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Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio in the United States), is a video game released by Smilebit on 1 November 2000. Jet Set Radio was designed for the Sega Dreamcast, although a version of the game was later released for Game Boy Advance; a sequel, Jet Set Radio Future, was released for Xbox.
Jet Set Radio was announced at the Tokyo Game Show in 1999 and generated a prodigious amount of press attention due to its use of the now-common 3D rendering technique, cel-shading, which was considered cutting edge at the time. Cel-shading allows for a "cartoon-like" appearance of rendered objects. Jet Set Radio was released in Japan on 29 June 2000.
The US release, Jet Grind Radio, contained an addition of two new maps and various new songs and other in game content. This version also allowed the user to connect to the Internet via SegaNet and download self-created graffiti tags, or upload tags of their own. Sales were shown to be relatively low. Despite the commercial failure of Jet Grind Radio, the game has garnered cult video game status.
In 2012, the original Jet Set Radio was re-released in HD for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, iOS systems, Playstation Vita, and Steam. The title was relatively successful, selling thousands of copies in the first weeks after its release.
The game begins in Shibuya-cho, and is introduced by Professor K, the DJ of a pirate radio station based in Tokyo-to, who explains the basics of life in Tokyo-to for a "rudie", the term he uses to refer to young people who roam the streets spraying and skating. The city is split into three parts—Shibuya-cho, Benten-cho and Kogane-cho, each of which corresponds to a different time of day. Shibuya is a shopping district full of blue skies and daylight, Benten a nocturnal entertainment spot that represents night, and Kogane a mostly residential area, built on the water, where it is perpetually sunset. In each of these areas the player will encounter a rival gang. The Love Shockers in Shibuya, who are attempting to usurp the GG's home turf. The Noise Tanks who preside over the Benten, and Poison Jam, who make their home in Kogane. The player starts off forming a skate gang which also resides in Shibuya-cho, and thus forms a rivalry between the gangs in the area. After completing a set of menial challenges, designed to introducing the player to the control system, Gum and Tab join the gang forming the first 3 members of the GG's. The player starts out as Beat, a 17-year-old rudie who ran away from home like many other Japanese rudies. Beat was first shunned from gang to gang over and over again until he decided to start his own gang. Beat is the leader and founder of the GG's. The player first starts out spraying a little graffiti in Shibuya-Cho looking to recruit members. First Gum joins, then Tab.
The initial stage is set in a Shibuya bus station, in which the player has to "tag" various parts of the bus station, as well as spray over existing tags, so as to gain the area as part of their territory. Whilst tagging these places, the player is pursued by policemen onfoot, before finally being pursued by Captain Onishima, who fires a magnum with a phallic shaped barrel in order to try and arrest the player. Throughout the course of the story, the protagonist is hunted by Captain Onishima, clearly inspired by Inspector Zenigata from Lupin III. The police, the S.W.A.T team, and Goji Rokkaku's Golden Rhinos are yet another obstacle to avoid while defeating rival gangs. Also, Professor K narrates specific parts of the game via his eponymous pirate radio station called Jet Set Radio.
Other gangs which feature in the game as opponents are the Noise Tanks, who appear to be semi-cyborgs, Poison Jam who are thuggish and wear fish costumes, and the Love Shockers who are an all-girl gang made up of jilted lovers. The Love Shockers hate hip-hop, and only listen to Hard Rock and punk music. Once the protagonist defeats each gang they hand over their belongings and grant the area to the graffiti gang which dethroned them.
Towards the end of the game the protagonist is hunted by the henchmen of Gouji Rokakku; leader of The Golden Rhinos. Once the protagonist successfully usurps the areas seized by the Golden Rhinos, the player then must defeat Goji on a giant rooftop record player, on which Goji has assembled "The Devil's Contract", a record which, when played, is supposed to summon a demon. Goji wants to use the demon to take over Tokyo and eventually the world. After defeating him however it is revealed the record is just an unusual indie release.
- Bantam Street (Not in original Japanese release)
- Grind Square (Not in original Japanese release)
The upbeat Jet Set Radio soundtrack included an array of eclectic songs combining the musical genres of J-pop, Trip-hop, Hip-hop, EDM and even Acid Jazz. The game's sound director was Hideki Naganuma, who also composed the game's sequel.
