If I were to describe Jet Set Radio in one sentence, it would be, “Wow, this game is really frickin’ hard, but it’s also really fun, and the soundtrack is awesome.”The first thing you should know is that this game is extremely unforgiving and very likely to turn away beginners. I would normally recommend trying the tutorial, but even that is hard as all hell until you figure out how to consistently loop around the stage. Oh, and if you think the tutorial is difficult, just wait until you see the actual game! The gameplay consists of your character of choice roller skating around the various districts of Tokyo-to and spraying graffiti upon every kind of surface imaginable (yes, you can even cover the game’s initial antagonist with graffiti, and it is HILARIOUS). Each level is absolutely merciless, to the point that I once got stuck on an early level for what felt like an eternity. There were many times where I stopped playing the game for days at a time out of sheer frustration, but it’s that very frustration, as well as a drive to improve, that kept me coming back. It’s the kind of game that pisses you off just enough to make you want to keep playing, and the feeling when you finally complete god-damn Fight or Flight a really hard level is just incredible. Even if you’ve never played Jet Set Radio before and you’re having a really rough time with it, you have to persevere and rely on your own skill to get further in the game, and you’ll end up feeling much better about what you’ve accomplished as a result. Except chapter 2, that part really does just suck.
The story is exactly what you’d expect: you’ve got the rebellious skaters/graffiti artists who want to express their freedom through their art, and the crazy police force that tries to stop them through any means necessary (such as shooting them on sight without hesitation and even calling in mother♥♥♥♥ing armed helicopters with god-damn homing missiles). It’s over-the-top in the best way possible, but it also really makes you consider who the real bad guy is. Sure, graffiti is often meant as vandalism, but when people want to express such an art form in a restrictive society, what else is there to do? At the same time, the police may be attempting to stop this violation of the law, but are they any better than the so-called “criminals” when they’re taking measures far beyond reasonable legal punishment? Play far enough through the story and you just might find an answer.
Next up is the soundtrack, and DAAAAAAAAAAYUM, is it good. It and the rest of the game are an excellent representation of the “turn of the millennium” between the 90’s and 2000’s, much like The Matrix (and interestingly enough, the two share a song, being “Dragula” by Rob Zombie). Hideki Naganuma is the main composer, with several other artists such as Deavid Soul, Richard Jacques, and Guitar Vader making contributions as well. My personal favorite is “Rock It On,” as it serves as the perfect theme for this game’s story of a revolution upon a legitimately evil government. If you’re wondering why I chose the words “legitimately evil,” then you’re just gonna have to PLAY THE GAME!
In conclusion, I recommend this game if you’re a hardcore motha♥♥♥♥a and you love awesome games with amazing soundtracks.
(Jet Set Radio Future HD now pls Sega?)