Monday, October 15, 2018

Sacred Spot Guide Map (Shenmue I & II Version): The Differences

The New Shenmue Guide Map: The Differences

The Shenmue "Sacred Spot" Guide Map is a multi-page tourist pamphlet highlighting locations of interest to Shenmue fans around Yokosuka and is a collaborative effort between Yokosuka City and SEGA. It was originally released at the end of 2017 in both English and Japanese versions (see our video about the map with links to their pdf downloads).

A new edition of the map has made an appearance at SEGA's booth at the 2018 recent Tokyo Game Show in September.
Shenhua shows off the new edition of the map at TGS 2018.
Shenhua shows off the new edition of the map at TGS 2018.
In this post we compare the new version directly with the original, page by page, to see what differences there are.

The language of the new version is Japanese (whereas the original map also had an English version). This is understandable, given its purpose as a promotional item for the release Shenmue I & II in Japan, as we shall see.

Note: an official pdf of the new map is not available, so photos have been used which may introduce some color variation.

The Cover

The largest and most obvious difference is that the cover has been updated to Shenmue I & II artwork, in place of the artwork from the first game. It makes for a gorgeous-looking advertisement for the re-release.

In the new version, the English title line no longer appears along the bottom; in its place, the introductory sentences have been moved down from the top, leaving an uncluttered space for the "Shenmue I & II" logo.

Comparison of covers
Comparison of covers

A more subtle change here is the font (and height) of the Japanese title. The new font is "rounder" - for example, this can be seen from the straight horizontal lines which are now slightly curved.

The new title font is slightly rounder.
The new title font is slightly rounder.

Inner Pages: Map of Dobuita

The map of Dobuita and the surrounding streets has been given a graphical touch-up.

Most visibly, the background color is now a more subdued jade color. The image of Ryo standing on the left has also been replaced with a new one (whose jeans are a somewhat lighter color - presumably to give a closer match to his appearance in the re-release).

New in-game screenshots have also been added onto the map:
  • Ryo rescuing Nozomi on the motorbike on Route 16.
  • Ryo fighting with Guizhang in Sakuragaoka.
  • Ryo and Megumi taking care of the kitten at Yamaose shrine.
  • Ryo training at Suzume Park.
The Dobuita St map has additional screenshots added.
The Dobuita St map has additional screenshots added.

Inner Pages: Heading Illustrations

The small illustrations next to each heading have been refreshed:
  • Ryo and Nozomi on the motorbike -> Nozomi at the flower shop, with Ryo superimposed.
  • Nozomi -> Kurita-san in front of his shop
  • Iwao Hazuki -> Nozomi holding a bunch of tulips
  • Ryo in a fighting stance -> Mark at the harbor
The small illustrations in the headings have been updated.
The small illustrations in the headings have been updated.

Inner Pages: Map of Yokosuka 

On the map of the wider Yokosuka area, there have also been some image replacements:
  • Guizhang -> Goro
  • Ryo -> Nozomi
  • Nozomi -> Tom
  • Megumi & kitten -> Ine-san (!)
Character changes on the Yokosuka area map.
Character changes on the Yokosuka area map.

"Shenmue Briefing" Page

After the front cover, this page has undergone the greatest changes: whereas the original shows Iwao Hazuki and Lan Di, with a determined Ryo set on revenge, the new layout focuses on Ryo and Shenhua.

The quote from Ryo ("I can't believe my father killed someone...!") has been removed, as well as the Shenmue I and Shenmue II storyline summaries. Replacing them in the center is an image promoting the release of Shenmue I & II in Japan on PS4, on November 22nd, 2018.

The briefing page has been transformed.
The Shenmue Briefing page has been transformed.

Tourist Guide Page

On the back page, the tourist guide text remains the same, but there has been a change in the character images here too. The ever-serious Nozomi and Ryo have been swapped with a couple of more light-hearted characters who are sure to "perk you up"!

"Yo dude!"
"Yo dude!"

Final Comment

That brings our comparison to an end - in summary, the changes are largely graphical, but give the map a welcome lift as well as adding in a reference to the second game with Shenhua's inclusion. The Shenmue I & II cover artwork looks gorgeous, and the map served as an effective promotional item at the Tokyo Game Show to attract attention to the upcoming Japanese re-releases.

Available For Your Shenmue Collection!

Our blog sponsor, UK-based Retro Import Gamer, currently have a Shenmue I & II map listed on Ebay at a reasonable opening price.

If you are interested, check it out at the link below.
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