Cast Off Your Dream: Jet Grind Radio

Day 3 in our look at excellent Dreamcast games has all to do with a game of tag—with innovation.

When most gamers think cel-shading the first game that comes to mind is Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. However, Jet Grind Radio (Jet Set Radio sans North America) had that beat (pun intended) by almost four years. The visuals pioneered the use of cel-shaded graphics using a colorful pallet and a color style and that’s been rarely seen in games since.

img_8 You play as a character named Beat who must perform stunts across a J-Pop city and recruit a gang of people to help him in his quest to “tag” the city with graffiti. Once an area is conquered and tagged, the rival gang would secede the area over to Beat. While all this is going on, the player has to escape rival gangs and the city’s police. Although the controls were simplistic the first few hours of the gameplay were brutal to most gamers. Once that learning curve was over it was smooth sailing. A lot of joy was had in performing a fluid motion of tricks.


Featuring a wide range of music from J-Pop, hip hop, dance, and a sprinkle of futuristic jazz there was an ever changing variety of up-tempo tunes to listen to. The metallic sound effects seemed to match the look and style of play.

It seems as if Jet Grind Radio was to go the way of the Dreamcast—innovative and way ahead of its time. Like most of the titles we’ve featured it’s achieved a cult status. However—and here may be some good news—Sega  has recently renewed some legal rights to the game and it’s been rumored that the game may show up on XBLA or PSN.

This game can be easily found online at an affordable price. Definitely one to add to a collection.


  1. This is the game that sold me the Dreamcast. It’s also pretty much the game that sold me the Xbox (with JSRF).

    It has a great aesthetic, the music is awesome and it’s just incredibly fun (at least for the first half of the game before it gets crazy hard).

    I just wish there was a version for this generation. Maybe Sega could stop pissing away all of that money on crappy Sonic games and give us one Jet Set Radio game!


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