I’m willing to bet that out of those of you who played Jill of the Jungle back in the day, most of you probably didn’t play its two follow-ups Jill Goes Underground and Jill Saves the Prince. The reason for this is simple: Jill of the Jungle was free, while Jill Goes underground and Jill Saves the Prince both cost money. And no-one likes spending money — particularly in an era before online shopping was widespread, and thus ordering things through the mail involved phoning people up or, perish the thought, sending a letter to them.

I bet at least some of you were curious about what exactly was in Jill Goes Underground and Jill Saves the Prince, though. That’s why I’ve brought you a full playthrough of the whole thing today — and why I’ll also remind you that you can get the entire Jill of the Jungle trilogy free on GOG.com. No more having to pay for things! Hooray! Well, I mean, you still have to pay for other stuff, but you don’t have to pay for Jill Goes Underground and Jill Saves the Prince any more.

Anyway, here’s a video.

For the unfamiliar, the Jill of the Jungle trilogy was released under the shareware model, which is still around today, but which isn’t anywhere near as widespread as it was back in the mid-’90s. The way shareware works is simple: the first “episode” of a game (or, in the case of non-game software, a time-limited or somehow restricted but otherwise functional version of the software) is released for free and can be downloaded, freely copied among friends or acquired from public domain libraries. If you like the game or software, you pay a fee for the “registered” version.

Back in the ’90s, before widespread Internet access in the home, this usually involved printing out an order form and mailing it to the publisher along with your payment. This wasn’t always super-convenient — particularly if you lived in a different country to where the software was from — and thus many shareware developers and publishers entered into partnerships with distributors. In Jill of the Jungle’s case, some of these agreements even saw the three parts of the game being sold in stores as packaged copies… with notoriously terrible cover art.

Jill Goes Underground box art
Someone had a brand new copy of CorelDraw and wasn’t afraid to use it

The important thing is that the free shareware version of a piece of software is fully functional; it’s not the same as a demo — though in the case of productivity or creative software it was sometimes time-limited. In the case of Jill of the Jungle, for example, the shareware episode is a full game in its own right that can be played as much as you want with no restrictions — registering for the other two effectively got you two more games built on the same engine.

Shareware versions of games in the early to mid-’90s were typically small enough to fit on a single floppy disk so that they could be easily distributed and shared — hence the name. Registered versions were subject to no such limitations, however, so in the case of games they typically pushed the boat right out and introduced considerably more varied visuals, music, sound and levels than were available in the basic shareware version.

Jill Goes Underground perhaps isn’t as ambitious and sprawling as some other registered episodes of shareware games that you might see out there — but it is noticeably distinct from the original Jill of the Jungle in a variety of ways. The interface is a different colour, Jill’s wearing a rather fetching red leotard now instead of her original green one, and the game’s amazing digitised sound effects have been completely changed. Longstanding Jill fans will, however, be pleased to know that the singing keys are still present and correct. Yeee-eeee-aaahh.

Anyway, that’s Jill Goes Underground. Next week we’ll be looking at Jill Saves the Prince, the third and final episode. Please look forward to it!

Read more at https://www.funstockretro.co.uk