#322 – Joe & Mac

Really could use some Bonk with my Joe & Mac.
But who’s taking the picture?
The end is nigh.

PLAYERS: 1-2 alternating


DEVELOPER: Elite Systems

GENRE: Platformer

RELEASE DATE: December 1992

I’ve already expressed my hearty disinterest in having cavemen be the main characters in video games. Could they be more one note? Mario in the original Super Mario Bros. carried with him more personality in his carefully constructed pixels than Joe, Mac, Chuck Rock, or any of the wizards over in Caveman Games. Indeed, Joe & Mac doesn’t make a good case for neanderthals as a building block for a solid video game. When I wasn’t ho-humming my way through the swarms of enemies in each level, I was getting frustrated that every time Joe received an “upgrade” for his weapon, it actually made the weapon weaker. In Level 2, I obtained something that looked like a sharp feather. How is this better than the large, sturdy wheel I was throwing, I asked myself? After trying in vain to kill a plant that shot fireballs (original, I know) with said feather, I had my answer: why the butt did the game take away my wheel?! Never have I encountered a game where one’s upgrades are actually downgrades. Certainly in Castlevania or Ninja Gaiden, you can obtain weapons that vary in their degrees of inflicted damage, but… at least they still damage. Oog-poor weaponry aside, the levels have absolutely nothing of interest within them besides the enemies, and even those are derivative. If I’m going to play as the least-enjoyable archetype known to man, I want the environments to look cool and the gameplay to be fun, even if it’s a simplistic hop-and-bopper. Adventure Island, certainly a cousin to Joe & Mac‘s ethos, may not have been the most original game, but at least it had a wide variety of jungle environments to keep cool. Joe & Mac is like breaking a mirror because you think, beyond the mirror lies a unique, enrapturing world. In reality, your hand is bleeding and you need a new mirror.


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18 replies on “#322 – Joe & Mac”

@brainerdrainer: You’re not crazy, we each have our own subjective opinions on what games we enjoy.

@Chris Alpha: Assuming you’re actually being serious, I personally do not understand why you like games I dislike. Nor do I care.

Ok I’m sorry.I guess I was too harsh.You have a point, because everybody has an opinion.I was enraged by the fact that you gave this a bad grade, but I am calm enough to say this…
I still think that you could have pointed out more things about this game. I guess we are the same (kinda), because I also don’t care why you hate these good games, but I guess it’s because other critics give more detailed and less biased opinions on these games.Again I’m very sorry for raging on you, but i wish you would give better reasons as to why you hate these games.I’m fine with the grade you gave it, but people might need a better explenation as to WHY you think it’s average.That is all.

@Chris Alpha: Thanks for the apology. I can certainly tolerate criticism, but when someone just makes an off-the-cuff statement claiming that “I hate fun” because I dislike a game they like, I tend to get defensive. I don’t know why I care because this is the Internet, but so it goes.

I do appreciate your feedback, however. There is a reason why I write reviews the way I do and I’ve addressed this reason in previous posts. Those posts were, admittedly, a long time ago and it would be good to reiterate my mantra, particularly for new readers such as yourself. I’m pretty handicapped when it comes to setting up blogs (seriously), but I will try to put my Code of Reviewing or some other such statement as a link on the main page for all to see.

Also, consider these reviews first drafts. This blog is a living entity, a constant work-in-progress. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks! Again I apologise because I honestly don’t know why I went all fanboy on you.I was kind of pissed of (had a bad day) and I shouldn’t have taken all my anger on you.On an unrelated note what do you think of joe and mac for the genesis/snes?I think it’s slightly better because the graphics give out more atmosphere and the enemies are slightly less annoying.

@Chris: Seriously, no worries. Think nothing of it. You know, I have yet to play Joe And Mac for either Genesis or SNES, but my wife has played it and she said it was incredibly fun. I’ve also heard other positive things from other people, so perhaps the NES version got the short end of the development stick, not sure.

Well, I’ve played Joe and Mac on my genesis as well as on by brother’s mamewa machine, where it rocked the name of “Caveman Ninja”. Those definitely handled much better than their NES incarnation.

Wow, things got heated here fast. :p

I never played this incarnation of Joe and Mac, but I will stand up for the SNES version of this game. The characters in that were great. Big colourful environments and bosses made it a really fun romp through the caveman days.


Like others have said, you should try the SNES or Genesis version of Joe & Mac they are good, fun games. The Genesis version is truer to the original arcade game but I find the SNES version funnier and way easier.

I remember I could never defeat the 3rd boss (gian plant) when i was a kid. I was so frustrated because I assumed something of interest must lay beyond the first three bland levels. Yesterday I tried this game for the first time since the 90s and was able to beat the level quite easily. However I was disappointed to find that I was wrong.

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