Jet Set Radio Reviews

  • The DiscThe Disc1,214,056
    26 Sep 2012 27 Sep 2012
    32 0 6’s not always a good thing.

    Game companies have a real bad habit of looking at their back catalogue & thinking they can make a quick buck by giving it a touch-up & re-releasing it. It doesn’t always work (I’m looking at you Dragon’s Lair & Sonic Adventure) but when the company gets it right the results are amazing (Beyond Good & Evil, Banjo Kazooie). SEGA are one of the biggest culprits for giving their games a HD touch & sending back out into the world but when you have a back catalogue like them, why not?

    SEGA’S latest re-release is the much loved ex-Dreamcast game, Jet Set Radio (also known as Jet Grind Radio in other regions). It was first released on the SEGA Dreamcast in June 2000 & is well-known for spear-heading the use of cel-shading graphics in games. What is now common place in games (Borderlands, The Walking Dead) was unheard of back at the start of the new millennium.

    The story & set-up

    The game begins in the city of Shibuya-cho & introduces the character, Professor K. He is the DJ for a pirate radio station based in Tokyo-to called, Jet Set Radio. He sets about explaining the characters & why they skate around spray-painting. Throughout the game almost all the cut-scenes & plot points will be told by him.

    The city is split into turfs & it is your aim to take over all the turf by spray-painting your tag within a set amount of time/life. You will have to contend with rival gangs, the police/army (whose difficulty increases the more tagging you do) & eventually a sinister group of men in black suits.

    To ‘tag’ the player must skate around the levels, ranging from a busy commuter street to a city of high-rise buildings & collect spray paint cans. The max number a player can hold is depending on who the player has selected & on each level there will b a set number of ‘tag points’ marked by red arrows (green arrows are for additional points but not necessary to finish the level). Some ‘tags’ just require a single press of the button while others are bigger & require the player to follow directional movements on the pad to complete.

    Every so often when selecting a level the player will challenged by a new character who wishes to join the gang but only if you can do what they do such as beating them in a race or copying a complicated move they do. These are good as they help break up the levels & offer a minimal challenge.

    How does it look?

    The HD treatment of Jet Set Radio is good to look at, every level seems crisp & sharp & the levels vibrant colours really stand out. The games age occasionally shows when looking at some the backgrounds but mostly it could pass for a modern day arcade game.

    What was new back in 2000 has been done by many games now so that feeling of ‘wow look at this’ just isn’t there now even if you had never played the game back on the Dreamcast.

    How does it control?

    My one major criticism comes from the controls & how precise landings can be very difficult. To move your chosen skater you must push forward on the pad, you can get a momentary boost by pulling the left trigger & the right trigger will activate your graffiti skills. Moving around the level is generally smooth & to grind all you need to do is jump on whatever you want to grind on. The problems come when jumping, often the controls will force the skater to veer to the left or right & if you are trying to land on something small you will miss it. This is very frustrating in levels where you need to climb up high as it means a long fall to the bottom just for you to go back & try again.

    Other then that the controls are fine, ‘tagging’ is simple enough. Even the longest ‘tags’ only require you to follow along with making ups/downs/half-circle’s/full circles clockwise or anti-clockwise on the stick.

    How does it sound?

    Jet Set Radio’s music is one of the highlights of the game both back on the Dreamcast & now. A mixture of original & licensed music combined from a number of genres including J-pop, Hip-Hop & Electronic/Dance music. It is some the wackiest songs I have ever heard but fits the game completely.

    There was a worry that SEGA would not be able to include the entire games original soundtrack (Crazy Taxi had this issue) but SEGA managed to secure the rights to all but one song in the end. Both newcomers & returning gamers will thoroughly enjoy exploring the Jet Set Radio world with this soundtrack thumping out.

    Achievements – How tough?

    Tough enough to make you work for your 400 gamerscore. There are 60 collectibles to collect across all levels as well as top ratings to work towards on each level.

    There a few ‘unlock a certain character’ related ones & their requirements will have you doing a number of different things. A few easy ones require you to fall from a great height & make 100 civilians jump out of the way – you will get these ones without trying.

    A varying degree of difficulty is on offer & seasoned gamers will be able to mop up quickly enough.


    SEGA has taken a serious amount of time to make sure Jet Set Radio wouldn’t disappoint....& it doesn’t. The levels are varied enough that exploring is fun rather than tedious, the increasing challenge will keep even the best gamer on their toes & the game is just the right amount of length with plenty of playability afterwards.

    The challenge to get the best rating (Jet) will keep many coming back for more to squeeze out a few extra tricks here & there to get maximum points (as well as the related achievements).

