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Jazz Jackrabbit is a video game trilogy featuring the eponymous character of Jazz Jackrabbit, a green anthropomorphic hare, who fights with his turtle nemesis, Devan Shell, in a science fiction parody of the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare. Created by Arjan Brussee and Cliff Bleszinski and developed by Epic MegaGames, the series debuted on the IBM PC in 1994 with Jazz Jackrabbit. The series consists of two computer games and a handheld console game.
Jazz Jackrabbit (1994)
The first Jazz Jackrabbit game was developed and released by Epic MegaGames in 1994 for IBM PCs running DOS. Jazz had to rescue Carrotus princess Eva Earlong, who was kidnapped by his nemesis, Devan Shell. The shareware edition was extremely popular and the game was named Arcade Game of the Year by PC Format.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 (1998)
A sequel, Jazz Jackrabbit 2 was developed by Orange Games, produced by Epic Games and released in 1998 by Gathering of Developers in North America and Project 2 in Europe. Jazz and his brother, Spaz, team up to get back Eva's stolen wedding ring. Despite moderate success in Europe, it was the first game Gathering of Developers ever lost money on.
Jazz Jackrabbit 3
Jazz Jackrabbit 3 (alternatively called Jazz Jackrabbit 3D: Adventures of a Mean Green Hare) is the cancelled game of the series. Spearheaded by Dean "Noogy" Dodrill (an animator for Jazz Jackrabbit 2) and coded by World Tree Games, it was being developed for the original Unreal Engine technology in 1999. As the game's alternate name implies, Jazz would have ventured into the realm of 3D for the first time. The game was planned for release on PC and PlayStation 2.
Development of the game was ceased part way through in May 2000 as Epic MegaGames was unable to find a publisher. Since then, the alpha has been leaked on to the internet. Spaz and Lori, both of whom were from the preceding game, were also intended to be playable, but only Jazz is playable in the alpha.
Following the events of Jazz Jackrabbit 2, Jazz Jackrabbit and his wife, Eva Earlong, settle down in Carrotus Castle and become parents. Devan Shell, the main antagonist of the series, kidnaps their children, taking them into an alternate universe via the time machine from the previous game.
Jazz Jackrabbit 3 is a third-person shooter with platforming and adventure game elements. The mouse is used to aim and shoot, while the keyboard moves Jazz around the world. Jazz can fire his weapon, or charge up a more powerful shot. Jazz's arsenal can be expanded using coins collected to purchase new weapons and combine them with Elemental "Dream Cells" to create various weapon effects. In the alpha, only Fire and Ice Dream Cells can be acquired, and usable with two guns (the standard Blaster and the Gizmo Gun). When Jazz moves around in a level, he leaves a trail of footprints on the ground.
Unlike the previous installments, Jazz Jackrabbit 3 has no levels. Instead, it is divided into sections, similar to Super Metroid. At specific points in a map, the player can travel back and forth between these sections. Each new area that is visited is prefaced by its name.
Jazz Jackrabbit (2002)
Jazz Jackrabbit, developed by Game Titan and published by Jaleco under license from Epic Games, was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2002. As a reboot to the series, several changes were done in overall design, oriented towards cosmic science fiction inspired by Star Wars. Jazz's appearance was changed, losing his trademark bandana, backpack, and wristbands, and portraying now as similar looking to Han Solo, with his blue large gun also being replaced by conventional weapons. Eva Earlong is missing from the game and Devan Shell, featuring a Darth Vader-esque appearance, is now known as Dark Shell.
Jazz, along with Devan and Eva, made a cameo in One Must Fall: 2097, which was developed by Diversions Entertainment and published by Epic Games, in single-player tournament mode. Each character piloted a fighting mech that was suited to their individual personalities. Jazz Jackrabbit 2 also has one cameo from One Must Fall: 2097.
At one point Epic Games was considering an animated series based on Jazz Jackrabbit, as evidenced by Epic filing a trademark registration for the name "Jazz Jackrabbit" on March 28, 1997. The application contains a description for goods and services which says "entertainment in the nature of animated TV series".
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