Hey you! Yes, you! Do you remember the Dreamcast?
It was that video game system Sega released back in 1998 in Japan and 1999 in the US to all kinds of fanfare. And one company that made games for it, Smilebit, was an innovator: They're considered the first company to bring about the cel-shaded graphical style. And they did it very, very well with their hit, Jet Set Radio
, released as Jet Grind Radio
in the US (remember our review back in 2000
?). Now, those same roller-blading punks are invading the portable space (in true form, not that GBA incarnation from years back).
Once you choose a character, the whole point is to travel around a fictionalized incarnation of Tokyo and leave your mark—
your gang's graffiti tag—
on every place that people will notice it; more specifically, over the tags of rival gangs that invade your turf and also over tags in your enemy's turf. Just as important as fluidly moving around stages on roller blades, tricks are also a major part of the game; in addition to accuracy in tagging various walls and objects, tricks will boost your score all the higher and offer a tangible hint of old-school jumping and exploration.
This isn't to be confused with a remake or re-imagining, as this is simply a remastering of the original game. The one stand-out is that every song from every version—
with two exceptions being "Yappie Feet" from the US version and "Many Styles" from the Euro version—
are included in this incarnation. [Props to everyone who dealt with all the music licensing to make this happen. ~Ed. Nick
] It's the single most complete version of this game that's ever been available, and it's portable. That's cause for applause right there!
I got the chance to get my hands on it, and it's definitely still as I remember it: beautiful, pumpin' background, occasional handling issues, but overall appears to be exactly what I want in a classic comeback. It still surprises me to think of JSR
it was only released about a decade ago—
but there is still such a difference between playing JSR
and most other cel-shaded titles released since. Sure, it might show some age, but once you're in there and skating for your life, you forget what made you put away/sell your Dreamcast in the first place.
It should be released quickly here, before the end of the summer, so hopefully this is only the start of bringing to light more of the great Dreamcast library for the new generation. Bringing JSR
is definitely a good start.