LAURENT KERMEL - Video Game Den : Super Famicom : JOE & MAC )
TATAKAE GENSHIJIN - JOE & MAC
game Cover
game cartridge
戦え原始人 ジョー&マック
©1991 Data East Corp.
Release: 1991-12-06 (¥8500)
Cartridge SHVC-JT
Action/Platform game

American Version
country
Released in America as
JOE & MAC
( SNS-JT-USA )

European Version
country
Released in Europe as
JOE & MAC
CAVEMAN NINJA
( SNSP-JT-XXX )
Joe And Mac is a cartoony side-scrolling platform game by Data East, conversion of their own arcade game originally released in 1988 (also known as Caveman Ninja). Two cavemen embark on a journey to save their lovely girls kidnaped by their next-door rival clan. Our heroes' main weapon is a short range neolithic club they can use to strike and hit their various enemies - bad cavemen, pterodactyls, piranhas and so forth... Dinosaur eggs are scattered around each stage and often hide better weapons such as boomerangs, bones, fire balls and stone wheels. Players can also toggle between these weapons at any time during the game by pressing Select. Our cavemen can also jump on their enemies' heads to reach high platforms or hidden areas. The world is divided into small areas and our friends walk along a map, fighting their way from one location to the next. Once a stage is completed, it can be skipped or visited again at will. Checkpoints are also located on the map and help the player in his quest and special blue paths lead to simple mini-games (only accessible by collecting keys scattered around the game).
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Joe & Mac - Arcade Tatakae Genshijin - Joe & Mac was first released in the arcades by Data East in 1991 (picture on the left). The game is also known as Caveman Ninja in the west. Joe & Mac was then ported to several game systems of the time : Joe & Mac (aka Joe and Mac: Caveman Ninja) (NES, 1991), Joe & Mac (Megadrive, 1991), Joe & Mac: Tatake Genshijin (SuperFamicom, 1992) and Joe & Mac (GameBoy, 1993). Two official sequels followed for the Super Famicom system - The first one was called Tatakae Genshijin 2 - Rookie No Bōken (aka Congo's Caper in the west) (1992) and curiously didn't feature Joe nor Mac, but instead a sort of monkey boy. The second one was released in 1993 and \ called Tatakae Genshijin 3 - Shujaku-ha Yappari Joe & Mac (aka Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics in America and Joe & Mac 3: Lost in the Tropics in Europe). The 'real' arcade sequel only came out a year later as Joe & Mac Returns (1994).

Super Famicom level stucture This Super Famicom version is quite different from the original arcade game. The level structure was changed so the world features a map and all stages have to be played in a specific order (picture on the right), whereas the arcade had a non-linear structure and players could pick a different route at the end of each area.


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I have mixed feeling about Joe And Mac... I remember playing, and enjoying, the original arcade game and I was hoping to find here the same sparkle of nostalgic glory in this Super Famicom conversion. There's nothing really bad about Joe And Mac, it just lacks a little something and it is hard to point out anything specifically wrong about it. Graphics are detailed and sprites surprisingly large on screen (especially bosses) and everything moves beautifully well. Maybe my only complaint would go for the controls (they are a bit too sensitive) and the overall ambiance and the game which lacks consistency. This conversion also tries really hard to be a 'Neanderthal Mario' with the overhead map and the bonus stages, a straight conversion of the original arcade game and its non-linear structure would have been much better. I may have been too harsh in reviewing Joe And Mac, it is actually a nice platform game - but although not the best of its kind, it is nevertheless enjoyable and fun.




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