Jet Set Radio
From Sega Retro
Jet Set Radio (ジェット セット ラジオ), called Jet Grind Radio in North America, is a video game developed by Smilebit and published by Sega for the Sega Dreamcast. It is a third-person action game in which the player controls members of a rebellious gang called the GGs, roaming the streets of the fictional city Tokyo-To spraying graffiti to "take over" the area from rival gangs.
Jet Set Radio is considered to be one of the pioneers of its generation for its use of "cel-shaded" graphics, and its then-original style of gameplay. It is also notable for its soundtrack spearheaded by Hideki Naganuma.
The game was also brought to the Game Boy Advance (also called Jet Set Radio) and a sequel was released for the Xbox in the form of Jet Set Radio Future. Jet Set Radio has recently been re-released for digital services under the Sega Heritage label on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Steam, iOS and Android.
The game begins in 2000, 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.
Chapter 1 - GG
In each of these areas the player will encounter a rival gang - the Love Shockers in Shibuya, the Noise Tanks in Benten, and Poison Jam in Kogane - that attempts to usurp the GG's home turf. 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 introduce 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. While tagging these places, the player is pursued by policemen and their leader, Captain Onishima. 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, brutish thugs who wear fish costumes, and the Love Shockers, an all-girl gang made up of jilted lovers. Once the protagonist defeats each gang they hand over their belongings and grant the area to the graffiti gang that dethroned them.
Chapter 2 - Combo & Cube
Unlike the other chapters, the story beats are told through the perspective of Combo, who is a leader of a gang from Grind City. He comes to Tokyo-to to enlist the help of the GGs and tries to convince them to listen to their story and offer their help. Two months ago, Combo and his group who consists of Cube and Coin dominate the streets of Grind City. Lately, someone has been painting these symbols of Rhinos, covering up their old artwork. Coin has also gone missing, along with his record collection being completely destroyed. Black cars and men in black suits start to populate around the area. Combo and Cube try to investigate.
During their investigation, they run across a message sprayed on the wall telling them to go to Grind Square, possibly a message from Coin. They suspect these strange figures are around there as well. They start spraying graffiti all over Grind Square to bait them to come crash their operation. They learn shortly that Grind Square is actually formed and owned by the Rokkaku Group. They start to see a connection with the men in black suits with the Rokkaku group. They run across another message from Coin of a Golden Rhino. Unsure of what this symbol meant, Combo went through his sources to see who else could help in this situation. After hearing about the GGs and the pirate radio station Jet Set Radio thats been spreading through word of mouth, Combo and Cube set off for Tokyo-to.
Chapter 3 - Golden Rhinos
Towards the end of the game the GGs are hunted by the henchmen of Goji 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 that the record is just an unusual indie release.
All gameplay options appear in the garage which acts as the headquarters for the GGs that provides a number of options that can be set before going out on a mission. Each area of Tokyo-to and Grind City have four game types with each one unlocking after completion of a story mode challenge. Periodically a character will randomly arrive to challenge the GG's in a Rival Challenge.
The main mechanic revolves around spray painting. Collecting enough spray cans will allow you to tag any area marked with an arrow. There are numerous spots to tag graffiti on that are indicated by two arrows. Red Arrows are required to complete a mission, while Green Arrows are not required, but will boost your score. When near a spot that can be tagged, an icon will appear over the character's head indicating which graffiti type they will put on the spot which can done by pulling the trigger. Depending on the tag's size and the size of the arrow indicator next to the tag spot, either small, large or extra large will determine the amount of time needed to spray the area. Small tags take no time at all, but large and extra large tags will initiate a mini game to place on spray patterns. Onscreen arrows will appear requiring the player to tilt the control stick in specific directions. Each indicator links with another and grades overall performance and costs one spraycan on completion of a pattern. By completing all the on screen indicators, this will add to a combo which provides increasingly difficult patterns that provide more points. Tilting the control stick too fast or inputting the wrong direction will automatically lose the spraycan and start from the first pattern motion. The progress of the tag remains the same otherwise.
Actions in the game add up to the total score. Besides spray painting, performing tricks and maneuvers will net additional points. Some of which require grinding. Grinding also helps navigate different areas in a stage. During a grind, holding a direction on the control stick allows to sharply turn in that direction. Successive tricks chain together, however tricks will only chain together during grinds. Unlike other sports games, such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater which came out earlier, the game acts more like a platformer where navigation plays a key role in the game.
There are numerous ways to gain points.
Once a stage is finished, remaining time and health are also calculated into the total score.
During story missions, the police or some other law enforcement will slowly catch on to any vandalism appearing in town. Depending on how many graffiti spots are tagged determine when authorities appear and their difficulty. Drones will try to jump onto you to slow you down and eventually knock you over preventing you from escaping quickly. Other threats such as officers will appear with weapons to try to "regulate" vandalists. Boosting with the trigger makes you invulnerable to most of their attacks, but some can also be tired out from chasing you, or you can knock them over to spray their backs to stun them for a period of time. Other threats such as helicopters, assassins or jetpack patrollers will appear in successive missions and increased threat levels. The general tactic to avoid them is to flee the area or lure any potential threat away from graffiti tag spots. Some law enforcement types may disappear based on the threat level achieved providing easier access to graffiti tag spots.
RIght Control Stick** - Rotate Camera
At the end of all score based challenges is a ranking system that grades your performance. The more points acquired, the higher the ranking, with the highest being Jet.
