LGR – Jazz Jackrabbit 2 – PC Game Review

LGR – Jazz Jackrabbit 2 – PC Game Review


[typing] In 1994, Epic MegaGames released
Jazz Jackrabbit onto the shareware scene and it made quite the impact. Sonic the Hedgehog-inspired gameplay on the PC with bright cartoony graphics, solid gameplay and amazing music? Oh, yeah, people were all over that mess, including myself as a wee lad. Of course, most of us never
actually bought the full game and instead just played the free episode over and over, or innocently copied the rest of
the episodes at a friend’s house. But hey, demand is demand, and it wasn’t long before a sequel was in development. The eventual result was Jazz Jackrabbit 2, published by Project 2 Interactive and
Gathering of Developers in 1998 for Windows PCs and by Logicware for Macintosh the following year. And like the first game,
lead programming was by Arjan Brussee, this time under his studio at Orange Games, and was produced and co-designed by Cliff Bleszinski and others at Epic MegaGames. A duo that in 2014 joined up again
to create the indie studio Boss Key. This is the US release here, showing depictions of Jazz Jackrabbit
and his newly playable brother Spaz, on a plain white background. But being a game developed largely in the Netherlands, it’s natural to expect a European release, and I have to say I prefer this one’s packaging. It’s more colorful and the box feels more substantial, and it not only comes with Jazz 2 but
the first game for MS-DOS inside as well. However, this manual is all black and white and doesn’t have as much content as the US release, so if you want that, it’s back to America. Just like the original Jazz,
this comes with a full-color manual that includes not only all the info
about the game you need to know but a comic strip in the beginning, setting up the story and providing a waft of lagomorph-related humor. Starting the game pushes some
introductory logo animations in your face, as well as a nicely animated cutscene by Dean Dodrill, the same guy who in recent years is most known for making the
game Dust: An Elysian Tail. After this is finished letting you know how
awesome it thinks the protagonists are, you’re greeted with an updated rendition
of the Jazz Jackrabbit theme song. [“Jazz Jackrabbit” theme] As well as the main menu and its
obnoxious cartoon sound effects. [various cartoon sounds] Beginning a new game allows you to play
single-player or the new multiplayer modes, though we’ll start with single-player. You have four episodes to choose from in the full game, many of which spoof something from pop culture, though only the first one is initially unlocked and the rest are unlocked as you play. There’s also a smaller shareware episode
and the option to play custom levels. Although the intro video established that
Jazz and Spaz work together as a team, you can only choose one of them to play as at a time. You then choose your difficulty, which takes cues from the first game
with its absurd and awesome artwork depicting each level of play. Finally, you’re dropped into the game, surrounded by the art and design of Nick Stadler and the absolutely fantastic
tracker tunes by Alexander Brandon, the same dude responsible for Epic’s
epic Tyrian and Unreal soundtracks. [tracker music] If you’re any kind of familiar with the
original Jazz Jackrabbit from 1994, Jazz 2 is an immediately
notable and substantial change. The basic run-and-gun
platforming gameplay is still here, as are the basic goals for each level. But thankfully gone is the excessive
knock-back from getting hurt, gone are the twitchy controls and movement
that’s so fast it gets out of hand, gone is the often claustrophobic level design, and gone is the zoomed-in camera
that made moving very fast a hassle. Although you can kind of bring it back
if you enable 320×200 resolution mode, but why would you wanna do that? No, this is an objective improvement
in playability in almost every way. The premise is simple: an evil genius turtle known as Devan Shell has been a total dick to rabbit-
kind for what seems like forever, although here he’s not destroying planets or anything. Instead, he’s simply stolen a wedding ring. That’s it. Petty larceny. It’s the job of Jazz and his brother Spaz to retrieve it, so Jazz and Princess Eva Earlong can get married. Apparently, they’re either flat broke
or it’s a seriously unique wedding ring because they can’t just hop on over to a local
pawn shop and grab another one or something, but must instead ruthlessly murder
hundreds of turtles to get it back. You start off with a basic blaster weapon
with infinite ammo, just like the original game, but you also have several special
