"Wow, you're faster than you look! We'll give you a hand."
Cue the Tokyo Game Show circa 1999, and many heads were turned by one very different Dreamcast title on display. Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio in the land of the free) exploded onto screens and was known as one of the first games to use the cutting-edge graphics style known as cel-shading, today widespread in games such as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Sly Raccoon. The use of the technique gave Sega's skating game a distinct cartoon look, right at home in a game set in and around the graffiti culture of the ghetto.
Behind this presentation was a story in many ways homaging cult classic The Warriors. Protagonists Beat, Gum and Tab unify themselves under the group known as The GG's, stuck in a battle over turf with gangs such as the Love Shockers, Noise Tanks and the Golden Rhinos. Beat and co. seem out of their range as they constantly step on the toes of rival groups. Directed by eccentric DJ Professor K, the GG's attempt to keep their home in a battle that rages continually through their lives. On top of all this, bitter law enforcement official Captain Onishima repeatedly cracks down on vandalism in his mission to clean the streets of Tokyo.
Using the tag of their faction, the GG's plaster their rival's territory in an attempt to expand their turf and become a more powerful name on the streets. Once defeated, the opposing gang hands over their belongings and land to the victors. However, with this expansion the three skaters find themselves in the sights of enemies greater than before, and their battle becomes increasingly harder.
Beat and his crew live free and by no rules, yet respect each other in their bond for which they live. They are the polar opposite of the corporate entity bent on wiping the city of their kind.
The first-generation Xbox title Jet Set Radio Future presented a similar story in future Tokyo where freedom of speech is outlawed. Even though it was the second in the series, the game did not contain a continuation of the story, instead considered to be a remix of the original game with additional areas and characters included.
Selected game appearances
- Jet Grind Radio (2000)
- Jet Set Radio Future (2002)