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Games Entertainment

Retrospectus On Jet Grind Radio 65

Posted by Zonk
from the tagging-and-bagging dept.
1up.com has a feature up looking back at the stylized wonder that was Jet Grind Radio. From the article: "Besides the relatively basic, and surprisingly challenging "collect spray cans, tag buildings and run away from the cops" premise, another thing that elevated the Jet Grind Radio experience was its exceptional soundtrack. Brassy, and brash as hell, the vibrant beats and future funk of the game's OST rests comfortably alongside Sega's equally cutting-edge soundtracks for games like Rez and Space Channel 5."
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Retrospectus On Jet Grind Radio

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  • Amazing game (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigbigbison (104532) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @03:45PM (#13151448) Homepage
    I've not played the Dreamcast game, but Jet Set Radio Future is one of my favorite games. A perfect marriage of style and substance. The rollerblading was really fun. THe ability to skate of telephone poles and across rooftops was really cool. The J-pop filled soundtrack was one of the few that I didn't immediately turn off, either.
    I yearn for a sequal!
    • I also never played the Dreamcast game, and actually never owned Jet Set Radio Future either. I ended up renting it and beating it during a 5-day rental when it first came out. Regardless, I loved the game and songs from that soundtrack get stuck in my head to this day.
    • Re:Amazing game (Score:4, Interesting)

      by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@y a h o o . c om> on Sunday July 24, 2005 @08:04PM (#13152863)
      I've not played the Dreamcast game, but Jet Set Radio Future is one of my favorite games. A perfect marriage of style and substance.

      If you liked JSRF, you'll love JSR/(JGR). A lot of people, myself included, thought JSRF tipped the balance a bit too far to the "style" side of the substance/style equation, and it really was a fundamentally different game. In the original game, for example, you actually had to do a series of stick movements to "write" your graffiti, and the harder the tag, the more complex your stick movements had to be. Obviously this meant that if you were being chased, you really had to be quick and precise with your control.

      Sega removed this completely from JSRF, which is a lot more of a straight platformer with a distinctive visual style. (This isn't the only major change, but it's one example of the type of changes Sega made to JSRF.) JSR was really all about tagging and outwitting the cops - JSRF is more about figuring out how to get through each level. Take away the skating and JSRF is basically the exact same game as the Knuckles stages in Sonic Adventure 2. JSR was a lot different.

      I think Sega probably made the changes they did to appeal to a broader audience. They still don't seem entirely confident in their games these days, now that they're without their own captive audience on their own console - everything they do these days is really overly-broad and less focused. JSR always was intended to be sort of the equivalent of an art-house film - Sega never intended to sell a lot of copies, but they did hope the game brought them a lot of attention (which it did) and that it would help cement the Dreamcast's status as the home of the most creative games around.

      When JSRF moved over to the Xbox, Sega had more power to play with but they didn't quite know who their demographic was... so they basically made a standard platformer that they thought people would be able to more easily identify with. I don't personally think it worked - the game didn't review as well as the original and it didn't sell any better either.

      Jet Set/Grind Radio on the Dreamcast is really cheap at this point, as is the system itself. You could pick up both for $40 or less. I really recommend doing that if you liked JSRF; you'll probably like JSR that much more.
      • I agree, JSR was the better game. As you said, it was tighter and more strongly realised. The retrospective doesn't make convincing arguments for why the writer thought the Xbox edition was better (bar him not actually playing both games properly).

        The level design in JSR was artful, but JSRF got too big and the grinds too messy. There was never a clear path to grind; you spent a lot more time skating (rather than grinding) in JSRF compared to JSR.

        Sega made a mistake here, but was it concious? Did they try
        • I played both. I give the nod to the Xbox version:

          A. The difficulty level of DC was just WAY too damn high. I finally got past the "Times Square" level only to get stuck, stuck, stuck on the next one. I think they addressed that pretty well in the sequel

          B. going back to the original after the Xbox...it feels kind of slow, sluggish, and choppy relative to the update.

          Frankly I didn't miss the patterns" at all...if they had anything to do with the look of the graffiti that showed up, great. But it was just
      • Really? And people enjoy this? The knuckles stages in Sonic Adv 2 were easily the most excruciatingly dull gameplay experiences of my life. Poorly translated and inspecific clues (what shade of orange? All the ground is orange! WTF is the "Rock Statue!"?) A whole game like that would make me impale my control pad into my eyes.

