segunda-feira, 21 de abril de 2008

Jet Set Radioooo!!!


Jet Set Radio, my very first game for the Dreamcast, and even after playing literally hundreds of them, I think it's still my favourite game for the system. It was just so awesome and unique for its time... Hell, it's still awesome and unique today! It represented Sega at its peak of quality and creativity, and like many other great Sega franchises it only had one sequel. You know, because unlike other companies (*cough*Nintendo*cough*), and with the exception of a certain blue hedgehog, Sega is not known for mercilessly milking its franchises to death... (how many different sports did Mario practised already?).


Unfortunately that sequel has been out of my reach for years, since, like many sequels original programmed for the Dreamcast, it ended up being released for the Xbox after Sega officially killed its little white box of awesome. But hey, that's why god invented retro compatibility! Today, thanks to my beloved Xbox 360, I'm finally able to play that hallowed title and man, isn't it fucking great!

The core of the game stays the same. You're still a kid in rollerblades trying to cover a city in graffiti, while avoiding corrupt police officers and clashing with other gangs. What changed is the way you do all this. In the original game you had missions. You enter a zone, have to cover it in graffiti within the given time limit, and you only leave after successfully completing your objective. Now that's all gone. Your garage is no longer just a menu, it's a fully 3D "mini-level" which serves as a hub to reach the city areas, and you can freely go in an out of those areas without any time limit or other constraints. You are free to enter an area, calmly explore it, paint a few tags, even save your game in special spots, and go out without any penalty. Some might argue that this takes away that thrill of being against the clock in the original, but for me this is just great because now you can play at your own rythm, with no stress.


The way the police acts is also different. In the original they would come after you painted a certain number of graffiti, chasing you mercilessly (which in later levels forces us to carefully select which graffiti to paint first, because it's really hard to paint larger ones with tanks behind your tail). Now they only appear at certain spots and when they do, you just have to knock them down and paint their backs for them to run away. Once again, for some people this means no chase=no fun. For me this means no fucking police trying to kill me while I'm busy painting walls, and that's good.

There is one change I don't like, though. In the original, in order to paint the medium and large graffiti you had to move the analog stick according to the directions shown on-screen, kind of simulating the movement of our character, waving its arms in the air while painting the walls. Now you just need to hold down the trigger and move along the area you want to paint, which honestly feels like an unnecessary change and it takes away some of the fun of doing the graffiti.


Graphics wise, the cell-shading of the original game was so freaking awesome that it would be impossible to do much better with the sequel. This is true, but still there are some nice improvements, like gorgeous lighting effects or way bigger areas. Sometimes it looks like they overdid it, though, with areas so full of NPC's the game actually slows down. About this I don't know if it's the game's fault, or it's just the 360 emulator (just because a Xbox game is playable on the 360 it doesn't mean that it'll run flawlessly), but still it's a little annoying. On the plus side of things, as the name implies this game is set after the events of the first one, so be prepared to meet redrawn models of your favourite characters and even some updated versions of well-known areas from the first game. Professor K looks a little too futuristic, though...



But JSR is not only known for great graphics and gameplay, it also had a freaking awesome soundtrack that, to this day, it's still my favourite licensed game soundtrack (the 2nd place belongs to Need for Speed: Underground, great soundtrack that one had...). Featuring a psychedelic mix of rock, hip-hop and techno, it fitted the game perfectly and was even enjoyable by itself. Well, I'm proud to say that JSRF's soundtrack is equally impressive! Once again it's a great mix of various genres, it fits the game perfectly and you'll get so hooked to it you'll immediately consider buying the cd to listen to it while away from the game.


(this review sucks, but at least you can watch more gameplay footage)

Overall, as expected this game is not as ground breaking as the first one, and it's not the perfect sequel either, but it's a really great game and it's well worth the title Jet Set Radio. Fans of the original game owe to themselves to try this one out, for even if this game represents the start of Sega's demise as a respected software-house, it still has some of that magic from the Dreamcast era, something hard to find these days, unfortunately. Also, knowing that so many Sega games are left without follow-ups, we have to be thankful for the mere fact that this one exists.

24 comentários:

FUNNYMAN disse...

This was such a classic. I remember using one of these characters in SEGA SuperStar Tennis.

NebachadnezzaR disse...

