Monday, 21 July 2014

Feature: Kamurocho Blues

When it comes to setting most people have a firm favourite, be it the grimy streets of Liberty City or the sun drenched beaches of Vice City. Others may tell you Yokosuka from Shenmue or even certain levels from the Megaman series, for me I am always torn between 3, Yokosuka which I spoke about in length, Hong Kong fitting with the Shenmue theme & Kamurocho from the Ryu Ga Gotoku or Yakuza series.

I remember when I was first introduced to the series, it was a pure blind buy as I had just been paid & went to my local video game suppliers. Despite owning an X Box 360 at the time I was still very much committed to my Playstation 2 and all the wonderful titles you could pick up, my original intention was to pick up a copy of Final Fight Streetwise. Yakuza had just released that day and was sat next to the last copy of FF Streetwise, I loved the look of it and decided I would buy both. That weekend I made the wise choice to start with Yakuza first, Streetwise sat on my backlog for around 2 years before I finally gotten around to it, safe to say Yakuza was the star purchase!. 

I must of spent the best part of a month playing Yakuza none stop in awe of just everything this low marketed title had to offer, certainly alot more than any "next gen" title had at the time. The story was a fantastic tale of betrayal, love, loss and Yakuza traditions all tied up in stunning graphics & a fantastic dub featuring the vocal talents of Mark Hamil & Michael Madsen. 

But it wasn't just the story and the fantastic characters that drew me into the series though this is where my love for "Mad Dog" Majima started, no it was the streets and sights of Kamurocho that kept my glued to this game & it's follow ups!. It's since that very Playstation 2 title that I have frequented Kamurocho over the years on various formats. 

Inbetween unraveling the story of Yakuza I would spend countless hours solving the various side quests, all fun some serious and some seriously wacky. To me this felt like Shenmue on a bigger scale with more freedom, I didn't feel like I was in any rush to finish the story when there was so much going on around me. 

Random street fights would pay for my various trips to Sega world where I would spend countless hours on the UFO machine trying to win top prizes. Visiting all the different restaurants to test all the food gathering Exp as I went on. The batting cage was always a frequent haunt trying to best my high scores & I used to set aside a lot of time to conquer the arena in the mysterious yet beautiful city under Kamurocho!.

As the game titles grew so did the sights & activities of Kamurocho, later on came hostess bars where you could charm women with the right words and flashing a little of the cash. Karaoke was also a blast with Kazuma blasting out the tunes with a pitch perfect passion, arcade machines grew in Club Sega too!. 

There is the casinos where you can make some major cash on the tables or just spend hours on Pachinko, spending your winnings in the various M Marts around the place or heading to the more expensive shops and the obscure pawn shop. A fortune teller would also help you whittle down yen and time, more shops and places added with the underground shopping areas in Yakuza 4.

Over the years I have fought many a battle in Kamurocho, be it human or otherwise I have waged wars over my beloved city. Like Kazuma as often as I live it's bustling streets I always find my way back among it all ready to pour more and more time into the place I have grown to love over the years.

Between the rain soaked streets and the mysterious yet beautiful Purgatory alone I have spent over 200 hours roaming around. So many different stories, like the man who fights crime with curry, the overly friendly cross dresser, revelations for your blog or just the zany characters that attack you everything has a unique feel to it.
Funny thing is even with a zombie invasion life and the craziness of the city never stopped! & neither did it's allure.

So far we are trying everything we can to get Yakuza 5 brought out in the west, I hope this happens otherwise my Kamurocho Blues end here....

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