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Jet Grind Radio

ジェットセットラジオ

Developer: Smilebit Publisher: Sega
29 June 2000
Jet Grind Radio [ジェットセットラジオ] - cover art
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3.66 / 5.0
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573 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#619 All-time
#26 for 2000
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Title
For the first hour or so of playing Jet Set Radio, I was fully considering dropping the game soon after. Fortunately I ended up sticking with it, because with a bit more time I finally started to see this as an absolutely fantastic little experience. At its core, JSR is also a game that felt as if it allowed me to better understand certain dichotomies between the game design approach between Nintendo and Sega and how they were able to cultivate a lot of experiences that felt remarkably distinct, each with their own pros and cons to them. While Nintendo tended to approach games largely from the perspective of having a player understand the majority of the game's systems immediately and intuitively to make for something inviting and accessible, Sega consistently seemed to more go for the approach of "Hey, the first few hours of this are going to suck but once it clicks it's the best stuff ever". This feels especially true for this game however, as getting into it proves to be a bit rough due to the control scheme feeling incredibly loose and difficult to handle, with a wide turn radius and a constant sense of momentum that means you can't immediately slow down making it really difficult to start off with as even the most simple obstacles feel like fighting against the game. However, with a bit of time, once you get used to it all, it becomes increasingly clear how so many of the mobility quirks that you have lend themselves perfectly to the level design.

For a movement system that practically requires the player to be getting a bit of a running start to properly gain momentum and actually reach a lot of higher locations, not to mention maintaining this speed for a pretty long time whether you want to or not since rollerskates just tend to do that, it needs to be complemented by level design that supports this, and here's where Jet Set Radio largely shines. Grind rails, secret areas and just your general avenues of traversal tend to be spaced out in such a way where you can flow naturally from one location to another as long as you have a general idea of where everything is. Jumps are spaced in such a way that you'll be finding yourself effortlessly perfectly positioning yourself to barely slow down after a while, it goes from something that feels like it's fighting against the player to something that feels incredibly intuitive, but then also satisfying due to the player knowing how much they had struggled at first to make even the most basic of manoeuvres. It all contributes to a feeling that the game is less interested in seeing you merely beat the stages, and instead wants you to absolutely master them.

This idea of mastery continues to be represented through the way that the enemies within the game are handled, initially seeming like pointless distractions that serve to frustrate and slow you down, but actually being utilised as a clever way to further force the player to understand the levels and plan their routes carefully from the start. Because the intensification of enemy waves is based exclusively off of how many spots you've tagged without the time taken having any bearing, planning is a far more important step to the game than it first lets on, to the point where once you figure out how to approach getting around a stage, the pacing can often feel rather leisurely, with even the most intense waves still being easily managed due to the remaining targets being simple to reach nonetheless. So many elements that initially seem like a hindrance to the Jet Set Radio's experience ultimately prove to contribute to the core gameplay loop in an incredibly organic way to the point where you'll often feel as if you're just being let loose without any real sense of overbearing guidance, even though the game is really nudging you in the right direction for the entire duration.

This reaches its peak with the rival battles thrown throughout the game, that either make you race against someone or just follow what they do, which doesn't only often lead to you being taught about certain tricks to make getting around easier, one example being sliding across walls for extra height, but you'll often be taught about little shortcuts as well. These end up feeling exciting not only because you're being taught about so many things that were always there that you probably just didn't know about, but it all links back into making replaying those stages later all the more satisfying as you once again get to entirely redefine your route with these new tricks and passages in mind, feeding into the remarkable replayability that the game has. Of course, despite all of this, it's still hard to deny that the best aspect of the game for me is just how much insane style it has to it, with the colourful, cel - shaded art making every area be filled to the seams with so much charm, bringing life to what could've potentially been a dreary urban sprawl. The art is further complemented by Hideki Naganuma's amazing soundtrack that takes a lot of cues from instrumental hip hop and the big beat scene to make for one of the coolest OSTs to a game out there, with even the occasional lulls in quality still carrying such a strong vibe to carry the game's aesthetic up into the stratosphere.

