Jet Set Radio (Not HD)

Michael Bryant
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Jet Set Radio

Well, I did want to review the release of Jet Set Radio in HD on my Xbox… Unfortunately, this occurred after Microsoft decided to block my online account meaning I couldn’t set up to buy any points. It has recently been pointed out that I can use a debit card on the credit card section of my Xbox. Well labelled Microsoft, well fucking labelled.

Anyway, as I had been beaten at the first hurdle, I decided that the only thing to do was pull out my Dreamcast and play the original version, but review it as if I was playing the new game. If Microsoft won’t let me play it, then I’m not going to review it fairly (two can play at this game). So here goes another completely unfair and totally biased review.

I’ll start by questioning the entire logic of this re-release. In case you are unaware (like everyone else on Earth), Jet Set Radio is a game that first appeared on the Dreamcast in 2000. This is back during the period when SEGA was actually releasing good and interesting games and before everything that they touched turned to fecal matter. The reason I question the logic behind this, is that no-one (possibly myself excluded) purchased the game the first time around. So why anyone would get it this time is beyond me.

It’s unfortunate that an original and interesting game wasn’t picked up by the audience. This had a lot to do with the generally poor choice of games on the Dreamcast and the fact that everyone who owned one had given up the fight by 2000 and moved onto a console with something more to offer. A Master System or NES for instance. The game is actually pretty good, but nevertheless has many niggling faults. The graphics are looking really dated to say that it’s now in HD (See what I did there, I’ve no idea how they look but I’m pretending I’m playing it on Xbox and I’m damn well sticking to it. Up yours Microsoft!) and the controls and camera can get the better of you on more than a few occasions. This really sticks out when you are challenged by an opponent and you’ll more often than not feel that luck helped you to win, not skill.

On first play through you’ll find it almost impossible to complete the levels without some form of divination or a good set of tarot cards. Once you realise which bits to spray paint first and what to save for later, the game moves from nigh on impossible to just plain easy. On the plus side this adds some replay value, as does the incentive to get a better score which is actually surprisingly fun. If you’re really up for some torture, pick a character with very little health and watch as your controller flies across the room with rage and your heart beats to within an inch of its life as you run from the police.

The story is rather insane but it is played for laughs and amusement so it’s all very enjoyable. The only problem is that it’s all over so damn quickly. It stinks of trying to finish off a quick wank in the shower while someone’s banging on the door to get in the bathroom. It’s fun, but you’d  rather have had some more you-time…

And that’s where this game falls down. It’s all very fun and exciting, but lots of small bugs and problems begin to mount up. Once you’re 3/4 of the way through you can no longer remember why you’re playing and will most likely give up under the weight of it all. Props to SEGA for trying something new though and with a bit of work they could have a damn good game here. It’s just a shame that they didn’t resolve all of the Dreamcast game’s problems before re-releasing it (Oh yes, one final reminder). It’s only 800 Microsoft points so maybe it’s worth a play. The chances are though that you’re only going to play it again if you did before. So save yourself some money and get the Dreamcast out of the cupboard and relive your youth.

Oh yeah. The music’s pretty funky too.