Review by JPeeples

"Super, super brotha, get around, get around, get around now."

Jet Grind Radio was released in late October/early November of 2000 for the Sega Dreamcast. It was developed by Smilebit (formerly R&D 6), it was distributed by Sega. This is one of the most unique games ever; part arcade game, part adventure game, and part skating game, this game
truly has it all. One of the most unique features about this game is the graphical style used to make them, in a process called cel-shading black outlines are placed on all of the polygonal items and characters in the game, this makes the game look like a cartoon. This game features four cities and allows you to build up groups of in-line skaters (called Rudies in the game) to tag things.

The graphics in this game are some of the most unique in video game history. JGR uses the relatively new technique, known as cel shading, better, and in more ways than any other game. This technique attempts to make games look more like cartoons, in most cases, this doesn't happen, it usually comes off poorly, however... This game truly does look like a cartoon, only in 3-D, the visual style alone will be remembered for years to come. The animation is exceptional, it’s all very smooth and is never jerky. The character design is another strong point, all of the characters have hilarious looks and exude personality. The level design is exceptional, the cities are large, yet, never confusing.

The music and sound effects in Jet Grind are second to none. The music is a combination of J-Pop, hip-hop, and dance music that fits the game’s theme perfectly. The music really brings out the happy go lucky feel of the game and enhances the mood of the game tremendously. The sound effects are some of the best ever in games, everything, from hearing cops talk to each other on the radio, to the sound of the spray paint spraying sound perfect.

Here’s how the story goes. Your mentor is Professor K, a DJ who broadcasts the pirate radio station Jet Set Radio over the airwaves. He tells you that 3 gangs are currently at a stand off in Tokyo-to, the 3 gangs are: GG, Poison Jam, and the Noise Tanks. The police, led by Captain Onishima are cracking down on illegal activity and they want Professor K off the airwaves. The story is actually very innovative, it's a lot better than I'd ever hoped for.

The gameplay in Jet Grind revolves around skating around cities and tagging objects with spraypaint. Your objective in the game is to spray everything with a red arrow over it before member of a rival gang does; remember, the rival gangs in the game are: GG, Poisin Jam, and the Noise Tanks; you also must anoid the police and their shotgun-toting leader, Captian Onishima. The best way to describe the gameplay is this: the game play like a hybrid of Crazy Taxi and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. It takes the exploration and overall fun gameplay of Crazy Taxi and mixes it with the easy-to-execute tricks of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. You can tag pretty much anything in the city, (using spray paint cans that you find), from the tops of cars, to the sides of walls.

The controls in Jet Grind are, for the most part, excellent, the only problem that I have with them is that tagging and camera operation use the L Trigger, this makes the controls clunkier than they need to be, seeing as how the game only uses the A button(Jump), L Trigger, and the R Trigger (Speed up or Dash), the camera operation could have been mapped to a separate button, there’s no excuse for those two commands to share a button, Smilebit should have fixed this. Thankfully, that is the only control problem, the button response is spot-on, there’s no delay berween your button command and the on-screen action whatsoever.

Jet Grind has almost limitless replay value. While it may not seem too deep, what with there being only 4 cities and all, but it’s got a surprising number of extras. For example, you can create your own tag. You can also download images off of the internet and use them as tags. Even if the game didn’t have those features, the game would be worth replaying, it is a joy to play and never gets old.

The presentation in Jet Grind is classic Sega, everything has an innovative and edgy look to it that fits the game’s theme perfectly.

This is one of the best looking and most innovative videogames ever, if you consider yourself to be a gamer, you must at least play this game, it has some of the most refreshing gameplay ever, not to mention the revolutionary graphics.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/06/00, Updated 06/20/01


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