Back when I started getting big into graffiti, Jet Grind Radio released for the Sega Dreamcast sometime in the year 2000. This cel-shaded game became an instant purchase as soon as I laid eyes on it at Toys R’ Us for the first time. The game is set in an over the top world of ‘Tokyo-To’ where gangs of taggers on futuristic in-line skates take to the streets and tag walls to mark their territory. The members of these gangs all listen to a pirate radio station; ‘Jet Set Radio’ hosted by the funky DJ Professor K, spinning Japanese Pop and hip-hop inspired tunes directly into your ears. The game becomes very relaxed at first, until the SWAT teams, rival gangs, attack dogs and tanks start to get in the way. Tagging is done with directional motions on the analog stick, and tricks are performed almost automatically as you jump onto rails, wall ride, and flip about after jumping.
For the people who are new to the game, the game play can be divided into three modes;
The general game type in Jet Set Radio will set you in beautifully designed levels where you skate around the town avoiding police and painting over the rival gang’s tags in the area. After enough of those mission you will gain control of the area and have to chase down the opposing gang and tag their backs a number of times to incapacitate them. Lastly there is a challenge mode, where you have to pull off a ‘follow the leader’ game type. By using a ton of tricks while tagging and after completing all levels for that specific game mode, you unlock a new character to play as. Jet Set Radio has a large assortment of characters to choose from, each with different stats but only slightly changing how the game runs.
As far as the actual port goes on the PSN, there are some framerare drops that happen a few times within the game. On the Dreamcast version it was almost non-existant but it seems like the staff messed up in a small way with this. Outside of the issues of framerate, the game looks and sounds very well. The majority of the original soundtrack is there, and outside of the one missing track not included, you’re getting a dead on, accurate representation of what the original game contained. The cel-shaded look that the game pretty much pioneered in 2000 looks just as nice here in the all glorious HD, although the 3D modeling may be a bit bland for today’s standards, it’s a port of an older game.
Instead of simply repackaging Jet Set Radio, Sega has included a few extra items. One of the new items is a documentary, which gives you some insight on the games history. Fans of the game especially will appreciate it, and you don’t even need to unlock it! Besides the documentary, there are also some songs from Jet Set Radio Future. Check out Jet Set Radio HD on the XBox Live Arcade or Playstation Network for only $9.99.