Jazz Jackrabbit 2 was created by Epic Games and released for the PC in 1998. It was special at the time because few side-scrolling platform games were built for the PC in the 90s, since most developers built them for consoles. It has a very distinct 90s charm, right down to the graphics, gameplay and music. It is often likened to the EarthWorm Jim games that were a big hit on consoles at the time.
Very polished and graphically pleasing for its time
The game feels like a mix of the most popular games of its era. The set designs are reminiscent of Lemmings, and it is fast paced like Sonic the Hedgehog. It is a side-scrolling shooter like Earthworm Jim, but without the digging mechanic, and it even has turtles to destroy like the Mario games of its era. It is a side-scrolling platform game where you are a rabbit that has to blast his way through a series of increasingly difficult enemies. His siblings also play a role at later stages in the game, a little like the Sonic and Tails games on the Sega. If you collect points by killing enemies or destroying items, then you earn a “Sugar Rush,” which makes you temporarily invincible.
There’s plenty to collect and do
There are plenty of things to collect in Jazz Jackrabbit 2. Pick up diamonds to earn more lives, and pick up carrots to refill your life bar. If you collect coins, then you can activate bonus warp devices that take you to secret areas. You may collect apples to earn more points. You have infinite ammo for your first gun, but you may also pick up new ammo that has a limited supply. The ammo you pick up is dramatically more powerful than your starter gun. There are poles stuck in random places. You are able to spin around on them and move faster in one direction or the other. They are used for reaching places that you may not be able to jump to. There are also rabbit toy checkpoints that allow you to save your place if your character loses a life. The graphics are above average for the late 90s, and they are a step up from EarthWorm Jim and Sonic. The enemies are very easy to start with, and they only become difficult around 2/3rds of the way into the game. The game doesn’t have much of a story, other than the fact you do not like the Turtles, but the game’s biggest selling point is its fast pace and quirky charm, rather than its epic story. Was its hatred of Turtles a jab at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze that was going on at the time?
It is still better than many modern side-scrolling indie games
If you used to play platform games on your game’s console in the 90s, then Jazz Jackrabbit 2 has all the charm and camp music you will ever need. Even today, it still beats many side-scrolling Indie games (including Shovel Knight!). The gameplay can get repetitive after a while, so you will have to challenge yourself to either gain as many points as possible, or challenge yourself to complete the levels as quickly as possible. If you are a fan of side-scrolling platformers, you will have fun with this game.