Jet Set Radio Had Absolutely Zero Chill
Posted by Raphael Leynes June 30, 2021

<Warning: Spoilers for Jet Set Radio below>


When I first booted up Jet Set Radio, a game originally released on the Dreamcast in 2000 which I’ve been salivating to play ever since, I thought I had a firm grasp as to what to expect. I’m going to be skating it up and spraying some sick graffiti all over the city of Tokyo-to to a bumping eclectic soundtrack.

Since the game is such an ever present force in the videogame sphere, years of running into gameplay footage has conditioned my mind to simply expect a Tony Hawk game but with the wheels on your feet instead of a board.

Imagine my surprise when at the very first level, a policeman tries to shoot and kill me for merely skating around and spraying paint on the wall.



Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio

I’m sorry what?


In the very next level, a busy street with pedestrians and playgrounds, motorcycle cops try to run me over and a SWAT team with riot shields and tear gas are brought in to take me down—for again, I can’t stress this enough, getting some paint on a wall.



Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio


We live in a time where the question of “How much police power leads to abuse?” is being asked louder than it’s ever been, and here is an in-line skating game made 21 years ago answering with a resounding “YES. ALL OF IT.”


Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio

They’re not wrong. 


Even later still, the police force of Tokyo-to refuses to show an ounce of “appropriate response” and sends in paratroopers from the sky and literally attack helicopters and tanks to take out ONE LONE SKATER armed with nothing more than some paint cans. What is wrong with these people?

Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio

Missiles beat Paint, right?


The game eventually swaps out the cops with a evil Illuminati/Mafia called the Golden Rhinos, whose response to a bunch of inline skating artists is EVEN MORE bonkers than the police’s.


Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio

To wit, here’s the suicide bomber they sic’d at me:


Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio

Here’s some flamethrower wielding goons:


Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio


and here’s Whiplash from Iron-Man 2:


Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio


And then in the final few stages, the whole game ramps it up even further by sending in, armed gunmen flying around on jetpacks. Yes, A thing that literally doesn’t exist!


Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio


Oh and by the way, tiny little detail here: it turns out the leader of the Golden Rhinos is apparently after the Devil’s Contract, a vinyl disc that when played summons the devil himself.


Image Credit: Sega | Jet Set Radio

And at this point, you’ve only been playing for less than two hours.


At the end of the day, I am once again to blame for my own false expectations. The signs were all there


I should have known that Jet Set was a beautiful political commentary wrapped up in a light, stylized package. I shouldn’t have expected the Abzu or Gris of skating games. And I shouldn’t have expected a game that featured a man that looked like his afro was made out of living thunderbolts and blared “JET SET RADIOOOOO” into your ears in the opening menu to have anything else other than zero chill.



Yeah, this one was on me

Have you played Jet Set Radio and didn’t tell me about any of this? Let us know in the comments below. For more fun videogame stuff check out Well, Dark Souls is Halo Now and There’s a Cobra Kai Game and I can not Deal

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