On the whole, while I cannot fault anyone who plays this game and hates it for the way you control your character, it not only is a system that progressively feels better the more you play, but the design of the levels and encounters themselves is absolutely incredible in how it perfectly balances between knocking the player around and silently guiding them into feeling like they're pulling off some absolutely insane stunts. While I already love the game, it's also another case where it almost feels built to be replayed a bunch, and those small annoying moments that appear from time to time are nowhere near enough to tank the experience by very much. Definitely worth a shot especially if you love its aesthetic, and even if you've played it and didn't like it very much, honestly give it another small shot, you might be pleasantly surprised.
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Kempokid 2022-08-09T08:42:30Z
2022-08-09T08:42:30Z
4.0
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This game is not just the soundtrack
Jet Set Radio is often remembered for it's street culture visual and sound, something which stuck out during those early days of 3D. I can't praise these parts of Jet Set Radio enough and neither can the rest of the world so there's no point going on about it. However, I am here to defend Jet Set Radio's gameplay which I feel is often unfairly criticized just because it "controls poorly". I really don't think this is the case with this game.

Jet Set Radio controls differently not poorly. It feels floaty because you have slowed down and ruined your rhythm. The graffiti motions are not clunky, but simply mimic drawing graffiti like your stretching your arm across a wall in straight motions. It feels slow when someone grabs you because someone grabbed you. The fluidity of Jet Set Radio Future [JSRF ジェットセットラジオフューチャー] is often praised over this game and while I'd say I prefer it, Jet Set Radio does have advantages over it's sequel.

The graffiti system is much more interesting then many people have mentioned. Yes, it is just motions, but the tension of being chased while figuring out if you have enough time to graffiti is interesting arcade gameplay. The way the camera moves as people get close really make you feel like you're vandalizing and need to get away. If you're trying to get the max rank, you'll need to plan out your route, replaying the mission until you've outsmarted the cops.

Future isn't a sequel like the developers have discussed but a reimagining. Both games bring uniqueness in both aesthetic and gameplay style. Both are bombastic with style, and both are one of a kind platformers, even compared to each other. So appreciate what each game does and stop comparing this one to Future so much just because this game is not as smooth. Have you ridden on roller skates before?

Best track is Rock it On
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OGDreamcast 2021-09-08T14:58:37Z
2021-09-08T14:58:37Z
5.0
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i regret 100%ing this
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breakfasttt 2021-07-07T20:42:46Z
2021-07-07T20:42:46Z
3.5
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The end result is aesthetically coherent and unique, but does not borrow enough gameplay ideas from the extreme sports titles of the era such as Tony Hawk and Aggressive Inline.

On one hand, this approach seems to be the smart sort of simplification - JSR is not about racking up big trick combos, it's about tagging walls and running from the police. To limit frustration, the control scheme had to be simplified to the point where everything felt fluid while doing one of those two things. But in your mission duties you will still wall-ride, grind poles, and build speed in halfpipes, and this is the part of the game that feels the least developed. Grinds on slightly wider objects or corners of large objects drop often, jumps will suddenly not carry your momentum, and the camera is very often not up to the task of any high-flying you're encouraged to try. After a while it starts to feel more like a clunky 3D platformer than an extreme sports game.

The major gameplay loop is that as you tag more locations throughout the stage, the cops call in progressively more ridiculous units to take you out. These include helicopters with machine guns, canine units, SWAT teams with tear gas grenades, tanks, and so on. You generally are gonna have a harder time staying alive as the level goes on, but depending on which tags you go for first, the difficulty is significantly impacted. The most recent (read: dangerous) cop unit does not actually camp out every tag in the area, just a handful. Whether or not you were lucky enough to do those before the big guns rolled in is usually the key to your success. That sort of trial and error was not rewarding to me as it was very drawn out guesswork - many of these levels are upwards of 10 minutes. Many tag locations require significant speed to get to as well, and as you might guess getting show slows you down significantly. Depending on how you map out a stage the first time, you'll either have a relaxing time or be pretty miserable, and this continues for the entire game.

