Jet Grind Radio Review

For Dreamcast

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Good
   Sega has once again developed a potentially awesome game that fails to 
live up to its potential because it's too damn short.  Painfully short games
are fine in the context of a casual arcade gaming session, but they're 
unacceptable in the home market, where consumers should be able to buy a 
game and enjoy it for months.
   The only other major problem with Jet Grind Radio is the sensation of 
speed, or lack thereof.  Rather than being a fast and furious spray-painting
experience, the game sometimes feels like it's running in slow motion.  Even
when you're using the "dash" function, the game still doesn't feel quite 
fast enough.  It would have been nice if the speed of the dash function was 
the normal running speed, with a higher speed for turbo boosts.
   It's hard for a chase scene to have much credibility if it's too slow.  
It reminds me of the classic Simpsons bit where the mobster is slowly 
swimming away from Chief Wiggum and the police officers say, "He's... 
slowly... getting... away..."  It was funny on The Simpsons, but it's just
sad in Jet Grind Radio.
   If it weren't for the aforementioned problems, this game would be a real 
gem for Sega.  The control is a breeze, and the graphics are deliciously 
unique.  The appearance of the game is 3D, but in a way that makes it appear
to have been sketched by a pencil.  The vibrant colors and bold outlines 
accentuatate every last bit of the graphical detail.
   Even though the game doesn't last long, Sega has done a commendable job 
of making sure that for as long as it does last, there's a good amount of 
variety.  The game revolves around fleeing from the cops, but thankfully, 
there's more to it than that.  The varying mission objectives and amount of 
unique enemies ensures that you're never doing the same thing for too long 
at a time.
   I wasn't expecting much from Jet Grind Radio's soundtrack because most of
the time a game's soundtrack is hyped to the moon, it ends up stinking.  I 
was pleasantly surprised to find that most of this game's music is pretty 
cool, and none of it downright sucks.  The sound of the game is almost 
ruined by an overbearing announcer who states the level objectives in an 
annoying "half-singing, half-talking" voice.
   Most of the time when you're on the run from the police in a video game, 
the Artificial Intelligence leaves something to be desired (see Driver and
Smuggler's Run for two recent examples).  Surprisingly, Jet Grind Radio's AI
is decent in almost every way.  I wouldn't exactly call the cops smart, but 
they do know how to use the environment to their advantage and hunt you 
   The basic gameplay formula of Jet Grind Radio is fun while it lasts, even
if the game's statement that "Graffiti is art" is ridiculous.  (What's next?
"Littering is art"?  "Mugging an old lady is art"?)  Jet Grind Radio has 
most of the ingredients needed to become a classic game, but the lack of 
length and speed prevent it from being anything more than a memorable 

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