Joe & Mac
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|Joe & Mac|
Japanese arcade flyer
|Developer(s)||Data East (Arcade & SNES)
Elite Systems (NES & Amiga)
Eden Entertainment Software (Mega Drive/Genesis)
New World Computing (PC)
Motivetime (Game Boy)
|Publisher(s)||Data East (Japan & North America Arcade & Nintendo console versions)
Takara (North America Mega Drive/Genesis version)
New World Computing (North America PC version)
Elite Systems (Europe all versions)
|Release date(s)||December 31, 1991|
|Mode(s)||Single-player or Two-player|
Joe & Mac (ジョーとマック 戦え原始人 Joe & Mac: Tatakae Genshijin?, lit. "Joe & Mac: Caveman Combat"), also known as Caveman Ninja, is a 1991 platform game released for the arcades by Data East. It was later adapted for the Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Amiga, and PC.
The game stars the green-haired Joe and the blue-haired Mac, cavemen who battle through numerous prehistoric levels using weapons such as boomerangs, bones, fire, flints, electricity, stone wheels, and clubs. The objective of the game is to rescue a group of women who were kidnapped by a rival tribe of cavemen. The game features a health system by which the player loses health over a period of time, apart from during boss battles. A two-player mode is available in which both characters are capable of damaging each other.
The original arcade version has the distinction of allowing the player to select between different routes at the end of boss battles. Also, after defeating the final boss, the players can choose between three exits – each one leading to a slightly different ending sequence.
Super Play magazine gave the SNES version of the game a 72 percent rating and praised its colorful graphics, but also wrote, "The snag is that there isn't a lot to hold your interest. [...] the appeal starts to flag after a few minutes. The collision detection is annoying as well, tending to give baddies the benefit of the doubt in any clash of heads. I'm afraid this, coupled with the awkward controls, soon saw me adopting a 'couldn't care less' attitude towards the game."
The game has been ported to many systems, many of which drop the name Caveman Ninja, referring to the game simply as Joe & Mac.
Some of the final levels were excluded from the Amiga version, while the MS-DOS port is the most accurate home version. The Mega Drive/Genesis version follows in arcade accuracy with only minor downgrades in graphics and sound, resulting in the most accurate console version.
The Super NES version is a reworked game which features an overworld map used to choose the levels (unlike other versions all of them have to be played), which were longer, plus some bonus stages (either in the levels or out in the world map). Some of the weapons are missing and can no longer be charged up. The final boss is also different, and there is only one ending.
A Zeebo version was announced with a release date sometime in 2010. In November 2009, Golgoth Studio announced plans to reboot the Joe & Mac series, following their completion of a Toki remake.
The game was followed by various sequels. The Japanese version of the SNES game Congo's Caper was presented as a sequel called Tatakae Genshijin 2: Rookie no Bōken and featured a new protagonist. The title duo would later return in Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics, which added light role-playing aspects to the series. An arcade sequel titled Joe & Mac Returns eschewed the scrolling action of the original games in favor of gameplay similar to another Data East series, Tumblepop.
- Joe and Mac also appear in a German Mario comic, titled Super Mario: Verloren in der Zeit.