The previous two paragraphs slightly hurt me to write, as I find pretty much everything non-gameplay to be outstanding. The soundtrack has gained notoriety outside of gaming circles for its funky, distorted, punk turntablism. The art direction is highly stylized with cel shading, cartoonish and fashionable character designs, and a bright palette. The plot of a graffiti turf war in a highly anti-expression and militarized Tokyo is engaging, and the base of operations for your crew being a pirate radio station is pretty novel and ties the turntablist musical themes into something with in-game meaning. But how much does all of that mean when I just don't have that much fun playing it?
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the_lockpick 2017-12-31T05:35:46Z
2017-12-31T05:35:46Z
2.0
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Set in the Japan-like Tokyo-to, rival in-line skating gang members are fighting for territory using graffiti. You play as the GG's starting out with 2 characters; Beat and Gum.

There are three types of levels. The main levels involve navigating an area, finding all the areas marked with the red arrows and spraying them with graffiti. As you near your goal, more and more police forces show up and they really take their vandalism law seriously! You will be pursued by swat teams, helicopters, even tanks! These are led by Officer Onishima who chases after you with his oversized pistol.

You start off with zero spray cans, and must keep looking out for spray cans that are across the level to keep your supplies up. Each character has a different limit that they can carry, so some characters are more awkward to use than others. Some graffiti spots only require one spray can, whereas the larger ones require several and are completed with Quick Time Events.

These QTE's are done with the control stick only, and it feels awkward because you don't get much feedback if the movements are registering. You are put under pressure by being chased by enemies. Sometimes you will have to flee, goad them away from the spot; then return to complete your artwork.

Navigating the levels can be a bit of a pain because obstacles are often inconveniently placed in order to slow you down. There's many areas where you are required to make a jump, and it's a chore to get back up; a spiral staircase, slow moving lift, or a long detour. Then with the pressure and inconvenience of the police force, this task becomes even more awkward. I often found the characters were slow to accelerate but their top speed (when chaining multiple grinds) can be too fast.

The controls can get in the way too, with the jumping physics being really floaty which often means you overshoot the rails when you want to grind from one rail to another. The thing is, there were times where you try and leap off a rail, but the game seems to try and home you in on the rail, so it seems like a feature that only works when you don't want it to.

You may think the game includes Tony Hawk style gameplay, but although there are tricks; they are automatic. Leaping high triggers a trick, and grinding requires no balance so you can never fall from a rail.

As you progress through the game, new characters will challenge you to either copy their run through a city, or race to a specific location. The runs usually involve several parts, but they are small, so require little memorisation. The races involve you familiarising with the track and finding a shortcut – simply following your rival will cause you to fail. It seemed weird that if your rival is ahead by the halfway-point, then they will wait for you; rendering the first half almost pointless (I say almost because you can gain an advantage by this point). Beating these challenges adds that character as a playable character.

The third type of mission involves chasing three gang members through an area, and you have to spray each one ten times. They follow a set pattern and just repeat it when they get to the end, meaning you can be following their same movements for around 10 minutes. Spraying them is incredibly awkward given that the prompt doesn't show up most of the time, and you take damage if you touch them; yet you pretty much need to get in touching distance to spray them. Part of the problem is that the same button that is used for tagging also centers the camera. I found I could only complete these stages by choosing a character with high-health, and spotting an area that is more enclosed where they slow down. Sometimes you can spray them multiple times in these locations.

You will revisit the same locations throughout the game, but the second time around, they will be chained together in one big level. The annoying thing about these levels is that the map screen only shows you one area at a time, and doesn't mark the transitions between them. This led to repeated attempts to clear it as I was familiarising with the level layout.

On the smaller levels these transition areas give you a warning that you are about to exit the level if you carry on. However, no confirmation is given; you are simply taken to the level selection screen. If you are travelling at a standard speed, you can turn around. Travelling fast or reaching these areas from a jump means you are unable to turn in time. One time I did successfully turn, only for a car to hit me and I was unable to dislodge myself.

The graphics are very nice as I am a big fan of cel-shading. The 90's Hip-Hop aesthetic works well too.

