Jet Set Radio and the Power of Addition by Subtraction

This is the same game you played on the Dreamcast, with a few notable bonuses and omissions.

An HD release of Jet Set Radio is one of those things that erstwhile Dreamcast owners have had on their wish lists for years now, right above new button cell batteries for their VMUs and a signed photo of Yu Suzuki. In a few months, that wish will become reality, with Sega set to release a downloadable remake of this Rollerblade classic on the PC, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network. It's very much the same game you remember from back in 2000, with a few notable additions and subtractions.

The most obvious change Jet Set Radio has undergone is its leap into the HD era. The higher resolution looks great, and the game's cel-shaded art design keeps the graphics from looking like they've been stretched out against their will, which is a common aftereffect in older games that get the HD treatment. On top of that, it's running at 60 frames per second, so the graffiti vandalism action looks nice and smooth.

The other big difference is the way Jet Set Radio adapts to modern controllers. With the right analog stick--a luxury never afforded to the poor old Dreamcast controller--you can now swing around the camera at will. It's a nice little bonus, considering the level layouts are a bit more claustrophobic than you might remember. So being able to avoid having the camera butt up against a wall all the time is awfully helpful.

Lastly, there's the soundtrack. Back in 2000, Japanese and North American gamers got different song selections when Jet Set Radio made its Dreamcast debut. While the Japanese soundtrack featured a bunch of delightful Japanese dance tunes that fit in with the superstylish aesthetic, North American fans got…Rob Zombie's "Dragula." It was a bit like biting into a candy bar filled with nails when you expect tasty nougat instead. Fortunately, Sega is ditching the American soundtrack this time around in favor of the Japanese original in all territories. It is still working on finalizing licensing deals with the original artists, but the company insists it has already taken care of the bulk of the songs.

You know, Monet got his start this same way.

Jet Set Radio is looking like a nice port of the Dreamcast classic. It's certainly a straightforward remake, lacking any additional game modes or even the ability to ability to import JPEGs as graffiti art (Sega's holding a public contest to determine the art that turns into in-game tags), so if you're hoping for a substantial upgrade over the original, you're out of luck. But you can just as easily argue that this is a faithful port, right on down to the original Japanese soundtrack. If that's all the reason you need to take another spin through this Dreamcast favorite, you can expect to see Jet Set Radio released this spring.

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46 comments
GryphonICD
GryphonICD

This makes me very happy. I actually bought a Dreamcast so I could play this game (this and Code Veronica).

miasomia
miasomia

I hope they make it available for the Vita or the 3ds. So we can play it anywhere !! I still have my beloved Dreamcast set up and running strong, I will buy a pc or xbla version, but would MUCH prefer a Vita or 3ds version !

cellfone06
cellfone06

i didnt mind the remix of dragula at all when i played this back in the day. that being said i wont mind listening to the original soundtrack at all. this will be bad a$$!!

Ovirew
Ovirew

I always wanted to play these games. And this one doesn't have crappy Rob Zombie music in it, either. I might be tempted to try it out.

Dark_Metamorphosis
Dark_Metamorphosis

@X-RS: Yea I did have it for Xbox and I loved it...but I haven't had my Xbox for many years now so that's why a re-release would be so great. I only ever got like half way through the game too.

X-RS
X-RS

@Dark_Metamorphosis Ah... Did you play on xbox? I'm sure you can find one at a pawnshop with the GT02/JSRF pack for under 50 bucks (prolly 30). It truly is an epxerience you wont want to miss (Imo better than the first) and if you think an old xbox will just be a paperweight, they can be turned into nifty playstations =)

Cube_Girl
Cube_Girl

My favorite Dreamcast game by far.

masakri50
masakri50

Ok so the difference between the American and Japanese soundtrack is dragula? Firstly IMO having dragula on a soundtrack is not something to gripe about but that's me, second the entire soundtrack was great and in fact was one of the things people liked most about the game. So I don't see why they need to swap tracks.

ANUBISZER0
ANUBISZER0

Freakin' loved this game back in the day.

Protoporphyrin
Protoporphyrin

This game was one of the two main reasons why I bought the Dreamcast in the first place [the other being Resident Evil: Code Veronica].

megakick
megakick

Sega does the best classics then any other company. Sega cares about video games.

MGSKojima
MGSKojima

Dragula was in the american version? Did not know that lol In fact, I don't remember much of the soundtrack since I last played it.

