♦ Livestream of "Jazz Jackrabbit" (1994). ♦
A Patron-requested livestream featuring Zinfandel as co-commentary as we play a bit of Epic's proto-furry platformer, Jazz Jackrabbit. Wikipedia compares it Zool which is making me re-evaluate certain things about my life. The Sonic comparison is usually what one goes with.
Princess Eva Earlong has been kidnapped by the notorious Devan Shell, and its up to Jazz to rescue her, traveling from planet to planet shooting at turtles, floating eyeballs, spiked balls, and whatever else. For the most part, it's still a lot of fun to play! Having nostalgia for it certainly helps, but I was impressed at how generally well put together the shareware episode was at least. It's no wonder the game did well.
Episode 2 removes the training wheels and begins to get a bit too cruel with its design. Lots of jumps that lead directly into enemies, or tiny projectiles being fired that can be hard to see against the busy (and pretty) backgrounds. The platforming gets far more demanding requiring some precision jumps in game that feels too fast to control a lot of the time.
The speed at which Jazz moves is impressive tech for the era, the dying gasp of the age of PC platformers assuring players they're bigger and better than Nintendo and Sega. The limited resolution of its time and focus on the tech makes the playability feel a bit like an afterthought beyond that first episode. Before Epic could properly pivot to this newfangled Doom-Clone genre, they gave one solid push for taking on the 16-bit platformers of the time. Overall, they did a good job of it!
The soundtrack continues to impress to this day, and is a personal favorite. Yes, Tubelectric obviously, but others like Orbitus are just as great, and the more average tracks are still jams.
The most dated thing about Jazz today has to be the developer quote in the credits that says "It's hard to draw a sexy rabbit." No it's not Nick. People draw sexy rabbits every day.
♦ Play this game ♦
♦ Originally streamed on May 21st, 2023 ♦