Together Retro Game Club: Jet Grind Radio / Jet Set Radio
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Even though I’ve played this game many times, I’ve still been looking forward to featuring this Dreamcast gem on Together Retro.
About The Game
Jet Grind Radio offers an experience so unique, you’ll realize that you’ve never before played a game like it. The game does not really fit into one traditional genre as it features elements from action/adventure and extreme sports games with a few additional twists. It also has a graphical style that is all its own resulting in an engaging atmosphere. It also features a an up-beat and unique soundtrack of eclectic songs that seemingly combines the musical genres of J-Pop, Trip-Hop, and Electronica (check out the Jet Set Medly for a nice sample). The American version added a bit of Rock and Hip-Hop songs to the soundtrack for its extra levels. This is one game that make me glad I have a nice set of speakers.
The only downfall of the game is that it isn’t really a game that a newbie can just pick up an play. At the beginning of the game you need to get a couple members to join you group. In order to do so, you need to follow some (for experienced JGR players) relatively simple actions/stunts. As a gamer that is starting out in the game, this may be a little intimidating. Because of this, I’m sure that many people gave up on this game very quickly. I admit, the first time I played it, I almost put it down. But I assure you, if you just become acquainted with the system, you will be very glad you did.
To give you a little flavor of what the game has to offer, check out this video — Even though it doesn’t feature music from the acutal game, I can watch this over and over.
How To Play
One thing that the creators of JGR want to make abundantly clear is that this is an action game. It is not an extreme sports game or a Tony Hawk clone (although I’m under the impression THUG2 goes some cues from JGR). The basic premise is simple. You skate around the city, avoiding the cops, while trying to cover any rival gangs’ graffiti with your own.
The first element of the gameplay is the skating and grinding. Like in Tony Hawk, almost any surface can be either grinded or ridden upon. However, the action of doing trick and such isn’t as complicated and once you get familiar with the game, it will become natural. I played this game a second time after not playing it in over a year and I can still grind and glide across them map and pull off breath-taking jumps and landings. The game engine has a great balance of being easy to learn, but difficult to master.
Once you get skating around, you’ll quickly encounter the “tagging” gameplay element. One each stage, you have a number of places you need to tag by spraying your graffiti on it. Graffiti comes in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. A simple tap of the left trigger sprays small tags. Medium and large tags require you to perform controller moves with the analog stick, which are displayed onscreen. This is similar to a simplified rhythm game.
After you tag a few spots, you will also notice that you will have to start running from some enemies — either the cops or (in later levels) some mafia-type characters. Tagging can be difficult to do because often the police are right on your tail and basically want to kill you. Cops will come at you in different ways throughout the game. While there are the normal deputies and guard dogs which try to hunt you down, the game has a sense of humor. You see, police choppers will fire heat-seeking missiles at you. Groups of cops with flame-throwers will attack you. And later, when the evil corporation sends its goons your way, they send out thugs with bombs strapped to their chests and grenades in their hands — All in the name of stopping graffiti artists. They must not have any larger issues to deal with.
Together Retro Discussion / High Scores
Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So play some Jet Set Radio and talk to us about your thoughts and play experiences in the forums. We want to know your tactics, your strategies, your successes and your failures.