So we come to the end of our countdown of the best Dreamcast games ever made. Nine worthy gaming classics have come before us, but finally we have reached the summit, the deifining title of the Dreamcast era, a game so adored that even now, a decade later, a voluble section of gamers still harangue Sega to release the third and final part of the trilogy. Bright Hub's greatest Dreamcast game ever is Shenmue.
Trying to sum up Shenmue in a couple of paragraphs is pretty much impossible, but here goes anywhere. After watching the death of his father at the hands of a mysterious man called Lan Di, Ryo Hazuki sets out to solve the murder and bring the killer to justice. To do this, the player must explore a massive game world set in 1980s Japan, filled with a myriad of clues, activities and characters to encounter.
Shenmue was designed to be Yu Suzuki's gaming masterpiece, and is rumored to have been the second-most expensive game of all time after Grand Theft Auto IV - at a time when Sega were losing money hand over fist. First conceived on the Dreamcast's predecessor the Saturn, Shenmue's scope and scale soon proved too much for the 32-bit machine, and devlopment transferred to the Dreamcast. Shenmue was groundbreaking in the freedom it presented the player with and in its detailed simulation of Eighties Japan, including authentic day/night and weather cycles as well as fully voice-acted NPCs, unheard of for the time.
The actual gameplay in Shenmue was acombination of exploration of the gameworld, a 3D fighting engine for combat and the introduction of what would become known (and commonly derided) as Quick Time Events, involving pressing button combinations displayed on-screen. There are motorcycle chases, fights in bars and even Yu Suzuki's classic arcade games Space Harrier and Hang-On, both fully playable within the game's virtual arcades.
Shenmue never stood a chance of ever recouping its production costs, and while the sequel did make its way out into the world, including an Xbox port, the final chapter never saw the light of day, leaving Shenmue fans forever frustrated. While a financial disaster, Shenmue has proven hugely influential on games in the 21st Century, particularly the Grand Theft Auto titles and other "Open World" games, and its story-telling mechanics have found their way into the work of game designers such as David Cage of Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain fame. In many ways, the spirit of Shenmue lives on in Sega's Yakuza series.
You may never be able to solve the crime at the heart of Shemue, but it is a collosus in the Dreamcast gaming landscape, and truly deserves its crown of best Dreamcast game ever made.