Jet Set / Grind Radio
Know as "Jet Grind Radio" in the USA, "Jet Set Radio" elsewhere
wondered what you’d get if you mixed Tony Hawks Pro Skateboarding with
Crazy Taxi? Well, you get a
brilliant blend of action and mayhem, in the form of Jet Set Radio, or put
the way it’s said: ‘JET SET RADIIOOOOO!’
Set Radio is set in the city of Tokyo-to.
(Hmm... wouldn’t happen to be Tokyo would it?)
Gangs of youths show their appreciation of Tokyo-to by roaming the
streets on super-magnetic in-line stakes spraying their graffiti tags
across the city. These gangs are sworn enemies of each other, and if that
wasn’t bad enough you got the cops after your blood too. Your gang (the GG’s) is led by Professor K, a serious dude
with an ego as big as his ghetto blaster. Professor K runs ‘Jet Set
Radio’ a pirate radio station that provides non-stop hardcore music. You start off with a cool
punk, Beat, but a one man gang isn’t much of a gang right?
You get challenges from other skaters who will join your gang if
you can prove to them that you have as much skill as them.
By copying their moves, you can get ‘em to be part of your group.
Once you get 2 more members then off you go to the streets of
The city is divided into 3 sections, and you have missions to complete within each section. The main idea is to spray locations marked with an arrow with some graffiti of your own within set time limits. Spray cans are located around the city, and these are used to graffiti over a rival teams tag. Pressing the L trigger by an arrow puts you into spray mode, where following the on-screen commands using the analogue joystick gets your player executing his spraying. There are 3 sizes of graffiti, each having their own difficulty in executing. 3 simple joystick moves can get a small graffiti patch sorted, whereas you’ll find yourself rotating the joystick around 7 times in all directions to pull off the biggies; sore thumb alert!
visuals in the game are extraordinary!
Instead of following others to achieve a realistic look, this game
uses cell shading. Cell
shading you ask? Well, think
of the game as an interactive cartoon!
Everything is outlined in black, just like a cartoon.
The characters have a ‘drawn in 2D style’, and look very cool
indeed. The levels are huge,
very colourful, interactive, looking similar to something from a Japanese
manga film. Everything goes
together to achieve a very funky look.
Roaming subways, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, tearing up a bus
depot, trespassing an abandoned industrial site and winding around a busy
city centre are all part of the action.
As well as being very well constructed,
the levels are highly detailed. Small things like signs and posts,
vehicles, glowing neon lights, cats and birds scouring around, and secret
shortcuts all contribute to the amazing visuals.
The explosion and lighting effects are pretty cool, all in the
cartoon style matter. There
are a good variety of levels, 2 have been added extra from the Japanese
version that I have also completed. All
the levels are part of the same city, if you get to near the edge of your
mission area you’ll get a warning sign telling you that you’re about
to leave your designated level.
Even the main menu screen is truly spiced up. Instead of a standard “missions, players, options, music” etc screen, the whole menu front is implemented into a 3D hang out. To access the missions, just go up to the map of the city on the wall. Want to change players? Using your joystick, go through the line up of ruddies as they all hang out and move to the groove of the music in the ‘garage’ as they call it. Want to hear the background music? Head over to the MASSIVE speaker (Professor K is a DJ after all!) and access all the tracks through the radio interface.
is even possible to create your own graffiti tags in the game, you are
provided with some basic construction tools to create your very own
masterpiece. If designing is
all too much for you, then stick with the 100’s of in-game graffiti
tags. Tags can be unlocked by
collecting tag icons within the levels.
Hey, you can even download tags in jpeg format off the Internet and
use them in the game! Ha, the
joy of spraying a revealing Carmen Electra around Tokyo-to is unrivalled!
The overall presentation of the game is superb, the interfaces are
very cool, the font used is funky and navigation is easy. Lot’s of attention to detail gives that quality feel to the
The levels are scattered with carefully positioned objects to help your skater dudes roam the levels making full use of their kick ass magnetic in-line skates. Grinding is very important, being the best way to get around the levels with speed and attitude. For those not in the know how, grinding is like balancing a power-slide down a railing. Blades slanted so that the grinding plate under your feet touches the surface, you can slide down whatever you like the look of! Grinding is also a brilliant platform to execute moves from and to gain that extra jump height to reach a spray location. Railings, telephone wires, crane-arms, bridges, railway tracks and even walls can all be grinded on. You can pull off some really cool looking moves, ranging from a 720 degree spin to Beat’s mid air splits! Combo’s can be performed by stringing together lots of moves while grinding, to help soup up your points for a better ranking! You’ll find yourself jumping across from railing to railing across the levels to get around to tag the rooftop locations, and without getting caught by the cops.
The cops. No one is going to take vandals, which you ultimately are, roaming the streets strutting their stuff. Even in the early missions, the cops are hell bent to stop you led by humorous Captain Onishima, but they’re quite the wussies. Later on, the SWAT team are called to end your graffiti dreams using tear gas. Keep moving around or you’ll suffer. Things get a bit hectic when the tanks are called in! Yes, 5 army tanks against a teenage punk! Did I mention the choppers? The choppers are called in the later levels, and bare some resemblance to the Apache ‘copters for anyone who follows military gear. The choppers fire heat seeking rockets hoping to put your skating antics to rest, too many hits and you’re a gonna for sure. Thankfully in the style of ‘spray cans’, ‘health cans’ are scarcely distributed in the odd place to help you recover lost health. You can sit back and rejoice laughing when you graffiti the cockpit view of a chopper, watch the pilot lose control, and pillow into the ground!
