The Data East Archaeologists at Johnny Turbo Dig Up Another Classic with Caveman Ninja

Data East was a fairly prolific arcade company in the 80s and 90s. While many of these games may have passed by the denizens of those decades unnoticed, Caveman Ninja is a title that most people have probably experienced. But, these stone age shinobi graced the Super Nintendo under a different name: Joe & Mac*, a recognizable game for most Nintendo enthusiasts.

*Editor’s Note: I would be remiss in not mentioning that the port that’s considered closest to the arcade game appeared on the Sega Genesis, using the same alternate title, but also featuring Blast Processing!

The action is intense, and ridiculous. And fun, who doesn’t want to beat up dinosaurs?

Caveman Ninja is a co-op action platform game that I’d most liken to the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series by Capcom, purely in terms of game-play and feel. You and a buddy use a variety of weapons and power-ups to save bikini-clad CaveGirls from raging dinosaurs and a opposing clan of other, less capable caveman ninja.

The weapons all have different properties, and riff on the neolithic theme with fire, wheels and electricity appearing alongside stone boomerangs, dinosaur bones, and clubs. The weapons feel very satisfying to use in combat, and their unique feel is definitely the standout game-play feature.

The folks at Flying Tiger once again provide an excellent port here. I’ve detailed the features of the Johnny Turbo collection previously here, but to quickly review, they offer a bevy of screen filters and video options to suit any taste. This game in particular left me really wanting a button remapping option (the lack of which is my only real criticism of the collection so far), since the attack and jump buttons ended up at an upward angle on the Switch. It’s something I keep hoping will be added to all their releases in a patch, or even as a new standard for the future.

Come at me, bro!

No matter what era of history you live in, however, this is a fun and challenging romp, that’s even better with a friend, and one of the best releases on the Johnny Turbo catalog. The mechanics are pretty standard, but the theme is entertaining, the controls responsive, and the visuals so, so colorful. If you’ve ever wanted to bash a T-Rex on the nose with a club, pick this one up today!

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Flying Tiger Entertainment, Inc.
Price – $7.99
Genre – Arcade / Action / Platformer
Size – 62.6MB

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