Reviews Archive

Joe and Mac - Caveman Ninja

    Mega Drive SNES Amiga
genesis joe and mac sprite
snes joe and mac sprite Amiga joe and mac sprite
    joe and mac on genesis joe and mac on snes
joe and mac on amiga
    genesis joe and mac volcano level snes joe and mac volcano level
amiga joe and mac volcano level
    genesis joe and mac waterfall boss snes joe and mac waterfall boss
amiga joe and mac waterfall boss

Mega Drive - The level of detail is very high, and is quite comparable to the arcade original, with a lot of good work being done on the ground textures, and sprites.

Other than that the effects here are well done, with some really nice water effects, and the nice little touches (such as the cave woman struggling in the background during boss fights) have been retained.

SNES - A pretty high level of base detail, it's very comparable to the MD in this respect, but quite a few of the enemy designs which were found in the arcade and Mega Drive versions seem to be absent (the helicopter guys for instance).

Where it comes to the effects though I would say that as an overall experience the water effects looked better in the Mega Drive version, as although this version does have some spray and foreground water animation not apparent in that version, its waterfalls look much cruder due to using plain jagged lines (see screenshot 3). The river on Stage 3 also looks substantially worse here, with no splash animation and an unrealistic look.

No cave women are apparent during boss fights until after the boss is defeated.

Amiga - Very inconsistent, whilst the base detail of the Amiga version falls down a bit in comparison to the other versions (definitely blockier) it does actually shine in some other aspects.

For instance this version has a very nice water reflection effect in some levels which doesn't exist in the games, there are some copper effect backgrounds (smooth colour transitions), embers blowing in the wind on the volcano level, and probably the best waterfall effects out of all the versions.

Whilst the waterfalls usually look better here, on the levels with a lot going on (such as the pterodactyl level) they are actually downgraded to being a static picture, which makes those particular levels pale in comparison.

  Winner Is: Mega Drive

Mega Drive - Pretty good use of colour, it looks nice, but is a little on the dull side, is a bit dark, and is definitely not up to the standards of the SNES version.

SNES - Really great levels of colour that do a good job of showing the bigger colour pallet of the system, its all very colourful, and doesn't look as grainy as the Mega Drive version.

The bosses here change colour as they take damage.

Amiga - Colour is noticeably more basic than it was in the other versions. As a minor point, on the upside I personally do like the new pallet of the volcano levels a lot more though than in the other versions (see screenshot 2).

  Winner Is: SNES

Mega Drive - very well animated for the most part, very few animations are missing.

SNES - The animation here is actually quite noticeably mediocre, and is definitely below average for SNES.

Generally the animation just looks a bit rushed, and the characters move a little awkwardly. The sprites have fewer frames of animation (see sprite picture, unlike the other versions the SNES game didn't even have a standing animation), and many of the original animations which were retained for the Mega Drive port (such as the beat-the-chest animation), did not manage to make the cut here.

Amiga - I think it's slightly better than the SNES overall, but worse than the MD, there are however some animations from the arcade here that were not converted to the other versions (such as the enemies butt-scratching animation).

  Winner Is: Mega Drive

Mega Drive - Perfect multi-directional scrolling, and there's a lot of nice parallax.

SNES - Nearly perfect, but I found that the vertical levels were slightly worse in the scrolling department, and there's fewer layers of parallax scrolling on some levels in comparison to the Mega Drive port (Level 2, and the volcano levels for instance had less, and what is there moves a lot slower in comparison).

Amiga - Very good scrolling, though the vertical levels push scroll when you get to a certain height, which is unfortunate. This version has more levels with parallax backgrounds, but it doesn't offset the poorer vertical levels.

  Winner Is: Mega Drive

Mega Drive - A very good attempt at recreating the arcade original music. I don't think it's quite as good as the SNES overall but there is a certain element of bass not found in the SNES version's music.

SNES - The SNES music is fantastic, you can really tell the difference in quality, especially during the boss battles.

Amiga - Good attempt, all the versions are pretty good in this aspect.

  Winner Is: SNES
  Sound FX

Mega Drive - Pretty well adapted from the arcade version, not bad at all.

SNES - Very nice sound effects, the arcade version's original sounds have been completely replaced, and the new sound effects are very good (albeit they do sound more reminiscent of the Mario games now).

Amiga - Very good, quite accurate too.

