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Video Game / Jazz Jackrabbit

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Left to right: Spaz, Jazz and Lori.

Remember Aesop's The Tortoise and the Hare? Imagine that same struggle, only 2,000 years into the future with both participants as anthrophomorphic animals, armed to the teeth and out for each others' blood.

Developed by Epic Megagames, these games starred the titular rabbit hero with quick feet and a big gun, crossing galaxies to butt heads with the evil Devan Shell and to free the captured princess of his home planet. Once considered PC gamers' response to the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog, the Jazz games sold on fast-paced Run-and-Gun action (with bonus levels surprisingly similar to Sonic's) and the titular Mascot with Attitude. The first two games in the series received many expansion sets, including Christmas-themed ones, and the franchise ground to a halt when the third game failed to ship. Surprisingly the games still maintain an active online community, and Jazz 2 is still actively played online by the proud and the few to this day.


On 30 November 2017, both games were made available on, marking the first time they have been available on modern systems (and the first official release of Jazz 2's expansion pack, The Secret Files, outside of Europe).

Got a Spiritual Successor of sorts with Freedom Planet.

Not to be confused with Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars.

Jazz Jackrabbit features examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Princess Eva Earlong's dress qualifies her for this.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Jazz and Spazz, with their headbands and wristbands, plus Jazz's backpack and Spazz's boots.
  • Aerith and Bob: "Jazz" and "Spaz" are unusual names; "Lori" and "Devan" are semi-normal names; "Eva" is a common real-life name.
  • Alliterative Name: Jazz Jackrabbit and Eva Earlong.
  • Alliterative Title
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: Diamondus has shiny, already cut gems under the ground.
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  • All There in the Manual: The second game's plot was explained only in the comics in the manuals, so if you didn't read them you'd have no idea what was going on.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: All the main rabbit characters are brightly coloured. Jazz is green, Spaz is red, Lori is yellow, and Eva and her mother are blue.
  • Art Shift: Promotional artwork for Jazz Jackrabbit 2, including the character graphics and sprites, were done by two different artists. The base game's art and sprites were done by Nick Stadler, while the art for Holiday Hare '98 and the two European-exclusive expansions (including Lori's sprites) were handled by Dean Dodrill.
  • Attack Drone: If you free a caged bird, it will follow you around and shoot whenever an enemy is near, but you lose it if you take damage. In the first secret level, you play as one of these birds.
  • Bag of Spilling: You lose all your weapons (aside from the default pistol) and ammo between episodes in the first game. You keep them in 2 though, unless you start a new game from a later episode.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Lori and Eva wear a sports outfit and dress respectively, but don't wear shoes.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Lori's outfit appears to be a sports bra and running shorts.
  • Beta Couple: Lori, who was made playable in The Secret Files, was initially supposed to be Spaz's love interest, and therefore his answer to Jazz's Eva. However, Project 2 Interactive accidentally described her as Jazz's sister, killing all romantic intentions. The second game's ending was never fixed to reflect this change, causing a Series Continuity Error.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: In the sequel, there's a witch that turns you into a frog, and being kissed by Eva Earlong turns you back into a hare. There is only one place where this happens, and it is in the demo levels.
  • BFG: Jazz's LFG-2000.
  • Big Red Devil: One of the bosses in the second game is a really fast, nasty devil who can spit fire all over the place.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Of a sort. The "Schwarzenguard" boss is hugely muscular, and thus presumably a play on "Arnold Schwarzenegger", but by the literal translation of "Schwarzen" it can also be read "Blackguard"—a rather archaic term for "evildoer".
  • Bonus Stage: In the first game, every level has a bonus stage which you can enter if you collect a special ruby. In these levels, Jazz has to collect a certain number of gems before the time expires to earn an extra life.
  • Breakable Power-Up: The caged birds that assist you when you free them fly off once you take a hit.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • If the player didn't press any buttons a few seconds, Jazz looked at the screen and called to them. In the first game, he said, "What are you doing?" In 2, he was more direct: "Hey! Hey, c'mon! Wake up!"
