Back before Sega became nothing but a mistrusted console company, the Sega Dreamcast
was born. This ivory box was perhaps the most influential CD system ever created, because it was the first that actually worked properly. Crisp 64 bit graphics on compact disks, a functioning online mode, and a plathora of must have hits made the Dreamcast, in it's short run, a rare but unforgettable machine in it's hay day.
Some of those games have gone on to future consoles, such as Soul Calibur and the 2k Sport series. One mega-hit on the system, Jet Grind Radio, was left in the dust, only to have a quasi-sequal
released on Microsoft which had less of an impact.
Jet Grind Radio was an interesting smash on the Dreamcast, because of it's unique artistic style and funky outlook. You star as a renegade member of a gang in Tokyo-ko known as Beat, and your job is to tag rival gang's grafitti with your own creations, while on roller blades. Oh yeah, Tokyo-ko is also a police state
. So you need to avoid the emotionless and boorish police of Tokyo-ko in their monochromatic
The game has a unique art style because of the, at the time, new cel-shaded graphics, bringing about a cartoon or comic book style that was never seen in video games up until this point. It is funny, because Jet Grind Radio was hailed as a graphical achievement, while other games
were looked on with much scorn and disgust with this artistic style. However, back in 2000, the style became popular and was a smash hit.
And it works in Jet Grind Radio. The graphics are breath-taking, with a great amount of detail and a lot of cool-looking polygons thrown in a powerful system. What augmented this is the ability to create your own grafitti tags, which now meant those of us who are artisticaly challenged
could draw again. My personal favorite mix was actually akin towards Van Halen's guitar
Speaking of mixes, the games soundtrack featured funky j-pop, hip hop, jazz and rock tunes that were the coolest thing from the land of the rising sun. Akin to other import games like Katamari Damnacy, Parappa the Rapper, and Samba Di Amigo. The soundtrack is a treat if you can uncover some of the songs from it. Money well spent.
The gameplay is slightly sluggish at first, because it is close to what games like Tony Hawk have done, skating and preforming tricks to uncover areas you can't reach yet. It is a steep learning curve, especially when you have policemen, S.W.A.T teams, rival gangs and assasians
after you. It can sometimes be distracting and tedious to get through levels too, wish so much going on around you.
While the most important aspect of the game is perhaps it's weakest, Jet Grind Radio is a true diamond in the rough. If you still have your Dreamcast, collecting dust in an attic or at the bottom of your closet, pick it up and search for this game. Jet Grind Radio is a true classic on a tragic system, and should be remembered as a hallmark of Sega's library.
Final Score- B+