This is my little review/rant of Epic's Jazz Jackrabbit 2. As a big
fan of the Jazz one, I've been eagerly waiting for this game since
they started advertising Jazz2 in early 96. Originally I was going to
write a first impression but the shareware edition is short. I mean
short people look at it and go "damn, that's short". We're talking Tom
Servo short here. I finished the whole shareware edition, on hard,
with Jazz, in under 12 minutes. The only thing that ever slowed me
down was the witch on the third level. I wanted to get those boxes on
top of the column. I played with Spaz and did the same feat in 8
minutes. Just so no one thinks I'm a 13 year old twitch fiend, I am a
28 year old handicapped guy, paralyze on the right side and suffer
from arthritis in my left hand. Yes I've played platformers since
Donkey Kong was a new arcade game but the point being, anyone should
be able to walk all over this puppy. I worked with Jazz 2 for another
two hours trying to find secrets and trying the game of three other
computers and it really did seem like work. So a review is in order.
I spent about a hour downloading Epic's little Easter present. While I
do have a 56k modem and the demo is only 11 megs, I guess everyone
else in the world was trying to download it too. Anyone should see
this coming, I HATE games that take longer to download than to play.
Any ways it installed smoothly. When I start the program, I soon
realize that the game itself is probably only a third of the download
size since everyone involved has to put their freaking animated logo
in the intro. Then I am "treated" with a poorly animated intro movie
of Jazz and Spaz. While cute, I've seen better movies on early Sega CD
games. My question is this, since this was to be distributed on the
Internet, didn't anyone think, "Gee, shouldn't we just lose the
movies? Will they sell our product?" Probably not. 
OK, so now we are into the game. I'm playing Jazz 2 first on my
pentium II 233 so I jack up the details to full. Now there is
something I can not escape comment on. Look at your calendar. No no,
not the playboy calendar you've had on the wall since high school, a
current one. What does it say? That's right, April 1998. Why the heck
are we playing a 2d platformer in 1998? Maybe last year it would have
been great but nothing a 2D platformer can do now will compete with
the likes Gex: Enter the Gecko or Mario64. I'm sorry. Lets get back on
track. The graphics are small but charming. Fortunately, the in game
graphics are far better than in the intro. The frame rate seems
smooth. I can't tell frame rates above 25 so I do not know if game
reach the mythical 70 frames per second. The best graphics come on the
scene on the third level. The lighting effects in the background sky
are really pretty. While the sky adds nothing to the game play, a
screen saver of that effect would be cool. With a few little
exceptions like that, the graphics are 1995/96 in quality.
The control seems "off." I can't put my finger on it but Jazz and Spaz
both seem a little drifty. Maybe its coded for a specific type of pad
or joystick I don't have. Don't know but the drift existed in the
keyboard. To be honest the drift didn't seem noticeable until I played
the game on slower computers such as the pentium 166mmx and thepentium 100.
The music was cool. No negatives in that department. Especially the
70's inspired second level was catch. OK, one negative. The music took
a major nose dive on the Pentium 100. Ofcourse this is a non-mmx
machine and is using a clone sound board. Something owners of such
devices might want to be made aware of. 
Now the big question. Is it fun? To be honest, I don't know. I just
started to get into the game then it was over. Not really leaving me
wanting for more. WARNING: CRUDE ANALOGY: It like finally getting to
make out with a girl you've been chasing for years. Then just as you
are about to get to second base, she says "If you want more you have
to marry me." You start thinking "Gee, that wasn't worth the wait.
Besides, there are newer models out there." What about party mode?
Didn't try it. As a rule I don't like multiplayer games and I imagine
if I forced myself to play it, I would have liked Jazz 2 even less.
Let's be honest, when you think "death match", do you think "2d
platformer?" Neither do I.
After playing Jazz 2, I checked out the Epic message board. Epic was
saying that the game is short if you run through it but there are a
lot of secrets. So I went back and started hunting for secrets. Half
hour later I believe I found the most accessible ones. This was when I
noticed the drift most. Didn't exactly add to the fun.
So I guess I'm trying to say is that I'm disappointed. There is
nothing in Jazz 2 worth waiting for. It might have been fun if
released some time ago but now its as thrilling as playing a pong
clone. I may still buy it. Not at its full price but once it gets to
the clearance bins along side 7th legion. Honestly Jazz2 shareware
wasn't worth the download. The game doesn't suck, it isn't bad, but
its a downer, that's for sure.
On other computers, it ran well. Couldn't use 16 bit color but all the
other options ran fine. Had to use a low res for the 100.Test computers
ABS Pentium II 233 64 megs of ram 4.3 gig HD 
4 meg Intergraph Intense PCI video cardSound Blaster 32 with 8 megs of ram
Pentium 166mmx32 megs of ramS3 virge with 4 megs 2.5 gig hard drive
Sound Blaster 16Pentium 10016 megs of ram4 meg Trident card800 meg hard drive
Logitech sound man wave

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