    • An example also happens in the ending of the first game. Jazz and Eva slip through the Iris in the Iris Out, so they can take a taxi.
  • The Cameo: In the secret level in Diamondus, there are several Katana robots from One Must Fall 2097 which act as platforms / walls.
  • Capture the Flag: The multyplayer levels with this name revolve around a blue team and a red team trying to steal each other's flags and bring them to their base. The first team that steals the required number of flags wins.
  • Chaos of the Bells: An action-packed remix of "Carol of the Bells" is used to score levels added by the Holiday Hare expansion pack.
  • Christmas Episode: The "Holiday Hare" levels for 1, and the "Holiday Hare '98" and "Christmas Chronicles" expansions for 2.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Spaz. The guy's not quite right in the head.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Devan Shell. He engaged in his campaign of terrorism because he was so incensed about the attitude of the lagomorphic antagonist of The Tortoise and the Hare, but he didn't notice that the attitude that got him so fired up is the same thing that cost the hare the race, thus teaching said mammal a valuable lesson about hubris. The manual comic lampshades this, having Princess Eva say "This guy goes on a tirade after reading fairy tales! I guess we're all lucky he wasn't listening to The White Album!".
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Some bosses go boom when killed, as do Spaz and Lori when one loses a life.
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: They're often encountered.
  • Double Jump: Spaz's special ability in Jazz Jackrabbit 2. This allows the player to reach higher areas which his brother can't.
  • Down the Drain: Parts of the Colonius levels in 2 take Jazz into the colony sewer system.
  • The Dragon: The original Jazz Jackrabbit is somewhat unusual amongst platformers in having a main villain, but not using him as the final boss (instead, you fight an evil Jazz). This is a little odd as you fight Devan Shell on the first three boss levels, along with one of the extra levels included in the CD re-release.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Played out in similar veins to Wolfenstein and Doom. Selecting "Easy Mode" on the difficulty selection screen shows Jazz, Spaz, or Lori as baby versions of themselves in diapers and being insignificantly cute, while selecting "Hard Mode" shows them as monstrously muscle-bound versions of themselves, which signifies both the standard and inverted case of this trope.
  • Energy Weapon: The cheat-code-access-only Laser Shield, although oddly enough its lasers mostly obey physics and are instantaneous.
  • Eternal Engine: The planets Tubelectric, Letni, Orbitus, Technoir, Dreempipes, Industrius, Deckstar, and the Megairbase and the Twin Battleships. Also the abandoned lab levels in Jazz Jackrabbit 2.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: One of reasons the fans seem to really love Lori.
  • Evil Twin: The final boss of the last episode in the first game is a giant gray Jazz.
  • Expy:
  • Fantastic Racism: Devan cites the original fable of "The Tortoise And The Hare" as one of the reasons he's so bent on dominating Carrotus; he hated the hare's smug attitude, so, being the sane and rational reptile that he is, he decides that he's going to invade a planet of rabbits (which, technically, are distinct from hares) that haven't done anything to provoke him.
  • Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon: Devan's Superbot from the second game mostly runs back and forth at high speed and occasionally fires a spiky ball, but he's rather weak, and because of that, he's very easy to defeat in no time at all.
  • Funny Animal: The whole point of the story.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Jazz is typically a female name.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Uterus, one of the bosses from the second game, is a large crab in a green shell who has a circle of crabs around him (the number of them depends on the difficulty the player chooses) and who spins fast towards the player.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
    • A level in 2 is called "A Cold Day in Heck."
    • Averted with the names of the Hell level files however: "Hell", "Hell2", "Damn", and "Damn2" respectively. Interestingly, the Cold Day level is merely called "Freeze". However, it's unlikely that normal / non-modding players of the game (in an age range where this would matter as well) would be closely browsing the data files anyway.
    • Averted in the first game's manual, where Princess Eva is quoted as saying "This sucks!" regarding her kidnapping, and a Funny Background Event in the bar Jazz is in has a woman complaining "Your pinball machines are using obscene language...", with the owner replying, "So are our waitresses... What's your point?!!". Present, however, in the second game's manual: when asked how are they going to escape from the dungeon, Spaz replies "I have no flippin' idea!".
