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Jet Set Radio Review

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Jet Set Radio - a very little known SEGA game (originally known as Jet Grind Radio for the Dreamcast) that was released in HD for Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, Android, and iOS in 2012. You play as teens on roller blades, and your main objective is to cover the city of Tokyo-to in graffiti while avoiding the cops, S.W.A.T Team, helicopters, missiles, and other projectiles. You're probably like, "What's great about it. It's a normal action/adventure game." You may be correct, but the most prominent and enjoyable part is the soundtrack. A link to one of the songs will be posted at the end of this review.





Controls - The main controls include jumping, speeding, moving, and spraying. Pretty simple, right? Yup! You may run into an invisible wall accidentally or a fence, but the controls are easy to pick up. You have to spray graffiti by following the arrows that appear on screen. They go from up and down and all around (get the reference). I have yet to master spraying graffiti in game. However, the length of the spraying process differs between the characters. You can also do tricks while grinding on rails or airborne. 


Characters - Once you begin Story Mode, you automatically start off with Beat and obtain other characters along the way. Guess what. They're all teenagers. All the characters have their own trick style, graffiti style, and health meter which differs for all. The characters can hold a different amount of spray cans which are necessary for graffiti. They all have their own personalities. These are just the playable characters. One of the most important non-playable characters is DJ Professor K. He's the DJ of the pirate radio station, Jet Set Radio. He acts as a commentator throughout the game with humorous lines.After a few sprays, some dudes will come after you by foot or by air. The cops will chase after you and try to pull you down. Helicopters will try to fire missiles, but you can destroy them by spraying them (so realistic). S.W.A.T will deploy tear gas. Then there's the head cop, Onishima who will try to shoot you. The Golden Rhinos are a group of killers that erased your graffiti. There are also rival gangs who mark your territory first. Finally, there's Goji - a guy that was messing with the people's culture.





Story - All good games have a protagonist and an antagonist. In JSR, it's you versus the world. The game is divided into three chapters. In the first, you need to claim your territory by spraying it with graffiti while going up against rival gangs - the Love Shockers, Poison Jam, and the Noise Tanks. In the second, you play only as Combo or Cube who are up against the Golden Rhinos. You're in search of a lost friend - Coin - who was taken by them. In the last chapter, you need to stop Goji from unleashing an evil spirit from a cursed music record. Remember, you're accomplishing all of this with spray cans and roller blades.


Soundtrack - This is the most memorable part of JSR. It's full of funky and cool music that plays as BGM. Even Rob Zombie's Dragula is here! The link is to a song called "'Bout the City".



Overall - JSR is definitely a must-play. The concept is absurd, but enjoyable. It emphasizes originality and freedom. It's one of my favorite SEGA games in my opinion. I give it a 9/10. Nothing is perfect, though.


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It's a good game, sure, but not a 9/10 in my opinion. I have it on PS3, and I must say the controls feel clunky, like no effort was made to improve them in a more modern time. The graphics are in a 16:9 ratio, which means they're in full screen with no black bars on the side - like the type you get when playing a PS2 game, which is definitely nice. The music is good, but sound quality should have been improved for the HD release - specially when one of the game's main focuses is on music in general. You could have perhaps used the excuse that the game is for PS1, and so could only play sound in Stereo, but it is a complete HD re-release, not just a PS1/Dreamcast port, so the music quality should have definitely been improved in my opinion. Also, the options menu bugged out for me. 


The game was definitely amazing - perhaps even a 9/10 - when it came out on the PS1/Dreamcast, but it hasn't exactly stood the test of time, mostly due to some wear marks (clunky controls that feel outdated, relatively non-high quality sound and the fact that its a HD re-release, meaning there's really no excuse for any of these things). Currently, the PS3 version sits on a 6.5/10, maybe a 7. It could have been better.

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