Finished writing on 14-08-2021
So, you would like to hear (or read) about my first video game that I played for several years. I will tell my story of the game how
I remember it, probably it's all true, but I might've forgotten about some things.
1 Ninja Green Rabbit
I first started to play this game when I was about 7 years old. All of the computers in school had either Windows 95 or Windows 98 installed. yeah I'm kind of old hee hee We always did some silly "tasks" during Computer classes, like draw something in paint or just learned how to use the computer. Some kids played Deluxe Ski Jump 2, but I almost always played the game with the green shooting ninja rabbit. I don't know why, but every computer had it installed. (I'm glad though, it started a love that lasted several years).
Basically Jazz Jackrabbit 2 is a second installment of the Jazz Jackrabbit platformer game series made by the guys who make Fortnite now, but back then were called Epic Megagames. The game features a space green rabbit called Jazz, who goes on the journey to find a stolen ring for his fiancee by evil turtle Devan. In this part two Jazz's siblings are introduced - Spaz - a crazy red rabbit and Lori - a fit and really pretty yellow rabbit (which was originally to be Spaz's love interest).
2 Online era
Sometime later I learned that my friend has this game and came over to their house often to play it. Then they said they could burn the game on a CD for me, and I was like "omg yes!!!". I played Jazz Jackrabbit 2 for quite some time offline, the stock levels were really fun to replay many times.
That was until some time later I found out that you could actually play the game online with other people. When I first played a battle mode with others I was very thrilled and had a reason to keep playing Jazz for a longer time, because it had started to become boring. It was some time before the JJ2+ era, so you could only play the Battle mode, Treasure Hunt mode and Capture The Flag (CTF) mode. However you could make your own levels and even tilesets with Jazz Creation Station (JCS), which was bundled with the game. It was really similar to today's Super Mario Maker, but a little less beginner friendly. I think it was (and is I guess) a really fun start for people who want to be level creators. During the time I played there were a lot of "Hotel" levels that people made, which consisted of rooms with names of players who were friends with the level maker. I remember that I made my own hotel too, hee hee.
After some time people started to make Test levels, which tested, like in the title, your skills. They consist of several or a dozen of 'stages' that you have to complete and are basically 'mazes' where you can't touch walls or else you will be teleported you to the beginning of the 'stage'. I remember that there were some hardcore ones that teleported you to the beginning of the level.
I made several friends in the game, however we don't talk to each other anymore. I was a little afraid of online acquaintances at that time, so maybe that's why. But I have fond memories of them and I hope they're well. I also used to be in a clan, but like kids at my age at the time tended to do stupid things and got kicked out, yeah.
3 'Hackers' and the beginning of JJ2+ era
After some time I found out that you could download some mods for the game that actually worked online! I first noticed people having some wacky colors of their characters and wanted to look like that too. I found out about https://www.jazz2online.com (it's still run by the fans!!) where you can download mods, levels, music for your levels or join the community forums to talk about JJ2 or other things. I found my desired program that allowed me to almost freely modify my appearance. (almost because the looks could become a little glitchy)
Around this time, a few kids appeared that wanted to ruin the fun - 'hackers', ooooo scary. They used some kind of software to crash people's servers. (one of them is the reason I got kicked out of the clan, haha). Because of that some one guy started to work on a fan patch called 'carrotade', if I remember correctly, which later became JJ2+. Originally it was supposed to be a helper for servers, it allowed you to host co-op mode, added timers for matches and more. From what I remember, carrotade prevented people from crashing servers, so more and more people downloaded it. We were having fun playing the co-op mode, which I really would love to play online from the start. People could finally host tournaments with some better organization of things + having a spectator mode was really useful if you didn't want to have uninvited guests who spoiled your fights.
Oh did I mention versions of the game? There were 2 versions of the game, 1.23 and 1.24. The 1.23 one was the vanilla version with only Jazz and Spaz, in 1.24 with the subtitle "The Secret Files" Lori was added as a playable character + one set of easter themed levels alongside the original level episodes. These versions were incompatible if you wanted to play online, though most people played the 1.24 one, myself included, for obvious new character addition. There is also a 1.25 version, which is entirely Christmas-themed and doesn't have the other vanilla game episodes, but nobody was ever online when I was playing it.4 Conclusion
After some time more and more people started to leave the game, including myself as I became bored with the game again. I didn't delete it and come back to it from time to time (nowadays very rarely). From what I saw there are still some people from the old days playing and the JJ2+ patch is still being updated. The community is small, but it's really nice to know people still maintain the friendships made in a game.
In conclusion conclusion, I still really love the game. It has a special place in my heart. It is the reason I love video games and animation (it has really cool animated sequences made by Dean Dodrill) and is also probably the reason why I like furr- anthropomorphic characters. The whole crazy idea of a green ninja rabbit with a gun running around shooting turtles which I don't know why works is amazing. Plus the controls are very solid, so it's really fun to play. One minus I can say about this game is that it is too easy, even on hard mode you rarely die. Maybe that's why it didn't sell that well outside Europe.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 was made available on GOG.com several years ago!! You can buy it very cheaply, so maybe if you have a buck and time, you could check it out? https://www.gog.com/game/jazz_jackrabbit_2_collection
Note: If I recall any stories or some details I might edit this entry. Plus I need to find some time to take screenshots of the game to put here. Talking about a game without screenshots of it??
Thanks for reading!!
I extracted the sprites from the game using Jazz Sprite Dynamite by Neobeo