        But yeah, JSR was cool.
    • The J-pop filled soundtrack was one of the few that I didn't immediately turn off, either.

      There was no J-Pop in JSRF.

      The closest thing to a Japanese pop song was "Birthday Cake" by Cibo Matto (which was on heavy rotation during some of the best sections of the game.)

      The singer from Cibo Matto was Japanese, but the band itself was from New York City.

      All of their lyrics are in English, although they are sometimes unintelligible due to Miho Hatori's thick accent. Here they are, in case you are wondering.
  • First off, I own both Jet "Grind" Radio and Jet Set Radio Future. As while the premise of the games was great and the graphics were really cool, the actual gameplay was pretty lacking. Maybe I had already been tainted by the control scheme wonders of Tony Hawk, but Jet Set was a real pain to play. I'd much rather spend my time fighting enemies rather than the controls. JSR Future was a little better than the first, but there's still a lot ripe for improvement.
  • an instant classic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by N5 (804512) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @03:59PM (#13151530)
    By far one of the best (IMHO the best) dreamcast games ever. Even though the celshading was limited to items and characters, the art style brought the whole thing together. The soundtrack rocked, despite being bastardized by sega of america. (rob zombie?) The sequel lacked the joystick twirling while spraying, which for me was a huge disapointment because it added something. My only other gripe was I really liked the japanese name "Jet Set Radio" and to this day cannot figure out why they changed it. I was hoping for another sequel truer to the origional game (bright colors, funky beats) but with sega's reorganisation it is unlikely to happen.
  • After years of seeing this term in various places this is the first time I have ever seen it used in a context so I could figure out what it meant. Never worth googling, but worth posting about now :)
    • It stands for Original Soundtrack.

      Jet Set Radio OST stands to this day as my favorite ever, along with SimCity 3000's and ICO's.

    • Official SoundTrack And JSRF was actually my reason for buying the Xbox initially (along with the contoller S, bought it about a week after they came out). Such an addictive game, and very hard too (to unlock everything, that is. I think I beat the story mode within 4 or 5 hours, but I've logged a good 40 hours into the game at least).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The game's soundtrack has one a track which has to be among those most annoying, yet strangely attractive songs, ever; I am obviously referring to Birthday Cake, whose singers -- if you can call them that -- erect your hair all over with their screeching, nails on polystyrene, fork on tiles, cat in shower voice -- added to that, the lyrics are totally nonsensical ("Shut up and eat, you know my love is sweet"); yet, I, at least, feel compelled to listen to the song in its entirety.

    • The group that did that song is Cibo Matto. The song is from their first album, Viva La Woman. Strangly, Sean Lennon joined them on their second album, Sterotype A.
      • It isn't that strange that Sean Lennon was on their second album. He often played bass for them in their early shows, along with (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion member) Russell Simmins on drums, who played on their first album.
    • The game's soundtrack has one a track which has to be among those most annoying, yet strangely attractive songs, ever; I am obviously referring to Birthday Cake,

      Birthday Cake by Cibo Matto is not on the Jet Grind Radio soundtrack. It's on the Jet Set Radio Future soundtrack. These are two different games with two different soundtracks. It's a matter of taste which you like better, but most people put the original soundtrack up there with the best ever... JSRF's soundtrack is usually not spoken of with
  • Jet Grind Radio was enjoyable to me. I loved the controls the graphics, and everything just fit together. I hated that in the sequal they took out the twisting of the stick. It changed the gameplay and made it to simple. :-( But the music and graphics MADE it even better. Good game, great game.
    • Re:Great game. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NanoGator (522640) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:07PM (#13151950) Homepage Journal
      "Jet Grind Radio was enjoyable to me. I loved the controls the graphics, and everything just fit together. I hated that in the sequal they took out the twisting of the stick. It changed the gameplay and made it to simple. :-( But the music and graphics MADE it even better. Good game, great game."

