Jet Grind Radio
by Sega Reviewed by: Mike David
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.
Review Posted On 19 January 2001.
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