The Phantom Teahouse Lady (+other guidebook oddities) – UPDATED 6/11/18 – She’s in the game after all!!

dontfeelsogood-teahouse
Has Thanos’s wrath reached the Shenmue universe as well…?

UPDATE 6/11/18 – She’s in the game after all!

Well now, don’t I feel a little silly after initially making this post…

So as it turns out, this character is in fact in the final version of Shenmue II after all – however you’d be forgiven for missing her as she only appears at one, very specific point in the game, where you aren’t supposed to be wasting time walking to her shop to talk to her.

But first; to recap – and the TL:DR version of the original post (but please do read the original post below as well – there are other interesting tidbits about the official strategy guides for SII)-

  • In both the Shenmue II Perfect Guidebook and the Shenmue II Complete Guide, there is a profile for a character named ‘Wen Hua Chun’, both books claiming she can be found at the Luck and Virtue Teahouse (in the Tea Break Bldg. in Kowloon)
  • However, if you go to this shop in any version of the game (that is, the JP Dreamcast version, the EU Dreamcast version, the US Xbox version, the EU Xbox version, as well as the recent re-released version for PS4, Xbox One and PC), she is simply not there – there is no shopkeeper to be found at the teahouse at all, in fact.
  • Therefore, this led me to determine her as an ‘unused character’, and I therefore did not include her while working on my ‘Shenmue II Character Database’ project. I also made the below post to talk about this, as well as other outdated/inaccurate information found in the guidebooks.

However – after my recent playthrough through the PS4 update/re-release, I discovered something strange while playing through the ‘Following Yuan’ scenario -(that is, when Ryo and Ren are following the flamboyant Yellow Head member home to rescue Zhu Yuan Da’s man that has been kidnapped)- Hua Chun was at the shop!!

Confused and slightly bewildered, I quickly captured video from the PS4 – and you can see the (admittedly quick and dirty) video below: (the preceding cutscene is to set context and show the exact point in the game where you can find her – you can skip to 1:13 to see Hua Chun)

She doesn’t have too much to say when you talk to her – she’s disappointed that Ryo isn’t stopping to eat, as apparently he would have been ‘the first customer for a while’ (but you can clearly see people sitting at the tables, so perhaps she’s becoming confused in her old age…). She also says it’s one of the oldest shops in the building – an interesting little tidbit.

hua-chun-ps4
Maybe you’d get more customers if you were at the shop more often, Hua Chun…

You can’t ask her any of the ‘Money’ related questions, as it is impossible to do so during the ‘Following Yuan’ scenario. However, as you’ll see from reading the original post below, one of the guidebooks claims she can direct you to the pawnshops in Kowloon – but obviously this is not possible here.

So while she technically is still in the game, it would appear to be an error/oversight that she only appears during this part of the game – you can not see her here before or after this point in the game.

So why is this the case? Is it an error in the game’s coding, or something that’s gone wrong with the way NPC’s are generated? I can’t claim to understand the technical side and inner workings of these games, but if anyone familiar with the game’s files etc was able to find a reason and possibly restore her in normal gameplay…

In any case, its an interesting find – something I stumbled upon nearly by accident, as I thought I’d just check the shop during that point in my playthrough as I’d never done so before – and there she was! Proving once again there are still new things to discover in these games, even after playing for the umpteenth time.

Also to clarify – I’ve only witnessed this on the remastered PS4 version so far – but I assume her appearing at this specific point occurs in the Dreamcast and Xbox versions as well (I also switched to English voices to check that she has a dubbed voice, and she does – suggesting she’d be there on the Xbox version too). When I get the chance I will confirm this for sure, unless someone else wants to beat me to it, of course 🙂

I’ve also updated the Shenmue II Character Database with her profile – the download link can be found within this post.

SEE BELOW FOR THE ORIGINAL POST – which also contains some interesting details about Baihu, the lost Tiger Gate Building and another character I initially thought was unused.

***

So today we will be looking into an unused/seemingly removed character from Shenmue II. This is a particularly strange case, as there doesn’t seem to be any apparent reason for the character’s removal, and her existence is only known due to her inclusion in Japanese guidebooks for the game…

To begin with, let’s take a look at a certain character’s profile from the Shenmue II Perfect Guidebook – that of Wen Hua Chun:

 

wenhuachun

Wen Hua Chun

Birthday: 19th July, 1916

Age: 70

Zodiac Sign: Cancer

Blood Type: O

Gender: Female

Height: 157 cm

Weight: 58 kg

 

 

And where does one find this character? Well, as the below image demonstrates, the guide claims that she can be found at the Luck and Virtue Teahouse, (and is presumably the owner) which is on the 6th floor of the Tea Break Building in Kowloon:

luckandvirtueteahouse
Also notice the unfortunate error on the other (orange) sign – ‘Tea Teahouse’ indeed…

