Joe & Mac – Doing It For The Cave Babes!

Cavemen are bad ass.  Everything manly and awesome can be traced back to the time when homos first became erectus.  They literally created the concept of “manly.”  Eating a steak is for real men?  Not if you buy it from an over-priced restaurant like a pansy, and then complain to your waiter because it was “too tough.”  Try hunting down your prey, bludgeoning it to death (the manliest way to kill something), and then cooking it with a fire you made yourself.  That’s what real men do!  Oh, your steak comes from a cow?  That’s adorable!  I bet your frilly handkerchief also matches your purse.  Get your meat from a saber-toothed tiger or a mammoth, then we’ll talk.

Medium rare, please.  Extra-bludgeoned.

Grunting, hitting unfamiliar things with a stick, and becoming ridiculously angry at anything you don’t understand: This is man at its finest!  But even cavemen couldn’t be satisfied with their sheer manliness alone.  There’s absolutely no point in being so manly and cool if there’s nobody to impress.  That’s why there are Cave Babes!

Notice the historically accurate fishnet stockings.

Without cave babes, cavemen wouldn’t have had a reason to be bold and manly.  You think the wheel was always round?  Pfft, you know dumbass cavemen made them square at first.  It wasn’t until one caveman decided that round wheels would be a faster way to pick up his cave babe and get some ribs.  Because if he didn’t figure it out, some other caveman would.  Then he’d be out a cave babe and ribs, and who’d want that?


And not a handkerchief in sight.  Take note, men.

It’s easy to see that, though cavemen’s and man’s manliness is essential, all the manliness in the world wouldn’t amount to anything without the ladies to appreciate it.  Modern society was shaped through millennia of men trying to impress and woo the fairer sex.  If cavemen didn’t try to improve themselves in order to get cave babes, we’d either all be extinct by now or we’d all be sissies like THE Dustin Thomas, shaving our legs or wearing fanny packs to hold our tampons.  That’s why Data East’s Joe & Mac on the SNES is such a brilliant piece of simulated history.  Just like any important story throughout human existence, Joe & Mac showcases how important it is to take shit from no one and win back our babes!

Cavemen, rejoice!  It’s time for Joe & Mac!

Game: Joe & Mac

Console: Super Nintendo

Developer: Data East

Publisher: Data East

Release Year: 1991

Joe & Mac was the first game I got for my SNES besides Super Mario World, which was bundled with the system so it doesn’t count.  It was a co-op game that was a port of Data East’s Caveman Ninja.  The games were very similar.  The only big difference being that Caveman Ninja had branching paths, more weapons, weapons that could be charged for extra damage, and it had the better name!

Joe & Mac starts out with a little bit of a story involving lame puns, terrible early-90’s slang, and your reason to play: To get back all your cave babes!

Sounds more like the plot to a late night Skinemax flick to me.

That’s all the reason I need to go slaughter other cavemen and dinosaurs and junk!  So, off you go to win back all the cave babes.  And you’ll do so by doing all the stuff you’d expect to do from a platformer in the early 90’s: jump, shoot things at stuff, and fight bosses.  You have a regular jump, a high jump that lets you do a bunch of flips, and a “dash” you initialize by tapping a direction twice.  It’s not so much a dash as it is a roll that doesn’t move you any faster in the slightest.  But it looks ridiculous, lets you scale walls for some reason, and hurts things, so it’s awesome in my book.

Screw you, Blue Barracudas!  GREEN MONKEYS ALL THE WAY!

The roll can also be put to great use in one of the later levels when you need steak because, lets face it, we ALWAYS need steak.  However, this steak is in the middle of a fire.  What’s a caveman to do?  Cannonball off a cliff and eat it in one manly gulp, obviously!

How else would you eat it?

The stuff you use to shoot at things are bones, boomerangs, fire, and stone wheels.  Each item has their advantages, but I usually go with fire because it’s fire and not dumb like the other things.  You can hit things with your club if you want, but good luck getting a clear shot against some of these bosses.  They’re either huge and out of reach or they can fly.  Also, it takes like a thousand hits to kill some of the later bosses.

Bosses have visible tick marks that act as their life meter, but I can’t figure out how many hits it takes to get rid of a mark.  It seems random.  Sometimes I hit them a couple times to get rid of a tick mark, other times I hit them 30 times to get rid of one.  Thankfully, the bosses adhere to early video game logic and standards. These standards dictate that bosses change color as they approach death as well as show at least one frame of animation acknowledging that they’ve received damage.  The latter is shown by the dinosaur crying like a woman, much like how I’d imagine a woman would cry if she were hit by fire.

It’s just fire!  Rub some dirt in it and walk it off, pussy!

The bosses in this game really are a treat.  Each one is huge and comes with a simple pattern you have to figure out in order to beat it.  Unless it’s that stupid dinosaur skeleton boss.  I never figured out how not to get hit.  He utilized a brilliant counterattack: fall apart!  But – damn it! – it’d always hit me!

My wife took the kids for a walk because I’d cuss every time.

There’s also a boss that reminds me of Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors.  He’s super easy, though.  If you just hug the right side of the screen, you’ll take a hit, but you’ll end up behind him where there’s nothing he can do to get you.

Whether it’s with the ladies or bosses, Joe’s always looking for the sweet spot.

And I can’t forget about the mammoth boss; it scarred me as a kid.  Even playing it now, it’s still unsettling.  Basically, you’re fighting a pissed off woolly mammoth, and you end up knocking its trunk off.  It’s just disturbing to see in such a bright and lighthearted game.


As awful as that looks and is, it can easily be forgotten in mere moments by the only thing that can grab a cave dude’s attention: Cave Babes!  Every time you beat a boss, a different babe comes out to reward you for all your hard.  To express their appreciation to you for risking your balls to kill a freaking dinosaur,  they brush their hair back, lean down, and give you… a kiss!?  Really!?  That’s it!?  Well, it is just an SNES game, after all.  I guess it’s better than nothing.

Bring on the babes!

Joe’s totally macking it with the chicks!

The best part is when you play with a friend.  The game keeps track of who is kicking the boss’s ass more, and the better ass kicker gets the girl, just like in real life.  But you have to make sure you rub it in your friend’s face, or else it’s not as fun.

I’m pretending this is your mom when I bone her tonight!

The only time it’s not cool to get the kiss is when you’re fighting the final boss inside of a dead Tyrannosaurus Rex.  He decides to break the game’s running theme of dinosaurs by being Satan, and he tries to pull a fast one by pretending he’s a chick so he can make out with you.  Not cool, Satan.

It’s only not gay when Bugs Bunny pulls this off.

After you beat Satan a second time, the game ends.  You get to see Joe and Mac standing in a field, watch a bunch of Neanderthals run past them, and then see Joe and Mac frantically hop away because there’s a fat chick trying to kiss them.  Because fat chicks, am I right?

I know I’m right.

Joe & Mac is an excellent game!  It’s easy but challenging, full of humor and charm, and it’s bright and colorful.  Replaying it has brought back a lot of great memories, and I’m really glad I played it again if only to hear its wonderful music.  The music alone, with its upbeat tempos and its campy tribal chants, woodwinds, and percussion instruments, was enough to make me feel like a kid again.  It’s pretty short, and I remember it being WAY more difficult when I was a kid.  I recall actually running around the house after I finally beat this game.

It’s too bad I didn’t get to play this one with a friend because that would have made this game way better, but that’s what happens when you’re an adult.  *sigh*

Thanks for your playing!  Now, go eat a steak.  Then, club your woman in the back of the head and drag her into your man cave!  I’m sure she’ll be totally cool with that.


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