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Old 28-12-2014, 08:18 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Var, Hungary
Posts: 1,368
Default Jazz Jackrabbit Review

When it first came out, we all wished for it (and a computer that can run it), because Jazz Jackrabbit was A Thing.

This is the CD-version, and to run it first extract the .rar, then set the properties of the folder and remove the write-protection, else you'll miss the most famous part, the music.
Then in dosbox run setup.exe, and set the music to Sound Blaster 16. Oh, how we wished each and every game had its own auto-setting!
After this start the game with jazz.exe, go to options, set the keys, and incrise the volume of sound end effects, because they are muted at the start.

The game is a timed, speed based platformer, although – at least for the first couple of levels, on easy difficulty – the timer was conveniently high compared to the level's size. Of course it can feel much less, as the game allows you to look after hidden niches (can be found either by walking into wall, or removing wall-blocks by shooting), and even secret levels.
Naturally you'll want to find the secret levels, as they provide you extra lives, but the nooks beyond that are optional, although good things can come out of them.
Because of the things you can pick up. As the game-instructions says „what you can not shoot at, pick it up”. There are plenty of stuff to pick up, most of them just add to your score (little coloured dots and floppy disks for example), but there are more vital stuff, like ammunition. Yep, you here don't have to look for mushrooms to shoot down the turtles and bees – you have a sci-fi gun. With infinite ammunition, but that's just the start, you'll be able to upgrade it. To be honest I'm not actually sure the many type of ammo belongs to a certain type of weapon, so switching between them seem mostly unnecessary, as most of them just shoot straight projectiles. Well, this makes life easier. Of course the more advanced stuff offers some extra shooting modes, like the grenade launcher with its special arc, or the double missile, which hits things way easier, wether flying, or right at your feet.
To pick up the ammo you have to shoot their icons, and unfortunately in case you loose a life, you loose everything you collected until that point.
Aside the weapons you also better actively look for carrots to replenish your life. Being a timed, speed-encouraged game, even as it has bullet time mode, you'll likely bump into harmful things and get hurt.
Finally there are road sign boards. One version says „rabbit stinks” - you just shoot them from sheer annoyance (or not). The other has the evil turtle's head on them, and they mark the half and end of the level. Look no further for hidden passages there, just shoot the board, and our hero's head will appear, and if this was the end of the map, you'll be transported to the next level. I also suspect they are save-points, as there only seem to be level-save, despite that you can „save” anywhere anytime by the menu.

The game is of course not perfect. Despite the „use speed” there are just too easy and frequent to bump into enemies, lasers and such, so I feel this feature is somewhat lost.
Again for the increase in speed the platforming part can be tricky, Jazz likes to overspeed, and make jumps unpredictable.
But these are small issues compared to the well-thought design of the levels and the overall game, so I say if you give it a try, you won't regret it.
Nothing has a meaning. You can't even say it has no meaning as that'd mean it has. - Godkiller, Defender of Anarchy
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