The game features a host of playable characters with three varying attributes: Power, technique and graffiti. Power determines the amount of health a character has, technique determines how many points a character generates while performing tricks and the character's overall speed, and graffiti determines how many points are earned by tagging graffiti spots and how difficult the on screen indicators will be as well as how many spraycans can be carried at once. The higher the gauge, the more points you get and the more difficult a spray is, but the fewer spraycans can be carried. Even with a diverse set of characters, each character plays differently from one another, allowing to choose which one fits your play style.
Each environment in the game allows you to tag areas with three types of graffiti sizes. Unlocking characters and collecting Graffiti Soul icons in stages will provide additional graffiti artwork to assign. In addition graffiti can be created from the in-game graffiti error. The Dreamcast version allowed users to create and trade artwork on a Dreamcast VMU and trade locally or online. In addition Sega provided DLC for the game that featured artwork not seen in the game normally. Unfortunately all of Sega's online services for the system have since been shut down rendering the online trade feature useless.
When Sega re-released the game under the Sega Heritage line Sega did not allow graffiti tags to be tradable online, but still allowed users to create their own tags under a finite amount. Mobile versions of the game, as well as the PlayStation Vita version allowed to take stored images or camera snapshots for graffiti tags.
There are thirty overall tracks that have been made for Jet Set Radio across all regions and versions of the game. The entire soundtrack (Save for one) was brought together in the Sega Heritage release of the game. Most of the main levels have either a random cycle of select songs, or in challenge missions only one song that will play in the background during gameplay. The soundtrack was released on CD in Japan in 2000 by Universal Music Japan and the US version was released in 2012 by Sumthin Else Records.
The Dreamcast version supports one save file for gameplay progression, one for system settings, and three types of graffiti images created within the graffiti editor in small, large and extra large sizes.
Jet Set Radio was first announced at the 1999 Tokyo Game Show and generated a prodigious amount of press attention due to its use of the then revolutionary rendering technique, "cel-shading". Now commonplace in game design, cel-shading allows for a "cartoon-like" appearance for objects rendered in 3D.
There are four slightly different releases of Jet Set Radio. The original game was considered unappealing by Sega of America and Sega Europe, who both made steps to try and localise the overly-Japanese atmosphere into something that had a better chance of selling in their target markets.
The original release of Jet Set Radio first went on sale in Japan on the 29th of June, 2000. This is a bog-standard version of the game which was superseded by later versions.
When brought to North America, the game ran into unforeseen trademark issues, causing it to be renamed "Jet Grind Radio". This was an almost last-minute change, meaning only the title screen and credits were changed - the term "Jet Set Radio" is still heard numerous times in-game. English voice actors were brought in to re-dub the characters and two entirely new levels were created. Some music was also changed, bringing in American hip hop bands to replace Japanese tunes. Online support through SegaNet was also included, allowing users to download tags.
PAL regions received Jet Set Radio shortly afterwards, with all the additions of the North American version, bar the changed name. Once again some of the music was replaced.
De La Jet Set Radio
Not wanting to be left behind, Japan would recieve an updated version of the game titled De La Jet Set Radio. De La contains the additions of the overseas versions, however also tweaks gameplay, fixes several bugs in the process. De La Jet Set Radio is considered to be easier to pick up and play as a result. Its music is adopted from the North American release. De La was orignally only available via Sega Direct, however a full retail version showed up in the months which followed.
Though sales were strong enough in Japan to lead to a Dorikore re-release, Jet Set Radio largely failed to capture the market in the west.
Sega Heritage Digital Release
The Sega Heritage digital re-release, developed by Blit Software, saw an updated control scheme that allowed the camera to be directly controlled. The soundtrack includes 29 of the 30 songs featured in the original game, which includes songs that were only featured in specific regions. It also features a short documentary as well as unlockable songs from Jet Set Radio Future for the console, PC and Playstation Vita versions. Leaderboards and achievements are available based on platform. Some versions allow to import graffiti from an image library or via a camera snapshot. All of the bonus songs are readily unlocked in the mobile versions and omits the documentary to conserve space.
The Rude Awakening
The interview is primarily in English and features subtitles for several other languages. It also includes footage of the conversion in development stages which include graphical inconsistency and HUD elements not being proportioned to the 16:9 aspect ratio.
It's runtime is 13:29 and can be found under the bonuses menu.
Jet Set Radio was not a commercial success outside of Japan, however its use of cel-shaded graphics have inspired many more games in the years which have followed. It was succeeded by Jet Set Radio Future in 2002 - an early release for the Xbox, though also saw a pseudo-sequel in the form of Ollie King, released for Sega Chihiro arcade hardware in 2004. The 2001 release of Wild Riders was also likely inspired by Jet Set Radio's graphical style.
Executive Producer: Shun Arai
Sega of America Dreamcast Inc.
Localzation Producers: Jason Kuo, Klayton Vorlick, Mari N. Snaal
Sega Europe Ltd.
Director Of Product Development: Naohiko Hishino
Project Management: Koji Kuroki, Shinobu Shindo
Sega Heritage Version
Original Game developed by SEGA
Platform Development: Miguel Angel Horna, Miguel Angel Pastor, Javier Campo, Jorge Cabezas, Juan José Garrido, Ramón Nafria, Tony Cabello, Víctor Castaño, Sergi Díaz
Sega of America
Chairman: Naoya Tsurumi
Sega of Europe
COO: Jurgen Post
UK Managing Director: John Clark
International Sales Director: Alison Gould
President and CEO: Haruki Satomi
"Just Got Wicked"
"Recipe For The Perfect Afro"
Additional Software Credits
vs-android Copyright (c) 2012 Gavin Pugh
Produced by SEGA Networks
Presented by SEGA ©SEGA
The Rude Awakening Documentary
Written and Produced by Anthony Caulfield and Nicola Caulfield