- Funky Radio - B.B. Rights
- Mischievous Boy - Castle Logical
- Just Got Wicked - Cold (NTSC English Version Only)
- Miller Ball Breakers - Deavid Soul
- On the Bowl (A.Fargus Remix)- Deavid Soul
- Up-Set Attack - Deavid Soul
- Yappie Feet - Deavid Soul
- Yellow Bream - F-Fields
- Magical Girl - Guitar Vader
- Super Brothers - Guitar Vader
- Grace and Glory - Hideki Naganuma
- Humming the Bassline - Hideki Naganuma
- Let Mom Sleep - Hideki Naganuma
- Moody's Shuffle - Hideki Naganuma
- Rock It On - Hideki Naganuma
- Sneakman - Hideki Naganuma
- Sweet Soul Brother - Hideki Naganuma
- That's Enough - Hideki Naganuma
- OK House - Idol Taxi
- Improvise - Jurassic 5 (English & European Versions Only)
- Patrol Knob - Mixmaster Mike (NTSC English & PAL European Version Only)
- Slow - Professional Murder Music (NTSC English Version Only)
- 'Bout the City - Reps
- Everybody Jump Around - Richard Jacques
- Dragula - Rob Zombie (NTSC English Version Only)
- Electric Tooth Brush - Toronto
- Recipe For The Perfect Afro - Feature Cast (PAL European Versions Only)
- Many Styles - O.B. One (PAL European Versions Only)
- Funky Plucker - Semi Detached (PAL European Versions Only)
- Dunny Boy Williamson Show - Deavid Soul (Japanese Version Only
- "Let Mom Sleep", the title music, features a sample from Hancock's Half Hour: "Will you stop playing with that radio of yours? I'm trying to get to sleep!". The same sample appears in George Michael's song Too Funky. Many other songs, particularly those composed by Hideki Naganuma himself, follow a similar pattern of sampling as a musical style.
- One of the billboards in Grind Square features the "Breezar", a car similar to the Chevrolet Venture.
- The PS2 game Yakuza features a cameo by Gouji Rokkaku. He is the leader of an organization, but does not have a speaking role.
- Jet Set Radio was an early Dreamcast title, and was developed in only 10 months. Early on in its development, it was doubted whether Ryuta Ueda, the head developer and artist for the game, as well as the rest of the game's development team, were properly equipped to make the game. For a certain period of time, the devs at Smilebit only knew that they wanted to develop a game focused on skating, but had no other guidelines for its design. To a great degree, the game was saved by the idea to give its theme a focus on youth culture, which then led to major development priorities.
Sequels and alternate version
A sequel to Jet Set Radio, Jet Set Radio Future, was developed for the Microsoft Xbox and released in Japan on 22 February 2002, in North America on 26 February 2002 (under the title JSRF: Jet Set Radio Future) and in Europe on 14 March 2002 as a launch game for the console. Some say that Jet Set Radio Future was more of a remix than a sequel to Jet Grind Radio.
There was also a version of Jet Grind Radio released for the Game Boy Advance system in 2003. It featured a isometric perspective but remained faithful to its cel-shaded graphics. The levels were reminiscent of the original Jet Grind Radio.
De La Jet Set Radio
After the public reported several bugs in the Original Japanese version of Jet Set Radio, Sega decided to re-release it under the name of De La Jet Set Radio. This version was only sold in Japan via Dreamcast Direct (now called Sega Direct) making it one of the more rare Dreamcast titles available. The gameplay in this version was easier to pick up and included the music, levels and characters from the European and US versions. The text featured in the game are localized in the main language of your Dreamcast, unlike the original Japanese version, which means that if your Dreamcast system is set to English language, the text in the game will be in English. The same goes for Japanese, German, French and Spanish.
The Japanese version of Jet Set Radio was considered polished with the exception of the way in which enemy gang members and your own members would run into walls. Along with the addition of new maps in the North American version, several noteworthy glitches were also added.
- It is possible to launch your character into several objects and skate around the inside of a solid wall.
- Enemies do not visually appear until several seconds into the level, giving the appearance of fading into existence. This glitch has been tested numerous times and is claimed to be verified.
- There is a small portion of a bordering wall that occasionally sends the character into mid-air, thus ruining their forward momentum. This glitch has been tested and is perceived to occur on rare occasions.
- It's possible to skate around an exit and leave the play area, resulting in an infinite fall glitch. This can also happen a lot in Kogane-Cho when buildings can be lifted and your character runs through walls. (See video in links section)
- It is possible to fall through the floor in places, and skate around inside of the buildings, passing through walls. Once "inside," it's a simple matter to skate over a nearby edge and start an infinite fall. (See video in links section)
- E3 2000 Game Critics Awards: Winner for Best Console Game, runner-up for Best in Show
- 2001 Game Developers Choice Awards: Winner of Excellence in Visual Arts and Game Innovation Spotlights awards, nominated for Game of the Year
- 4th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards (2001): nominated for Game Design, Game of the Year, Console Game of the Year, Console Innovation, Original Music Composition, Sound Design, and Visual Engineering
- In early 2003, after the release of Jet Set Radio Future, Smilebit announced in an interview that they had plans and ideas laid out for more installments into the JSR series. However, though it seems that Smilebit went back to its skating and hip hop game style with the release of Ollie King, there has yet to be any real announcement of a sequel to Jet Set Radio or Jet Set Radio Future.