Jet Set Radio
Skating games have becoming very popular and considering the amazing graphics of the Dreamcast version of Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding, you have to wonder if skate gaming can actually get any better. At last though, a new style skating game is available in the form of Jet Set Radio and (not surprisingly) it has a soundtrack to die for. However, there aren’t any over-used skateboards here – instead, the groovy characters have all strapped on a pair of in-line skates and taken to the streets to start a graffiti war like no other! The story is pretty straightforward. Rival gangs take control of different areas of the city and the local radio station – naturally called Jet Set Radio – keeps you informed of all the gangland happenings, as well as supplying some of the best tunes we’ve heard in a game yet. The mix is superb with rap, techno, jungle, hip-hop and a range of other wicked plastic to really get you in the mood for painting the town.
To get you into the groove of the new style, the game starts nice and slowly – you must copy what the other characters do to learn the basics of the game. First, you’ve got to collect cans of spray-paint, which have been scattered around the area before you can tag over the rival gang’s markings. As you begin to spray the larger tags, arrows will appear indicating which direction to move the control stick for effective flow of paint. After making your mark on a few positions, the cops will move in to try to keep their town clean by bashing you with clubs, shooting you and using other strange devices. When these guys arrive on the street, it’s time for you to head up onto the higher platforms to evade them… making sure that you’ve tagged all the lower arrows first of course! You don’t need to worry about pressing a multitude of buttons to look cool and perform hair-raising stunts in this city.
Unlike games like Tony Hawk’s, leaping on and off rails has never been easier and there are just loads of radical looking grinds that you can perform. As you pick up speed your skater will be able to leap further and will start performing somersaults, twists and even mid-air splits. Getting wild with your stunts doesn’t stop the paint flowing from your can either and you can even tag whilst performing a twist out the top of the half-pipe.
Once all the marked areas in the town are painted with your team colours, you can move on to the next area of the city and face a new gang of street artists. The areas become larger as you progress and of course, provides tougher challenges, but with the funky tunes in the background you won’t be worrying about how long it takes to complete. The graphics are well animated and although the levels aren’t massive, the detail is overwhelming. The soundtrack is superb and blends very well with the onscreen action and with plenty of cool skaters to try, there’s loads of hot action. Jet Set Radio is a fun, funky game with style – we love it!