Jet Set Radio First Look Preview -- The GG Gets a Fresh Coat of Spray PaintBy Rob Manuel - Posted Mar 14, 2012
Jet Set Radio hits the virtual ground running yet again as a part of Sega’s re-release lineup of classic Dreamcast games. And as someone who grew up with dreams of strapping on rollerblades and marking up Tokyo in spray paint, I couldn’t be more excited to see the classic back in action. Sega hasn’t touched a polygon on the cell-shaded cartoonish-look or any of the “fast on your skates” action.
For those of you not familiar with the GG, that’s the Graffiti Gang, the game sets you in the middle of fictional Tokyo as you grow your skate cruising gang one member at a time as you wipe out the rival gangs by painting over their tags.
Exploration, twitch-action gameplay, and a little bit of racing come into play as you take on the gangs and police of the city. Getting my hands on it felt like welcoming an old friend while the addition of a second stick made it a bit easier to keep an eye on the helicopters above as they launched missiles my way.
The section I got my hands on for the demo took me back to my old stomping grounds of Shibuya-cho, where it all begins with a little guy with a big set of headphones, Beat. Skating around the bus terminal brought back old memories of late nights trying to find that last one or two tags floating around the city. Again, the second stick made it easier to get my bearings as well as see the other gang members throwing up their own tags.
My first trip around the bus station took my by a couple of parked buses, across the rails, up a parked car, and finally across the rooftops to some of the harder to reach places. With the addition of the second stick, the game plays more like Jet Set Radio Future than its contemporary, Jet Grind Radio.
Anyone familiar with the series will be happy to know that Sega is working on getting the rights to all the music from the original game. For a little white boy growing up in the South, this was my first taste of J-pop mixed with funk and a little rock. While they might not have all of the tracks under their belts yet, I was told that most of it would be there for launch.
Timing couldn’t be better for the return of Jet Set Radio with graffiti art making a big splash in culture and even in museums. Sega launched its own contest to find new artists to include in the relaunch of the game. While I mentioned to a Sega rep that they might want to try to contact some of the bigger artists in the graffiti world, she assured me that some have already come knocking on their door.
It doesn’t hurt that the art featured in the game comes from Inkie, a long time collaborator of the infamous Banksy. Don’t be surprised if you recognize some of the new tags when Jet Set Radio launches Summer 2012.