24
Mar
13

Jill of the Jungle for DOS

JotJ Main menu

JotJ Main menu

Jill of the Jungle was released by Epic Megagames back in 1992. It is an action and adventure platformer in which you are playing as the titular character. Jill was one of the first female character to be the main protagonist on a PC game, it was also the first truly popular title released by Epic Megagames. I played the later game Xargon and loved it, but never had the chance to play Jill of the Jungle when it came out as the magazines we read didn’t feature it. Xargon had inherited many features of Jill of the Jungle so it has many similar aspects.

The Story

The Story

It came out at roughly the same time as many popular games from Apogee such as Commander Keen and Duke Nukem. This basically set up a rivalry of sorts between the two companies. You could see this within some of the Epic games in particular. They often poked fun at some of the Apogee game characters, games, and in one case in Jazz Jackrabbit the company as well.

Demo

Demo

Jill supports CGA, EGA and VGA graphics which is quite unusual. All the different graphic modes look very good, and the animations and scrolling are very smooth. It is one of the more attractive games from the time. There are different themes to each level based on the level title and the episode that it’s in. Whilst each level looks different, there are also many common elements such as enemies and some tiles that are part of the level. One of the strangest differences across episodes is that Jill’s costume is coloured differently for each one.

Level 1

Level 1

Digitised sound on the sound blaster is supported along with some of the best Ad Lib music I’ve heard on the PC. The sound effects are quite good but are strangely different across episodes of the game. The game also supports PC speaker for the sound effects, and the effects sound good for PC speaker but you’re much better off with the Sound Blaster sound.

Trees!

Trees!

The game has some interesting elements that were new to the PC platformer, such as the items that transform Jill into either a flame bird, fish or a frog. There are some areas of each episode that you need to access as one of these creatures, and each one has its own weaknesses and strengths. For instance the flame bird can fly, shoot, and travel through fire or lava but can’t travel through water and tends to fall quickly after achieving altitude.

In a Cave

In a Cave

The three episodes are different as if they were developed separately at different times. The first episode has an overworld level which is mostly the same as the main levels, unlocking new levels with gems you find. The second episode doesn’t have an overworld, just a series of levels in order. Finally the third episode has an overworld map much the same as the first but with a top down perspective.

Whoa a Snake!

Whoa a Snake!

Having played the game recently I can see why so many people see it as a classic platformer. The game play is solid and offers something different that so few others did at the time. The VGA graphics and Sound Blaster sound were impressive for the time. I did find some of the latter levels in episode 2 and 3 were similar to previous levels, but they are still quite playable and repetition was quite common for platformers. If I had of played Jill of the Jungle when it came out, I would have loved it as many other people do. It is clearly worthy of the title classic DOS game.

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