Jet Set Radio was initially released for the Sega Dreamcast 12 years ago. Finally the game has made its way to consoles and PC’s thanks to the HD edition of the game. When the game was released the idea of 2 analog sticks to control the camera still wasn’t an industry standard. Yet with that said the game did pioneer cel shaded look as it was the first game ever to bring gamers closer to the art community and the comic book world. So how does the pre-teen game hold up in this day and age?
Right when you start the game you are slammed against the wall with what the pre indie scene would want to claim its own. With funky music, characters and a story to boot the title gives you a reason to either love or hate it. This is especially found when you finally boot up the main menu for the first time and are greeted by that pirate radio fiend, Professor K, screaming jet Set RADIOOOO! While the story is your basic entry level script for the gang genre. It is interesting to see how the developer Smilebit incorporated a game that brings the world of inline skaters, gangs, graffiti art and music all into one. The results are superb and really adds to the character of the title which has a personality of its own. While most modern day gamers might not be into such things, the nostalgia for gamers that have played the title before is apparent and much needed in a world full of First Person Shooters.
After you have successfully rounded up the first three characters of the GG’s. You are able to select from the three original characters who all have different stats that include: Power, Technique and Graffiti. Beat is the well rounded character that has average stats, while Gum focuses more on Graffiti, and Tab is excellent with his Technique. You are able to add to the selectable characters in the gang as you will be greeted by Garam who will challenge you. Once you defeat the beat master with your “8-slick’s” he will be included in the game as a playable character.
Jet Set Radio’s main story sees you trying to control Tokyo…to as the characters of JSR call it. While 3 major areas in the game are being controlled by various gangs which include a love crew. Don’t be suprised if the Cops come in and ruin your game time with the use of deadly force as they play a major element in the game as well. Controls in the game are a bag of mixed emotions as at times the game works wonderful yet on occasion you will become frustrated with where you characters are landing or even just trying to jump over an overpass. This may be in part due to the few maps that have poor level design. Yet with the learning curve it adds to the hardcore experience that seems to be lost in the current day and age that is modern gaming.
In order to spread the word of the GG’s around the digital beat box city that is Tokyoto players will engage in a serious of analog stick moves that upon completion will light up the walls with your graffiti. The experience gets heightened as soon as the police get involved to try to stop you. From Dirty Harry wielding magnums, police throwing tear gas and even the violent attack helicopters the enemies in Jet Set Radio have various traits and abilities. In order to take down each villain you must find the different weaknesses of each. Lets just say in order to make a chopper crash you must spray your glorious art on it! Of course don’t expect an unlimited amount of health or graffiti as cans of red spray paint will increase your health and green/yellow will increase the amount of spray paint you can use for your graffiti.
While the game keeps you entertained by littering the city with graffiti. The HD remake loses value in the form of any Co-Op or competitive modes since the game doesn’t bring this aspect of the game to life. Instead gamers are only allowed compete via the Leaderboards. Graffiti artists will be right at home once they find out they are able to create their very own graffiti in the game to spread around the world of Tokyoto. The graffiti editor might feel a bit clunky but it works when trying to make you very own art for the virtual world.
All in all Jet Set Radio is an experience to be played if you have never popped in the disk in your Dreamcast before or even if you have! But remember this game comes from a different day and age in gaming and will not appeal to everyone. The game is a welcomed addition to game libraries of those with open minds and not the action packed close minded individuals found on Xbox Live or any other competitive gaming arena out there. If you are brave and patient enough to sit down with this one your gaming prowess will be rewarded after completing each level!