Jill of the Jungle is a platform sidescroller released in 1992 by Epic MegaGames. Its primary purpose was to rival computer games from other shareware companies such as id Software (known for its Commander Keen and Doom series) and Apogee Software (later known as 3D Realms; they released Duke Nukem and Wacky Wheels, among others). This is the first installment in a trilogy of games which were initially released separately. Jill of the Jungle was available as shareware to bait gamers into buying the second and third installments, Jill Goes Underground and Jill Saves the Prince. When that marketing strategy didn't work as well as planned, the three games were combined into a single game a year later. However, Jill's success eventually gave Epic MegaGames recognition and allowed them to produce future hit titles such as Jazz Jackrabbit, One Must Fall, and the Unreal series. Jill of the Jungle was a small, seemingly unremarkable game, but heavy with history.
The plot is rather simple - you play Jill, an Amazon woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a skimpy green costume. Your task? To brave the terrors of the jungle and fight your way through to the other side. As the folks at Epic MegaGames put it at the time: "Who says a lady can't slay a few monsters?" You won't always have to slay them, mind you; sometimes dodging or outrunning them will suffice. If you can make it through the jungle in one piece, greater adventures will await you.
The game contains sixteen distinct levels as well as one bonus level. You start out on a "jungle map" of sorts, which allows you to go from one level to the next, but it actually resembles any another level: it's just devoid of monsters. The monsters you will face in the game are quite varied, ranging from firebirds to toads, from fish to snakes, and from killer bees to crocodiles. (Or are they alligators? Who knows?) Each level is unique, with its own environment, its own atmosphere, and its own fauna. In certain levels, you will even be able to turn into different creatures (firebird, fish, and toad) in order to achieve your goal. In another level you will find no foes, but only a puzzle to solve. To survive in this hostile land, you are given weapons (knives and a spinning blade) and you may replenish your health by eating apples.
The graphics in this game were quite good for their time, and they're not too pixelated. The music is pretty good as well, with catchy tunes courtesy of Dan Froelich. All in all, this game is still pretty enjoyable, and if you enjoyed this game as a child, like yours truly, you will undoubtedly still enjoy it today. And of course, be sure to continue the adventure in Jill Goes Underground, and ultimately, Jill Saves the Prince.