"Grab your skates and hit the streets. It's time to paint the town!"

Jet Set Radio, or Jet Grind Radio in North America, is a Game Boy Advance game in the Jet Set Radio series. It has the same plot, characters, and setting as Jet Set Radio, but was developed by Vicarious Visions instead of Smilebit, the developers of the original game. It was published by THQ in the United States and was distributed by Sega in Europe.

The game can also be played on the original Nintendo DS models with the GBA cartridge slot.


See the plot of Jet Set Radio for a more detailed version of the story.
Jet Set Radio Advance Screenshot

Gameplay screenshot of the Game Boy Advance version of Jet Set Radio.

Like in the console version, the player assumes the role of the GG's, a gang of graffiti-spraying youths, led by Beat (who is also the first playable character). The Rokkaku Group and the Tokyo-to government have teamed up to clamp down on the "Rudies", the game's term for the law-breaking teenagers. The object of the game is to "tag" certain parts of the surroundings before the time limit runs out or "before the indomitable array of cops arrives". Eventually the GG's will have to deal with the Golden Rhinos and take down Goji Rokkaku to stop him from taking over Tokyo and the world.

Differences with the console version[]

The GBA version of Jet Set Radio is very different compared to the Dreamcast and HD releases, as the GBA is technically inferior. However, while many compromises were made to fit the GBA format, this version also sports some features not found in the console versions.

  • Soundtrack was reduced to 6 samples of tracks from the full game. Audio quality was reduced drastically and many voice samples are absent. The tracks have also been greatly reduced in length.
  • Bantam Street and Grind Square have been "combined" into a single Grind City level. Consequently, both levels of chapter 2 take place in the same level with only minimal differences in tag spots and enemy placement. Additional Grind City appears in the corner of the mission select instead of having its own map.
  • The Tokyo-to trial levels are still accessible in chapter 2. In the console game, chapter 2 is locked to Grind City during the first play through.
  • Moving cars that the player can hold onto only appear in the steep section of Shibuya-cho, unlike the console version where they appear throughout Shibuya-cho and Benten-cho.
  • Many Graffiti Souls were moved to easier-to-reach locations.
  • After spraying a helicopter, it continues to launch missiles for a while, though erratically and not targeting the player specifically, unlike the console version in which it crashes to the ground and catches fire.
  • The game plays in an isometric perspective at all times, and the camera is not changeable. This is due to the GBA not supporting full 3D graphics, creating this need. When characters are under structures, they turn translucent to indicate the characters' position.
  • Captain Onishima's bullets and the tear gas deployed by the S.W.A.T. teams are more deadly, causing much more damage in the GBA version.
  • No bonus is given for performing a turn trick.
  • Behind the Mask is completely omitted from this version.
  • The final stage is completely different and lacks its own music nor does Goji himself appear in it.
  • Despite being referred to their localized English names in the manual for the game, Tab, Mew, Piranha, and Slate are referred to their original Japanese names, Corn, Bis, Sugar, and Soda, in-game instead.
  • A retry option is implemented; it allows the player to instantly restart the current level or mission without having to exit to the garage and come back. A sleep option is also present which places the GBA in sleep mode to conserve battery life.
  • The game only has 3 save slots, but they show the percentage of completion, which is not the case in other versions.
  • The radio (sound player) option can be accessed from the pause menu at any time, and allows manual selection of the music track being played in the current level. This also works in the garage.
  • No characters can be seen in the garage unless the player is selecting one. When selecting one, they are all standing and dancing, unlike the console version where they are in various poses.
  • A multiplayer mode is implemented which cannot be found on any other version.
  • Rival gang members can be knocked down during chases, making it easier to tag them. However, touching them, even if they are knocked down, will also knock down the player.
  • During racing missions, the pause menu shows the route the player must take to the graffiti tag, unlike the console version which only shows the position of the rival instead.
  • Boosting can be done as long as the button is held, unlike the console versions, which have a cooldown period after 5 skates.
  • The custom graffiti editor only allows for modification of a small-size graffiti, but is surprisingly much more robust than the console versions, with more advanced tools like shapes and the paint bucket.
  • Trick names are different.
  • Chapter names are also different, based on time instead of characters.
    • The names were changed to:
      • Chapter 1: "In the Streets of Tokyo-to"
      • Chapter 2: "Six Months Earlier"
      • Chapter 3: "Present Day"
  • Furthermore, according to these titles, Chapter 2 is set "six months earlier", as opposed to two months, which is what Combo claims in Jet Set Radio.
  • DJ Professor K is not voiced at all. In addition, some of his text dialogue is new and/or rewritten, and some scenes are shifted around, usually played at the opening of a level as opposed to after. He is also a playable character after unlocking him by beating the game.


Not all tracks from the Dreamcast version are present. One main difference is that the tracks do not change automatically meaning that a track select option has been implemented. The Tracks are also significantly shorter. "That's Enough" is around 35 seconds long in the GBA version as opposed to its original 3:45 runtime, for example. All the tracks were originally made by Hideki Naganuma (except for "Everybody Jump Around" by Richard Jacques), and were arranged by Manfred Linzner of Shin'en Multimedia.



The Game Boy Advance version of Jet Set Radio received positive reviews by sites like GameSpot[1] and GamePro.[2] It was praised for being faithful to the console versions, in addition to adding new features not found in any other version. The game managed to be the runner up of IGN's "Game of the Month" and "Best Extreme Sports" awards in 2003.[3][4] However, the game also received lukewarm and more critical reviews from sites like Edge.[5] Additionally, sites like IGN and Game Informer had criticisms with the game, with the latter mentioning the controls and ultimately saying: "All told, this GBA edition is done well enough that fans of the series will be satisfied with the on-the-go experience, but don't expect to be blown away".[6][7]



Manual descriptions[]


For the game's credits, see Jet Set Radio (GBA)/Credits


  • If the player lets the opening company logo screens progress by themselves, the Sega sound will be the familiar chorus from many Genesis games (like the Sonic the Hedgehog series). However, if the player presses buttons to scroll through them faster, the Sega Scream is played instead.
  • Due to it being a Game Boy Advance game, some fans refer to the game as "Jet Set Radio Advance" and "JSRA" for short. Which is inline with many official GBA titles.

External links[]


  1. Provo, Frank (May 17, 2006) Jet Grind Radio Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on December 1, 2023.
  2. Sifu, Pong (June 24, 2003) Jet Grind Radio review. GamePro. Retrieved on December 1, 2023.
  3. Harris, Craig (June 30, 2003) GBA Game of the Month: June 2003. IGN. Retrieved on December 1, 2023.
  4. IGN Game Boy Best of 2003 Awards!
  5. Jet Grind Radio reviews on Metacritic.
  6. Harris, Craig (June 19, 2003) Jet Grind Radio review. IGN. Retrieved on December 1, 2023.
  7. McNamara, Andy (September 2003) Jet Grind Radio: A Mini Boom Box. Game Informer. Retrieved on December 1, 2023.


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