  • Go for the Eye: The only way Bolly Boss from the second game can take damage is by shooting it in the eye. The rest of him is Made of Iron (its spike chain is destructible, but destroying it doesn't damage its Life Meter, only makes it easier for the player to defeat it).
  • Green Hill Zone: The planet Diamondus, where Episode 1 begins in.
  • Guns Firing Underwater: All the weapons in both games (including the fire bullets) work under water with no problems.
  • Harmless Freezing: 2 introduces an ice-based ammunition that temporarily freezes opponents, but does not kill them so, if left alone, they eventually thaw out and continue their normal routine as if nothing happened. Downplayed however that, while they are in this frozen state, a single shot from any other weapon can shatter and kill them.
  • Haunted Castle: Planet Medivo.
  • Helicritter: Double-jumping with Jazz in the second game triggers his helicopter ears, which are used as a glider. Lori has this ability too.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Jazz for Princess Eva.
  • Holiday Mode: Between Thanksgiving and the end of January of the next year, the game will add a snow particle effect and dress Jazz up in a Santa outfit on the main menu.
  • Homing Projectile: The Missile Launcher fires heat-seeking missiles which change their flight paths to hit the nearest enemy. It's especially useful against the type of enemies that chase and attack the player when he gets too close to them, such as bees.
  • Hover Board: Can be found in both games and allow the player to fly.
  • Hurricane of Puns: A lot of the Jazz Jackrabbit 2 level names: "Knight Cap," "Victorian Secret," "Fourteen Carrot," "Bad Pitt" — you get the idea.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Eating carrots restores the player's heal. Normal carrots restore it partially, while full health carrots restore it completely, which is convenient when the player has only one health left.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The difficulty settings in Jazz Jackrabbit 2 present a visual version of this trope. "Easy" is represented by baby versions of the Jackrabbit siblings, "Medium" is represented by their regular appearances, and "Hard" is represented by muscular depictions of all of them. The first Jazz Jackrabbit also does this, except that "Hard" is represented by an angry-looking Jazz, while his muscular depiction represents a fourth difficulty level, "Turbo".
  • In the Style of...: The Secret Files has a music track, played in the haunted house levels, called "Jazz Belmont" which sounds exactly like something you'd hear in a Castlevania game.
  • Iris Out: This happens in the ending of the first game. It closes on Jazz kissing Eva, while shaped like a heart. They then slip through the iris and take a taxi.
  • Killer Rabbit: Jazz, Spaz, and Lori are literal examples of this. They're rabbits which can take down a lot of enemies.
  • "Kiss the Cook" Apron: In Jazz 2, the title card for the Home-Cooked levels features the titular character wearing a green apron reading "Kiss the Cook" while grilling hot dogs - with some fiery results.
  • Large and in Charge: The queen from the second game is the largest rabbit character. Well, aside the final boss of the last episode in the first game.
  • Level Editor: 2 had an official one. A fan-made editor for the first game was later released.
  • Life Meter: Each of the ending bosses except the queen from the second game has this. Jazz has one as well, in the first game it looks like a bar which changes colour depending on how much health he has left and in the second game, it's represented by 5 hearts at maximum health and every damage he gets makes him lose one.
  • Mad Scientist: Devan Shell, a Jerkass turtle developing all sorts of machinery to take down rabbits.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: One of the Queen's powers is a scream that pushes you back.
  • Mama Bear: In the comic in the second game's manual, the Queen strips Jazz of his newly gained title of Prince and throws him in the dungeon when it turns out that Devan Shell was not quite as defeated as everyone thought. This could be interpreted as a strong desire to protect Eva Earlong from a threat. She then serves as the game's first boss fight.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Jazz is a classic version, though the comics sometimes made fun of this. He also did well for a character of this type.
  • Mighty Glacier: Bolly from the second game might be slow, but is very strong and has powerful shoots and his only weak spot is the eye.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The extra-large Diamondus gem from Eva's engagement ring in 2. For some reason, Devan needed it to power his time machine so he could erase rabbits from history. (It only makes sense if you read the manual first.)
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Hip Hop, the caged bird the player encounters in most of the levels, is described as being half-pheasent, half-eagle.