    In Jet Set Radio’s case nostalgia is a good thing.
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    AwooJust a quick pointer, games like Borderlands do not use cel-shading, merely a kind of graphical style (filter, if you will) designed to look sort of like it. It's just a pet peeve of mine, really. Great review otherwise, as usual :)
    Posted by Awoo on 29 Sep 12 at 07:03
    Excellnt review, only tip I have is that you add in some images to break up the text a bit! wink
    Posted on 03 Oct 12 at 12:40
    oJl Dan lLoSometime i going to get this game. In the dreamcast days was amazing.
    Posted by oJl Dan lLo on 04 Oct 12 at 20:35
  • ryanlegend95ryanlegend95190,228
    16 Oct 2012 16 Oct 2012
    5 1 0
    Well well well. I never thought I'd see this game again. I really didn't. When it was on dreamcast I would just play this for hours non-stop. Partly because I was 6 when I played it but still after all these years I still can't get enough of it.

    Back when it first came out in the year 2000 it was called Jet Grind Radio. Now it's called Jet Set Radio. Partly because the story was based around a pirate radio station called Jet Set Radio and the sequel that came out in 2002 on Xbox was called Jet Set Radio Future. Now the franchise is not so mislead and now its finally back with this great remake.

    Its the same game back in 2000 but its improved with better graphics and well... a bit more content. I say a bit as in you get to listen to some of the Jet Set Radio Future's soundtrack and a documentary about the game. That's it really. Could've added more content but hell at least the game is back with its stunning cell-shaded looks. Yeah that's right. I said stunning. Not at all old looking.

    Time for a review that I should of done when I was a kid.

    For an HD port the developers have done an astonishing job of rebooting the graphics. Cell-shaded graphics always look good but this, this game is different. It's different because the art direction is spot on and the whole roller skating theme really blend in well. If this was a brand new game on Xbox 360 with these graphics. It would pass as a triple A. OK that might be an over exaggeration but the graphics really do look modern and up to date.

    External image

    Ain't she a looker. Don't get the wrong idea

    The game also performs well. The frame rate is mostly solid and the draw distance is much improved. If you remember the draw distance on the dreamcast version, the distance was pretty short. But now distance has been extended by miles. You can literally see the end of the road with all the props there. (props mean parked bikes and such). The animations are also very slick. The animations aren't even motion captured so the developers really worked their arse off creating those animations bit-by-bit. Hats off to ya!

    I give the graphics a 9.5/10. Definitely one of the best looking remakes. Wonder if Doom 3 will do better? Hmm.

    The soundtrack is absolutely immense. They range from funky to rocky to electric. My favourite song is funky Radio by BB Funky. The voice acting is well done and its especially nice to hear professor K's witty call outs again.

    External image

    Jet Set Radio!

    Unfortunately the voices aren't in good condition. The voices sound muffled which wasn't noticed on the dreamcast version. My Theory is that the developers couldn't find a way of updating the sound to the latest tech but at least the soundtrack is left in tacked. There is also a rare case of sound glitches. Sometimes the sound will just cut off for a few seconds. At least it's only a few seconds though and not a few minutes. Plus it's rare to experience this issue.

    I give the sound an 8.5/10 simply because Professor K plays some sick tunes. And him of course.


    Gameplay holds up pretty well. It's simple and fun. Tagging the streets with your own creation of graffiti never gets old and jumping from grind rail to grind rail has never been so fun. Some of level design however is quite poor. Some are cramped and mind boggling because you don't know how to get to the other part of the stage. Also the races are poorly done. This is because you don't know where to go. There will be a dot on your map and that's it. no way point. And not only is getting there an issue you will also have to find a spray can to tag your destination. And the spray can is not marked on your map. The only way to win these races is by following your rival the first time round and then win on the second run. Apart from that everything else is fine although the last boss fight does have a glitch where you will go onto a platform and for some reason your camera will just look directly up to the sky.

    Despite these faults the game does have plenty to do. You can battle your rivals, race, perform tricks, boss fights and spray the streets with your very own work of art. That does mean you can create your own graffiti.

    External image

    Art is the best way to express your feelings. Beat is doing the same thing.

    I give the gameplay an 8.5/10. Despite its faults.


    The story is as witty as Professor K himself. The story is basically about tagging each gang members territory with your graffiti and collecting 3 pieces of a broken album and hiding it from the rokkaku. The story is mostly narrated by Professor K and that's OK cause he is awesome. I wish I was like him. Oh wait. I kinda am. I'm crazy, witty, do voices and I just love doing call outs. Jet Set Radio!

    I give the story a 8/10


    -Fantastic art design
    -Sick tunes and professor K
    -A timeless classic (Shame it didn't sell well)

    -poorly designed races
    -Some bad level design
    -Wishing that there was a soundboard of Professor K

    Overall I think it's still a fantastic game and certainly has aged very well.
    I give it an overall score of 8.5/10. Hopefully there will be a port for Jet Set Radio Future in the Future. Did you see what I did there!?