Jet Grind Radio
Move over Crazy Taxi The Dreamcast has a new Number One!!! Jet Grind Radio, the full-on blitz of crazy action and addictive gameplay with tons of secrets, missions, and playable characters. Jump into the fray in an imaginary city and spraypaint your gang's logo on everything from the sides of buses to an obsessive cop who would like nothing better then to cram a canister of tear gas in your favorite orifice. Fend off rival gangs while invading their turf. Dodge tanks and paratroopers while spraying your custom made (or downloaded) gang symbol. Great googaley moogaley! This game flat-out rocks!
Jet Grind Radio takes place in the future in a city called Tokyo-To. The two hottest things in Tokyo-To are Jet skates, a type of rollerblade that sparks with electromagnetic power allowing the user to skate fast, jump high, and do all sorts of gravity defying stunts. The other is the pirate radio DJ, Professor K, who plays the jams and keeps his finger on the pulse of the various gangs. He also makes the story flow -- yes, this game is story driven so you better have a VMU.
As the game starts, you are the leader of a hip-hop gang called the "G-G's." The first thing you do is go through a tutorial which is cleverly disguised as gang member recruitment. Do two or three simple stunts and your gang has its first new member, "Gum," three more stunts gets you "Tab." Now you can play the game as any member of your gang, paying attention to the different strengths and weaknesses each character has. Once you have your first recruits, tackle the first stage, which is basically a bus depot. Spray your logo wherever you see the red arrows, pick up cans of spraypaint and familiarize yourself with the feel of the game. Basically, a red spraypaint point could be on the side of a car while another could be on the side of a building 30 feet up. Race real fast, grind up the handrail of some steps and jump across to the eaves where the point is. This first stage is the tip of the iceberg, pretty soon you're grinding along a power wire, skipping off the side of a building, busting though walls, and body checking rivals. Whew! This game never lets up.
Hidden areas abound where Graffiti souls are found, allowing extra graffiti designs to be selected from the list of pre-made designs or spraypaint cans of health which come in handy if you've seen the wrong side of a tank. Which brings me to Captain Onishima. Onishima is spearheading the city's newest construction venue called "21st Century Project" and his job is to rid the city of all gangs -- even if this means going to extremes, which it will. On a positive note, even though heavy artillery and guns are displayed and fired, your character never dies. If the health bar disappears the screen just goes black and your character passes out. It's even indicated that Onishima fires rubber bullets. The violence is very cartoonish and totally eclipsed by the action.
Once you have dominated a rival gang's territory, you must finish them off in a sort of Rollerball meets Krylon race, where you chase three gang members and attempt to spraypaint them each 10 times before the clock runs out. This, my fellow gamers, is not easy. Especially when they start splitting up and knocking you on your butt.
The controls for the game are easy to pick up and doing cool stunts is only slightly more fun than watching them -- my wife actually enjoys watching me play this game. Finally, it is important to mention that Sega repeatedly states that graffiti and vandalism are bad and that doing it could result in real big trouble. The game is rated Teen (13+) for its animated violence and mild language.
Graphics & Audio
Playing this game is like watching a cartoon, literally. The graphics are sharp and look phenomenal. Framerate is fast with zero lag and the action is pure eye candy. The audio was surprisingly good also. Normally in a game, if I hear the cheesy music too much, I go into options and turn it off. Not in Jet Grind Radio -- the music is fresh and hip with real artists like Mix Master Mike and Rob Zombie. The game was made by ADX and Sega with absolute authority. My only complaint about this game is that the sequel isn't out yet.
Holy crap! Get this game! It is the most fun you can have playing a game on any system right now. Superb graphics, fun plot, replayability, custom graffiti you can download from the net, cool characters, hot music, and addictive gameplay! Dare I say this is the best action game on the market! I dare and it is. If you do not buy this game you will only be shorting yourself a truly awesome video game experience.
Download Jet Grind Radio
What's the deal?
