Jet Set Radio Hands-On

Those in-line skating graffiti punks are taking Japan by storm. Check out our hands-on impressions of the final Japan release of Jet Set Radio.

The final version of Jet Set Radio is a very cool game indeed. While Wacky Races may have been the first game out of the gate to use the Jet Set art style, JSR outdoes it by leaps and bounds. The game looks simply incredible, with colorful environments and nice animation. There are a few instances of slowdown here and there, but nothing too major. Much like the epic gang film, The Warriors, a radio station DJ ties all the action together, revealing the game's plot to you between levels. Another shining point in the game is the music, which is filled with happy, upbeat hip-hop tracks.

The point of the game is fairly simple: Several rival gangs are vying for control of Tokyo-To. The gangs skate into each other's territories and tag as many walls as possible. You're given the option to choose a different skater for each level. At the outset, you can choose only from Beat, Gum, or Soda, but as you progress through the game, you'll be able to add more members to your jet-setting posse. Some levels will have you retagging your own turf, while others will send your gangbanger into other areas of the city to put your tag over the rival gangs' tags. To facilitate your illegal exterior-design habit, you'll have to collect spinning paint cans that litter the level. All the while, you've got to contend with various forms of police response, which range from cops with nightsticks and riot squads with shields and tear gas to helicopters that launch missiles at you while you're trying to tag a wall. The police chase you down, preventing you from painting up walls and buses, generally causing you all sorts of problems.

Overall, the game is shaping up to be a pretty amazing package, though it's almost a little too easy so far. Let's hope it gets harder as it develops. Look for a full review next week.

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