Jazz Jackrabbit (DOS)

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Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39520)
Written on  :  Nov 04, 2002

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Jazz might as well eat Sonic for lunch

The Good

Remember playing Sonic the Hedgehog back in the days when the Sega Genesis just hit the shelves? How about its sequels? Well, if you’re really into platform games like me, you probably heard of Epic MegaGames’ classic that was deemed as the PC’s answer to Sonic.

This game is similar to Sonic in terms of gameplay, but there are quite a number of differences. Because this game is called Jazz Jackrabbit, your character is a hare, not a hedgehog. Furthermore, your character shoots and does not jump around a lot like Sonic does.

Jazz was just a normal rabbit. That was until his girlfriend, Princess Eva Earlong, is abducted by Devan Shell, a turtle who hates rabbits so much that he plans to destroy Carrotus, the planet that rabbits dream of living on. Jazz now wears a red headband and is always ready for action.

There are six episodes to conquer, and has Jazz navigating from planet to planet, with names such as Medivo, Orbitus, Sluggion, and Pezrock. On each planet, Jazz must get used to shooting enemies like turtles, birds, and bees; and avoid hazards like turret guns, moving spikes, and fireballs. He starts off with a lousy pellet gun, but he can pick up a variety of weapons like the launcher, RF missiles, toaster, plus if he’s lucky, he could collect TNT. If he touches an enemy, he loses energy. If his energy reaches 0, he loses a life. However, if he finds a carrot he can munch on, his energy will be restored.

The further Jazz gets, the harder it will be to complete his mission, so he must get to a couple of checkpoints fast and shoot at it to claim rabbit territory, and if he does lose a life to the hands of an enemy, shooting at a checkpoint allows Jazz to restart at that checkpoint. The last checkpoint in a level is the exit sign, and has Devan’s face on it instead of an orange tick.

Jazz can also get items that would score him points such as floppy disks and gamepads. If he manages to get a big red gem found on every second level of each episode, he gets warped to a bonus stage, where collecting enough gems would gain him a new life, but in the process, Jazz must also avoid colliding with exit signs, that will cause him to exit the bonus level and head for the next planet. Either he gets that big red gem, or he finds a face of a rabbit floating in mid air that also gain him an extra life.

Jazz can collect powerups, including stars that make him invincible for a short time, or shoes that help him run faster. If he ever finds a bird trapped in a cage, he can shoot it and the bird helps him kill off enemies. Somewhere near the end of the level, he can shoot a sign labelled ? that takes him to a secret level, where the object is to collect as many items as he can until he reaches the exit. In a few levels, collecting an air board helps him to find areas he previously missed, and this gives him the chance to collect more ammo or find red gems.

The graphics are highly detailed like Sonic the Hedgehog, and Epic MegaGames used the PSM format to compose the game’s music, which causes it to sound much better than any game they produced so far.

The Bad

When you battle the guardian at the end of each episode, what a waste of time it was just to add “Level One” at the game’s loading screen, since you have to beat one guardian per episode.

The Bottom Line

Jazz Jackrabbit is heaps better than Sonic. For one thing, as I mentioned, Jazz can shoot at enemies and doesn’t have to jump to kill them. If you happen to come across Jazz in bargain bins or at swap meets, then buy this game. You won’t be disappointed. *****