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Jet Set Radio HD Review

Ignoring most of their more recent output, SEGA used to be pretty good at making games. This is something they have remembered and have graciously been ploughing their extensive back catalogue, bringing us some long forgotten classics. Though games like Shenmue and the original Nights are still to arrive, SEGA have got their skates on, updating graffiti rollerblade action game Jet Set Radio HD.

Set in the city of Tokyo-To, gangs of teenager?s nicknamed Rudies have started to appear on the streets, protecting their patch by tagging shops, cars and billboards whilst jetting around on their powered in-line skates. Not happy with these unruly teenagers, the local police have ordered Captain Onishima, a no nonsense copper and his inexhaustible supply of foot soldiers to stop this uprising. You start the game as Beat, convincing two other skaters Gum and Tab to join your gang, the GG's by copying their moves. As with any gang, there is always a fight for territory and straight away areas are contended, requiring the gang to strap on their skates, leave the safety of their gangs crib and reclaim what is theirs.

Set in small isolated areas, each part of Tokyo-To is stacked full of rails to grind, jumps to pull stunts off and collectables to locate. Each level will either be a Challenge which will involve trying to convince a new member to join the GG's or a City based level where you need to avoid rival gangs and police as you tag the streets.

Levels pretty much end up being a skate, collect and tag mission, but this is made even harder by the time limit and the ever fearful presence of Captain Onishima and his troops. Starting off with just baton wielding police running around on foot and a few motorbike police, they then start to get extremely heavy handed, adding smoke grenade toting cops, dogs and attack helicopters, plus the Captain himself running around with huge hand cannon. If that is not enough, city traffic will also hinder progress, with cars and busses ploughing you down if you get too close, these can however be used to your advantage, grabbing the boot Marty McFly style and hitching a lift.

To add an extra challenge to the levels you can't just roll up to a wall and spray away, you need to collect cans of spray paint that at littered all around the streets, some are on the ground for easy picking whilst others are more strategically placed, requiring you to pull if grinds and jumps to reach them.

Controls are pretty much as they were back on the Dreamcast, a little fiddly and twitchy, making it hard to line up grinds and making jumps, however practice does make perfect. Tagging is quick and easy, tapping the trigger button when in close proximity to specific walls, with the larger tags requiring a combo of control stick movements to create your masterpieces which you can also customize and select from hundreds of pre-created tags.

Presentation is a key part of Jet Set Radio, using cell shaded graphics back on the Dreamcast was a rarity that never really caught on, shame as now with a HD makeover it looks amazing, supporting fluid animations making it feel like you are playing in a cartoon, though the characters faces do seem a little strange.

Music is also a huge part of the Jet Set Radio world with Professor K acting as narrator and pirate DJ (his cut scenes did seen to jump and overlap audio a little in places) playing a great assortment of J-Pop and Hip Hop that just begs to be turned up and make this game even more fun to play.

Jet Set Radio HD is still as difficult as I remember, but now even more addictive. With the inclusion of achievements, this is a great return to what SEGA produced so well on the fondly remembered Dreamcast and is a worthy addition to the collection for retro fans and new gamers alike.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

Review Policy (Version tested: Xbox LIVE / Xbox 360)

Edited On 14 Sep, 2012

( 9 )
Shnoorum's avatar
Shnoorum 4 years ago
It sounds very similar to its sequel. I though they were quite different in play style. Just bought a Dreamcast afew months ago so unsure if I want to take up more memory with the HD or just get the original. Sliding towards original I think
ozon92's avatar
ozon92 4 years ago
After hearing about how big the original title was, I'm so tempted to get this... Or at least get a plus subscription for the demo! But in hindsight, I think I'll wait for the vita version... It certainly looks interesting, and one for gaming on the go without a doubt.
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
Been waiting for this for ages. Don't see a release date though.
Shnoorum's avatar
Shnoorum 4 years ago
@GLORIA According to Wikipedia these are the release dates PS3: September 18th (11th if you have PS Plus) Vita: October 16th Xbox: September 19th I'm a bit late to comment so I'm sure you've probably already checked by now but here they are just incase
Dead's avatar
Thanks :)
Dead 4 years ago
skooks's avatar
skooks 4 years ago
I've always wanted to play this game but never had a Dreamcast so never had the chance until now. Glad to hear it's getting a good response, some ports now are so cheap and lazy that it's not worth getting involved, really glad that's not the case here. I'll definitely be checking this out.
Shnoorum's avatar
I had a Dreamcast but stupidly ignored it when it was released. Unsure if I want the HD or original though due to low hard drive space on the Xbox. Time to rectify that poor judgement soon and pick up either or I think
Shnoorum 4 years ago
CookieMcCrumble's avatar
CookieMcCrumble 4 years ago
While I'd love to play through this again, I'd rather have it on Vita (it just seems like a game that would "feel" better on the Vita) but apparently it won't be cross-play compatible, meaning separate purchases for each version. Sort of puts me off a bit, I'd still like the option to play it on PS3. Played the trial though and it's just like I remember it, only looking much better lol
Anonymous user's avatar
KARL 4 years ago
jet set purchased

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