I'm actually playing Superstar Tennis now (not while I'm writing this, obviously) and so far I've only used Beat from JSR. Too bad they didn't include a character from house of the dead, though...

FUNNYMAN disse...

I like using that girl from Space Channel 5. She is a hot piece of ass.

NebachadnezzaR disse...

Very hot. Have you seen pictures of girls cosplaying as her?

DEITRIX disse...

lol..

I think this was the game that started it all for this type of visual style... now more and more games are rolling with it... Even the new GTA kinda has pieces of this style, along with crackdown and others.

DEITRIX disse...

Hey, have you played Okami for the Wii...? I thought I might like that game due to the artistic genre...?

Never played the older version either.

gnome disse...

Oh, you'll love Okami Deitrix, you'll adore it and want ot have its babies, the same way me and dear Nebacha fell for the original Jet Set Radio...

NebachadnezzaR disse...

Indeed, DEITRIX, Okami is a superb game and I'm pretty sure you'll like it.

Oh, and gnome, I didn't know you were such a JSR fan! Glad to hear that you share my admiration for the game :)

FUNNYMAN disse...

*Rushes to get some ice cold beverages and sits back down in front of the computer.*

Where can I see those pictures?

NebachadnezzaR disse...

Just google for it, my friend...

http://tinyurl.com/3jk95o

fatherkrishna disse...

Wow! Awesome post and awesome Sega love on the comments. I'm trying to eBay the Xbox JSR, I want Sega Superstars Tennis and I love Ulala and her cosplay incarnations!!

Great stuff Nuno!!

DEITRIX disse...

hhhmmmm... not quite sure about having Okami's babies...

NebachadnezzaR disse...

Indeed there's a lot of Sega love out here, isn't there? :)

Superstar Tennis is nothing stellar as a tennis game (Virtua Tennis 3 is far better), but it's so full of Sega love that we can't help but like it.

Oh, and DEITRIX, don't forget that it wouldn't be a normal labour, it would be full of awesome and Japanese paintings everywhere...

DEITRIX disse...

coming from where exactly...? My ass..? I don't think sooooo...

Shades of brown coming from there is all I need.

gnome disse...

Admiration love and quite a lot of other stuff too dear Nebacha. JSR was after all the reason I grabbed a Dramcast and the only game that -even slightly- sounds like JSW!

fatherkrishna disse...

Ha ha! I've now secured JSRF for less than a fiver!

FUNNYMAN disse...

Bingo! You get a gold star Neba. The Virtua tennis games are much better than Superstar tennis. Even the SEGA characters didn't really make that game all that enjoyable.

NebachadnezzaR disse...

In the end it's a game aimed exclusively at Sega fans. Other people will hate the basic and repetitive gameplay, but this game is so full of Sega, from characters to courts, songs, etc, that fans of their classic games can't help but feel that warm, sweet sensation of nostalgia...

But yeah, in the end it's nothing special...

BTW, I'm already playing GTA IV!

FUNNYMAN disse...

Is the release date for GTA 4 different in the USA? Damn you Rockstar! I want to have sex with prostitutes right now!!!

NebachadnezzaR disse...

Nope, I got it through...other means...

Anyway, I was a bit sceptical, afraid that it would just be more of the same shit all over again, and to be honest it basically is, but it's also awesome.

I didn't met any prostitutes yet, but I've had sex with my girlfriend twice.

FUNNYMAN disse...

I understand. You don't want to tell me how you got the game because you don't want your Xbox Live account to be baned.

As far as the game is concerned, how is the sex?

DEITRIX disse...

One more day till release..!!

Plus it's getting 10's from all reviewers!! ++++ Nice

NebachadnezzaR disse...

Well, I think it's pretty obvious how I got it, isn't it? :)

I've tried a prostitute already and it was very niiiice (as Borat would say). You can choose from 3 types of "services" according to your wallet (from 25 to 75 dollars) and it's way more explicit than in the previous games. You actually see the hooker jumping on Niko's lap and stuff.

The strip club is also interesting, I have to admit that I got a boner while watching my first private dance...

Indeed, DEITRIX, it's getting a lot of perfect reviews, even more than Halo 3 I think.

FUNNYMAN disse...

You mean there is no actual nudity in this game? I was hoping from some Mass Effect or God of War girl on girl action.