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Jazz Jackrabbit

Moby ID: 902
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Description official descriptions

Jazz Jackrabbit is the PC world's answer to Sonic the Hedgehog. In this platform game, Jazz, the hero of the rabbit planet Carrotus, must rescue the beloved rabbit princess, Eva Earlong, and defeat the leader of the turtle terrorists, Devan Shell, traveling to different planets to gather clues concerning Eva's whereabouts while liberating them from Shell's tyranny.

The similarity to Sonic the Hedgehog manifests itself in Jazz's uncanny speed, and the fact it increases the more he runs. However, the rest of the gameplay mechanics are different. The game is primarily a shooter, meaning that in order to defeat his enemies, it's not enough for Jazz to jump over their heads. Jazz starts with a blaster, but during the course of the game acquires other weapons, such as grenade launcher, flamethrower, TNT, etc. Jazz can also pick up various power-ups, including a force shield, a hoverboard that allows him to float in the air, a bird that will fight on Jazz's side, and others.

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Credits (DOS version)

13 People

Design
Lead Programming
Animation
Additional Graphics / Artwork
Music
Sound
German Translations
  • ROMWARE
Producer
Manual Artwork, Cover and Comic Book
Manual Design and Typesetting
Beta Test Leader

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 87% (based on 10 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 60 ratings with 6 reviews)

Great brain candy

The Good
This Mario and Sonic-inspired platform game was created by a demoscener and a few artists not long out of college, and despite its humble origins became a minor classic on the PC. You're a hyperactive rabbit who must save the love of his life, Eva Earlong, from the evil tortoise Devan Shell. The floppy version of the game contains six episodes with three level each, and the CD-ROM release contains a further three Christmas themed episodes.

The game is like Jill of the Jungle, except with far better graphics. This is probably the game's most notable aspect; the colorful and zany world Jazz inhabits leaves most other DOS platformers of the time for dead and is comparable to console games. From the green forests to the psychedelic neon bases, Jazz Jackrabbit is a riot of color and animation.

The gameplay is similar to most other platformers of the time. You run around avoiding enemies and other dangers, collecting jewels for some unknown reason. You can jump on springs to propel yourself up into the air, or fly around on a hoverboard in some levels. Like in Sonic, you can collect powerups that allow you to rocket around the level at a million miles per hour if you want to. Despite the speed, there are few to no "instant-death" puzzles, making the game quite laid-back and relaxing.

Probably the coolest parts of Jazz Jackrabbit are the bonus stages, where you play in a pseudo-3D landscape similar to Mario Kart and must collect as many blue gems as possible before the timer runs out. A really cool spin on the tired "bonus stage" idea.

The gameplay is fast and addictive, the controls are tight, and the graphics are fun and colorful. The game doesn't break new ground anywhere, but it's a lot of fun and succeeds in bringing the console experience to the PC.

The Bad
Well...it is a Sonic the Hedgehog rip-off. I don't just mean the gameplay is the same, but the whole concept is ripped off. Replace the blue hedgehog with a green rabbit and Dr Robotnik with Devan Shell and there you have it. Unfortunately, Jazz doesn't have any of Sonic's moves. It would have been cool if you could barrel roll or butt-stomp enemies like in Jazz Jackrabbit 2, but no luck.

The low resolution and large character sprites make the game feel kind of cramped and confined. What's the point of being able to run really fast if you can't see what's in front of you?

The Bottom Line
Console-style graphics + speedy gameplay = fun. Jazz Jackrabbit is a cool time-waster. And so what if it's a kids game?

DOS · by Maw (833) · 2007

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. *

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2002

Goodie!

The Good
A cute shareware which was proof of Epic Megagames's clear interest in demo scene talents, Jazz Jackrabbit is a cute and fun platform game which wasn't really competing with Sonic the Hedgehog, but merely showed that the PC is a capable arcade platform.

