CJ: Elephant Fugitive is a remake of CJ's Elephant Antics, the first game in the CJ series. The game is a side scrolling platform like the original game, with largely the same features, but it contains more locations and different level design and graphics. The story is the same with CJ attempting to escape his captivity and return to Africa. Unlike the original game he starts out in London and not in Paris (which here is the second location) and on his journey he will pass through the Alps as well as Egypt before reaching his destination in the African jungles. Each location consists of a few levels and ends with a boss.
The gameplay mechanics are the same as the previous game with the player jumping between platforms while avoiding or killing the various bad guys. CJ can fire nuts through his trunk and lob bombs at enemies and when falling he can use an umbrella to land safely. The player starts out with nine lives with three hearts for each. A heart is lost when getting hit by an enemy and when all out of them a life is lost. More hearts can be picked up throughout the levels.