Well, well, imagine my surprise when I discovered that the aim of this game is to rescue the women folk that have been unchivalrously snatched from their own home village. Cock-a-doodle-doo, I was howled over backward by the originality - or at least I would have been had there been any.
To be fair though, a game can lack in the "what a good idea" department and still be a stonking good title, Joe & Mac has a lot to live up to. Chuck Rock used his capacious stomach to devastating effect whilst B.C. Kid out-cuted every dude in antiquity. So what bringeth Joe & Mac to the Stone Age platform arena?
The biggest new thing in Joe & Mac is the simultaneous two-player mode. This adds to both the playability and lastability of the game immensely. Any game improves no end when you can compete either against or with a friend, sibling or even your granny! This does make for a fair amount of fun. After all, two loin-clothed ruffians throwing their choppers at all and sundry must surely be better than one!
The other most original thing about Joe & Mac is... well, that's it really. Anyone who's played anything even vaguely neolithically oriented will feel as at home as a man in pipe and slippers in front of the fire with this one. Let's see, Dinosaurs - check, Attractive women to be rescued - check. Smooth and subtle character animation - ahh.
Yes, the animation of Messers Joe & Mac does leave a little to be desired. There is a soup-con of the Gerry Andersons about them and I am a little mystified by this. Why, well, the animation of the baddies and nasties is pretty good. Not spectacular, but good nonetheless. As Joe & Mac are the focus of attention, perhaps a little more effort might have gone into their creation.
Which brings us conveniently to the subject of the graphics. They're of a quite decent quality with plenty of colours with sprites highly defined, it can probably stand its ground against the competition. I would have liked to have seen more original backgrounds than volcanoes and waterfalls, but you can't have everything now can you?
Both music and sound effects are available. Indeed I should hope so, such is the Amiga's ability in this department. The tune is, well, repetitive and not particularly creative, but the sound effects hit the mark with accuracy. The dinosaurs and level-end Bosses roar and screech to good effect and set the scene nicely.
It is the gameplay that is most disappointing. The controls are not overly responsive when jumping, which makes life a lad tedious at times. There is also the problem that it is possible to die again as soon as you return from losing a life the first time. Highly frustrating. The whole gameplay is suited much more to two player mode really, as some of the level-end Bosses (especially the first one) can be a touch tricky.
Get down two it
The end result is not actually as bad as I might have made out in the above text, and all around, what you have here is a jolly good fun game when two of you are at it simultaneously. As two player simultaneous mode games are comparatively scarce at the moment, Joe & Mac has something which few other games have to offer.
Although Joe & Mac is no match for the competition In one player mode. It gets a whole pack of Brownie points for being two player friendly. This really is its biggest plus point as it really does improve quite dramatically when you have someone else to play It with. If only Joe & Mac themselves didn't look like under-dressed extras from Joe 90. Joe A Mac would be an impressive, if not overly original, start to the New Year. Certainly worth a look when you've got bored of playing Streetfighter II this Christmas...
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