Seventeen years sure is a long time to be an active fan of a shooty platformer starring a macho rabbit. But then millions of people still get excited about the ongoing adventures of floppy-spined blue hedgehogs and dumpy, child-faced plumbers – why should Jazz Jackrabbit be any different? The murderous green bunny, created by Epic long before they turned to Unrealses and Gearses, was last officially seen in 1998’s Jazz Jackrabbit 2, but has maintained enough of a community that long-running mod Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Plus is still updated to this day. They reckon it’s “the world’s premier 2D Arena Shooter”, donchaknow.
It’s easy to scoff at the focus of such adoration – because pistol-toting dudebro bunny rabbit – but impossible not to admire the dedication. What began as a bouncy shooty platformer has become a frantic multiplayer deathmatch affair, with something like 15 different modes, support for up to four teams, a spectator mode, a map-maker, overhauled graphics and a gazillion bug fixes.
The new 0.5 update is the first major release in a couple of years, and has pages and pages and pages of patch notes to prove it. The mod does include assorted new stuff for singleplayer too, but it’s clear that multiplayer is the focus. It isn’t an enormous surprise to read that the community is primarily European, but it does mean you’ll need to logon late at night if you’re a North American who fancies a bout of bunny-based arena action.
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Plus 0.5 is available here, and requires a copy of Jazz Jackrabbit 2. No doubt you’ve built a shrine with the JJ2 CD-ROM atop it in your living room, so that won’t be a problem, eh?