This game has really good graphics, excellent music and sound effects and great replayability value (it's easy to just play it again and again as you never tire of it). The programming is amongst the best ever witnessed on the PC (demo power to the masses) and truly showed the capability of a mere 386.

And it was damn fun too!

The Bad
A bit repetitive, but then it's a platform game so no biggie.

The Bottom Line
A great platform game for the PC. Way to go!

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 2000

[ View all 6 player reviews ]

Trivia

Characters

CHARACTER PROFILES -- WHO'S WHO

==========================

Jazz Jackrabbit:

Height: 3'1"

Weight: 90 lbs.

Favorite Food: Carrot Pizza

Favorite Book: Watership Down

Motto: "When you're a little rabbit, carry a BIG gun!"

Devan Shell:

Height: 2'4"

Weight: 163 lbs.

Favorite Food: Asparagus

Favorite Book: How to Make Friends and Kill Rabbits

Motto: "Rabbits are lousy!"

Eva Earlong:

Height: 3'9"

Weight: Won't tell

Favorite Food: Turnip Ice Cream

Favorite Book: My Secret Carrot Garden

Motto: "Take your time, Jazz."

Arjan Brussee, programmer of Jazz:

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 150 lbs.

Favorite Food: Any Pizza and Beer

Favorite Book: Neuromancer

Motto: "Owww...What a headache. I hate hangovers."

Cliff Bleszinski, designer of Jazz:

Height: 5'10"

Weight: 135 lbs.

Favorite Food: McDonald's

Favorite Book: Games and how to make them. (By him, coming soon!)

Motto: "Wake me at 4 PM, will you?"

Nick Stadler, Jazz animator:

Height: 5'11"

Weight: One Hundred and something

Favorite Food: Anything in a cardboard container

Favorite Book: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Motto: "What?"

Robert Allen, musician:

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 165 lbs.

Favorite Food: If it's processed, he'll eat it.

Favorite Book: None. Prefers music to reading.

Motto: "Well, it HAS to be! No one likes my music!"

--- from "The Jazz Jackrabbit Manual".

Christmas

If you play the game during the Christmas period (September to early January) the game gets a Christmas theme, with snowflakes falling on the main menu and several new backgrounds.

References

  • The cheat codes have a few references: apogee (16 bit colour mode) and doom (harder enemies). The Apogee code is not available in version 1.3.
  • One of the game's weapons is the LFG-2000, which is obviously a spoof of DOOM's BFG-9000 weapon.

Release

Jazz Jackrabbit has six episodes with only the first episode in shareware version. You could buy Episodes 1-3 or Episodes 4-6 and both together. Registered versions has a color Jazz manual. Some also included a comic book and free bonus disk.

Those episode and stage titles:

Episode 1: Turtle Terror!

Stages - Diamondus, Tubelectric and Medivo.

Episode 2: Ballistic Bunny

Stages - Letni, Technoir and Orbitus.

Episode 3: Rabbit's Revenge

Stages - Fanolint, Scraparap and Devan's Megairbase.

Episode 4: Gene Machine

Stages - TurTemple, Nippius and JungRock.

Episode 5: The Chase is On!

Stages - Marbelara, Slugion and Dreempipes.

Episode 6: The Final Clash

Stages - Pez-Rox, Crysilis and Twin Mega Battleships.

Information also contributed by Fangusu, Garcia and Maw

Related Games

Jazz Jackrabbit 2
Released 1998 on Windows, 1999 on Macintosh
Jazz Jackrabbit Trilogy
Released 1996 on DOS
Jazz Jackrabbit Collection
Released 2017 on Macintosh, Linux, Windows
Jazz Jackrabbit CD-ROM
Released 1994 on DOS
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Collection
Released 2017 on Windows
Jazz Jackrabbit 2: Holiday Hare 98
Released 1998 on Windows

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Derrick 'Knight' Steele.

Additional contributors: Itay Brenner, Pseudo_Intellectual, Patrick Bregger.

Game added February 24th, 2000. Last modified August 27th, 2023.