moves you can pull off at any time. Each character can butt-stomp at will from mid-air, allowing to take out enemies as well as
break certain crates and blocks in the level. There are also unique abilities, like Jazz who can perform a high
jump/punch directly upwards, as well as glide around with helicopter ears,
straight out of Looney Tunes. And the spastic Spaz who can
double-jump to reach higher platforms and perform a flying kung fu kick
directly to either side for quite a distance. Beyond this, you have your
normal weapons and power-ups with the originals from the first game making a return, as well as several new ones. Nothing too fancy, just your typical
split-rockets, flame throwers, machine guns, homing missiles, bouncy
grenades, lasers, freeze rays, TNT– Okay, so there are some pretty
frigging cool weapons, actually. Ammo for these is scattered all around as well, so you almost always have something fun on-hand to vaporize your reptilian foes. You can also enlist the help of Hip Hop
the parrot by shooting open bird cages, gain rapid-fire pickups from downed enemies, as well as make use of several types of shields, and even a weapon power-up that ridiculously increases the firepower of whatever weapon you’ve chosen. There are also a bunch of random things to pick up
as you would expect from a platformer like this, but they’re not all just for points this time around. Collecting candies and other sweets will
eventually lead to something called a sugar rush, which give you invincibility and allows you to bust
through and destroy blocks and enemies alike. You can also collect various gems to gain
even more points and even extra lives, as well as coins which are used
as currency at coin warp locations. If you get enough, you can spend them to be warped
to an area filled with ammo, power-ups and lives. And yeah, there’s a lives system,
and thankfully this is a game where you can get hurt repeatedly before you lose a life, where your health is indicated
by the hearts in the top-right and is refilled by finding and eating carrots, naturally. And as you’d expect, lose all
your lives and you get a game over, so saving your game often is advised, although it makes the whole
lives system a bit redundant. Also expected, at the end of
each level there is a boss battle and they really haven’t improved much since Jazz 1. It’s just a thing that tries to harm you,
and you shoot it until it perishes. Maybe you get a few patterns
here and there to watch out for, but it’s nothing multi-tiered in
complexity or particularly memorable. In fact, some of them are downright glitchy, like this one that keeps
blasting off the side of the screen, making the game unfinishable
unless you reload your game. Glitches and weirdness don’t end there, either, sadly. Sometimes it’s needlessly tough to
get through a certain spot in a level, or stomping on blocks and boxes doesn’t
always work and is oddly particular about it, or the game will just outright crash at
random on any system I’ve ever played it on. But this is nothing common enough to
take away from the overall experience and the game really is just a
pure joy to play through even still. I love all the references and updates
to the original Jazz Jackrabbit, as that was one of my absolute
favorite platformers for DOS as a kid. And I love the variety in level designs, tile sets
and all the awesome music and sound effects. Now sure, there isn’t much in
the way of variety in gameplay. I mean, they even took out the bonus rounds
in between worlds from the first game. But you do get the occasional token underwater level or wicked turtle witch morphing you into a frog. But being that you can finish
the game in just a few hours, it’s not long enough for this
stuff to become too repetitive. And when you get tired of the single-
player, there’s always multiplayer modes. Yes, multiple players! Pretty novel concept. You can play several split-screen modes locally, everything from the whole game in co-op to several competitive modes consisting
of deathmatch, capture the flag, racing, as well as a mode where you try to
collect more gems than the other player, often by shooting them until
they hate you with a fiery passion. And in the short time between the release of
this game and Epic’s own Unreal Tournament, this was one of the best
multiplayer experiences around, at least among my circle of friends at the time. And everything multiplayer was available online as well, either via LAN or over the Internet, and yes, there are still people playing to this day. Granted, the servers aren’t exactly very populated, but if you go sites like Jazz2online.com
