I was a Dreamcast kid, but somehow the iconic Jet Set Radio (or Jet Grind Radio, as it was called in North America) passed me by. After some time with the summer-bound HD remake, I have to say that I do want to join the fervent masses.
Or not, rather. A great part of the game’s appeal is how it portrays punk sub-culture: We skate, we tag, we skirt authority. Don’t those squares understand that we’re just beautifying the city?
It’s easy to see how this game garnered cult status. Even if you’re not a sucker for sunny cel-shaded style, the unique character design will get to you. These characters would be recognizable by silhouettes alone. Cops dash around as if they’ve left the clothes hanger in their vests. Their squad cars are similarly angular, but somehow damn hip.
Jet Set’s grinding system is closer to Skate than Tony Hawk–just leap onto the rail to start making sparks. Landing grinds and jumping obstacles offers a pleasurable challenge, especially when you throw in pesky cops and a time limit. Really, I wish I’d had more time in the streets of Jet Set Radio.
In the additions department, Sega has added a free-look camera and 18 pieces of graffiti. Ah, and those 12 years since the original game’s release have given rise to some legal hoops regarding the soundtrack: Sega has secured rights to 70% of the original music, with the remaining 30% still on the table.
That might be especially good news for Jet Set fans coming back for a second serving. For me, it’s just a reminder that I missed out all those years ago! I look forward to remedying that when it hits XBLA, PSN, and PC this summer.