Joe & Mac

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Joe & Mac
Joe & Mac Coverart.png
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)
Composer(s) Seiichi Hamada
Seiji Momoi
Seiji Yamanaka
Matt Furniss (Genesis)
Platform(s) Arcade, Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Amiga, DOS, Zeebo
Release date(s) 1991 (arcade, Mega Drive, SNES)
December 1992 (NES)
June 1993 (Game Boy)
Genre(s) Platform
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.[1] It was later adapted for the Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Amiga, and PC.


Joe fights a Tyrannosaurus in the game's first level using the stone wheel.

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.[2] A two-player mode is available, in some versions both characters are capable of damaging each other.

The original arcade version and MS-DOS port have 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.


Kyle Knight of AllGame rated the arcade version two and a half stars out of five and wrote that it "is an adequate but uninspired action game. The graphics are easily Caveman Ninja's high point. Both background and character graphics are drawn well and finely detailed while the coloring is generally lush and vivid." However, Knight criticized the easy difficulty of the game because of its short levels: "The levels are practically over as soon as they begin." Knight also called the game's music "dull and uninspired," as well as "boring and repetitive."[1]

Skyler Miller of AllGame rated the NES version two and a half stars out of five and criticized its "unresponsive controls," writing that, "Jumping and simultaneously throwing your weapon, an important move, is often hard to perform." Miller also wrote, "Although the graphics are above average for the NES, they vary from level to level."[3]

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."[4]

Brett Alan Weiss of AllGame gave the Sega Genesis version of Joe & Mac three and a half stars out of five. Weiss praised the game's graphics and sound effects, and wrote, "This game features some of the best music ever on a 16-bit system." Weiss criticized the game's two-player mode, writing, "With two players, you might help each other out of a jam from time to time, but you also slow each other down."[5]


The game has been ported to many systems, many of which drop the name Caveman Ninja, referring to the game simply as Joe & Mac.

A Super NES version was developed and published in 1991 by Data East.[6] That same year, another version was developed by Eden Entertainment Software and published by Takara for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.[5] In December 1992, a version for the NES was released. It was developed by Elite Systems and published by Data East.[3] A Game Boy version, released in June 1993, was developed by Motivetime and was also published by Data East.[7]

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.[citation needed]

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.

The NES and Game Boy versions are much downgraded versions of the original arcade version, and lack the option of choosing levels.

A Zeebo version was announced with a release date sometime in 2010.[citation needed] In November 2009, Golgoth Studio announced plans to reboot the Joe & Mac series, following their completion of a Toki remake.[8]


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.

Other media[edit]

  • Joe and Mac also appear in a German Mario comic, titled Super Mario: Verloren in der Zeit.


  1. ^ a b "Caveman Ninja Review". Kyle Knight. AllGame. Archived November 16, 2014.
  2. ^ "[1]." Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved on August 04, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Joe & Mac (NES) Review". Skyler Miller. AllGame. Archived November 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Joe and Mac (SNES) review". Super Play (November 1992).
  5. ^ a b "Joe & Mac (Genesis) review". Brett Alan Weiss, AllGame.
  6. ^ "Joe & Mac (SNES) Overview". AllGame. Archived November 14, 2014.
  7. ^ "Joe & Mac (Game Boy) Overview". AllGame. Archived November 14, 2014.
  8. ^ "Golgoth to resurrect 'Joe & Mac' series" Mark Langshaw, (November 7, 2009). Retrieved January 4, 2015.

External links[edit]