Saturday, 2 September 2017

Cassette Tape Subtitles

Did you ever ask yourself how the subtitles work when Ryo listens to the cassette tape?

Chances are you never thought about it because "what could be so special about them?"

While working on my recent video with the unused files for the tape I needed some clean footage of the recorder running. So the obvious solution is to go into the options and set the game to Shenmue Mode or Cinema Mode to turn off the subtitles, right? But that doesn't work! The game will always display subtitles while listening to the tape, no way to turn them off.

So how do these subtitles work then? Of course it's already clear at this point, that they aren't part of the usual cutscene subtitles. The scene for the tape (0225) only contains the audio files and subtitles for the cutscene with Ren after the clue has been found. The lines for the tape are simply empty.

I had to go on a little hunt to find the file that contains those strange subtitles. I looked at various files like the 1st_read that contain system messages that are displayed like subtitles.
But they all turned out to be the wrong direction. The key to the answer lies closer then I thought.

There is a little event file called MDPT.EV3 sitting in the area folder for Ren's Hideout.
If you're interested the folder is found in this path SCENE -> 03 -> QRR0.
This files contains the subtitles we're after. But it also contains a lot of necessary code for the scene to work. Removing it will just make the game crash upon initiating the tape recorder.
The solution for this was to overwrite every bit of subtitle text with empty spaces while making sure not to remove any parts of code between the different subtitle lines.

Now we can watch this scene without those subtitles popping up!

If only I discovered this file earlier. When I made the video I wasn't able to find it so I resorted to some clever video editing with loops and overlapping parts. Could've saved me a lot of effort...


  1. Is it possible to find out if the same thing happen in the JAP version of the game? I'm asking because I think you've only tried on the PAL version of Shenmue II.

    1. I checked both versions when I found out about this and the Japanese version does in fact have the same files in there.