Jet Grind Radio (Dreamcast)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  optrirominiluikus (112)
Written on  :  Jul 21, 2004
Platform  :  Dreamcast
Rating  :  3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars3.83 Stars

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Wonderfully stylish game, but...

The Good

The graphics and overall style of the game is very good and unique and all that stuff. Certainly it was refreshing to see when it first came out. The music gets boring pretty fast but it well made and fits the game nicely. Even though I'm not much into "hip kids owning the streets" or whatever, the story and presentation works fine.
It is a very fun game, in fact I think it's one of the best games for the Dreamcast. And it's still almost unique, the sequel for the Xbox is pretty much the same game.
The level design is mostly wonderful, even if there really are just five different areas to skate around in. The individual stages of the game are smaller or bigger parts of these areas, and upon finishing the game you can choose to play individual levels, or skate around the areas as you wish.
There are three different challenges you can take on upon completion of the game, and these can be done as many times as you want, in any order, or not at all. They are JET Graffiti, JET Technique, and JET Crush. In other words, the graffiti challenge, the trick challenge, and the race challenge. Unfortunately there is no two-player mode, which is a real bummer.
The music is good, the tracks are very skillfully mixed into each other throughout the game, and there is much variation.

The Bad

The controls. Oh man, the controls seriously ruin the experience for me, and indeed for anyone I know who has played this game.
Simple things like running up a set of stairs or wallskating to tag something can get very frustrating and often requires many replays. And the worst part is that I don't know if it's Sega's fault for designing the Dreamcast's abomination of a controller, or if it's just poor programming. Which brings us to the trick system. As far as I have been able to figure out, all tricks are random, the manual doesn't really mention them, and that's a big bummer. Something more like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater would have been preferable. As it is now, you only have to use three buttons (A, L and R) to play the game. Would it not have been a good idea to use B, X and Y to perform tricks? Getting a high score on all levels certainly would have been more fun and challenging if there were actual tricks to perform, not just jumping and grinding, hoping that the character will do some nice tricks along the way.
And the fact that there's always a time limit makes me so stressed out that I almost don't want to play it. But I paid for it so I have to. Also, the game's menus are extremely annoying, think Medal of Honor x10.
There should have been a two-player mode, I do however think that it would require two Dreamcasts linked in some way, since the graphics can slow down quite a bit in the single player mode, and I shudder to think what would happen in split screen mode.
The system for designing one's own graffiti tags is quite simple, and could have been better, perhaps utilizing a system similar to Animal Crossing's system for designing patterns for use in the game. There used to be downloadable graffiti tags and other goodies, but I have no idea if there are any official servers left, since the Dreamcast's untimely demise.

The Bottom Line

Great eyecandy, ok music, pretty fun game hampered by extremely frustrating controls, overly simplistic trick system and a long, boring loading/warning-don't-do-this-at-home sequence in the is however worth the small amount of money you'd spend on it. It is a fun game, but be prepared for some extremely frustrating moments, and it's all because of the controls.
However, I seriously feel that not even the controls can spoil the fact that this is, in my opinion, one of the top three games for the Dreamcast, and if you don't own this, you suck.