If you were both a PC and console gamer who grew up in the 90’s (like us!), you probably noticed the lack of platform mascots on the PC. Here’s a fun little fact for you: Epic Games, the Gears of War and Unreal Tournament guys, created a ton of slightly obscure games in the early 90’s. One such featured a green jackrabbit with a red bandanna, a blaster gun, and an attitude! Enter Jazz Jackrabbit!
Now that we think about it, Jazz Jackrabbit played like a game that combined the platforming of Mario, the speed of Sonic, and the shooting bits from classic run’n’gun games like Contra. Taking the story of The Tortoise and the Hare to extreme levels, Jazz’s world is overrun by an evil army of tortoises. The mastermind behind it all is the nefarious Devan Shell, a particular ruthless tortoise who conquers entire planets. Shell attempts to conquer the planet Carrotus, Jazz’s homeworld, and of course he’s not having any of that!
The Jazz Jackrabbit Collection features the original game plus the Holiday Hare’95 expansion pack, which throws in some new festive levels. This is where Jazz started, and the game is still solid and fun to play today. The real standout of the show though is the Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Collection. With a bigger adventure better graphics, and an awesome soundtrack, Jazz Jackrabbit 2 was a stellar platformer. This collection contains the base game plus the Secret Files and Christmas Chronicles expansion packs.
While Jazz never went on to see another game, the game kept a relatively healthy fanbase who loved and cherished the game when it first came out. Over the years, a team of dedicated fans created a fan mod called “JJ2+”, which expands the multiplayer with new game modes, fixes bugs, and adds tools to play user-created levels. It’s quite the package, and awesomely enough GOG has included the mod with the GOG version of the game.
As a GOG reviewer lovingly puts it, Jazz Jackrabbit represents the “Windows platform’s finest achievement in the platforming genre”. If you’re at all interested, we highly recommend checking out the games while they still have the 10% off discount!