However, if you go there in the game to take a look for yourself – or indeed, check out Bluemue’s ‘Tea Break Building Room Raid’ video (one of a brilliant series where he explores each Kowloon building room by room) – you will see that she is nowhere to be found in the shop. In fact, the shop does not have anyone at the counter at all (and yes, I’ve tested all versions of the game – JP Dreamcast version, EU Dreamcast version, and the Xbox version):

emptyteahouse

The Perfect Guidebook is not the only guidebook that refers to this phantom character – the Shenmue II Complete Guide includes her in its character list as well, and also provides a (very small) body shot:

huachun_completeguideprofile

This guide also lists the Notebook entries that can be unlocked by each character – which is what those numbers are referring to. While the guide is in Japanese, I was able to determine that the entry it refers to is, in fact, the very last page – which is within the ‘Money’ section, rather than the main storyline part of the notebook. Basically, it seems that if you were to ask her about pawnshops nearby, she would tell you of the ones in the Great View Building, thus unlocking that note (if you hadn’t got it already). Many thanks to Peter Campbell and his fantastic Shenmue II 100% Notebook Guide for allowing me to check this nice and quickly!

So why on Earth was this character seemingly removed at the last minute? It does seem odd that her character profile would make it into the guidebooks, only for her to be nowhere to be seen in the final game. She isn’t of any particular importance, granted, seeming that she is just one of many shopkeepers in the game (or would have been), but it does seem very strange.

However, this is not the only example of the guidebooks providing erroneous information about the characters. The Perfect Guidebook also claims that Baihu can be found in the Tiger Gate Building – a building that is not accessible in the final game – which we will talk about in more detail in a future post! (however long time fan LanDC discovered the building’s loading screen in the game’s files, as pictured below):

baihu-tigergate

In the final game, of course, Baihu is found in the basement of the Big Ox Building. So it would appear that they were working off an earlier build of the game when putting the information for the guides together, given this mention of the Tiger Gate Building and the inclusion of a seemingly removed character. Of course, her removal meant that I did not include her in my Shenmue II Character Database, which otherwise uses information from both the Perfect Guidebook and Complete Guide – but I thought this post would be a good opportunity to cover this phantom character.

A character I did include, however, was Tao Paikun – however, he very nearly didn’t make it due to, once again, the Perfect Guidebook providing erroneous information. Simply put, I could NOT find this guy in the game for the life of me at first – and was very nearly ready to consider him an unused character as well:

taopaikun

 

Tao Paikun

Birthday: 16th August, 1944

Age: 42

Zodiac Sign: Leo

Blood Type: A

Gender: Male

Height: 172 cm

Weight: 62 kg

 

The profile describes him as a ‘harbor labourer’, which is the exact same way as two other characters are described. Chong Lang Xun is the guy you see losing to Jimenez Garcia at arm wrestling at the beginning of the game, while Qin Xiang Duna is seen spectating in the crowd.

So what about Tao Paikun? Now, in both guidebooks he is listed within the ‘Worker’s Pier’ section, so he must be in that area somehow, right? Well, no. I looked all over Worker’s Pier trying to find this guy, seeing if he was in the crowd watching any of the arm wrestlers as well, or if he was hanging out in any of the gambling spots, but nope – he was simply nowhere to be found.

You’ll notice, however, if you click the links for Lang Xun and Xiang Duna’s profiles, that it mentions they can be seen watching in the crowd when Ryo has to break the rock for Zong Quan in the Golden Shopping Mall. I was about ready to give up looking for Tao when I noticed that he is in the crowd during this scene as well!

taopaikun-mall01
There he is! (The guy in white, standing just behind Lang Xun)

 

taopaikun-mall02
Standing behind Ryo, to the left.

As far as I can determine, this is the only time this character can be seen in the game at all. So basically he only appears during one cutscene/event in Wan Chai, and cannot be found in Worker’s Pier, or indeed in Aberdeen at all, as the guidebook seemed to suggest. Because of this, for the database I opted to place him in the ‘Event Characters’ section instead, as this is how other characters who only appear once/or only in certain situations are categorised. (including Baihu in fact).

I point this out simply to provide another example of inaccurate information in these guidebooks – not that I am aggressively criticising the authors for this! (the title of this post is in jest, I assure you). I simply find it of interest because, as mentioned, it seems to show that they were working from an earlier version of the game, and that it was likely too late to change these little details in the book before publication. Maybe hackers out there would be able to determine if there is anything left of our poor Hua Chun in the game, be it her character model, dialogue lines, voice clips etc? It would be interesting to see if any trace of her remains…

Stay tuned for future posts on Shenmue II oddities/ removed content, including more detail on the sadly sealed-off Tiger Gate Building!

Thanks to:

Bluemue for the Tea Break Building shots, captured from his video

The Shenmue Fans channel for the Golden Shopping Mall shots, captured from their video library

Peter Campbell for his Notebook guide, very useful as a quick reference.

And thanks to Mooncalf Studios for the Shenmue subtitles font, used to create the mock-up image at the beginning of the post.

Until next time,

Stuart/Miles

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The Phantom Teahouse Lady (+other guidebook oddities) – UPDATED 6/11/18 – She’s in the game after all!!

  1. Great analysis! It must have been a race against time for the guide publishers to try to capture the latest state of the game despite last-minute changes prior to release.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome article. Just found your blog while doing some reading on Shenmue now I can remember is it it via the releases. Will certainly be following along!

    Like

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