J.J. & Jeff (TG-16)

J.J. & Jeff Box Art

J.J. & Jeff

System: TG-16

Release Date: March 1990

Developer: Hudson Soft

Publisher: NEC

Genre: Platformer

A couple bungling detectives are on the loose here in J.J. & Jeff. This is the localization of the Japanese Kato-chan and Ken-chan, two comedians who were hosts of what inspired America’s Funniest Home Videos. J.J. & Jeff are hired to find a rich kidnapped person. They need to go through 6 worlds of 4 levels each.

If you told me this was a tech demo for an upcoming Adventure Island release, I would have believed you without any hesitation. J.J. or Jeff run to the right and can’t move backward. There is a vitality meter up on top of the screen that ticks away with both time and injury. This meter is refilled by collecting food that is hanging around the level.

What’s different is the attacks of the protagonists are kicks with Button I and a spray can by holding down and pressing Button I. This was a fart in the Japanese version. Enemies can also be defeated by jumping on them ala Mario. Jumps are achieved with Button II and become super jumps if you’re moving. The downside is that moving is super floaty and being a platform game, you’ll fall off ledges into pits and die.

You need to kick at everything you see, because there are hidden coins, food, doors, keys, and more throughout the levels. A key is necessary to open up the path to the boss at the end of the fourth level. If you didn’t find it, there is a green spring that you can take back to a previous level so you can try and find it again. You get cryptic messages that may be hints with a side of vitality through some doorways and a slot machine mini-game through others.

Your partner can be found doing weird stuff in the levels, sometimes outright attacking you! Kicking him awards a big point bonus, but sometimes it leads to a trap. I was able to find a warp zone at one point that took me to the final level. Of course, I didn’t have the key, so had to go back to find it, but it was so hard to move forward, I gave up.

Graphics: 2.5

Sprites are big and colorful, scenery is nice.

Sound: 1.5

The music doesn’t have a lot of depth to it and the sound effects aren’t terrible.

Gameplay: 1.5

Physics are too floaty. Levels are too cryptic.

Difficulty: 1.5

There are enemies that appear out of nowhere and kill you with no warning. At least you have unlimited continues by pressing down + RUN + Buttons I & II.

Fun Factor: 1.0

More frustrating than fun. It’s zany, but not particularly good.

Overall Grade: 1.6

J.J. & Jeff earns a C-. Yeah, I didn’t like this one. I can see how some people might enjoy it, but it isn’t for me.

J.J. & Jeff Video Review on YouTube