Jazz Jackrabbit is the story of the tortoise and the hare taken to new heights, namely the heights of your aiming and hover boarding abilities. At first glance this game is merely another 2D sidescroller, but play through the first level, find the gem, and you'll find a Sonic CD-esque bonus level, where you must collect a certain amount of gems within the time limit to win. Upon closer inspection, the entire game is similar to Sonic the Hedgehog. The powerups within this game, aside from the hover board and the parrot, are contained within monitors.
The powerups themselves, a shield to protect Jazz from one hit (upgradeable to three hits, IIRC), a shoe powerup, increasing his speed, and invincibility, in which Jazz is surrounded by stars, making him impervious even to spikes. At the end of each level is a small signpost, to be flipped by shooting it, which changes from Devan's picture to Jazz's own mug. And lastly, as this is the most obvious similarity, a heavy emphasis on speed, with Jazz's jumping ability directly linked to his current speed. As for the last two powerups, the hover board is every boy's fantasy, no real reference there, but the parrot seems to be a reference either to Astal for the Sega Saturn, or Mega-man's B.E.A.T. helper bot,
though I am unsure of which was made first.
When you start the game, Eva Earlong, the equivalent to Peach of Super Mario, has been kidnapped by your arch nemesis, Devan Shell, and his tortoise henchman, all part of his plan for total Tortoise Domination, namely of your home planet Carrotus. Equipped with an LFG-2000 you, as the instructions tell you, shoot everything that moves, take everything that doesn't move, collect ammo for the other modes your gun has, Toasters (large fireballs), RF Missiles (two way missiles), Launchers (pill shaped capsules that bounce across the ground), and TNT (hits EVERYTHING on the screen, usually killing it in one hit).
You begin your adventure to find your kidnapped crush in the episode "Turtle Terror". Consisting of three worlds, Diamondus, Tubelectric, Medivo, and a boss level. In my opinion, the best level of the three would have to be Tubelectric. The utmost caution must be used in this level, as it is chock full of invincible cannons that shoot at you at pre-determined intervals, flashing electrical entities with bugged-out eyeballs (these things move through walls to get you, but only when your back is to them), and so many hidden tubes and secrets that you'll fly right past that extra life outside the zip tube if you aren't trying to move in the right direction. You'll even fall down into unmarked tubes while trying to get more ammo if you don't already know where the tubes are, and even I don't know where ALL of them are.
All in all, I'd have to say that Jazz Jackrabbit has third place on my list of all-time favorite games, surpassed only by Fallout and Fallout 2, though Jazz held first place for a very long time.