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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Nozomi Shows Off Her Fighting Skills: Another Hidden Easter Egg Discovered in Shenmue!

Our report a couple of months back on an easter egg that lets Ryo unleash a punch resembling Street-Fighter's "Shin Shōryūken" against Goro in a harbor QTE scene stirred up a storm of interest from fans, and that post has become our most-viewed post of all-time.

And now, the same legendary Japanese fan who tracked down that easter egg has shared a video of how to unlock a new one that lets Nozomi show off her previously unknown martial art talents in a free battle!

It is astounding that a 20-year old game still has new secrets to be discovered.

Don't take our word for it - watch below to see a side of Nozomi you never knew existed!

According to the fan who made the discovery, who goes by the handle nullpo, a hint about such an easter egg first surfaced in summer of last year (2018) - presumably also courtesy of the former developer who teased the existence of the Shin Shōryūken punch around that timeframe.

With not much more than this to go on, he has been spending his spare time over the last four months analyzing the game's code and eventually succeeding in identifying (and reproducing) the conditions to enable it.

Where Does It Take Place?

The free battle to which this easter egg applies is part of an optional event in Sakuragaoka Park. A cut scene plays out in which thugs Enoki and Nagashima harass a local boy on the pretext that the boy's toy airplane hit Enoki in the face, and Nozomi stands up to them.

Just as they start to turn their attentions towards Nozomi, Ryo sees what is happening and steps up to deal with the bullies by himself, at which point a free battle begins.

This event is part of the standard game, although it is optional and only plays under certain conditions as described next.

Conditions for Triggering the Park Scene (Standard Version):

Ryo must visit Sakuragaoka park before 7 pm on the first sunny or snowy day after his brawl at the Heartbeats Bar (source).

Update: DigitalDuck from the Shenmue Dojo clarifies that it can be any sunny/snowy day after visiting the Heartbeats Bar, not necessarily the first such day. (However it must be before Ryo visits the tattoo parlor).

Additional Conditions for the Nozomi Easter Egg

In order to activate the Nozomi fighting easter egg, there are two further conditions. Note: these also apply for with the Shenmue I & II re-release.
  1. Prior to triggering the event: increase the kitten's affinity score above 500. See more about how the affinity score works in the next section.
  2. After triggering the event: rapidly press the following series of button commands in sequence:

    Y Y B X A A A

    or, if using a PS4 controller, the equivalent:

    △ △ 〇 ▢ ✕ ✕ ✕

    The timing for pressing this is during the first 8 or so seconds after the cut scene has commenced, showing Ryo walking along the road in Sakuragaoka towards the park, up until just before Nagashima appears.

    Be warned, however, that extremely tight timing is required for the command sequence: there is only a leeway of 5 frames allowed between presses. (Nullpo estimates from his own testing that only one in about 20 attempts was successful).
The command sequence must be entered between the start of the scene (left) and where Ryo is about to enter the park (right).

Notes on Boosting the Kitten's Affinity Score

Although not explicitly revealed to the player, Shenmue tracks the kitten's feelings towards Ryo in the form of a numerical value that can be increased if he takes good care of it. (Shenmue II employs a similar approach to track how friendly Fangmei is towards Ryo, and Yu Suzuki has mentioned in interviews an "Affinity System" that will be influential in Shenmue III conversations).

The most effective way to increase the kitten's affinity is to feed it Sliced Fish which can be bought at the Tomato Convenience Store. Feeding the kitten once boosts its affinity score by a 120 points.
Sliced Fish: the fastest way to a kitten's heart
It turns out that both of the newly-discovered easter eggs share the same method to trigger: a combination of a high-enough kitten affinity score + a successfully-entered command sequence. (To unlock the Shin Shōryūken at the Harbor, a kitten affinity score of 1000+ is needed)

Binary Edit Instructions to Skip The Command Entry

As achieving a successful command sequence input is extremely challenging, Null pro has provided the following modification instructions for Shenmue I & II which remove this condition. (Disclaimer: these involve an edit to a binary file, so any changes made are at your own risk).
  1. Open the following file in a hex editor:
    disk_xxxxxxxx.tac [where xxxxxxxx is some hexadecimal number]
  2. Search for the following sequence and edit the SECOND occurrence by replacing all numbers with zeroes.

    Before: 02 00 00 00 02 00 00 00 00 02 00 00 04 00 00 00 00 04 00 00 00 04 00 00 00 04 00 00
    After: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
Alternative Method:

Radar on the Shenmue Dojo forums has created files for Forklift which will apply the changes in memory, without needing to edit the binary. Link to forum thread.

The above change skips the need for command entry, so only a sufficient kitten affinity score is needed before triggering the scene.

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  1. Replies
    1. The same hex edit can be made on the Dreamcast version by searching the disc image (there is only one occurrence).