As you progress through the game, you get missions where you have to locate another gang, like the heart-broken love shockers, and spray tag their backs to finish them off for good. May sound easy, but having to chase other punks through the streets roaming with traffic and lined with obstacles to spray their backs around 15 times can be a tad tricky; most important is to keep a good supply of spray cans. It’s a right pain when you’re right on the tail of an enemy, press the L trigger, a big “duh”, you’re out of spray cans! Every so often, some guy or gal offers you a challenge. Challenges are either having copy their moves, or race them to a location to tag a spot. Succeed and you’ve earned yourself a new team member.
you start to get more and more members, you will start picking certain
players for certain missions depending on their attributes.
Combo has great health/stamina, but lags behind agility.
On the other hand, Gum is fast but has poor health and cannot carry
many spray cans. Missions
where there’s heavy enemy fire will get you picking strong characters.
Each member has a pager tapped into the police and rival
you’ll be able to hear the cops and other enemies talking about you, and
you’ll know when they’re about to bust into your area.
When you hear “kill him”, they mean it.
Keep yourself moving, or else they’ll have assassin no. 69 spank
your ass with his extending whip, no really I’m not joking here!
the end of the game, some mafia group start their invasion of the city.
These guys are so mean that even the cops are too scared to do
anything; you must sort the buggers out yourself.
That’s enough of giving the story away; the rest is for you to
see for yourself!
How did I fail to mention it earlier?
Jet Set Radio boasts some of the BEST game music EVER in ANY video
game. To fit the ‘all
things funky’ theme, the game boasts a superb blend of rap, dance,
techno; Japanese pop and hip hop music!
Hideki Naganuma from Sega has composed most of the music.
We’re talking original quality music here.
The US version, which is named ‘Jet Grind Radio’, includes some
music from recognised bands including Rob Zombie, Jurassic-5 and Cold.
The US music fits in excellently with the game, even though it
isn’t as good as the Japanese stuff.
Richard Jacques (did the Metropolis Street Racer music) has also
helped out, adding the cool ‘Everyone Jump Around’ track to the game.
I can honestly say that JSR is a perfect example of seriously
‘cool’ and ‘funky’ music in a video game.
Crazy Taxi touched the line, with Off Spring and Bad Religion
performances, but Jet Set Radio rewrites the way game music is to be done.
The tracks integrate very well, just like some DJ performance.
One minute you’re hearing one track, the next minute you’re on
the next track without realising! The
gradual integration is brilliant. Any
game that has you playing sometimes just to listen to the music must have
some seriously mean music!
sound effects and speech are wonderful too.
Each player has his or her distinctive style of talking, funky,
cool, or downright comical! Professor
K, the guy who seems to talk with his hands, and talk he does a lot, has
great speech. Captain
Onishima must have been put in for a right laugh, it’s easy to piss him
off and his ‘sounds-cheesed-off’ talking gives that away smoothly.
The ‘Jet Set Radiiooooo!’ dialogue is pure klass.
General sound effects are great, making this game audio wise almost
The control system is quite simple, there’s jump, dash, tag, camera angle and the analogue stick for movement. It’s a bit awkward having the camera angle and tag button both using the L trigger, as if you want to change your camera angle when you’re next to an arrow your player will start spraying instead of changing camera angles.
the subject of camera angles, it is always a challenge for the developers
getting it just right in such a perspective game.
Thankfully, it works well most of the time.
Occasionally, you do end up with a daft view of your player hidden
by a wall or the camera staring right up your players back side (the
latter which may please some male gamers out there when playing as Cube!)
A small problem compensated by all the pros of the game.
Comments? Suggestions? Mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org
-- “Someone’s busting our turf, let’s get spraying!”
"At long last we get a fresh breath of air from the gaming arena courtesy of Sega’s in-house developer Smilebit. Jet Set Radio defines a new standard for future games with its screaming originality, fresh graphics, killer music and addictive gameplay!"
Set Radio is something of a novelty, it is executed in such a way that you
can not help but be impressed with.
game has been rendered in a similar style to ‘Wacky Races’, and seems
to represent the more modern anime films like ‘Jin Roh Wolf Brigade’.
The basic game sees you travelling to various locations highlighted by a
big arrow to cover some rival gangs gravity with your own. However unlike
Crazy Taxi you don’t have access to a whole city, you have access to
parts of it. Each different stage takes you around various parts of
Neo-Tokyo-To, and in some of the Rival challenges you get to skate around
the whole city, but with no obstacles such as pedestrians or cars.
has been widely reported that Jet Set Radio is very easy. Personally that
is something of a misconception. The extra characters you learn through
the rival challenges vary a lot. Some are really rubbish and others are
okay for one mission, but you will no doubt stick to Beat through the
early levels, until swapping to Mr. Boom Box, on his search for Coin in
music is cool, the UK version does not have the Rob Zombie track in it, so
stop crying, get over it. JSR is a game that you will keep coming back to
again and again, due to its cool styling and quirky humour.
-- "Wot officer? Graffiti is art man! Get those wrist bangles off me, you fascist!"
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