Caveman Ninja


Status: No Download, Findability: 1/5

A hit on the SNES and a fairly well known arcade from Data East.. Featured two caveman which had to destroy dino’s and basically get through scrolling platform levels which ended with huge guardians to bash hell out off.

Very similar in some ways to Chuck Rock.. Elite lost interest in the scene while the game was still being coded, and it was scrapped along with some other promising releases.

Very early on when we first added the entry to the site, we heard suggestions that Eldritch The Cat were behind the conversion. Stuart Fotheringham, who worked as part of the crew helped us with our enquiry into this game many moons ago:

“Perhaps Marc Dawson was working on Caveman Ninja after I left Eldritch The Cat, but I’m pretty sure ETC was 16-bit only and original software only (no conversions). Steve Wetherill (now a director of Westwood Studios and C&C fame) was also an Eldritch The Cat founder.”

Marc Wilding unfortunately could not recall anything of a C64 version, so we are still left in limbo with this game. Steve Day then told us the following:

“ETC had negotiated with a certain UK publisher to develop several versions of Joe & Mac, including the C64 version; however, all I can say is that for various reasons development was never commenced. So, I guess you can say that we *almost* worked on Joe & Mac C64. :) “

The new High Voltage Sid Collection update came out on Christmas day in 2009 and contained some new tunes from Reyn Ouwehand, one of which included “Caveman Ninja”. So it seems that Reyn was to produce tunes for a conversion. There is a link with Reyn and ETC, as Reyn had done part of the music for the Amiga version of Last Ninja 3 – a game that ETC had converted. Reyn could not recall who was behind any development. However, Steve Wetherill would confirm that Reyn wasn’t involved in the ETC developments.

In March 2024, Steve Wetherill posted on his blog about the last days of ETC, and Caveman Ninja was spoken about and described as a “final nail in the coffin” for the company. ETC had entered discussions to do all the home computer versions of the game for Amiga, ST, C64 and Spectrum. A fee of £50,000 was negotiated with a £10,000 advance.

Steve states that a local programmer was lined up to work on the 8-bit versions, and it is suggested that Jim Savage and Martin Calvert would be on art duties. Steve confirmed that it was a chap called Terry Sanders who was assigned, but no work was ever started. Unfortunately, before the advance could be transferred, the publisher changed its mind and this would be the end of ETC.

However, there are a few odd things that still occurred. On the ZX Spectrum, Clive Townsend (developer/designer of Saboteur) created some demos, but it seems this was unrelated to ETC. Perhaps Elite had afterwards approached Clive separately?

It suggests that nothing ever got started, but then there is the curiosity of Clive’s ZX Spectrum demos that leaked and Reyn’s C64 music too. Did anyone start anything of a C64 conversion after ETC? Only time will tell.

Contributions: Stuart Fotheringham, Steve Day, iAN Coog/HVSC, Ross Sillifant, Steve Wetherill

Supporting content

Available downloads

Update history

  • 05/03/24– New details thanks to Steve Wetherill.
  • 29/12/16– Scan added thanks to Ross Sillifant
Posted in: GTW64 archive | Tagged: | 2 Comments

2 Responses to Caveman Ninja

  1. Blimey, not just the NES version that was crippled by sloth-like speed and unresponsive controls, seems Amiga version suffered same fate…mere 22% at review in The One, so if Amiga and NES versions suffered, the C64 would probably have been slaughtered.

  2. Zzap64 Issue 74 had it down as Xmas’91 release.Only 8 bit version i’ve heard of is on the NES.Looked great in still shots, but crippled by sloth-like response time, control wise.

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