Jet Set Radio Future
Jet Set Radio Future (known in North America as JSRF: Jet Set Radio Future) is a video game developed by Smilebit and is the sequel to Jet Set Radio. It was published by Sega. It was released on February 22, 2002 in Japan, February 25, 2002 in North America and March 14, 2002 in Europe for Xbox. After the game's initial release, it was added alongside Sega GT 2002 onto a single disc and bundled with new Xbox systems.
|Jet Set Radio Future|
North American Xbox cover art
The Latch Brothers
Similar to the original, it depicts a future Tokyo where freedom of expression is outlawed. The user plays a character in the GG's, a gang of in-line skating graffiti artists who skate around Tokyo covering up rival gangs' graffiti, knocking over Rokkaku police, and dancing to the electric soundtrack. The game uses a cel-shaded style of animation, and has been widely acclaimed for its unique music style, detailed art, and gameplay.
Jet Set Radio Future plays similarly to the original game in which the player controls a member of a gang of skaters called the GGs to gain control of a futuristic Tokyo. Players are able to skate, grind on rails and even up poles, ride on walls, perform midair tricks and use boosts to move faster. Most of the game requires the player to search for graffiti tags left by other gangs and spray over them with their own. To do this, players will need to collect spraycans littered across each stage. Spraying is more streamlined from the last game, with manual spraying over large tags replaced by multiple spray targets depending on the tag's size.
Stages in the level are now interconnected, with time limits removed, and often feature multiple objectives. These range from mimicking a rival's trick line or beating other skaters in a race. The police, who previously chased after the player in the last game, now appear in specific areas, with the player tasked with stopping them by charging into them and spraying them to defeat them. Each area has hidden items to collect, including Graffiti Souls, which unlock new graffiti designs, and Hidden Tapes which unlock additional missions where more Graffiti Souls can be earned. The game also features several multiplayer modes and the option to design one's own tags.
The game is entirely about aggressive inline skating. Players can grind through rails and skate backwards. When a player is skating fast, they can come to a quick stop by performing an advanced inline-skating move called the powerslide. Several characters also appear to have removed the middle two wheels from their skates, a slight modification usually done to make grinding easier.
In futuristic Tokyo, (referred to in the game as "Tokyo-to") a group of teenage skaters (Groups collectively referred to as Rudies) called the GG's vie for control of the many districts of Tokyo against many rival groups. A mega corporate enterprise (the Rokkaku Group) has taken over the many districts of the city and their leader is now the mayor of Tokyo. It is oppressing the people, taking away freedom of speech and expression, and is forcing other gang members to give up their territory using the corrupt police force of Tokyo.
The game begins with the player in control of a character called Yoyo, who has to complete a set of basic training exercise to prove himself worthy of joining the GGs. After these challenges are completed, the game is interrupted by a pirate radio broadcast by 'DJ Professor K' who fills the player in on the turmoil within Tokyo. After this cutscene, the player is released into Tokyo itself, where they pursue their mission to 'bury Tokyo in graffiti' and fight the authoritarian Rokkaku Group, and their own police force, the Rokkaku Police.
The game begins with the GGs fighting the Poison Jam gang after they steal a statue referred to as "the Goddess of the Street". To do this, the GGs cover up Poison Jam's graffiti in their turf, and then question Poison Jam's rivals, Rapid 99, for the location of their hideout. There, in the Tokyo Underground Sewage Facility, they fight Poison Jam and their boss, Cube, for control of the statue.
After the GGs win the battle against Poison Jam, a new gang springs up, the robotic Noise Tanks, who have taken Tokyo by storm and is already in control of three gangs. At the same time, one of the GGs, Yoyo, disappears without a trace. The GGs decide to question one of the Noise Tanks' gangs, the mummified Immortals, wondering if the Noise Tanks sudden appearance had anything to do with Yoyo. They reveal they had supposedly kidnapped Yoyo; however, when he is freed, he turns on the GGs and enslaves them under the Noise Tanks' control.