OrNiGhTZ
OrNiGhTZ

Oh ...thought it was a new one, c'mon sega ..Sequel SEQUEL !!!!!

elbert_b_23
elbert_b_23

this is one of the greatest games of the last decade but if they can't get the same songs then this version is failed

Taegre
Taegre

I should probably apologize for my earlier outburst since, looking back, Sega seems to have a hard time getting permission to re-use licensed tracks from western bands in re-released games. Just look at the Crazy Taxi ports, they haven't been able to use The Offspring since the original Dreamcast release. So maybe there's just a convoluted legal issue with using the American soundtrack, but come on Gamespot! I'd take PMM, Cold, Mixmaster Mike and the rest over nougat any day!

chadwick1343
chadwick1343

Thats weird. I still have the game here I got in America and mine has the weird J- pop music. No Dragula for me.....

FuBi2k
FuBi2k

So does this mean I can expect to be annoyed by "WHO ARE YOU!? WHAT'S YOUR NAME!? SUPAA BROTHAAA!!"?

X-RS
X-RS

@Dark_Metamorphosis Pretty sure you can DL that as an XBL original. I'm goign to assume this includes the extra stages?

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

istuffedsunny then dont play it waaaaaaaa Make a sequel good luck with that its sega after all

istuffedsunny
istuffedsunny

Eh. Been playing this game in HD for years thanks to nullDC. Make a sequel instead of being lazy.

brr8760
brr8760

The biggest difference between Jet Set Radio and Radio Future is something nobody has talked about: the graffiti mechanic. In the Dreamcast game, you had to move the stick back and forth in a certain way to make your graffiti, but in Radio Future, you just held down one of the buttons and it was done automatically. Much easier, and I think I liked it a little more.

gadragod
gadragod

Shut up and take my money!

RaphaeI
RaphaeI

Do you know how many YEARS? Had I waited for this exact moment of human development? SINCE 2000. I wished a remake with all my heart, now the day has come true.

DaWhitty7
DaWhitty7

SO WHY THE HELL HAS NO ONE DONE THIS WITH KINGDOM HEARTS ?!?!?!

Sabrewing
Sabrewing

How about character names? Will Bis be called Mew again and so forth?

twistedprince
twistedprince

well i at least hope they will let you make your own like the did in jet set radio future its kinda bs THAT YOU CANT MAKE YOUR OWN GRAFFITI THAT WAS MY FAV PART OF THE GAME

Dragonknight0
Dragonknight0

But i did like the American version better >:(

Dragonknight0
Dragonknight0

Yo this is the game is the bomb! :P this is Jet set Radio from Professor K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oobrenn
oobrenn

Jet Set Radio was my game! I played it to death. I really liked the pacing, the game world opened up with each new character you unlocked. I'm American, so I'll assume that's the version I had. All this sounds good on paper, but remember waiting, and waiting, for the port of The Warriors game, but when it was finally released they messed with the controls. You'd assume the controls would get tighter, with a port but nooo. If they rebuild it from the ground up, hopefully they get it right, with this classic release. I tried to like Jet Set Radio Future, but something was missing, maybe the pacing was off? I agree with Dinosaur Cop, the version I had sounded pretty Japanese to me, I must be in for a real eye-opener when this version drops. The music version should be optional, how hard can that be to add?

canderosn983
canderosn983

@Gen007 Why can't they just put both Japanese and American music in it and make it an option thing? I loved the American version. Didn't even know there was a Japanese version. Guess I gotta still keep my Dreamcast around.

canderosn983
canderosn983

Doesn't look HD to me. Are they playing the Dreamcast version?

top8cat
top8cat

The funny thing is all these years I thought it was Jet Set Radio, and I never heard the metal songs....I then turns out that I apparently owned a different version...weird.

Gen007
Gen007

I loved the music in the American version in fact that was part of what made the game so great imo and they took it out wow. Really bad move on their part.

singhellotaku
singhellotaku

That Japanese music was the sole reason I always played the sequel muted.

Dinosaur_Cop
Dinosaur_Cop

Was I playing a different game back in the day? The soundtrack sounded pretty Japanese to me. I only remember hearing the American songs in the levels that took place in America.

CeZar_87
CeZar_87

This is awesome however the soundtrack in america was very good... It will not feel the same with Jpop playing in the background. ugh... never the less I might check it out.

Taegre
Taegre

Finally, the game that introduced me to Cold and Professional Murder Music is... "Fortunately, Sega is ditching the American soundtrack this time around in favor of the Japanese original in all territories." G@D F#!&ING D#%*IT!!!!!!!!!!

Dark_Metamorphosis
Dark_Metamorphosis

I hope JSRF will also be released. I kind of preferred not having to do the motions with the joystick.