Jazz Jackrabbit 2 is a platform game produced by Epic MegaGames, now known as Epic Games. It was released in 1998 for PCs running Windows, and later for Macintosh computers. It is the sequel to Jazz Jackrabbit.
Jazz has to chase Devan Shell through time, in order to retrieve the ring with which he planned to wed Eva. Jazz's brother, Spaz, and in later versions Jazz's sister Lori, are introduced as playable characters. The game features multiplayer options, including the ability to play over a LAN or the Internet.
Spaz originally appeared (as a background object) in the previous Jazz installment Holiday Hare '95. Jazz and Spaz have different death animations. Jazz simply falls on his side, dazed. Spaz burps and explodes, leaving only his boots. They each have a unique special move of their own, and Spaz has also a second jump as opposed to Jazz' propeller ears.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 has two playable characters, Jazz and Spaz; a third character, Lori, was added in Jazz Jackrabbit 2: The Secret Files, and The Christmas Chronicles.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 is split into five episodes.
- Shareware Demo
Features several levels made to demo the game. These levels are available both in Shareware and in the registered version.
- Formerly A Prince
Jazz escapes from Carrotus Castle and visits a mad scientist's lab.
- Jazz in Time
Jazz relives remakes of levels from the first episode of the original Jazz Jackrabbit.
- Funky Monkeys
Jazz visits a jungle, goes to Heck (and experiences the first ever cold day there) and fights Devan Shell.
Gameplay remains similar from the original, albeit from a more zoomed out perspective with better graphics. Players have a few moves, such as a butt bounce that can break through blocks. Weapons of all sorts, ranging from missiles, flamethrowers and freeze guns, can be found. There are also several food items littered across the stage. Collecting enough of these activates a Sugar Rush mode for a period of time, in which the player moves faster, becomes invincible and able to kill any enemy they touch. Players can also collect silver and gold coins that can be used to activate warps that lead to otherwise inaccessible bonusrooms in levels.
Pop Culture and Gaming References
- The Medivo boss, Bolly, resembles the Eggmobile vehicle used by Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik in the Sonic the Hedgehog games.
- A sign in Diamondus reads "Spaz ate the Dopefish", one of the most well-known enemies from Commander Keen.
- The episode select screen has references to Doom II, the Back to the Future movies, and the music artist Prince.
- The hookah-smoking caterpillar, whose exhaled smoke disorients Jazz is a reference to Alice in Wonderland.
- The robot "Katana" from One Must Fall 2097 can be seen in the science level background art.
- BFG 500 is a parody to BFG 9000 introduced in Doom.
Similarities to other games
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 is similar to Sonic the Hedgehog in the following ways:
- Spring pads which enable the player to jump higher are present in both games - aesthetically they are almost identical.
- There are situations in both games where two spring pads may be facing each other (this can temporarily trap the player).
- The characters of both games have a ball-shaped jumping animation (in Jazz Jackrabbit 2 the player must jump when running for this animation to occur, but in Sonic the Hedgehog it always occurs when jumping).
- The player can travel along tubes by rolling in a ball-shape in both games. This is done automatically and is not controlled by the player.
- In both games, TVs can be found displaying power-ups on the screen. The power-ups can be claimed by breaking the TV. Both games have shield power-ups in some of the TVs. The same manner of attaining power-ups appears in Vectorman and its sequel, Vectorman 2, which is not unusual, considering Sega published both Vectorman and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 is also influenced by the Earthworm Jim series. A few similarities include the uncanny similarities of some of the levels' graphics, particularly "Inferno". "Inferno" is seen as similar to Planet Heck. Jazz's "helicopter ears" and Spaz's gun are also taken directly from the Earthworm Jim games. The levels is also very similar to the ones from the first Rayman games.
Jazz Creation Station
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 has a bundled level editor called Jazz Creation Station, often shortened to JCS. Players can use this to create and play their own levels and share them online, which increases the game's replaying value. Even today, new levels continue to be produced by fans. See the external links section below. JCS is not available for Mac users.
There are at least two versions of JCS available. The first one was bundled with the original game, while the second version came with the newer game versions. The new JCS features a file password-protection and some events not in the original game, mainly a few new Christmas-themed enemies and bosses. Levels created with the newer version cannot be opened in the original version, though this works vice versa.
A thorough exploration of JCS reveals several items which were cut from the final game, including shields, powerups and bosses. Some of these items are functional, but most are not. Most interestingly, it includes a difficult boss (named Bilsy) who does not appear anywhere in game but is fully functional. Bilsy however appears in Holiday Hare '98 in his Christmas variation outfit.
Released in 1998, this is a promotional shareware game. It featured three single-player levels and two multiplayer levels.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2: Holiday Hare '98
This Christmas edition was released in 1998 for the PC, but only in North America. Unlike the previous holiday editions, this game is commercial rather than shareware. It includes three single-player levels as well as a new boss and additional multiplayer levels.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2: The Secret Files
This Easter edition was released in 1999 for the PC, but only in Europe. This game introduces Jazz's sister Lori as another playable character. When Lori dies, her face is immolated and she falls over. It also adds an extra episode to the original Jazz Jackrabbit 2, called "The Secret Files". This episode consists of three different zones, each one with three levels. New tiles are also added to The Secret Files, most of them from the first Jazz Jackrabbit.
Released in 1999, this is a shareware game to promote The Secret Files. It is identical to the standard shareware version, but it includes the ability to play as Lori, as well as two new single-player levels in addition to the standard shareware version's levels.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2: The Christmas Chronicles
This Christmas edition is an enhanced version of Holiday Hare '98, featuring Lori as a playable character. It was going to be released in 1999 for the PC, across Europe. However, the publisher, Project 2, went bankrupt before the release date. It was eventually released in Poland in 2000. A limited European release followed shortly after. This version is based on the engine of The Secret Files.
- Design, Co-Producer: Cliff Bleszinski
- Lead Programmer: Arjan Brussee
- Programmer: Michiel Ouwehand
- Art, Animation, Design: Nick Stadler
- Music: Alexander Brandon
- Cinematic Animation: Dean Dodrill
- Sound Effects: Nando Eweg
- Level Design: Jon MacLellan
- Producer: Robert A. Allen
- Sound Engine Programming: Carlo Vogelsang
- Additional Music: Robert A. Allen
- Additional Music: Sean Hiler