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Video Game / Joe & Mac

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A series of Platform Games by Data East. The series began with the 1991 Arcade Game Caveman Ninja, known as Joe & Mac: Tatakae Genshijin ("Fighting Cavemen") in Japan. Set in Prehistoria, the object of the game is to rescue the titular duo's harem of cave girls from a rival band of Neanderthals and their dinosaur pet bosses. Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja saw quite a few home ports (with or without the subtitle), namely the Super NES, Sega Genesis, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Amiga, DOS, and Zeebo.

It was followed by two SNES sequels: Congo's Caper (1992) and Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics (1994). There was also an arcade spin-off in 1994 titled Joe & Mac Returns, an Elimination Platformer similar to Data East's TumblePop.

On November 6th 2009, French developer Golgoth Studio announced that they were working on a new installment in the series in DLC format. Lack of updates since then places the new Joe & Mac squarely in Development Hell for the time being.


On October 14, 2021 a remake of the first game was announced for a 2022 release on consoles and PC.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: If you go down the middle and lower paths after the final boss, the ending will show you being chased by either an overweight middle-aged cavewoman or a male neanderthal in a drag. Though Joe and Mac have the same scared reaction when they're being chased by groupies.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: In Lost in the Tropics.
  • Bamboo Technology: Mook neanderthals riding foot-powered wooden helicopters. They throw bombs at you, for some odd reason.
    • In the village in Joe and Mac 2, a primitive telescope and pulley are present.
    • The final boss of Joe and Mac Returns is a wooden Giant Mecha. When you destroy it, the rider continues fighting you in one of the wood helicopters.
  • Bound and Gagged: The cavegirls, all tied up in various forms during boss fights. This was removed from the SNES version for obvious reasons.
    • The redheads and brunettes are tied to poles.
    • The raven-haired ones are under Unwilling Suspension.
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    • The blondes simply have their hands tied behind their backs.
  • Charged Attack: Only in the arcade version. If you take too long to fire, it will tire your caveman out, and you'll take damage.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: In Joe & Mac Returns, when the two heroes aren't out rescuing cavegirls, Joe and Mac try to peep at them while they're bathing, blow their bikinis tops off, or just outright steal their bikinis.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer
    • Joe (Player 1) - green
    • Mac (Player 2) - blue
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Only in the arcade version, it's the duo's only "ninja" attack.
    • The Final Boss in the first game sort of does this, but the doppelganger transforms into one of the other cavemen to attack.
  • For the Evulz: The first level in Joe & Mac 2 would have ended without a boss fight, if it weren't for some random neanderthal whacking a sleeping Stegosaurus on the head For the Lulz.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The first game has two final bosses, depending on which version you play. Most versions feature some sort of caveman-dinosaur hybrid that attacks by leaping at you in rapid somersaults, and spitting up larvae-like creatures. The NES game's manual identifies him as 'The Fabled Sagileocorn', whatever that means. The SNES version instead has a Big Red Devil, complete with pitchfork and demonic cackle, who turns into a more challenging blue form when you beat him. Both of them count; even moreso since they are both fought inside of a snake-necked T.rex, for some reason.
  • Head Swap: Joe and Mac themselves, plus the redheaded and brunette cavegirls. The two Tyrannosaurus bosses from the first game count as well. One is a normal T.rex while the other is a red variant with a long, snakelike neck.
  • Inventing the Wheel: One of many weapons in the game.
  • Kill It with Fire: One of the stronger weapons in the game.
  • Mama Bear: The first boss, a Tyrannosaurus rex, awakens once you hurt its offspring.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The second boss which bears an incredible resemblance to Audrey the second. It can grab and eat you, which is an instant kill.
    • In the original arcade version and NES port, the plant will actually spit out your bones. This was removed from the Genesis port, Game Boy port, and SNES arrangement.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In Congo's Caper, an almost literal example of this trope are the four caveman bosses you must fight after the intro stages. 2 of them are actually a ninja and pirate, respectively. One is technically a vampire, but is nonetheless undead like a zombie, and the last guy isn't a robot, but he is a Mad Scientist who builds a dinosaur robot out of wood and stone.
  • The Ninjas Who Don't Do Anything: Despite the title Joe and Mac don't have any ninja powers except for the Doppelgänger Attack.
  • Palette Swap: The cavegirls and some of the enemies.
  • Power-Up Mount: Two water-based levels have your cavemen ride on either Pteranodons or plesiosaurs. In Joe and Mac 2, you encounter three ridable beasties as well, all of which have a Breath Weapon. The treetops stage has a friendly-looking fat Pteranodon that can spit seed-like projectiles from its beak, and the swamp stage has a the other two. The first is a small Styracosaurus that spits tiny fireballs and the second is a chubby little Plesiosaurus that spits concentrated bursts of water.
  • Sequel Number Snarl: Joe & Mac 2 is known as Tatakae Genshijin 3 in Japan and Joe & Mac 3 in Europe. The Japanese title makes sense, since Congo's Caper was Tatakae Genshijin 2 over there, but the change from Joe & Mac 2 to Joe & Mac 3 is a bit more puzzling (unless they were counting Joe & Mac Returns as "Joe & Mac 2", which came out almost at the same time).
  • Shout-Out: Upon defeating one of the bosses, your player will pump a fist in the air.
    • Also, there's Cola as a collectible food item, which was common in Data East games.
  • Smooch of Victory: After every boss fight, the rescued cavegirl will kiss your character on the cheek, restoring his health. If two players are playing, only the one who dealt more damage to the boss gets it (much to the other's chagrin).
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: If either Joe or Mac lose all their energy, they transform into winged souls and fly off in the series.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: It's possible for your caveman to fall over dead from starvation in some versions, such as the arcade version, where your life gradually decreases (most versions, such as the SNES version, don't have this feature), or more hilariously, fall over dead from starvation soon after surviving an attack with one HP left.
  • Womb Level: The last level of the original game is inside the Tyrannosaurus you defeated in the penultimate level.