Jazz Jackrabbit 1, or Jazz Jackrabbit, is the first game in the Jazz Jackrabbit series. It was created by Digital Dimensions, (later renamed into Orange Games) and Epic MegaGames. The game is actually named Jazz Jackrabbit, but to seperate it from the newer games and the Jazz character, most people call it Jazz Jackrabbit 1, or just JJ1.
JJ1 was released in 1994 for the Personal Computer (PC), featuring very fast gameplay for its time, secret levels, and 3D bonus scenes. It contained six episodes. Later that year Jazz Jackrabbit CD was released, containing the original six episodes plus three more, and the added feature of selecting bonus stages from the main menu. It was awarded the Arcade Game of the Year prize by the PC Format magazine.
Jazz Jackrabbit evolved from a platform game in the making by Digital Dimensions. It originally starred Wubbo Ockels, the first Dutch astronaut to go into space, but it was later changed into the Jazz Jackrabbit character (a green rabbit with a big, blue gun, in case you haven’t already noticed), which Cliff Bleszinski designed.
Also, two extra shareware episodes were released, both named “Holiday Hare”, containing special holiday levels. These were released in 1994 and 1995.
The main villain of JJ1 is Devan Shell, who has kidnapped princess Eva Earlong of Carrotus. He is the leader of a turtle terrorist group, and the motivation behind the kidnapping was that the rabbits would surely agree to his demands in return for their beloved princess. The goal of the game is that you, playing as Jazz, must rescue her and save the galaxy from Devan Shell’s plan for the destruction of the Galactic Rabbits.
JJ1 also has a sequel, appropriately named Jazz Jackrabbit 2. The original’s difficulty level, however, is considered to be harder by many: there aren’t any special moves like the Uppercut and the Buttstomp, and Jazz is the only playable character; any difficulty past easy requires finishing the levels within a certain time limit: if it isn’t completed within that time limit, Jazz will lose a life; finally, JJ1 only had 5 different types of weapons, compared to JJ2’s 9.
|Episode no.||Episode name||Starting planet|
|5||The Chase is On||Marbelara|
|6||The Final Clash||Pezrock|
|A||Outta Dis World||Exoticus|
|X||Holiday Hare 94 (bonus episode)||Holidaius|
|-||Holiday Hare 95 (bonus episode)||Candion|
The first 9 episodes in the game contain three planets of two levels, one Guardian level (which houses the episode’s boss) and one secret level, as well as a bonus stage for each planet. This means there are, in total, 72 levels and 27 bonus levels. Holiday Hare 94 however, had three levels, (Day, Evening, Night, all with different enemies), all located on one planet: Holidaius, two bonus stages for two first levels, as well as a very well hidden secret level in Holidaius 1. Holiday Hare 95 had two planets with two levels, (none of which had a bonus level), and a secret level in the first planet. Therefore, the total amount of levels in all released Jazz 1 versions equals 81, and the total amount of bonus levels equals 30.
Jazz Jackrabbit 1 became a success because there simply were not any good PC platformers around 1994, and also because it was a genuinely good game. The shareware version was especially popular, thanks to the Internet and because the full versions where only available via mail order. A few years later Jazz Jackrabbit 1 became purchaseable in game stores through the ‘Best Buys’ series, and there are even more companies that redistributed the game into stores.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.