"The game stars the green-haired Joe and the blue-haired Mac, cavemen who battle though numerous prehistoric levels using, weapons such as boomerangs, bones, fire, flints, electricity, stone wheels, and clubs."
Joe and Mac / Caveman Ninjaa game by Data East
It took awhile, but Joe and his cave- buddy Mac have finally made it to the Genesis. If you played the arcade original or Data East's fun SNES version in 1992, you'll recognize Takara's enjoyable, but familiar, peek into the prehistoric past.
Fans of the SNES game will like this Joe & Mac, which has very similar game play. Armed with various weapons, our two shirtless heroes hop-n- bop through five zones of prehistoric wilderness looking for their kidnapped cave babes.
ProTip: Don't bop these Pterodactyls until they're positioned to drop their Eggs onto solid ground.
Your projectiles fly faster than they did on the SNES, but you'll wish the boys could run to evade monsters or grab the special items before they disappear. Still, you'll have a pretty easy time of it, especially in the entertaining two-player mode.
You'll probably recognize the sounds and graphics, too. The familiar music bounces happily along to keep the mood light, and the sound effects are as comical as they were on the SNES. The game has the same bright technicolor backgrounds, though there's more multi-scrolling, and more enemies are on the screen at one time.
- This Mammoth throws rocks OVER you, so don't jump up into them. When you knock off his trunk, he quickly charges.
- Bounce on the fish coughed up by this sea monster, and fling your weapons at the top of its head.
If you admired the previous versions, you'll get a kave kick out of this one. On the other hand, if you wondered what all the fuss was about when these lightweight cartoon cavers first hit the screen, you'll ask why Takara created such a similar game. It's fun, but this style of game is gradually going the way of the dinosaur.
If you like Joe and Mac / Caveman Ninja, try other games
In Chuck Rock you must guide Chuck Rock through five stages of prehistoric pitfalls and perils in order to rescue his wife Ophilia from the clutches of Gary Gritters.
Tired of the rat race? Want to go back to a simpler time? Pick up Joe & Mac by Data East and start clubbing away on your NES. You'll be transported back through the time of NES prehistory.
A Berry Long Time Ago...
Joe was out hunting his dinner when a pack of scheming savages ransacked his pad and stole his woman, Mac. With axe in hand, he went out to conquer the side-scrolling prehistoric terrains in search of his cave babe.
Don't think the Neanderthal world is hassle free. Joe must single-handedly conquer all kinds of roaring reptilians, including Baby Pteranodons, Archaeopteryx, Zephyrosaurus, Helirock Bombs (a helicopter that drops bombs), and more. Each of the five stages has two terrains to conquer and two Lords of the Landscape to beat.
ProTip: To beat the first Lord, stand at the right of the screen. When he spits his boulders, jump over them just before they reach your feet. Then jump up and throw your axe as he backs away.
This game tests your patience more than your ability. The levels take no time to run through. Your opponents are like the terrain -- sparse. As for the boss 'saurs, they have distinct, predictable patterns and they move slowly. However, they have double the life energy you have. For every hit, you lose one life bar, but it takes two hits to make their bars go down. Also, you have only three lives and no continues.
To beat the second Lord, avoid the rocks and small 'saurs that he spits. Throw your weapon at his nose when his mouth is open. You need to be near his face to get your hits in.
A Mac Attack
To combat these monstrosities, you have a few tools of the Neanderthal trade. Besides your high jump, you start out with a stone axe. However, when you conquer foes, you can collect their discarded weapons -- Flints, Boomerangs, Fire, and Stone Wheels. You can also build your strength by not skipping meals. If your enemies aren't dropping weapons, they may drop food. Chow down to restore your health bar.
- Don't pick up a Boomerang when it's dropped by a conquered enemy. This evolutionary tool is useless against the Lords of the Landscapes.
- The spitting, man-eating plants take several hits to kill. Don't get in their face, or you'll be prehistory. Instead, shoot from an opposing ledge.
Although colorful, J&M's graphics are prehistoric. The flat backgrounds and sprites don't make you want to club your way through this game. As for the music, it's not rock 'n' roll. Instead, you get rock-splitting clinks and clanks.