  • MOD: Uses the music format.
  • Mook Promotion: Schwarzenguards are standard mooks in the opening levels of the first game's fifth episode; in 2, a single Schwarzenguard (wielding a "flailerang" instead of a blaster) serves as the second boss you face.
  • Not My Driver: In the first game. Jazz and Eva end the game by taking a taxi, not knowing that Devan Shell is driving it.
  • Nostalgia Level: All six levels of Episode 3 in Jazz Jackrabbit 2 are callbacks to the first episode of the first game.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The final world in the first game's first episode - Medivo. The track during the level fits well for both the music and overall atmospheric components. Though part of the shareware content, that accessibility actually helped to increase the level set's popularity, rather than leaving players tired of it. Cue remixes still popping up almost 15 years later.
  • 1-Up: Jazz's head in the first game and a "1Up" text item in the second.
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: Spaz is the only character who wears shoes.
  • One-Winged Angel: The final boss of 2 Devil Devan. After the normal turtle is defeated, he transforms into a demon version of himself.
  • Palette Swap:
    • The levels in the second game have a day variation and a night variation. The levels that don't take place outside simply have a darker, duller colour scheme in the night version.
    • The first Medivo level in JJ 2 features a blue and orange variation of the caged bird (which is usually green and red).
  • Poison Mushroom: While it doesn't hurt or kill you outright, if you collect an Exit sign in the Bonus Stage, it's an instant failure.
  • Post-Defeat Explosion Chain: Defeated bosses have red chain of explosions accompanied by sparks.
  • Power-Up Food: Eating enough food in 2 and its expansions gives you a "sugar high"; you cannot be defeated for thirty seconds, and every villain dies the instant you touch them.
  • Power Up Motif: Pick up the fast feet shoes and the level's music will speed up until they wear off.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Princess Eva's dress proves this.
  • Product Placement: One of the types of point-giving items found from Tubelectric on is a Gravis Gamepad.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: "The Tortoise and the Hare"...IN SPACE!
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: A lot of the enemies had red eyes.
  • Rewarding Vandalism:
    • You score points for shooting up signs claiming that "rabbits stink!"
    • This goes even further in Jazz Jackrabbit 2. Not only do you get points for shooting stuff, be it blocks or lamps, but sometimes you actually need to do so to progress.
  • Save the Princess: The plot of the first game.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Letni = Intel. The planet Letni in fact looks like the inside of a huge computer.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The comic in the first game's manual has Sonic appear directly: Jazz is complaining that he wishes life was like video games where all you have to do to beat the bad guy is jump on him, and Sonic is seen in the background saying "Somebody get my lawyers on the phone!"
    • Also from the first game's comic: A turtle acquaintance of Devan's tells Jazz that they studied martial arts together. Jazz says that he's heard rumors that Devan was trained as a ninja, to which the turtle responds that he wanted to, but there were strict copyright laws regarding ninja turtles.
  • Sequel Hook: In the first game. Jazz is able to rescue Eva Earlong, but Devan Shell escapes. Jazz and Eva then take a taxi, which is revealed at the last moment to be driven by Devan in disguise.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Single-Biome Planet: In the first game, all of them. In the second, most of the game (besides episode 3, which revisits the first three planets from the previous game) seems to take place on Carrotus, which would make that game an aversion, though since the game never actually says what planet Jazz is on, the only levels we know for sure are on Carrotus are the first four.
  • Single-Use Shield: In the first game, the green shield, when shot, brings up a couple green gems spinning around you, allowing you to take a hit without getting hurt. There is also a red "fire shield" which protects you from four hits (the remaining shield strength is shown by how many red gems are spinning around you).
  • Smooch of Victory: Jazz and Eva share a BIG one at the end of [[the final episode of the first game.]]
  • Species Surname: All major characters have these.
  • Spread Shot: Your missiles always fire in pairs, in V-like pattern.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Sometimes there will be parallel walls or the floor and ceiling lined with them.
  • Spiritual Successor: Sonic the Hedgehog plus Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars equals Jazz Jackrabbit. But Bucky O'Hare minus Jazz Jackrabbit equals Star Fox.
