Written by  :  Satoshi Kunsai (2093)
Written on  :  Jun 10, 2002
Platform  :  Dreamcast
Rating  :  4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars
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Bring in da tunes...bring in da tricks...JET SET RADIO IS IN DA HOUSE!!!

The Good

Sega's a company with a lot of guts; they'll release some of the wackiest and weirdest games ever known to man, and some may succeed, some may be cult classics, and some may fail. I don't know where Jet Set Radio ended up, but I do know this: tell me of any other game that mixes rollerblading, racing, action, and spraypainting. I'll bet no one can. Jet Set Radio is simply one of the coolest, most original, and all out quirkiest ideas Sega's ever come up with. I bought this out of sheer curiosity and ended up with one of my favorite Dreamcast games ever made. Let's move on and see how the game stacks up.

Well, first there's the whole story and premise: somewhere in Asia is a city called Tokyo-to (although it's really obvious that the game obviously is taking place in Tokyo, Japan), where several gangs roam the streets. In the district of Kogane-cho are the Poison Jam; in the district of Benten-cho are the Noise Tanks, and then in Shibuya-cho, we have the game's heroes (or good guys, if you insist): the GG's.In the center of it all is the pirate radio station Jet Set Radio, manned by funkmaster DJ Professor K, who is the man on the street who knows everything that goes on in Tokyo-to. He'll keep you informed during the game of the latest news from the street. But to continue on, someone invaded the GG's territory and tagged (or spraypainted) their graffiti somewhere in Shibuya-cho. Of course, since Shibuya-cho's the coolest section of Tokyo-to and the GG's aren't up to sharing, they have to defend their territory from rival gangs. But there's one more problem: the fuzz want to eliminate all the gangs to, as they say "make the streets safer", but it's just an excuse for them to throw everyone into jail for life. So now you've got several objectives: go and steal the other gangs' hangouts by tagging them with your own graffiti, and avoid the cops at any cost. So each level basically works like this: tag designated locations marked by arrows, avoid the cops as much as possible, and grind through the stages while performing some really wicked tricks.

If you're going to ask about stuff like "Well, I guess there are enemies and such, right?", then the answer is yes. You have rival gangs to deal with, the cops, Police Chief Onishima (a.k.a. "Shorty"), and later in the game a deadly group called the Golden Rhinos. The cops are pretty tough to deal with: they are all nuts, and love using tools of mass destruction. The worst of the lot is Onishima, who chases your characters and shoots rubber bullets at them. Thankfully, you can also tag Shorty and get him off your tail, as well as choppers, which crash when their windshields are sprayed. But if you thought the cops were bad, wait till you run into the Golden Rhinos...

The tag system is rather easy to use: when you come to any place that can be tagged, a thought bubble will appear over your character's head, meaning they're ready to tag. Tags come in several sizes: small graffiti, which takes only one blast of paint to tag; large graffiti, which takes 3 cans; and extra large, which can take up to 11 cans. Tagging larger graffiti requires several circle strokes with the analog stick, so keep your hands steady while tagging so you don't waste cans.

Controls are easy to handle. Tricks are done more or less automatically, so you don't have to worry about complicated button combos for them. The A button jumps, the R trigger makes you dash, and the L trigger controls camera angles and tagging. That's it!

Now, let's move on to graphics, sounds, and music. The graphics in this game are freakin' EXCELLENT!!! Everything is drawn and rendered using cel-shaded graphics, lending a VERY cool hand-drawn look to everything. Everyone and everything is drawn in really good detail, but still retaining the look of an anime of some kind. The sounds are also of amazing quality, with plenty of voice effects, lots of ambient sounds, and of course, the sounds of grinding and skating abound. As for the music...there's a TON of damn good music in JSR, ranging from rock to hip-hop, from dance to techno, and everything in between. Some of the best pieces include "Let Mom Sleep", "Yappie Feet", "Up-Set Attack", "Magical Girl", and the final boss theme, "Grace and Glory". So why doesn't someone tell me where a JSR soundtrack CD can be bought so I can buy the damn thing already? ^_^

The Bad

Combining the camera and tag functions into one button is a pain in the ass sometimes, and a few of the selectable characters are kinda worthless. Your best bets are to use Beat, Tab, Garam, Combo, and Cube for main stages, Mew for speed stages, and Gum for some of the rival stages.

Also, seeing its sequel on the Xbox and not on the 'Cast or PS2 is a bit disheartening...>_<...guess that means ANOTHER system to buy...

The Bottom Line

For game-starved Dreamcast owners, this is a definite must-have. It's original as hell, and a LOT of fun to boot.