Review by Chris.
"Get out there and TAG!"
Well, Sega has finally brought the goodness of Jet Grind Radio to the U.S., and let me tell you, it is good. Excellent, in fact. It's not 100 percent perfect, but it is about as close as you are going to find.
First off, for those of you expecting a Tony Hawk type skating game with cuter graphics, abandon that expectation right now. Surprisingly enough, there is little correlation between the two games. In fact, i would call them entirely different.
When one buys a skating game, it's usually expected that the game will be all about the tricks..720 Rocket Air, the 900, all those things. Jet Grind, is not about doing tricks. It's about making your way through incredible environments with blazing speed, and hopefully without stopping, only to tag various walls and obstacles with your logo. Not to say that there aren't tricks. In fact there are a ton of them. Trick control is a different matter. Most of the time, it seems that the game itself decides what you do, based on speed and other factors.
I admit that at first the tricks in the game were kind of a turn off, since we all loved doing mad amounts of tricks in tony hawk...however, now i see it has been for the better. By making the tricks secondary, it has allowed the player to focus more on what is at hand...that being the grinds. This game is full of them, and that is a lot of the fun. While playing this game i've found some of the most incredible lines for grinding my way around that i have ever seen in any game. The levels are designed for grinding and boy does it show in a great way. Gone are the balancing troubles that everyone has during a massive THPS grind, since the game does the balancing for you.
Now, so far this may sound a bit to easy for you, but trust me, it isn't. The game has a decent challenge level to it, and aside from that, it is just plain fun. Though i have yet to beat the game myself, i know that once I do, i will want to play it again. It is ncredibly addictive.
Probably the main thing hyped abotut hsi game were it's graphics, and let me tell you, they live up to all expectations. When playing the game, i felt immersed in a cartoon world of graffiti and street kids. it was way cool to say the least.
Contributing to this immersive experience is the game's soundtrack. A central character to the game is Proffessor K, whose job it is to drop some fat tunes out of his pirate radio station, called Jet Set Radio (which does kind of bother me, as i wonder why the station is Jet Set, and the game Jet Grind...but oh well...). These tunes are excellent, mixing hip hop, classis turntable jockeying, and even some rock for all you boys and girls. To call the soundtrack excellent would be an understatement.
As for the gameplay itself, it centers around the story of one graffiti spraying,rollerblading group of kids called the GG. During the plot of the game you go all over Tokyo-to and against all sorts of rival gangs. While you are doing this however, the police are hot on your tail...and then are persistent. As the game goes on, they send everyone from patrolmen, to para-trropers, to helicopters (complete with heat seeking missles), to tanks, all in am attempt to kill you, and it just makes the game more heart pounding then you can imagine. Dodging Heat seekers in the Construction site is still one fo the most exciting things i have ever done in any video game.
Now for the bad...good news, kiddies, there isn't much at all. The only downside i have found tot he game it the occasional bouts of slowdown, but overall those are incredibly rare, and the game doesnt suffer at all for them. There are occasional camera problems, though not many, and once you get used to them, you will be fine. Outside fo those two problems, this game is damn near perfect...
Though my rating outside couldn't say it, i would actually give this game about a 9.7...it's definitely worth picking up.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/02/00, Updated 11/02/00
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