Jet Set Radio - we've played it on Xbox 360 and there's one big thing worrying us...

In case you didn't know, Jet Set Radio is one of the best games ever made. Forget the Xbox-only pseudo sequel and the GBA 'conversion', it's the Dreamcast original that's where it's at. It is one of those few games that tries to be cool and actually succeeds. Many games are cool without trying; many games try to be cool but fail. Jet Set Radio is just achingly, exceptionally brilliant. And now it's coming to Xbox Live, PSN and PC in HD. Woot! But before we start getting the tables out for the street party, let it be known that one crucial element hangs in the balance.

It's the soundtrack. The Sega rep at the event we attended in London said that the team is doing its best to get the full license for the soundtrack 'because that's what the fans want'. WHAAAAT? Jet Set Radio without its soundtrack is officially about 32.8% of the experience (according to figures that we just made up). And that's less than a third. We NEED the full thing.

Anyway, the rest of the news is good. This is still the jumping, grinding, graffiti-ing skate fest that it always was. Decently-sized 3D environments allow you to roam freely, seeking out red arrows signifying graffiti points, which is soon complicated by the arrival of the police.

Above: Oh noes! The Keisatsu! Better run if you don't want a cel-shaded baton to the head

This version will be a culmination of the three different releases of the game: Jet Set Radio, Jet Grind Radio and De La Jet Set Radio (the deluxe Japanese re-release on Dreamcast). That means you get the extra Grind City levels and... well, hopefully all the music.

You also get widescreen 16:9 support, which is much appreciated, as is the ability to move the camera manually using the right analogue stick - something the Dreamcast pad simply didn't have. The graphics have been given a makeover too, though nothing too obvious. Things just look a little cleaner, although the cel-shaded graphics were so clean anyway, it's more like seeing the game through a clean window.

Above: "Graffiti is art. However, graffiti as an act of vandalism is a crime..."

However, one thing that surprised us as soon as we saw it is the frame-rate. There's nothing particularly wrong with it as it never goes into slowdown or drops frames or even judders at all. But it does run at 30 frames per second which, while faithful, isn't what we'd expect from a modern conversion of such an old game. The animation routines were probably only made to run at 30fps, which would arguably make a smoother update pointless, but we'd still like to see the camera swinging around in smooth-o-vision.

The game is still loads of fun and tagging a helicopter with paint, causing it to crash spectacularly, is something that very few games offer, even in today's market. According to the rep, original developer Smilebit has not been involved in the conversion directly, but has reportedly been sent code throughout the process, approving it and giving pointers along the way. 

Above: Doesn't it all come flooding back? Remember what happened to the GGs' pet dog?

Basically, all that needs to happen here is for the game to feature everything from the original game and we'll love it. Anything else like custom tags, HD graphics and widescreen support is just a bonus, but we're getting that too. Just please, PLEASE give us all the music intact. That is all.


Jet Set Radio

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  • Baron164 - March 13, 2012 4:54 a.m.

    I'll be really bummed if the original soundtrack doesn't make it. I don't know if it'd be enough to make me not get the game but I'll have to wait and see how it holds up after all these years.
  • Mooshon - March 13, 2012 5 a.m.

    Agree. Got to have that music. Just so glad it's going to be in 14:9 & hd. I really couldn't enjoy those last lazy dreamcast ports in 4:3.
  • Redeater - March 13, 2012 5:08 a.m.

    Yes I am cooking for my son and his wife.....
  • rxb - March 13, 2012 5:37 a.m.

    Without the sound track this game would not be the same. Ive got the sound track on cd, good as stand alone music.
  • Arucard04 - March 13, 2012 5:44 a.m.

    "Forget the Xbox-only pseudo sequel and the GBA 'conversion', it's the Dreamcast original that's where it's at." JSRF > JSR Anyway, looks great.
  • Japanaman - March 13, 2012 5:49 a.m.

    Sorry, but JSRF was totally better than JSR.
  • boondocks50 - March 13, 2012 5:55 a.m.

    I agree JSRF is better but this is welcome
  • Arobadope - March 13, 2012 6:16 a.m.

    JSRF was NOT better than JSR. JSRF was just most people's introduction into the game since the Xbox sold better than the Dreamcast, but JSR was better than JSRF.
  • Arucard04 - March 13, 2012 11:03 a.m.

    Not for me! I bought JGR at launch (one of the 5 or so people who did unfortunately). JSRF is just better in almost every way. The almost being that tagging was better in the original.
  • hoba - March 13, 2012 6:23 a.m.

    I can't wait for this. I love this game more than words can express. If the rights to the original soundtrack cannot be secured, can they at least offer the chance to play a custom soundtrack? I could then listen to the original OST anyway.
  • hoba - March 13, 2012 6:28 a.m.

    Can we not have the option to play a custom soundtrack? At least then I can listen to the original soundtrack if the rights cannot be secured.
  • Darkhawk - March 13, 2012 6:53 a.m.

    I eventually had to stop playing Jet Set Radio Future because I couldn't stand how awful and repetitive the soundtrack was. I have little faith that an older game with less memory space would somehow have more and greater range of tunes. If anything, the lack of original soundtrack might be the reason I DO download.
  • SonicX_89 - March 13, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    Justin has a point. The soundtrack is like half of the reason why I remember the game so fondly. I still listen to it on a regular basis. I hope that Sega can get everything sorted out. Also, a little off topic, but I have to have agree with some of the people on these comments and say that JSRF was a better game than JSR, even though JSR is one of the best games ever.
  • Dared00 - March 13, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    Hey guys, the Naganuma songs are in the game, because they are used in trailers. And other songs... who cares?
  • Mamudo - March 13, 2012 11:18 a.m.

    The soundtrack is one of my favorites ever, but even if we can't get all the songs I will still purchase the XBLA version...however I will cry as I spend the spacebucks.
  • GeedAwesome - March 14, 2012 3:29 a.m.

    Segabits reported 80% of the soundtrack is intact. Rob Zombie's "Dragula" is probably gone.
  • GeedAwesome - March 14, 2012 7:07 a.m.

    In ya go Original songs by Hideki Naganuma Grace and Glory Humming the Bassline Let Mom Sleep Moody's Shuffle Rock It On Sneakman Sweet Soul Brother That's Enough Licensed tracks Toronto - Electric Tooth Brush Magical Girl - Guitar Vader Super Brothers - Guitar Vader Bout the City - Reps Funky Radio - B.B. Rights Mischievous Boy - Castle Logical Yellow Bream - F-Fields Everybody Jump Around - Richard Jacques
  • wheresmymonkey - March 15, 2012 6:36 a.m.

    Ah man, the soundtrack's one of the best parts. Seems to be a large part of most DC games come to think of it. Crazy Taxi lost 90% of it's charm on XBLA without Bad Religion and The Offspring.