That game is called Shenmue, which was released for the Sega Dreamcast in November, 2000. Shenmue is an open-world action-adventure video game. Shenmue consists of open-world 3D environments interspersed with brawler battles and quick time events. It features a level of detail considered unprecedented at the time, including a day-and-night system, variable weather effects, non-player characters with daily schedules, and various minigames.
The story revolves around 18-year old Ryo Hazuki, who seeks to avenge the murder of his father in 1980’s, Japan. His father’s murderer was a Chinese man by the name Lan Di. Lan Di came after Ryo’s father in search for two “mirrors” which look more like medals with symbols on them. The two mirrors are: the dragon mirror, and the Phoenix mirror. Later on in the game, it’s revealed that he only took one of the mirrors, which was the Dragon mirror.
The next day, Ryo goes out to search for the men that killed his father. He goes around his hometown of Yokosuka asking people for clues. The beginning of the game revolves around you as Ryo asking people questions such as “Have you seen a black car?” “Do you know anyone that might be Chinese” “Do you know where I can find sailors”. Due to this slow and admitting mundane part of the game, people back then gave up playing the game. Although, the people who kept playing patiently with an open mind realized that the story gets more exciting and interesting as the game progresses.
Gameplay in Shenmue is diverse. While most of the game is spent walking around the Japanese locations in a third-person 'chase cam' mode (talking to people, searching for things, and so forth), it is interspersed with many 'mini-games', including forklift and motorcycle races, bar fights, chases down crowded alleys, dart games, and fighting sequences. You can do other things like buying drinks from vending machines, taking care of a cat that had been abandoned, buying capsule toys, listening to music on a cassette tape bought in the game, and going to the arcade to play classic Sega arcade games made by Suzuki himself.
The battles pit Ryo against one or more enemies. Ryo has a large list of martial art techniques. The player has the ability to enter a practice mode of sorts, in which Ryo will practice his various martial art techniques, either alone or with a friendly opponent. This helps to increase the player's familiarity with the battle system. While progressing through the game, players have the ability to learn more techniques, adding to Ryo's collection and ultimately making him a more powerful martial artist.
During the majority of Shenmue, the player will explore the Yokosuka area. Often, these leads will be gained by talking to local people who can provide important clues. If the player so desires, they can explore the area simply for fun without progressing through the game. Furthermore, talking to a variety of local people that although will not progress the narrative, can greatly enhance the player's understanding of the plot or gameplay mechanics.
There are also several side quests for players to engage in throughout the game. These will not affect the main narrative, but might provide Ryo with useful items or further develop characters and storyline for the player.
For example, a rainy morning followed by an overcast afternoon and evening. The weather has direct impact on how the game looks - on a rainy day, people are walking around with umbrellas, and on a snowy day, the street is covered with snow. The conditions generated are reflective of the season in which they take place. In addition, records of actual real life weather forecasts of the Yokosuka area during 1986/1987 were implemented into the game, giving players the option to experience these weather conditions in addition to those which are randomly generated.
Dobuita, the second largest location in the game, is a busy town that boasts a wide variety of people and activities. Dobuita offerings include an eclectic and diverse selection of shops in the game, from convenience stores to specialized antique shops where valuable martial arts scrolls can be purchased. There is also a red light district with several bars, restaurants, a small slot machine parlor, and a mahjong parlor. The bus service that allows Ryo to travel to the New Yokosuka Harbor District is also located here near a tobacco shop.
After the release of the first game, Shenmue 2 was made as a last attempt to save the Sega Dreamcast, alongside Sonic Adventure 2. What’s interesting is that Shenmue 2 was later ported to the original Microsoft Xbox, but the Dreamcast version never got released in the US. This was because of a deal that former Sega of America CEO, Peter Moore, made with Microsoft. Peter Moore is now the president of EA. Even though fans were happy that the game was released in the US at all, fans were still enraged. This is because the Dreamcast version which was released in Japan, and Europe, had Japanese voice acting with English subtitles. Also for the fact that in the Dreamcast version, if you complete the first game, all the items, capsule toys, fighting moves, and money you earned, could be transferred over to Shenmue 2. The Xbox couldn’t do that obviously because it’s on a different system.
Recently, Sega has been thinking about making a HD remake of both Shenmue 1 and 2. Although, they have to deal with copyright issues before doing that. This would be great, because people who never got the chance to play the games on the Dreamcast, can now get it on newer consoles. When that happens, I recommend checking it out.