Shenmue I & II, while a marvel for the time, can be difficult to traverse if you don’t understand how the world operates. Here are a few tips to get started on your journey. If you want to know our thoughts about this collection, you can check out our review here.

Become a social butterfly

When it comes to getting through Shenmue, a majority of time is spent investigating different leads to find the next point of interest. Gathering this information can be difficult, but this is alleviated by talking to residents in town. While some people will just ask to play baseball or spew other irrelevant garbage, most of the locals will at least point you in the direction of your goal. In some instances, someone might actually show you the location of the objective. Speaking to everyone is in your best interest, if not for the information, do it for the cringeworthy, yet hilarious dialogue.

Always read your notebook

Throughout your adventures, the journal will update you with clues and important tidbits of various transactions around town. Now if you’re someone like me, you will probably forget about a random conversation or phone number that was given in passing, but fortunately all of these interactions are recorded and can be recalled at any time. This is a very important tool to success, because some of these facts will come back later in the game, so always keep track of these entries.

Always be saving

Money is crucial to the success of your journey. In the first game, your grandmother provides a daily allowance and keeps you well funded. But in Shenmue II, you will find yourself working odd jobs and selling possessions in order to pay for travel and lodging. Even if you feel the need to purchase a Sonic the Hedgehog figure or play a game of Space Harrier, don’t, because those hard earned dollars will have been wasted on garbage that has no value.

Take time to practice Karate

While not something that occurs regularly, fighting is a key element to Shenmue, and these altercation can be grueling if you don’t understand combat basics. Luckily, there are several parks and vacant lots scattered about that are perfect for taking some down time in order to practice different attack combos. Taking just a few minutes to brush up on your technique might be the difference between having to battle an opponent just once, or be stuck in the same battle for several minutes.

Explore your surroundings

Shenmue, unlike other franchises does not have any sort of map on the HUD, so it behooves you to either learn the layout of your surroundings, or at least where maps are stationed. Nowhere in the world is well defined, which means having to compare the name of a place against a map and know how to get to said spot from your current location. You will want to learn map locations early on, rather than getting lost because you can’t tell where you are based on business signs.