The Noise Tanks then has the gangs under their control battle in the game "Death Ball". Those who lose are brainwashed and controlled by the Noise Tanks for life. The GGs succeed in all three games, but then the Rokkaku Police suddenly appear and crack down on the whole game. When the GGs win this battle again, the Noise Tanks become furious, releasing hundreds of Noise Tank androids to terrorize the street. When the GGs clear out all of the androids, they discover a wounded Poison Jam, who reveals that Yoyo had beaten him and ran off to the nearby amusement park. There, it is revealed that 'Yoyo' was actually a Noise Tank in disguise, and the real Yoyo had been missing the whole time. After the GGs defeat them, a mysterious man destroys the Noise Tanks and runs off. They soon discover the Noise Tanks were built by the Rokkaku Group to take over the gangs of Tokyo.
After the Noise Tanks were destroyed, two new threats appeared: a Yakuza-style gang called the Golden Rhinos who are bent on eliminating all graffiti in the city, along with executing all Rudies; and an insane demon like creature who sprays odd graffiti and looks strangely like one of the GGs, Beat. In the midst of all this heat, the GGs are approached by Clutch, a Rudie who knows where Yoyo is; the player needs to find a certain number of Graffiti Souls for the info. However, when the GGs give him his payment, he runs off without telling any information. They chase after him and interrogate him, where he apologizes, says he was "just having a little fun", then reveals Yoyo was taken to the Fortified Residential Zone. When they arrive, they discovered the place rigged with bombs. They disable them all and finally save Yoyo.
Yoyo then tells the GGs what happened: he had heard of the Golden Rhinos and went searching for more information, and he had gotten caught. After the rescue, the Golden Rhinos begun tearing up the streets, which required the GGs to intervene. As soon as they clean the streets of all the Golden Rhinos, DJ Professor K is kidnapped and taken away. The owner of the Rokkaku Group, Gouji Rokkaku, uses this time to broadcast an announcement to the city to gather at the Shibuya bus terminal. Here, he blares odd, creepy music from a strange tower. He absorbs all the people into the tower, telling them to "wipe the pitiful smiles off your face" and to "let the evil show, baby".
The GGs go to the bus terminal to stop him. They destroy Gouji's Beat creatures and supposedly save the city. However, soon they are absorbed inside the tower. Inside the tower, Gouji transforms into a giant monster, but is defeated by the GGs again. The game ends as the tower is destroyed and Gouji apparently dies. An epilogue plays as DJ Professor K relates to the players how the hearts of men are easily corrupted by greed.
The music is played in a premixed format consisting of certain playlists directed to certain levels, although there is a jukebox and the end of the game features a song only available through the jukebox. Alongside returning video game composers from the first game Hideki Naganuma and Richard Jacques, the soundtrack features very unusual artists not commonly heard of in mainstream music culture, such as Guitar Vader, BS 2000 (the side project of Adrock of the Beastie Boys), Scapegoat Wax, The Latch Brothers (including Mike D of the Beastie Boys, Chris "Wag" Wagner and Kenny Tick Salcido), Cibo Matto and The Prunes.
(** Not included on the official "Jet Set Radio Future: Original Sound Track" CD available from Scitron Records but most can be found on the "Jet Set Radio Future: Music Sampler" CD from Grand Royal Records)
(*** Not included on either CD.)
IGN called it "one of the coolest titles around" but said that it also fails to reach classic status because it was "not enough of a challenge." GameSpot described it as "one of the better Xbox games to date" and disagreed with IGN, claiming the game "offered a serious challenge." Despite positive reviews, this was not followed by high sales, landing it the title of the most unfairly ignored game in the OXM UK Awards the year of its release.
Edge ranked the game #44 on its list of "The 100 Best Games To Play Today", stating "The sound track is peerless, and whether grinding vertically down a 200-foot dragon, leaping across Shibuya's handrails, or just cruising the wrong way down a one-way street, there's nowhere else that's so exhilarating to simply travel through."
At the end of Jet Set Radio Future, there is an in-game mention of a possible sequel: during the final cutscene, DJ Professor K says "The streets are in trouble again? Who's gonna rise to the call? Remember, the streets don't wait for no one!" During the early stage of the Nintendo Wii, Kuju Entertainment made a concept for a Jet Set Radio game for the Wii. But, when Kuju Ent. presented the idea for a Jet Set Radio Wii, Sega said they were not interested in making a new Jet Set Radio for any console.
- Jet Set Radio Future (JSRF ジェットセットラジオフューチャー Jetto Setto Rajio Fyūchā)
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