  Winner Is: SNES

Joe and Mac was a 2-player arcade game focused on general platforming elements. The game gave you multiple ways of dealing with enemies, you could jump on their heads a la Mario, or throw projectiles at them, the projectiles in the game could also be charged, unleashing a more powerful move, and different weapons were available in the form of items retrieved from broken eggs. Lastly at the end of many stages you are given the option of taking one of two different routes, each leading you to different stages. The game isn't especially notable in any area, but the platforming elements, and level design were respectable, there was an always welcome 2-player option, and boss fights were fun.

Mega Drive - The MD version definitely plays the closest to the arcade out of the three versions, with all the elements included pretty faithfully all in all (jumping on enemies, branching paths, charge move etc).

Unfortunately it is however a bit too difficult, your weapons do less damage to the bosses and you also take less hits to kill, and have one fewer life per credit. The difficulty curve is inconsistent, going back and forth between being too difficult to too easy from one level to the next. One thing that does need to be added though in regards to this, easy mode actually plays quite faithfully to the arcade (though you take 1 more hit to kill now on average, bosses still take more hits to kill also, and you still have one fewer life per credit, so it kind of evens out somewhat).

SNES - This version plays a little bit stale and is also extremely easy, as unlike the arcade game it gives you much more health and allows you to re-spawn exactly where you died immediately. Enemy counts are also virtually always much lower here, and many of the bosses are missing some of their more dangerous features (the T-Rex boss on the first level for instance no longer causes the ground to drop).

Other points against this version are that its controls are noticeably floaty, and unfortunately its missing many gameplay features. Here you can no longer kill enemies by jumping on them, or charge shot your weapons (these were two very important elements to the arcade gameplay), normal enemies now take multiple shots to kill, and you start off with no projectiles (these two changes in particular really cut into the flow of the gameplay and cause it to slow down substantially, as you need to keep stopping to hit every enemy multiple times). Lastly many of the levels have been downgraded (the pterodactyl level is now shorter and actually has no enemies in it, only falling rocks), and some (such as the dinosaur riding level, which was one of the best levels in the game) have been cut entirely.

In this version you cannot choose which route you want to take, in an effort to increase the games length it just forces you to play all the levels (this has the effect of making you repeat some boss battles). To be honest I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, it gives you one, long game, but also means that its not as well suited to repeated playthroughs.

A few additional elements were added to this port, but to be frank most of then tend to come off as being a little half assed. A few of the stages have some more jumps added here and there to make them longer, and the woolly mammoth boss area has been turned into a full blow level, there are also some new bonus levels (these are also nothing to write home about) these changes in no way offset the losses of the two dinosaur riding levels in my opinion.

Amiga - The gameplay of the levels here is iffy to say the least. The 1st immediately serious issue is that the Amiga version gives no invincibility after you take a hit, this means that you can get into death loops where you bounce back and forth taking damage with nothing you can do about it. Other things worth mentioning are the slowdown (not too bad), and the hit detection (can be very bad).

Where it comes to the boss fights though it really is a complete mess, not only are they not very faithfully programmed, but there are multiple collision detection issues with many of them, the 1st level T-Rex for instance only seems to register a hit when you hit a certain section of it's back, all the bosses also take too many hits to kill to the extent that many of the boss battles seem to go on forever.

On the upside this is the only version which retained the arcade's clone power-up.

Winner Is: Mega Drive

Mega Drive - Great opening movie which is fairly accurate to the arcade, nice opening screen.

SNES - The opening movie has been changed, the cave women are no longer kidnapped but are instead "scared off by the bad guys' bad breath" (due to Nintendo's family friendly image?),

There is now an overworld map similar to those found in Mario games.

Amiga - Very nice levels of presentation, though it's missing the opening movie, it has a nice opening screen, the arcades' between levels map, and some fairly nice loading screen artwork.

Winner Is: Mega Drive

It's a pretty easy win to the Mega Drive here to be honest as it's the closest version to the arcade by a substantial degree and also the only version that manages to retain any feel of excitement (as opposed to the slow and meandering SNES version). I feel that the only problem with this version is the increased difficulty level but that can be rectified by playing the game in easy mode until you get to the level of confidence to upgrade to normal.

I think that the SNES version was quite simply a rush job with little effort put into it, though to be fair it was actually released much earlier than the Mega Drive game so maybe the experience wasn't there yet.

It's a real shame that the Amiga version turned out the way it did as the it shows real promise in many areas, It actually has the feel of a game rushed out to the shops before it had enough time to be finished properly, all the actual hard work of the programming seemed to have already been done only leaving a few major issues that probably could've been sorted out in quite a short amount of programming time.

  Overall Winner Is: Mega Drive
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