Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39520)
Written on  :  Dec 21, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

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Better than Jazz or Sonic, despite a few bugs

The Good

In Jazz Jackrabbit, Devan made plans to destroy Carrotus, but not before Jazz thwarted his plans, causing him to escape. Now in this sequel, Devan is up to his tricks again and steals Eva away from Jazz. He then plans to wed him, so Jazz must stop him once again.

The introduction shows Jazz and his wacky brother Spaz (the guy who made a cameo appearance in Jazz Jackrabbit: Holiday Hare 1995) fighting a turtle together. In Jazz2, you can also play Spaz as well as Jazz. They both have different abilities. For example, Jazz can jump into the air and use his ears as helicopters, whereas Spaz can double-jump to reach some platforms that are sometimes impossible to reach.

There are four episodes in Jazz2, plus the 3-level shareware demo. Each registered episode has six levels instead of just three, with a total of 24 episodes in all. One level involves you going underwater to get to the next area. The episodes have to be played in sequence (ie: You can’t play episode two without complete episode one). This is to prevent gamers from playing them out of order.

Enemies in the game include turtles, rats, monkeys, mosquitos, and wasps. Some enemies who have a method of attacking you are quite bizarre. For example, each turtle in the game tries to take a chunk out of you whenever you get too close to them, while the monkeys throw bananas to hurt you. Out of all these enemies, the wasps are the worse: you can attack them with any gun and still miss them. Some of those heat-seeking missiles work well in this situation.

You also have the option of playing single player mode or party mode. Party mode is where you compete against two or more friends locally, through a local area network, or over the Internet. When you play locally, you and your buddy play through a split-screen view. The games that can be played locally include Co-operative, Battle, Race, Treasure Hunt, and Capture the Flag. When you play through single player mode, the object of the game is to run through each level, shooting enemies with your pistol, and collecting gems (finding 100 of these results in an extra life), coins, weapon power-ups, and food. Some of these items may be hidden in crates, in which Jazz or Spaz can break by slamming into them. Collecting several amounts of food will result in a “sugar rush”, where you are invincible for a short period of time.

Halfway through each level, there is a vendor that can gain your access to bonus areas if you have the required amount of silver coins found in hidden areas or hovering in the air exposed. These bonus areas usually contain rows of food. Gold coins can also be found which gives you ten silver coins.

A health indicator is displayed on the top-right corner of the screen consisting of five hearts, and as usual, when they have expired, you lose a life. However, if you collect one or more carrots like in Jazz Jackrabbit, one heart is added to the health indicator.

You’ll likely to see blocks that can be broken either by shooting pellets at them or by slamming into them. But sometimes you’ll see blocks with a certain weapon power-up on them. This means that you have to use a specific weapon to shoot them.

Jazz Jackrabbit 2 can also be played in a higher resolution other than 320x200. That means that you can also play the game at resolutions like 400x300 and 512x384. The maximum you can set the resolution to is 640x480, but the sprites look a bit small. There’s also a listing in the Episode Solution called “Home-Cooked Levels”, which is not an episode at all. If you select this, you can play additional levels created with JCS, the Jazz Creation Station. With JCS, you can create your own stuff, including tilesets, single player levels, and levels that are designed for multiplayer. You can even create full episodes and add your own music.

The music in Jazz2 in this game is far from average, especially the music from “Funky Monkeys”, and also the music when you revisit the levels from episode one in Jazz Jackrabbit in “Flashback”. The sound effects are excellent too. I like when Spaz makes weird noises when a spring bounces him up in the air. In the underwater level, the sound effects are sensational.

The Bad

Jazz Jackrabbit 2 may be the game that outdates Sonic the Hedgehog, but at least Sonic doesn’t have bugs. While playing one level, I occasionally got an “Access Violation”, forcing me to restart my system. I also had a message telling me that my sound device was busy, but in fact, there was no other application I was running that also used my sound card.

The Bottom Line

A lot better than Jazz Jackrabbit. Too bad about the bugs. ****½