Game news Why was Jet Set Radio a mythical game?

It’s been too long since we’ve been able to put on our skates to cover Shibuya with unlikely labels. In fact, despite rumors suggesting a hypothetical return, the Jet Set Radio series has disappeared from circulation for almost twenty years. Twenty years ! Neither the episode released on Xbox in 2002, nor the more unknown version for the Game Boy Advance that arrived in 2003 allowed Beat and his entire clique to return to disturb the police. It’s time to put on the most colorful outfit hidden in your closet, today we will talk about heroes who don’t wear capes, but who are capable of anything.

A story of perspective

This article is a piece of opinion, it is subjective by nature. The author’s opinion is personal and not representative of that of the rest of the JV editorial team.


  • A graphic (and sound) slap.
  • The rebellious spirit, the light heart
  • Learn from mistakes to embrace the future

A graphic (and sound) slap.

Hey out there! This is Tokyo’s number one pirate powerhouse Jet Set Radio!“. These few words spoken by the fickle DJ Professor K during the first moments of Smilebit’s imagined adventure are anchored in my brain like graffiti on an old subway train. Before continuing this post, I must admit that I love Jet Set Radio ever since. ever since my eyes rested on his screenshots broadcast in magazines of the time such as The Official Dreamcast Magazine, Joypad or Dreamzone. We had never seen it beforewe could read on the pages that evoke the software invented by Sega. It’s true we’ve never seen such graphics before, despite some testing ranging from ZPC to The Misadventures of Tron Bonne in the late 1990s.

Why was Jet Set Radio a mythical game?Why was Jet Set Radio a mythical game?

The technique used, Cel Shading, is making a name for itself in the video game industry. Lets give a look2D cartoon”In a 3D universe in which the characters burst onto the screen thanks to their black outlines that seem drawn in pencil. In the early 2000s we thought we had already seen it all with the arrival of the democratization of 3D. Jet Set Radio has come to surprise its world by using the power of new technologies not to achieve more realism, but on the contrary to afford visual illusions out of thin air.. At the time, the specialized press did not hesitate to speak of “Revolution“. Supported by a high-quality soundtrack composed by Hideki Naganuma, GG’s epic was a feast for the eyes and the ears.

The rebellious spirit, the light heart

Why was Jet Set Radio a mythical game?

The unprecedented artistic direction is good, but it’s not a game “mythical“But. Fortunately, Jet Set Radio has more than one can in its backpack. The graphics and music that come out of the nails are at the service of a decidedly nonconformist message something far from common in the early 2000s. This is perhaps the element that struck me most with the Sega title. Like Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey which manages to raise awareness – in homeopathic doses – on some issues related to ultra-industrialization, Jet Set Radio is a hymn to freedom, in all its forms. That of dressing as you like, of going everywhere as long as it is as complicated as it is forbidden, or even of practicing an art considered dangerous by the police and the local mafia. Sure, tagging the streets of a city can be akin to vandalism, which has caused some problems for Smilebit’s app in the US and Japan, by the way, but in Jet Set Radio, graffiti is as much a means of expression as it is. of struggle in the face of draconian laws. The military, which does not hesitate to send heavily equipped helicopters to end all this chaos, speaks volumes. True compendium of Japanese eccentricity, Sega’s work does not take itself seriously … and that’s good.

Learn from mistakes to embrace the future

Why was Jet Set Radio a mythical game?

As I said earlier in the article, yes, I’m a Jet Set Radio fan. I own all three games on Dreamcast, Xbox, and Game Boy Advance, and the OSTs are on my shelves, not far from a 35cm Beat figurine designed by First 4 Figures, equipped with some LED lights to wow in the evening. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Anagund asked me to write a small post about this famous Sega creation. However, I felt very annoyed when I realized that anything that was blamed on its gameplay was justified. I experienced the relaunch of Jet Set Radio thanks to its remaster (available on console / PC) and it is clear that the gameplay took rubber bullets in the legs. Camera that regularly collides with furniture, generally imprecise handling, sawtooth difficulties… The defects are very present and today they are all the more evident. Losing a second from the end because the character struggles to sprint up a ramp or gets caught by a bullet that knocks him down two floors is always terribly frustrating.

Why was Jet Set Radio a mythical game?Why was Jet Set Radio a mythical game?

Jet Set Radio Future, on Xbox, will mitigate this difficulty (and approximations) by removing limited time, simplifying the creation of tags and compartmentalizing fights with the police. He choices that at the time were heavily criticized by fans, but which integrated quite well into levels with a much larger surface than what we had on Dreamcast. Unfortunately, it is not easy today to realize how much better Jet Set Radio Future has aged than its predecessor, as the Xbox exclusive has known neither reissue, nor remaster, nor addition to the backward compatibility program. Pity !

Visual nugget when released in the early 2000s, musically stunning, cheeky in what it tells, entertaining, varied in both its settings and the opponents it offers to meet, Jet Set Radio is a game that has brought its stone in the video game building. A stone on which graffiti composed of thousands of colors lie.

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