Review by Uncle Fuz
"The most original game in years"
With all the media attention that Sega is getting from quitting the console business, it sure isn't going out on the games. Jet Grind Radio is one of their best titles to date. Unfortunately, this game didn't even sell over 100,000 copies in Japan. Something must be going on around their. Maybe it's because all the attention is going to those new PlayStation games. Hah! If only the PlayStation was half the system the Dreamcast was, then I would buy one. Anyway...
One of the first things you'll notice will be the original artistic presentation. Cel-shaded graphics give it a hand-drawn which makes the characters move such more smoothly than if it was not. The backgrounds are in full 3-D and the explosion effects are excellent. (You'll see) This is certainly a style that will be mimicked in the future. There is some noticeable slowdown that sometimes ruins your groove during the game. But the game covers it up by having unparalleled draw distance. Not perfect, but almost.
This game is unlike any other game out there. At first glance, it looks like a Tony Hawk clone on some sort of weird crack, but it's not! (Surprise!) You control a graffiti gang who are equipped with roller blades and a radio. Each member has it's own unique attributes such as speed, power, technique, and can capacity.
You go around this enormous city spraying graffiti on walls, floors, roofs, and even other people! Larger tags require multiple spray cans that you find throughout the level.
The best part of this game is busting out tricks with the greatest of ease. Want to grind on a rail? Just jump when you're next to one and you'll grind. Want to see some gravity-defying spins and flips? Build up speed and jump, and you're on your way to trick heaven. Linking grinds and flips onto almost every single rail or ledge is and extremely addictive skill. Every time you grind or do a trick, you get points. Get enough points on a level, you get a Jet rating on that level. Get a Jet rating on all levels in the game, you will unlock hidden characters!
While you're out spraying the city, the police force is out to destroy you. Literally. They'll chase you down on foot, in the air, and over sea. And during these attacks, they'll try to kill you with multiple weapons such as missiles, tanks, machine guns, and crazed assassins!
The only dent in this knight's armor is that it's too god dang hard! You'll spend upwards of half and hour on a few levels. And if you mess up horribly in the middle of a level, you can't even restart! You have to quit, go back to the garage, then go through the entire process of choosing your character and level all over again.
A lot of people harp on this game mainly because of its controls. Sure, it's got its problems. Such as the limiting movement of your character on screen. Turning 180 degrees can become a chore sometimes. The camera angles will change at random and will screw you up badly. On the plus side, the button controls are simple. The analog stick is used for movement, A is used to jump, and R trigger is used to dash. But what I'm really stumped by is why Sega decided to make the camera control button and the tag button the same! There are times when I am trying to tag, and it changes my camera angle and spins me around, letting the police catch up on me. Simply put: In the sequel, Sega, put the other three buttons to use!
On larger tags, you use the analog stick to perform semicircles, full circles, up, and down movements. Very easy, but too sensitive. In other words, the game will sense the movements too early, even before you're done. Oh, well...
The music in this game can mostly be described in one word: Totally jacked up. Wait, that's more than one word. Sorry, I'm tired. But anyway, when playing, some music will creep into your run making your ears bleed. Other times you'll be stuck in one level with the same music for the next 999 seconds! Sega should've made the option to change the music during the game like Tony Hawk, but they decided not to. Oh, well.
The sound effects are a nice treat. Hearing your spray cans clattering and getting hit by a car are nice additions to an otherwise disastrous music.
Buy or Rent?
Buy, of course! You won't even get past the first half of the game if you rent. Plus you'll want to play this thing over and over again for all eternity. (Or until the sequel arrives)
While Jet Grind Radio is not perfect, it sure is one hell of a fun game. This game will last you 30-40 hours the first time around, then you'll be able to blaze right past it the second time around. Very good, only Sega should've made it a bit easier and the music selection could've been better. Oh, well. There's always the sequel...
-Hearing that Super Brothers song for the fifth time!
-Abysmal Japanese sales
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/13/01, Updated 04/13/01
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