Saturday, April 20, 2019

An Evening Snack in Niaowu | Shenmue 3

In the first two Shenmue games, there were plenty of restaurants and food stands to be found - and even Tom's hot dog truck - but it wasn't possible for Ryo to eat at any of them.

That will be changing with Shenmue III, where managing Ryo's energy (screenshots suggest it will be called "endurance") will be a core part of the gameplay both during combat and while exploring. Ryo's maximum endurance is represented on-screen by a number of balls, a number that can be increased by training.
While exploring: the green balls around the outside of the mini-map represent Ryo's endurance (from a screenshot at Yu Suzuki's talk at Reboot Develop 2019)
Ryo's HP meter during combat (from Yu Suzuki's presentation at MAGIC 2019)
Ryo's endurance is depleted through physical exercise such as fighting or running. We have learned from recent comments by Yu Suzuki that if Ryo grows too tired, he may become unable to run but he can restore his energy by eating various types of food.
Ryo may find or buy snacks that boost his Endurance, such as this banana (from a screenshot at Yu Suzuki's talk at Reboot Develop 2019)
One of the places Ryo may be able to stop in at for a bite to eat can be spied among the numerous stalls lined up along the Niaowu waterfront.

In a recent post we looked at the goods on sale at the closest stall (see Bracelets & Prayer Beads at the Waterfront), and just beyond it is one with an orange awning. Steam can be seen rising from within, attracting passers-by with the scent of hot food being prepared.

Partly obscured by a hanging lantern are some written characters on the awning:

The last two red characters read "绝佳," having the meaning of "exceptional" - what sort of exceptionally-delicious food can Ryo expect to eat here?

On the right-hand side is an illustration that serves as a clue, showing a round container with something white inside. The name of the food is confirmed by the smaller writing at the top which has the characters "小笼包" [Xiaolongbao]: Chinese steamed buns which are traditionally filled with pork and served hot in the bamboo baskets in which they were steamed.

Have a steamed bun or two and you'll be running again in no time!
If Ryo visits at the right time, perhaps he'll even be able to observe the stall owners setting up during the day, and closing up late at night...

Thank you to yuc02 who deciphered the writing & supplied the translations for this post!

Post Script:

Last month, contributor James Brown wrote a guest post about the Virtua Fighter CG Portrait series of discs that were released in 1995, and making comparisons with elements that were to be found in the later Shenmue games. And one image in particular shows that Yu Suzuki had this very situation in mind for Akira (Ryo) all those years ago.

James was spot on when he wrote: "Perhaps Ryo will also need to eat steamed buns / dumplings in Shenmue 3 for stamina?"

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