Joe & Mac doesn't help the NES climb Darwin's ladder to new evolutionary heights. Its basic game play will probably keep beginning players in front of the fire, but more advanced gamers will want to evolve to greater challenges. Joe & Mac is a good game on the lowest end of the food chain.
Nerd-bashing has been going on since the dinosaur days -- just ask cave-dudes Joe and Mac. They know from first hand experience the devastating aftermath of nerd-bashing -- nerd revenge!
Yes, the cave-nerds are having the last geeky chuckle 'cause they crept into Joe and Mac's camp and scared off all the Cave Babes. There's only one thing to do now -- grab a club and scour the countryside.
Not only are Joe and Mac handsome fellows, you get the pleasure of enjoying both of their mugs at the same time. Yup, Joe and Mac is one of the few, new side scrolling SNES titles with a two player buddy system. Even if you're a "lone wolf” by nature and prefer to tackle the video world alone, it's always nice to have the option to take along a friend.
Another groovy game-play option is the 2 Player Super Game, which enables you to either compete or cooperate in the search for the Cave Babes. There's also a Mode selection for skill levels: Easy, Normal, and Hard. The only detectable difference between the Modes is that you're allowed the most continues in Easy (3) and the least in Hard (2).
ProTip: Stay to the far left of the prehistoric sword-fish and blast them as they jump out of the water.
My, What Big Teeth You Have
Life is brutal outside the safety of one's cave. Joe and Mac learn a hard and fast lesson in self defense as they make their way through three four-part stages covering everything from icy subterranean caverns to red hot volcanic wastelands. Keep an eye out for dinosaur eggs: crack the right one open and a Pink Pterodactyl carries you off to one of six Bonus Stages. If you're a really shrewd gamer, you may even discover a few secret stages.
Bonus stage Pterodactyls won't carry you off to a bonus stage unless all enemies have been destroyed and/or are off the screen.
You encounter exactly what you'd expect in the wilds of prehistory: dinosaurs, dinosaurs, and more dinosaurs. Some are big, some are small, some swim, some fly, and some even cry. There's also an abundance of ill mannered fellow cave dwellers who, apparently, would rather hunt Joe and Mac than dinosaurs for dinner.
- Don't waste time trying to knock the beehives down in Level Two. Take a few stings and make a "beeline" to the top of the tree.
- The Boomerang is the best all around weapon.
Speaking of dinosaurs and belligerent cavemen, that brings us to the topic of weapons. What else would cavemen carry other than the infamous wooden club? For your combat pleasure they carry plenty more than just an overgrown twig. By cracking open dinosaur eggs, Joe and Mac can power up their clubs so that they shoot Bones, Boomerangs, Fire, and the world's greatest invention...Wheels! Once you collect all the power ups possible they're yours to keep, and you can switch ammo with a tap on the Select button.
Stay to the far left of the screen and use the boomerang weapon to destroy the wooly mammoth boss.
Now that you know J & M have cool clubs and power-ups, the question is how well can they use them, and do they look good doing it! The answer to both is "yes." J & M can swing, jump, squat, and turn on a dime.
Use the wheel weapon in the hot lava stage. Not only will the wheels roll up hill, they can also destroy boulders.
The graphics are in full technicolor bloom, including the background scenes which are as crisp as movie matte paintings.
When compared to the arcade version, however, there are a few things missing. Joe and Mac can't perform the cool swinging elbow-jab move that they use in the arcade game, and they don't have the variety of facial expressions. The stage bosses have an annoying habit of reappearing albeit in different colors. However, the bits that were lost in the translation are all so minor, they don't really take much, if anything, away from the game.
- If you lose a life and your spirit begins to float skyward, move towards solid ground. Otherwise, when your additional life kicks in and you fall back to earth over shaky footing, you may lose another life.
- When the lizard-creature rolls himself into a tiny ball and hurts himself into the air, move to the far left or right of the screen; he always falls towards the center of the screen.
Fun in the Ancient Sun
Joe and Mac is looking pretty strong coming out of the SNES starting gates. Although it's not a super intense action/adventure, it has a solid foundation of great graphics, easy game-play, lots of levels, and rockin' tunes which make it a fun game, especially for two-person play. Join the prehistoric "club" and take a peek into the past with Joe and Mac.