Jet Grind Radio
Review by NiGHTS Man Rick
"One of Sega's most groundbreaking titles since NiGHTS..."
I was looking forward to this title months ahead of its release, and even considered importing it, but decided to wait because I wanted the 2 extra levels. Man, I wasn't dissapointed. With innovative gameplay and with more charisma and style on one level than most games have in their entire series, if there is one Dreamcast action game you shouldn't miss, its this one.
One of the first games to feature the innovative cel-shading technology that makes 2D characters and environments interact with each other in 3D, this game certainly has a lot of flash going for it. Each character and stage has a unique and fitting design, and the grafitti itself is put together with the environments wonderfully. With a smooth framerate and very little slowdown or glitchiness mixed in with this, you have one hell of an eye candy ride.
Not only are the sound effects good, and the voices tolerable, but this game has without a doubt the funkiest soundtrack to appear on any console since the original Toejam & Earl on Sega Genesis! With plenty of funky beats from Japan (i.e. Guitar Vader), plus a few extra good American mixes (Jurassic 5, Mixmaster Mike), whats pulled off is a game with an almost unrivaled soundtrack. The only thing you will probably be dissapointed by is the inclusion of them awful song Dragula by Rob Zombie. Why Sega put this song in, I'll never know. It and a couple other American songs put in are much too heavy metal for the game's atmosphere, and totally interfere with the overall mood of the setting. I hope Sega's chooses much more wisely next time, or we might be hearing crap like Living Dead Girl and Rollin' come Jet Grind Radio Future.
Pretty average. Not exactly a bad story by any means, and mixes in very well with the urban style of the game, but not groundbreaking like the gameplay by any means. You are basically a member of the skate gang the GGs, and you must recruit new gang members and defeat rival gangs through feats of races, trikc attacks, and grafitti contests. You end up falling into a plot involving the owner of a major corporation and his collaberation with a some kind of Japanese Mafia type organization, but the real thing that moves along the story is Jet Grind Radio's groovin' Narrator/DJ, Professor K. Voiced very well, you'll find yourself watching cutscenes just so you can hear this man's awesome voice and witty dialogue.
To spray paint, you must move the analog stick in motions given on the screen as quickly as possible. Sometimes, however, it requires you to be a little bit too exact, and just when you think you've finished a tag, you screw up by accident. Also, you kind of get the feeling that you turn too slowly and pulling off good combos is a little bit diffuclt at first. However, once you've playued the game for an hour or two, you've pretty much mastered all of the above. The only complaint that will stick with you involving the control is the awkward and sometimes confusing idea of having the Adjust Camera button be exactly the same as the Spray Paint button.
Where this game really shines, you skate around on a set of futuristic rollerblades through funky urban enviornments with awesome characters, all while spraypainting your gang's tags throughout the area and trying to avoid the cops, rival gang members, tanks, combat choppers, and even to the point of mafia mercenaries later on in the game. It's all very simple: clear the stage by painting all the tags in the area as quickly as possible without running out of life to get the highest ranking. Much easier said than done, as you'll find the game takes a lot of skill and timing, especially in its later levels. And the great thing is, you'll love every minute of it. you start off as the skater Beat, but soon obtain 2 more skaters, Gum and Tab. As the game progresses, you'll collect more and more skaters by battling it out in trick attacks, races, and grafitti tagging. You can also collect 5 secret characters, but I won't give any spoilers. Also, scattered around and about the levels are small, leoow icons known as ''Grafitti Souls.'' Everytime you collect a Grafitti Soul by touching it, you unlock a new piece of grafitti to use in the game, and I for one had one hell of a fun time collecting all of them. Be warned however, some of them require you to be quite a seasoned veteran of the game. All in all, each and every level requires its special tricks and techniques to get you a Jet ranking (the highest ranking) on each level, but you won't mind playing all of the great levels again and again. Other modes are unlocked as you beat levels in each section of the city of Tokyo-to, including Jet Grafitti (spray yourtags everywhere), Jet Technique (trick attack), and Jet Crush (skater race).
Replay Value: 9/10
The game overall is pretty short if you just want to play thorugh it once, but between getting all Jet rankings in every level and mode, collecting all the Grafitti Tags, and mastering and learning the individual skills of each player, you'll find yourself playing time and time again.
Okay, do you I really need to tell you again? Buy this games right now if you haven't already, before someone finds out and smacks you.
With excellent and innovative gameplay, not to metion style and charisma to spare, this game should be one of the top titles on your Dreamcast game collection, and so far its definately one of my favorite games. Take my advice, you're better off with this game in your life.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/24/01, Updated 04/24/01
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