretty daft of me either way.

Barry the Nomad said...

I imagine a localized UK release of Shenmue to be set in Manchester. I think that'd be a good fit.

A Moomintroll said...

I was never able to enjoy Shenmue because of the awful voice acting and it crashed at the bit where you're supposed to swap disk 1 for 2 so I was forced to turn the DC off, meaning I lost my save file.

Barry the Nomad said...

"awful voice acting"?! But without that, icons like Goro and Tom would be normal and bland!

"YOO DUUUDE! Gotta take a leak."

fatherkrishna said...

Do all Japanese versions have the audio CD? I'll have to invest in one if they do...

"I wish the PAL Shenmue was dubbed in very thick British English. Ryo gets a toy capsule: "Jolly good!" Ryo talks sweet to Nozomi: "Your a right good bird n' that. I'd 'ave it away with you if it weren't for me dad."

That made me laugh HARD Barry. I think you need to show us your English accent skills by making a little overdubbed Shenmue video for us here at the 'Yard...

Barry the Nomad said...

You know what, FK, I will gladly do so soon! My British English is a mish-mash of Ricky Gervais podcasts and Mighty Boosh, so it is most likely to be heavily ridiculed.

My favorite English moment: on a trip to London, I spotted a ad campaign featuring a dude who looked a LOT like me. I was having my photo taken in front of the advert when a guy passing by yelled: "Oy! You don't look a fiiiing loike 'em!" lol

Michelle said...

I"m having a wonderful experience with Shenmue at the moment, after finding a PAL copy at a car boot sale I am actually playing it through for the first time.

So thanks for this comparision, and the comments here were laugh out loud funny.

I'd be up for a redubbed British game too :D

Tomleecee said...

I'd like to know if Barry can do a scouse accent

chris said...

I have a question that I'm begging anyone to answer.

I bought a dreamcast on ebay,when it arrived it came with a some NTSC-J japanese games and north american version games.

It plays both japanese games and american games perfectly. Do you think my system has been modified? and if so...

Can I buy Shenmue 2 with english subtitles?

Please help me out...

Thanks...