Sega's long been known for producing titles that are sometimes quirky, sometimes downright weird, but almost always completely unique. Such is the case with Jet Grind Radio. It's like some kind of hybrid Tony Hawk platformer where destruction of private property is the goal. If you're one of those hoodlums who sprays his name on the walls of all the local freeway overpasses (you know who you are), JGR is made for you.
Don't let the lackluster sales of JGR in Japan discourage you; Sega of America isn't feeling the blues. "While we generally like to make all our games appealing to a worldwide market, we realize that Jet Grind Radio is definitely more appropriate for the U.S. market," Producer Jason Kuo said. "A perfect example of a similar situation is Crazy Taxi, which sold like hotcakes here, but didn't do quite as well in Japan." No matter the sales numbers in the land of the rising sun, Jet Grind Radio has instant classic written all over it.
We hear that Sega's adding another area to Jet Grind before it reaches U.S. shores. Something that distressed us is that we also heard they'd be changing the music. Luckily the only modifications to the sound will be a few new tracks; the original songs will not be removed at all. That's another point for Sega.
The bottom line is Sega's hoping that jet Grind Radio will be just different enough that it'll warrant a second look from consumers the country over. They know it's got great graphics, killer level design and a unique premise. It'll either be a mass-market hit or one of the first DC games with a cult following. Sega would prefer the former.
So why is it a must-get game?
Jet Grind Radio just oozes style. At first glance the game looks complicated, but leave it to Sega's talented internal development studio, Smilebit, to make the control so simple that anyone can pick up JGR and see its appeal immediately. That said, Jet Grind is simply a solid, enjoyable game the likes of which you've never experienced before.
This game was already great before it was brought here, but the fact that Sega seamlessly integrated a whole new city, and a well-designed one at that, into the U.S. version is truly impressive. Jet Grind Radio is like nothing I've ever played before, and it'll likely spawn more than a few clones. I'd try to draw a comparison to other games, but it's not possible. Most importantly, it's fun to play. From racing your fellow "Rudies" around town to leaving your mark on every flat surface in sight, JGR always kept me coming back for more. For all you artists out there, you can even create and trade (over the Net) your own custom graffiti tags before heading out to wreak a little havoc. True, this is no Tony Hawk, since all the tricks you can pull are pretty much done automatically. But concentrating on arbitrary button motions to pull off some dazzling acrobatics isn't the point anyway. Although I do have one gripe about the control, and that's how the camera's used. The camera and "tag" command share the same button, so you'll sometimes end up moving the camera to weird angles and screwing yourself out of finishing the level. That's the only real reason this game isn't getting a to, other than the fact that Sega decided to use Rob Zombie's Dragula in the game...good Lord, haven't we been subjected to this song enough? I think it's been in every game since 1998. Nonetheless, you should buy Jet Grind Radio.
This game is a godsend. Pioneering the cel*shading technique that will become commonplace in no time. Jet Grind Radio is the sweetest-looking game in town. Couple that with the simple but engaging gameplay and an ass-kicking soundtrack, and the package is practically unbeatable. Although there is no multiplayer or Internet-play, there's always room for that in the sequel. For the time being, an extra city to scoot around in, and the ability to download Jpegs from the Net and tag them onto walls is more than cool enough. Why this didn't sell in Japan is beyond me, but you'd be making a mistake if you didn't pick this one up.
This is one of those rare games that looks so damn good it's fun just to watch other people play. The fresh (as in original, and as in "stoopid fresh") graphical style is matched by technical excellence, h-u-g-e detailed levels and a silky framerate. Oh yeah, Jet Grind is a blast to play too. Comboing grinds on everything in sight is an acquired and addictive skill, and the ability to create or import your own graffiti is icing on the cake. There are a couple annoyances: The camera has a tendency to wander, and the button to bring it back is unfortunately the same that works the spray paint. But overall, JGR is Sega at its finest: unique, stylish and just plain fun.