  • Stationary Enemy: One of the few enemies that never move are the small dragons from the second game. Instead, they shoot flames larger than itself.
  • Steel Drums and Sunshine: The soundtrack of the tropical levels Exoticus features steel drums.
  • Studded Shell:
    • The boss Schwartzenguard is a tortoise with a spiky shell. However, his Weapon of Choice is a spiky flail.
    • The boss Uterus is a crab-like clam with spikes on his shell. The spikes are mostly visual since every part of him hurts the player.
  • Take That!:
    • One of the bosses in one episode of the first game looks like a cross between Zool and Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • The last boss of the final episode of the first Jazz Jackrabbit is an evil gray huge superpowered version of Jazz which you fight on a spaceship. I wonder if that sounds familiar.
    • The sequel follows up with a returning world having a robotic alien that is painfully simple to defeat riding in a hemispherical machine with a swinging ball on a chain attached to the bottom.
    • In early versions of the game, the cheat code "APOGEE"note  reduces the color palette to 16 colors, reduces the speed by half, and displays the text "Apology Mode". Apogee wasn't amused by this jab at their company and threatened to sue, leading to the cheat's removal from later versions of the game.
  • Taxonomic Term Confusion: The developers seem to use the terms "rabbit" and "hare" interchangeably when rabbits and hares are actually separate genera in the same family (hares are a single genus; rabbits are several others).
  • Third Is 3D: There were plans for a third game that played this trope straight. It got cancelled due to the lack of an interested publisher, but the alpha can still be found on the Internet.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Jazz's face completely blushes and turns red after rescuing Princess Eva in the first game.
  • Timed Mission: In the first game, there is a timer counting down from 10, 8, 6, or 4 minutes depending on the difficulty. On Easy and Medium modes, running out of time carries no penalty other than not being able to collect a time bonus. On Hard and Turbo modes, however, instant death at 0:00.0 is in force. You can get an extra minute if you collect an hourglass, but you can't have more than 10 minutes at once.
    • The Bonus Stage in the same game. Get enough gems before time runs out and you get an extra life. Most of the time, you have about 2 minutes, give or take a bit, but there is one stage that gives you all of 15 seconds, meaning your first priority is to find an hourglass (it's worth the same extra minute as in the regular stages).
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Eva is noticeably taller than Jazz.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • One of the screenshots on 2's website before its release showed Jazz fighting Devan's demon form in the final level.
    • The registration information included with the original game also had a screenshot of the final boss - a definite spoiler as it wasn't even Devan Shell.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction:
    • Diamondus has many giant gems under the ground, but also smaller ones.
    • In the second game, the player can shoot giant red gems to get multiple normal-sized ones. They must be collected quickly, though, because they vanish after a while.
  • Tube Travel: In both games, some levels feature tubes as a way of transport. They appear prominently in the Tubelectric stages (hence, the planet's name), and the Labrat stages from the second game.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Lori (tomboy) and Eva (girly girl) give off this image, with Lori being presented as an athlete and Eva being presented as a very feminine princess.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Jazz, Spaz, and Lori.
  • The Ugly Gal's Hot Daughter: Princess Eva Earlong is attractive, while her mother is plain-looking in comparison.
  • Under the Sea: There are two stages where the player swims under the sea. Lagunicus in the first game (episode C, levels 5 and 6), and Marinated Rabbit in the second (episode 2, level 6).
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There are various turtle hatchlings present in some levels in the original Jazz Jackrabbit. They don't harm the player at all, are worth no points, and simply run about back and forth the platform they are on. Nevertheless, Jazz can blow them and their little siblings away with any weapon with no consequences.
  • Video Game Sliding: Spaz in Jazz Jackrabbit 2 has a special move called the Sidekick, which is a sliding maneuver. It's more of an attack than a defensive maneuver, but there's a pause before the move starts so care is necessary when trying to use it.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: A few planet names like Dreempipes and Raneforus.


Video Example(s):



True to its name, Tubelectric is a place where you can use tubes as a mode of transportation.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / TubeTravel

Media sources: