There's a turf war going on in Tokyo-to, a mysterious Asian city of unknown location, and things are about to get messy. The various gangs that inhabit the city are locked in a serious battle, but not of blood and bullets. Turf in Tokyo-to isn't claimed by guns or baseball bats, but rather with spray paint and graffiti skills. The hoodlums' choice method of travel are in-line skates, now juiced by the powerful element known as Nitronium, giving these roller rockets the ability to jet around the city with nimble prowess.
As one might imagine, however, the local authorities don't appreciate this constant strife in the least. Blood, after all, is easier to clean up than spray paint, and so they find it acceptable to lob just about any manner of artillery possible at the offending parties. Guns, knives, clubs, Apaches with stinger missiles -- they aren't above anything in their quest to remove the defacers from Tokyo-to.
But this new push to eliminate the fairly harmless gangs from the city isn't just a public service campaign... the evil Rokkaku Corporation is behind it all, but for what dark end? Time for you, as a member of the G.G.'s a prominent local "social club," to switch on everyone's favorite pirate radio station, Jet Set Radio, and hit the city to discover the sordid secrets of Rokkaku. And it wouldn't hurt to save your territory and take some more along the way.
Such is the concept behind Jet Grind Radio, the in-line graffiti-painting title by Smilebit. Players control the group known as the G.G.s, and when starting the game they will have three different characters to choose from, each proficient in one of three skills important to the game.
The first skill is Power, which reflects how much damage one can take before losing a life. Technique is the second skill, which reflects the agility and skating ability of the character, while Graffiti is the third, which denotes how well, how fast, and how difficult a pattern you can perform while spraying your tag.
The game is divided up amongst the three districts of Tokyo-to, each with its own distinct artistic and functional style. The districts are also inhabited by a specific gang, each significantly less benevolent than the G.G.s, and each only too happy to cause as much mischief as humanly possible.
There are the "hell-hath-no-fury" Love Shockers, sporting broken hearts that make them crave broken dreams, the monstrous Poison Jam, who've taken the horror movie motif just a step too far, and the techno-l33t Noise Tanks, who use their mechanical to harass anyone who gets in their way. If it all sounds terribly grim, take heart; the game presents all of this with a light and colorful demeanor, so that even when there are tanks trying to blow you to pieces, it's impossible to take it all very seriously.
Gameplay involves skating around a 3D environment with the ability to trick and grind off all manner of objects. Performing tricks and earning points isn't the focus of the game, however. Cans of paint are positioned around the level, floating and spinning, waiting to be captured. The ultimate goal is to grab these cans and get to the colored arrows before the cops stop you. Once at these focal points, players will lay down graffiti by pushing the analog stick in the directions required. Larger artwork takes more time and paint, and the whole time one sprays they are in danger of being shot at, beaten, or blown to smithereens.
As previously stated, the different districts have different styles, and each district contains three different levels (not including a mid-game flashback to another location, Grind City, which also boasts two levels). Once the levels of a district are beaten, they can be played again, only this time the three smaller levels are connected, creating one larger district level. The game then gives players a handful of different ways to play this new area.
Jet Grind Radio boasts an online component, as well, although there is no actual playing over the Internet. Rather, players can design their own graffiti, save them to their VMUs, and trade them online. These custom tags can, of course, be imported into the game, and players can even download pictures off of the web to incorporate into their designs, just in case anyone out there wants to paint a picture of their mother on the side of a bus.
The game sports cel-shaded graphics, which gives the game the appearance of hand-drawn animation even as it inhabits a fully 3D world. The soundtrack, which is supposedly played over the pirate radio station known as "Jet Set Radio" (which is also the original Japanese title of the game), is a mix of CD-quality tunes from a variety of genres. Several recording artists contributed to the soundtrack, including Rob Zombie and Jurassic 5. ~ Jon Thompson, All Game Guide
|Jet Set Radio [Japanese Release]||Dreamcast|
|Jet Grind Radio||Dreamcast|
|De La Jet Set Radio [Japanese Release]||Dreamcast|
|Jet Set Radio [Xbox Live Arcade]||Xbox 360|
|Jet Set Radio||PC|