CJ's Elephant Antics

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CJ's Elephant Antics
CJ's Elephant Antics Coverart.png
Developer(s) Genesis
Big Red (Spectrum)
Publisher(s) Codemasters
Series CJ Elephant
Platform(s) Commodore 64 (original)
ZX Spectrum, Atari ST, Amiga, NES (in Quattro Arcade)
Release 1991
Genre(s) Platform
Mode(s) Single-player
two-player Co-op

CJ's Elephant Antics is a platform video game developed by Genesis for the Commodore 64 with conversions made for the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum and Nintendo Entertainment System. All ports were handled by Genesis with the exception of the ZX Spectrum version which was handled by Big Red Software. The computer versions were published by Codemasters in 1991.[1] with the NES game arriving in 1992 as part of the unlicensed compilation cartridge Quattro Arcade.[2] The player controls a baby elephant by the name of Columbus Jumbo on his way home to Africa.


After being captured in Africa for the purpose of being put in a zoo, turbulence hits the plane transporting CJ to England causing his cage to open, he grabs a nearby umbrella and leaps out of the airplane while somewhere over France. After landing CJ realises he will have to make his way back home to Africa on foot.


CJ's Elephant Antics is a typical platform game of its era, apart from the elements usually associated with its genre the game also has a higher than normal emphasis on jumping from one small platform to another. CJ can jump by pushing up, has an unlimited amount of peanuts he can fire as projectiles, and a limited number of bombs thrown by pressing down on the controller, an umbrella also opens to slow down his descent when dropping from heights. The game also includes the option for two players to take part simultaneously in a co-operative fashion, though like many platformers of this era there are inherent problems in keeping both players on screen at once; CJ deals with this by only scrolling with player 1, and killing player 2 every time he leaves the screen; this system forces the players to move carefully in synchronization throughout much of the game.


Elephant Antics has a total of four levels each of which includes an end of level boss fight. The levels throughout the game are all countries that CJ must traverse to reach home, the levels are France, Switzerland, Egypt, and finally Africa. There is also a bike riding bonus stage that takes place between levels in which the player must avoid hazards and collect balloons this mode is however missing from the Spectrum and NES versions.


  • Bombs - collecting these increase the amount of bombs you are carrying.
  • Invincibility Pill - Makes CJ invincible for a short time (absent from the NES version)
  • Cakes and Bananas - Collecting these give you points.
  • Fizzy Drink - Gives CJ a temporary speed boost (NES version only).
  • Map - Appears after each level boss is defeated, collect this to finish the stage.

Critical reaction[edit]

On release the 8-bit computer versions of CJ's Elephant Antics achieved consistently positive reviews from all major publications of the time receiving a 94%[3] from Zzap!64, a 93% from Raze, 85%[4] from Your Sinclair, and 81%[5] from Crash. CJ's Elephant Antics was also numbered #55 in Crash's retrospective top 100 ZX Spectrum games feature[6] and #34 in its public voted Spectrum top 50 of all time.[7]

Reviews for the 16-bit Amiga and Atari ST versions were much more inconsistent and ranged from 83% in Amiga Force to much lower scores such as the 63% it received in Amiga Power


After its success CJ's Elephant Antics had a small but noticeable amount of influence on contemporary 8-bit micro platform games of the time, with some game designers borrowing its bomb feature, not least Codemasters themselves who made a good few games which were seen as CJ clones such as DJ Puff's Volcanic Adventure and Stuntman Seymour, both noted for their similarities to CJ by contemporary reviewers.[8][9] This influence did not manage to sustain for any serious length of time and was in the end quite short-lived.


CJ's Elephant Antics was well received when released and so spawned two sequels, CJ in the USA for most home computers and CJ Elephant Fugitive for the Game Gear.

There were also a further three games intended to be released that ended up being cancelled, the Master System version of CJ Elephant Fugitive, CJ in Space[10] and CJ's Island Antics (working Title CJ's 4th). CJ's Island Antics was not developed by the original CJ team but had instead been outsourced by Codemasters to another team.

Though the 3rd game in the series CJ in Space was never commercially released the 4th game did see a partial release in Germany for the C64 as a free cover game with one of CP Verlag's digital magazines under the name "Jimbo"[11]


Commodore 64[12]

Coder and Original Idea - David Clarke
Graphics - Jonathan Smyth (Jonathan Temples)
Musician - Ashley Hogg

Commodore Amiga and Atari ST

Coder - Ashley Hogg
Graphics - Jonathan Smyth (Jonathan Temples)
Musician - Allister Brimble

ZX Spectrum

Big Red Software - R. Fred Williams, Pete Ranson