Review by SBKapuKapu

"A fantastic game that could've been much better"

Jet Grind Radio was Smilebit's first game for Dreamcast. After Sega let their development teams go, they started on a new project. Only the Official Dreamcast Magazine kept mentioning issue after issue and when they did, I was amazed. I was not really looking forward to the announcement. ''Jet Set Radio?'' Must be some sort of Space Channel 5 clone. Boy, was I wrong.

But the thing about JGR is that even though it is a masterpiece in console gaming, it still needs lots of improvement before getting a perfect score. But I'll mention that later.

Graphics 9/10
This game uses the Cell-shading technique, invented by Smilebit, that, along with colorful textures, make the game look like an anime. It draws a black line around the characters and objects, to make it look like it was hand-drawn. The thickness of the line depends on the part it outlines. In other words, it looks fantastic. It will impress even the more annoying sega-hater. This will soon be copied by many (and I say MANY) other games. The animation is smooth too, dancing around and skating looks just right

However, not everything is fine and dandy. The game does have some minor problems, like annoying pop-up and slowdown. They happen rather frequently, so it really detracts from the experience.

Sound 9/10
Once again there are two sides. And once again, the good side prevails. The soundtrack is one of the best ones I've ever heard, and it is not repetitive(unlike Crazy taxi and Tony Hawk) for it has over 20 different songs. It is composed by many famous artists(at least for techno-freaks), like Guitar Vader and others. It's too bad that the songs added in the US version aren't as good. It's not that they suck, (believe me, I love Jurassic 5.) but they don't fit the game very well. Luckily, they only play on 2 scenarios of the story mode. The voices are great too, most characters sound perfect ( except for Yo-Yo. One day I'll kill the bastard for being so annoying) It's too bad that you can't choose the songs that play during the scenario (I'm sick of Dragula)

Control 9/10
Ok, this is just stupid. What were they smoking when they put the camera button together with the Spray button. But except for that, the controls are simple enough for a retarded 3-year old to learn. R accelerates, L sprays/camera and A jumps. Analog stick controls the character. How tough is that? Some people may think the control is a bit floaty, but after you get used to it, it's tough changing back to the somewhat realistic control of other skating games

Gameplay 9/10
Ok, this is where the games scores high. The gameplay is perfect. Most will complain about the arcadey feeling ( all tricks are automatic) but this game is not about doing tricks. IT's about spraying all kinds of phat graffiti and running from the police. But doing tricks are still a blast and really help you gain speed and get to unusual places. But where is the multiplayer mode????

Replay Value 6/10
NOOOO! How could you do this to us Sega? You give us this game, no, this masterpiece, and tackle us with a 5-hour-long single-player? Ok, so it will take a while to get the secret skaters and the tags, but that won't take longer than 8 additional hours to get all secrets. Now that's just mean. I could play on forever if the story mode was longer. But it's just too damn short. Sure it's fun making your own tag and downloading it from the 'net, but the appeal of it wears off quickly and the game starts to collect dust...

Story 8/10
Ok, it starts of with a simple but amusing turf-war. But oddly enough, things get out of control and a real pointless adventure unravels. A guy seeking the devil, trying to take over the world and you defeat him by spraying 4 platforms and his disc-jockey booth.... What the hell? But at least the ending is pretty nice, and almost makes up for the weird plot.

This game is so close to perfection, yet so far. These problems can be easily fixed in the sequel which hasn't been announced yet. But I can't wait for it already

+ Awesome gameplay
+ Original concept that actually works
+ Jaw-dropping graphics
+ Almost perfect soundtrack
+ Great level and character design

- Too short (a game this good can never be long enough ^_^, but it is short by any standards)
- No multiplayer (WHY SEGA WHY????)
- Minor graphical problems (pop-up and slowdown)
- Weird plot that doesn't really fit the mood of the game.
- Dragula

Final score: 8.9

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/26/00, Updated 11/26/00

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