and keep an eye out for events, you can still join in on some awesome
multiplayer battles from time to time as well as download all sorts of fan-made content, much of which is made with
the Jazz Creation Station software the full Windows game comes with, allowing you to edit existing
levels and build your own levels and custom episodes, too. And it didn’t stop there as there ended up being some expansions
and spinoffs to the game in the following years. First up is Holiday Hare ’98, a set of Christmas-themed levels in the vein of
the previous Holiday Hare games for Jazz 1. It was released in a jewel case in the US, but also saw a very limited boxed release
in Europe as the Christmas Chronicles with some extra content included, as in an extremely rare thing to find indeed. In these editions, you get three levels
of Christmas-themed goodness, with everything covered in snow,
Santa hats and Christmas lights, acting as a fun little holiday diversion and holiday promotion for the full game. And finally, there was
Jazz Jackrabbit 2: The Secret Files, the only official expansion pack to the game. And yes, it is a game and not a kid-centric cereal box. Just looking at the artwork, you could
be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Although, this was never released
in America to my knowledge, it’s worth tracking down a copy from Europe, as it not only updates the game code
and adds another full episode, but you get an additional character to play as: Lori. According to this game,
she’s the sister of Jazz and Spaz, although originally she was meant
to be the love interest of Spaz, as shown in the ending cutscene of the base game. Who knows, maybe Lori’s both. I don’t know what kind of incest laws they have
on the planet Carrotus, so I’m not going to judge. Anyway, she’s got her own set of abilities, but is basically an amalgamation
of the original two characters, where she has Jazz’s helicopter ears and a variant of Spaz’s kick,
which is more of a roundhouse thing. Otherwise, she plays the same
and isn’t really a huge addition, except for the fact that having a female
to play as is always a really cool option. The new episode itself is kind of… not that great, if you ask me. It starts off with an Easter-themed set of levels because… I guess, ha ha, they’re rabbits. So, yeah, chocolate bunnies and whatnot? But all the enemies and some of the tile sets used are just ripped straight from the previous four episodes. And not only that, but I’m just not a big
fan of the level design here in general. But still, it’s more content and
updates the game with some cool stuff. Another thing that is worth
looking into is Jazz Jackrabbit 2+, which is a fan-made patched version of
the game which fixes some of the bugs and updates the game with other capabilities, many of which are useful to level designers. This is free but requires the base game. But whatever version you decide to play, Jazz Jackrabbit 2 is a fantasic game and is well worth your time. Unfortunately, it’s not very
easy to come across anymore, as the game has never been re-released
digitally or otherwise to my knowledge, and finding physical copies online
aren’t exactly easy to come by. I’m still really hoping Epic revisits Jazz someday, if not for a proper sequel, then at least a
version of these games for modern systems. But it seems like ever since the canceling of
Jazz 3’s development, they’ve never looked back. Which is sad, because these games
remain some of my favorite platformers. Not just for the PC, but for anything. So until that day comes, track down a copy of Jazz
Jackrabbit 2 however you can, because this is probably one of the last hurrahs for pure ’90s 2D platformers,
and I cannot recommend it enough. JAZZ:
Hey! Hey, come on! What’s up? [funky keyboard music] LGR:
And if you enjoyed this review
on some jazzy awesomeness, then why not check out some of my others? I’ve covered the original Jazz Jackrabbit,
one of the Holiday Hare games, and a ton of other stuff. I upload new videos every single week, and seeing that this is YouTube
and subscribing is a thing, subscribing… is a thing. So you can do that and be notified
whenever I upload more stuff. You can also follow me and
interact on Twitter and Facebook, as well as back me on Patreon
to help support the show, or you can just sit there and continue
listening to me like a weird person. Not doing anything at all. Just kind of looking at these pixels
on-screen with my voice in your ears. Who knows, maybe you’re asleep. Maybe you’re not real. Maybe everything has been
stolen by an evil turtle in space. I don’t know, but as always, thank you for watching.

