Jazz‘s development took no less than two and a half a year. During that time, several versions of Jazz 2 in moderately early development were sent to various testers, and three of them made their way to a public audience. Two of the versions were distributed along with some of Intel’s hardware (the result of an Epic-Intel deal), and one of them was a press release which surfaced publically around May 2004.
The 1.00 beta versions originated in June 1997, when Jazz 2 was in the middle of its development. In the result of a deal between Epic and Intel, these WIP (Work In Progress) versions were distributed along with Intel’s hardware – hence why they’re called OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). The OEM copies were released the same day as the complete game was published (April 9th 1998). They made their way onto the web instantly, as everyone who acquired them assumed they were the retail version. The most common beta version is 1.00g (even though most people who claim to have obtained JJ2 with hardware have 1.00h).
Differences from 1.00g/1.00hEdit
There are alot of notable differences. Here is a list:
- The level/tileset format is different. Both level/tilesets are on form of .LEV file
- .J2B didn't support by this version, so it shipped with original .S3M and .IT format modules.
- The physics are different. Weapons don’t fly faster when one shoots while running (aside from Water Sheild‘s Whammo Ammo), they vanish more quickly, and Bouncers’ durability increases as they bounce. The collision detection also seems different – it’s impossible to wallclimb or to shoot Bouncers or Water Shield’s Whammo Ammo through the wall.
- The last 2 weapons (8 and 9) are complety different. Instead of Pepper Spray and Electroblaster, they are Fireball and Blade Gun. Later it was again implemented by the Jan 28 2013 release of plus patch and can be actived by command or window.
- Destruction blocks are respawning. Later implemented on plus as above, but not set by default
- There's no Multiplayer option aside from Splitscreen. Also, CTF mode isn't implemented.
- There's no 16-bit colour mode. There are no advanced settings like Low Detail and no windowed mode. No windowed mode makes problems to some newer computers
- Buttstomping in battle games does 1 damage, sidekicking does 2. However, sidekick roasts don’t count towards the player’s roast count.
- Players drop all the ammo of the weapon they were using before they died.
- The range of textured background’s fading is much smaller.
- The screen doesn’t shake upon activating a Rotating Rock.
- The alpha translucency is glitchy.
- The smoke ring effect is different. The layers don’t spin around and the palette doesn’t change. The background changes its centerpoint and begins spinning fast.
- The water effect works differently.
- The layers in the menu rotate much faster.
- No limit to ammo.
- There’s no glow effect below the options in menus.
- The invincibility effect looks different.
- The event responsible for activating the snow isn’t there – the first Inferno level (A Cold Day In Heck) uses tile-based snow in a scrolling foreground layer instead.
- The pinball paddles collision detection is buggy. Also, the right paddle tends to bump the player downwards rather than upwards.
- The bridges are glitchy. The object always appears several tiles below the actual event.
- Objects can’t be pushed while they’re frozen.
- The game doesn’t crash after freezing a Gem Ring. Instead, a vast area around the event turns blue (see screenshots).
- The bosses work differently. More boulders fall as the Queen stomps, that also hurt on contact. Uterus doesn’t open his shell. Bolly Boss wasn’t finished and so wasn’t put in the official levels. Devil Devian Boss doesn’t have the first battle phase (running around and shooting) coded. Instead, he fights in his devil form alone.
- The game gets an Access Violation once the player buttstomps one of Uterus’ spike balls.
- The bosses are activated upon entering their field of view (31-tile radius from the event), rather than by touching the Activate Boss event.
- The Loading screen is different
- The menu screen is different, it is faster and textures are purple instead of blue.
- The game comes only with the Epic’s logo beginning cutscene.
- There is no music for Sugar Rushes and boss battles.
- There are two levels which were eventually excluded – battle4.lev and race4.lev, both of which were made by Jeh and suffer from gameplay issues. Also, there is no treasure3.lev.
- The Soda Pop and Soft Drink food pickups use different sprites. Soda Pop’s can has Coca Cola’s logo on it, and Soft Drink’s has Pepsi’s logo.
- Several sounds (like Spaz’s while kicking, or Copters’) aren’t coded in. Also, collecting a carrot makes the same sound as collecting a gem.
- The gems use a different sprite. Also, the animations library contains rectangular gem sprites.
- The witch‘s dying animation is different.
- The Shareware Demo levels can’t be accessed without modifying the .J2E files.
Aside from the versions sent to Intel, there were also various beta versions sent for many dutch gaming magazines. One of them was Eigen PC (now bankrupt). On May 2nd, 2004, a son of one of the workers posted a thread on the JCF about the beta version, which was back then unknown. It also came with a JCS, which was apparently capable of editing and creating Battery Check levels and tilesets.
The game’s much more unstable. Once someone exits the gameloop and loads a level from the episode list, the game crashes with an Access Violation.