      (Note: This isn't exactly a direct reply to your post...)

      Intersting that by the comments so far, it appears that everybody remembers the game but not the contraversy surrounding it. PPl were up in arms about a game that 'promoted vandalism'. It's sort of a low-fat version of the problems GTA is having today.

      Which begs the question: Did (illegal) graffiti rise from the sale of that game? Betcha nobody's willing to admit they were wrong.
      • The problem is that since the game wasn't a runaway success, those who claimed it would promote vandalism would simply spin this to back up their point even further.
  • I disagree- sorta. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doomstalk (629173) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @05:33PM (#13152105)
    I'd have to disagree with the article on one point: I don't think JSRF had better controls than the original. Some of it was improved, they got rid of the horrendous problems that arose from having camera center and spray on the same button (imagine spontaneously stopping to spraypaint while you're trying to run like hell); but a couple new issues arose. They made the phone/power lines "stickier" - if you landed within a fairly wide radius of a power line, you were automatically drawn towards it - which turned out to be a very mixed blessing. If you weren't moving fast enough, it was literally impossible to get off. They also got rid of the "swirl" control scheme for paining tags, which made the game faster, but less involved. Both games are still fantastic, though.
    • Actually, while we got a lot of play out of Jet Grind Radio (Sup-pa Bra-tha!!), we got much less out of Jet Set Radio Future. We played it for about half an hour before putting it away to focus on TJ&E III and Serious Sam.

      I think part of it was being annoyed by the X-Box controller (I still hates it, hates it my precious), but it seemed, in the early levels, that it had a "navigate through the city" vibe, even between levels. I remember being more annoyed with the level design in that one, too.

      But t
      • WTF are you talking about? The xbox controller is almost identical to the Dreamcast controller.
        • WTF am I talking about? I'm talking about, I didn't like playing the game with the X-box controller.

          It's been a while, but it may have been one of the older, huge controllers that I had been playing the game with; the "S" controller was not what originally shipped with the system). Also, I've played a good many Dreamcast games, especially Crazy Taxi, so maybe I was attuned more to the DC controller and my hands didn't like any differences they felt.

          But on the other hand, I remember really hating the joy
  • by Tim Browse (9263) on Sunday July 24, 2005 @06:04PM (#13152253)
    It's a perfectly cromulent word!
  • Why hasn't anyone pointed out that the soundtrack was not original at all but comprised by a number of tracks from Japanese and American artists? I don't think this counts as a great game soundtrack, despite how awesome it was.
    • The real meat of both soundtracks- I own them both on CD, where the licensed content was largely omitted -was composed by Hideki Naganuma. None of it is available anywhere except in the game or on the OST, so I think it qualifies as original. Hell, I can't even find anything by him in CDDB or FreeDB. While some of the soundtrack may be licensed, enough of it isn't that I think it counts as original.
      • It is original. Hideki Naganuma works at Wavemaster, which is Sega's music (and sound?) development team. He's a Sega employee. And I have to agree that his songs were the meat of the soundtracks, especially for Future (which was kind of uneven, really in every area).
  • You can get JSF and Sega GT for 3 Bucks for the Xbox!

    http://www.gamestop.com/product.asp?product_id=950 211 [gamestop.com]
  • Talk about coincidences, I had just started listening to the soundtrack CD (Japanese import) this morning in my car!

    Have played all the way though both games, 2nd one was a lot easier than the first, both games had terrific soundtracks, though the US version of the original game wasn't as good as the Japanese version.

    I really liked being able to set the music for your hangout in JSRF...

    //Had bits of the soundtrack before I had the game, BIS and Chibi Matto albums...
  • If you're a fan of good game music, pick up Phantom Crash [gamefaqs.com] for the Xbox. The gameplay is repetitive, the bot construction is opaque with a steep learning curve, and the RPG elements are cliched, but the soundtrack is easily the best and most eclectic that I've ever heard on a game.

    I'll be buying the upcoming PS2 version just on the hopes that the music will be half as good.

    http://pdb.blog-city.com/ [blog-city.com]

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