100 thoughts on “LGR – Jazz Jackrabbit 2 – PC Game Review

  1. I can't put my finger on it, but this game looks like it was made in 90's Click-N-Play. Honestly, the first game looks better, this is WAY too high of a resolution for a pixel art game. What is this, 800×600? I you could scale it down a bit or slow the game down a bit because Jazz 1 did have issues with being too speedy, but man. The graphics here just don't work, imo.

  2. OMG I have Version 1.00 Full American Version Sat here I remember ordering it when I was a Nipper and being Overwhelmed when it Arrived 🙂 and am so glad to have found Another JazzFan Clint you are a Legend 🙂

  3. How did I not know Spaz double jumps all this time?! Maybe I kept double jumping on accident without realizing it in case it was impossible to beat the game otherwise.

  4. This was the game that made me re-evaluate the anger I had when Windows XP came along and rendered all my DOS games unplayable, despite everyone saying it's better.

  5. I remember playing the very first game as a child, and a few years later my dad brought home the Holiday Hare version. I still play this game and it is one of my favorite games of all time. The nostalgia is real when I do a playthrough. To this day, by far the best thing about this game is the music. Its absolutely so, so amazing! I recommend this to anyone!!

  6. Kind of an odd question, maybe someone can help? Downloaded this wunderfull Game from GOG (but also got a pirated Version laying around, that behaves exactly the same). The controls seem odd. When you hold the Jump key, the player will jump continously, until you release the key. However, it will not cause double Jump/ Helicopter or something.
    Same goes for fire, every second or something it will shoot.
    I can't remember that from childhood…. Is there a way to fix it? It REALLY REALLY sucks, I played it now only a little bit and died so fucking often, because the damn rabbit will jump again when he touches ground, if I didn't release the key on time….. Please help 🙁

  7. Oh my, the memories.
    I was creeped out when Jazz turned towards the player after not moving for a while. I dunno why but i was damn scared xD

  8. When I was kid, that was one of my favorite games. Damn what flashbacks I was getting when watching this episode.

  9. Still one of my favorite games. Spent so much time online in JJ2. My first real experience being online. I was part of a clan named Killer Kings. We had a leader named Athlon from the Netherlands, even a website with a nifty little flash intro. My name on there was always either Sonic or Manic KK. I met a girl on there named Nuria from Spain who was pretty much my first real penpal. There was also a griefer online named Jazzy who always was trolling people. Also spent a ton of time on jazz2online.com hanging out on the message boards and talking to people. Then realizing when I got older that someone named CliffyB in game that I'd run into and talk to randomly was actually the guy who made it. Man, nothing's ever really been like that for me. Jazz 2 was a wonderful part of my childhood.

  10. i remember playing on school when i was about 4th or 5th grade on the school computer, and now i have a gaming pc =) , and i still play it. it's my childhood game man =)) now i'm 21 -_-

  11. The opening logo for Orange Games in Jazz 2 makes me think strongly of the Sega Saturn, especially its 3D games and is a major reason I went out and bought one. I'd love to see ports of Jazz Jackrabbit 2 and Sonic Mania on Sega Saturn. Anyone want to give it a whirl?

  12. I remember playing this game when my family have our first computer. It is second hand computer and this game still installed from the former owner.

  13. I actually found a few weeks ago a copy of The Christmas Chronicles in a stack of christmas cd's at the local second hand recycle shop. But it's just a jewel case, not the box you showed in your video, but it has the same image as shown at 9:07 . I can choose between the three characters and it's actually running on my windows 10 system (the back says it needs, Windows 95/98 or dos 6.0)

  14. Arjan and Cliff make Jazz Jack Rabbit 1 and 2, highly derivative cash in games but successful.
    Arjan and Cliff make Lawbreakers and Radical Heights… two highly derivative cash in games that bankrupted the f*** out of their company. XD
    Lightning did not strike twice.

