After the success of the first two games, Epic started work on making a new Jazz game, this time using their Unreal engine to put Jazz in a 3D environment for the first time. A lot of concepts were made, but sadly, they were never able to find a publisher, and the game ended up cancelled. However, there’s a very early alpha floating around across the internet, so at least we have some idea of how the game would have ended up.
Apparently, the story would have involved Devan kidnapping Jazz’s children and taking them to an alternate dimension, the third one, to be exact, where Devan rules and everything is in 3D. In the alpha, Jazz is the only playable character, but menus seem to indicate you might have been able to play as Spaz and Lori, too.
The view is set behind Jazz’s back at all times, with the mouse being used to aim. Once you set the controls to WASD, it controls pretty well, although Jazz’s jumping feels a bit off. Jazz no longer has his helicopter ears or his jumping punch, but he can now hang onto ledges, just like any proper 3D platformer hero. There are two weapons in the alpha, Jazz’s standard blaster, plus the Launcher. You can also find ‘cells’, small gems that change the way your weapon fires. Combing it with the blaster makes it shoot fireballs, and combining it with the Launcher makes a rocket launcher. You no longer have ammo, instead your weapons are tied to a regenerating universal ammo bar.
Instead of being set in separate levels like the previous game, Jazz 3 is split into areas that Jazz can travel between freely. Jazz starts off in a small village with a few rabbit NPCs he can talk to, as well as enter a mine that serves as the tutorial. The only ‘real’ level in the alpha is Carrotus Castle, which ends with something resembling a boss fight before the alpha ends.
The graphics are pretty good for such an early alpha, although the models are blocky and untextured, giving them an odd ‘shiny’ look to them. There are a few songs in there, still composed by Alexander Brandon, and they all sound great, although the suitably metal boss theme hadn’t been finished yet.
Overall, what’s left of Jazz Jackrabbit 3 is pretty fun, as early as it is, and it’s a real shame it never ended up to market. Whether it would have been any good is anyone’s guess, although that there is to play seems promising. There have been talks in the air of another attempt at making a Jazz 3, but sadly, nothing’s ever come of it.
While Jazz isn’t a playable character in One Must Fall 2097, Jazz, Devan, and the princess, Eva Earlong, appear in the game’s tournament mode as secret challengers. They have their own unique dialogue when you’re about to face them, but they still control the same robots as anybody else. Still pretty cool, anyway.