game news Why was Jet Set Radio such a legendary game?
It’s been too long since we’ve been able to put on our skates to cover Shibuya with unlikely tags. Indeed, although rumors point to its hypothetical return, the Jet Set Radio series has been out of circulation for almost twenty years. Twenty years ! Neither the episode released on Xbox in 2002, nor the more unknown Game Boy Advance version that arrived in 2003 allowed Beat and his whole gang to bother the police again. It’s time to put on the most colorful outfit that your closet hides, today we’re going to talk about heroes who don’t wear capes, but who are capable of anything.
A story of perspective
This article is an opinion piece, it is by nature subjective. The author’s opinion is personal and not representative of the rest of the JV staff.
- A graphic (and sound) slap
- The rebellious spirit, the light heart
- Learn from mistakes to embrace the future
A graphic (and sound) slap
“Hello! This is Tokyo’s number one pirate power station, Jet Set Radio!“. These few words spoken by the loquacious DJ Professor K during the first moments of the adventure imagined by Smilebit are stuck in my brain like graffiti on an old subway train. Before continuing with this post, I must admit that I love jet set radio since my eyes fell on his screenshots published in magazines of the time such as The Official Dreamcast Magazine, Joypad or Dreamzone. “We’ve never seen this before” we could read in the pages that evoke the software invented by Sega. Admittedly, we’ve never seen similar footage before despite some evidence ranging from ZPC to The Misadventures of Tron Bonne in the late 1990s.
The technique used, Cel Shading, is making a name for itself in the gaming world. Allows you to look2d cartoon” in a 3D universe where the characters burst the screen thanks to their black outlines that seem drawn in pencil. In the early 2000s we thought we had seen it all with the arrival of the democratization of 3D. Jet Set Radio came to surprise your world by using the power of new technologies not to achieve more realism, but rather to bring visual delusions out of nowhere.. At the time, the specialized press did not hesitate to speak of “revolution”. Backed by a high-quality soundtrack composed by Hideki Naganuma, GG’s epic was a feast for the eyes and ears.
The rebellious spirit, the light heart
Peerless art direction is good, but it doesn’t make a game”mythicalHowever. Fortunately, Jet Set Radio has more than one spray can in his backpack. The graphics and music that come out of the nails are at the service of a resolutely non-conformist message which was far from common in the early 2000s. It is perhaps this element that struck me the most with the Sega title. As a Strange World: Abe’s Odyssey that manages to raise awareness -in homeopathic doses- about certain issues related to ultra-industrialization, Jet Set Radio is a hymn to freedom, in all its forms. That of dressing however you want, that of going everywhere as long as it is as complicated as it is forbidden, or even that of practicing an art considered dangerous by the local police and the mafia. Sure, tagging the streets of a city can be akin to vandalism, which has caused the Smilebit app some trouble in the US and Japan, by the way, but at Jet Set Radio, graffiti is as much a means of fighting expression. against draconian laws. The army, which does not hesitate to send heavily equipped helicopters to put an end to all this chaos, says it all. A veritable epitome of Japanese eccentricity, Sega’s work doesn’t take itself seriously…and that’s a good thing.
Learn from mistakes to embrace the future
As I said earlier in the article, yes, I am a fan of Jet Set Radio. I have all three games on Dreamcast, Xbox, and Game Boy Advance, and the OSTs are on my shelves, not far from a 14-inch Beat figure designed by First 4 Figures, outfitted with some LED lights to impress at night. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Anagund asked me to write a little post about this famous Sega creation. However, I was very upset when I realized that everything that was blamed for its gameplay was justified. I experienced the re-release of Jet Set Radio thanks to its remaster (available on consoles/PC) and it’s clear that the gameplay took rubber bullets in the legs.. Camera that regularly collides with the decoration, generally imprecise handling, sawtooth difficulty… The defects are very present and are even more evident today. Losing a second of the ending because the character struggles to get up a ramp or gets caught in a projectile that knocks them down two stories is always terribly frustrating.
Jet Set Radio Futureon Xbox, it will smooth out this difficulty (and approximations) by removing time constraints, simplifying tagging, and compartmentalizing fights with the police. Choices that were heavily criticized by fans at the time, but integrated quite well into levels with a much larger surface area than we had on the Dreamcast. Unfortunately, nowadays it’s not easy to realize how much better Jet Set Radio Future has aged than its predecessor, since the Xbox exclusive knew neither a reissue, nor a remaster, nor the addition of the backwards compatibility program. Shame !
Visual nugget when it was released in the early 2000s, musically impressive, cheeky in what it tells, fun, varied in both its environments and the opponents it offers to face, Jet Set Radio is a game that has set its stone in building. of the video game. A stone on which lies a graffiti composed of thousands of colors.