  15. i have an illegal copy of this game from when it first came out, i remember some of the glitches, but i don't ever remember it ever crashing

  16. I hope those guys at Boss Key studio have lots of success in the field of video games. Maybe we will see some great fanchises to come out from them.

  17. Now being a pc player all my life it wasn't Mario, Crash, Jax or Sonic that introduced me to platformers no it was Jazz Jackrabbit.

  18. Back when Epic actually good games. Now all they do is make third party games timed exclusives on their horrible store.

  19. i had this game when i was 5 i played it t'ill 12 but i changed my system
    i was the only one in the whole nigborhood who had it
    that time i thought it was normall game specally that i dont live in europ or america
    thx for telling me how rare it was

  20. I need more jazz jackrabbit 🙂 i had a toyally unrelated green bunny plush and i called him jazz as a kid.

  21. Its been a while, especially since this video was posted, but wasn't the stolen ring used by Devan Shell for time travel hi-jinks?

  22. Damn, it still looks as awesome as it did 20 years ago, when I was playing it at cousin's place. GoG has it, so I'm definitely buying it. ^^

  23. Holiday Hare still works perfectly under Windows 10 as well. Unlike a lot of my Win 98 games. BTW, you can actually get a leaked copy of Jazz 3/Jazz 3D's Alpha, though I haven't gotten it working (at least not on my current 98 machine).

  24. Oh my god. My grandfather bought this for my brother and I. We would go over to his house after school and play this for hours.

  25. love that the main creator of this game is dutch. probably the best dutch game that we have released. well after horizon zero dawn. then again Arjan Brussee the guy behind this project. created later or garuillia games

  26. Lazy man! please help me, Im playing jazz 2 and so happy as i played as a kid but i cant seem to do the smash move! or get off wires when hanging from them, is this a move i should be able to do??

  27. This game has a monopoly on modern mainstream platfromers. It was released in a time there everybody released first person shooters, but was a platformer with their features, like native Windows support, a level editor and Internet multiplayer. This monopoly means, that the Jazz2 ist still played today, even if it has flaws (lame singleplayer campaign, spikes don't work in multiplayer,buggy network code for DSL and missing bass-solo in Tubelectric ). Platformers do have a market share, but nobody uses it. Most modern games are either 3D shooters (like another Doom game), minigames with gambling elements (like Simpson Tapped out) or bloatware (like Broforce). A Modern (2D!!!) Platformer with a level editor, multiplayer, a mainstream publisher and low system requirements could have success.

    Jazz Jackrabbit 3D would have never succeded, because making an Unreal-Engine Port with the Story of what is so uncreative that uncreativity has become a feature (ripping of Sonic the Hedgehog, Earthworm Jim, Rambo and Bugs bunny) will fail. It is not about plot (or creativity) – it is about gameplay.

    You guys at Epic (Megagames) – Hey come on wake up !

  28. My dad once completely out of the blue made a burping sound identical to the yellow walking enemy at 3:55. No joke! It's probably the most random way of experiencing nostalgia I've felt, and pure coincidence. But it sure made me re-download the game

  29. After all these years I only now noticed at 11:50 you used the JJMORPH cheat code to turn into Spaz! (Look at the bottom left)

  30. Available on GOG, and I love it. Jazz 1 looks like I'd expect for dos. Jazz 2 looks awesome. GOG version is DosBox. Runs on anything. I am commenting on 11-5-2019. Awesome game and I finally got a chance to play it tonight.

  31. I remember playing the first one, ALOT. I never got my own copy of the second one, but I did hang at a friends house like every day after school after it released lol

  32. I remember playing the first one, ALOT. I never got my own copy of the second one, but I did hang at a friends house like every day after school after the release lol
    Good times.. Many moons ago.

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