The gameplay in Jet Set Radio is too simplistic, then the mechanics are often awkward and not fun to play. It's like the game designers tried to make the game as annoying as possible. It's weird how people think this is a classic because it is hard to imagine people had fun playing this back in the day.
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CaptainClam 2019-04-20T17:07:35Z
2019-04-20T17:07:35Z
2.5
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I know that among all my ratings on here, this is one of the ones that will draw the most flak - Jet Set Radio's a bit of a cult classic, as can be seen by the excitement the 2012 PSN / XBLA reboot generated, and it's the kind of game that at first glance seems innocent enough, and free enough of any major flaws, to not really generate any hate. Fair enough, I guess, and despite the low rating, this isn't a game I'll go on some huge rant about if somebody brings it up in real life like I might with some of the others I've given the same rating. All I'll say is that I don't remember having less fun right from the word go with any other console game I've owned - the controls felt awkward, stiff, and counter-intuitive, the storyline alternated between being tacked-on and nonexistent, the gameplay was excruciatingly repetitive at times, the characters on both sides were totally interchangeable, the world it's set in didn't feel like it really had much thought put into it (either conceptually or in terms of planning out the levels), the difficulty swung wildly, and the cartoony style, while undeniably innovative at the time, just grated on me. I just never really felt like I knew what I was doing or - more importantly - why I was doing it. I don't *hate* Jet Set Radio, that feels like far too strong a word, but I can't deny that it left me feeling completely empty and unfulfilled. Not even Bubsy 3D managed that.
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Iai 2016-08-25T21:19:28Z
2016-08-25T21:19:28Z
1.2
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DavidSS ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-26T02:47:26Z
2022-09-26T02:47:26Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
allenco Jet Set Radio 2022-09-20T17:04:07Z
Windows
2022-09-20T17:04:07Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
jonspoon ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-20T09:26:15Z
2022-09-20T09:26:15Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
secondskin ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-19T20:05:21Z
2022-09-19T20:05:21Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sir_wafel Jet Set Radio 2022-09-17T20:23:04Z
Windows
2022-09-17T20:23:04Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dzabb ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-16T08:55:08Z
2022-09-16T08:55:08Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dragoonWho ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-09T16:33:29Z
2022-09-09T16:33:29Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
heresmahhi ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-08T13:08:05Z
2022-09-08T13:08:05Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
snake_eater ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-07T11:27:44Z
2022-09-07T11:27:44Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cymbalhit ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-06T03:49:21Z
2022-09-06T03:49:21Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
notafraid ジェットセットラジオ 2022-09-05T18:41:02Z
Dreamcast • JP
2022-09-05T18:41:02Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
rustedpeices Jet Grind Radio 2022-09-05T09:45:27Z
Dreamcast • XNA
2022-09-05T09:45:27Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Media
1x Disc
Franchises
Also known as
  • Jet Grind Radio
  • Jet Set Radio
  • View all [2] Hide

Comments

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  • Previous comments (16) Loading...
  • Pastellix 2022-01-30 01:13:26.154747+00
    I've never understood how people can think Future is entirely better than the original as I'm constantly deliberating between the two myself. JSR has a much steeper learning curve as a result of the more imprecise controls, but the visual presentation, soundtrack and over-the-top level of self-awareness has meant that it's aged a lot more gracefully than Future (even if the world-building, immersion and movement in Future is considerably better than JSR). I also fail to see how anyone could prefer the tagging gameplay in Future over the QTEs in this.
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  • EyeSocketCrunch 2022-02-11 21:19:43.101554+00
    this is such a comfy game
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  • kleptomato 2022-02-15 18:04:03.677262+00
    controls wonderfully tbh
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  • stfumatt 2022-02-26 19:56:45.820757+00
    JET SET RADIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
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  • King_Death 2022-04-06 07:55:41.952828+00
    fun
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  • blokrenblossbroms 2022-06-28 18:08:19.606998+00
    Professor K sounds so much like Malcolm Mooney, which gives this game an impossible amount of street cred in my eyes.
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  • Klavor 2022-08-11 18:14:02.736652+00
    JET SET RADIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO [2]
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