Genre: Action Developer: Sega of Japan Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1991
Another gem from Sega’s closet of barely known games would be thief based Bonanza Bros., released on the Mega Drive. Containing qualities that could be a violent adult based game Sega molded it nicely into something that the younger generation could relate to and also providing a fun yet short challenge for the rest of us. Although the premise based on a violence, corruption and theft it still appealed to younger audiences due to the gun blazing, weight dropping, door slamming and zip wiring through walls antics without the premise of anyone one character being violently hurt, unless in a cartoon like fashion.
Bonanza Bros. wasn’t the most violent of games, nor did it have car chases, bullet magnet pedestrians or the volatile feeling as you blast a helicopter from the sky with a rocket launcher. What it did contain? Mainly two bumbling burglars called Mike and Spike or Robo and Mobo, whatever you want to call them, trying to bring so called “corrupt” companies down by robbing them of their valuables.
I have a hunch that the story was changed for its Western release. The Japanese seem a lot more lenient when it comes to these so the original story probably put the two good guys in the shoes of the bad guys therefore the bent and twisted policemen seen here were doing their job right in Japan. Or maybe not! I’ve never played it!
At first you start looking at the arcade like screen and begin to wonder if you can get rid of the two player split screen view, (which exists on the one player mode by the way) which is a very annoying thing to begin with as you’ll be thinking to yourself in wonder why Sega didn’t create an exclusive one player mode. Granted this allows easier access for a friend who wants to jump to your aid in mid game but can be heinous in one player.
You’ll visit various destinations in your quest to rob or cleanse these corrupt businesses: a boat, a laboratory, even an art gallery. All have some kind of item from other Sega arcade games, like paintings of the wolf from Altered Beast, Shinobi, and Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone. Eventually, you’ll reach some more unusual areas like a pyramid and a mine. Your quest is to collect all the items located on your radar and get out in time or before you get caught. On two player mode there is little change to the gameplay but as you can postulate the two players help each other out.
Armed with a peashooter gun, which stuns (note: stun, not kill) all opponents, which consist of policemen, S.W.A.T members, guard dogs and overweight men who throw bombs at you. You shoot anyone and it will knock them out for only seconds which can be a pain. Of course it isn’t as simple as that. SWAT guys have unbreakable shields that block all bullets and the bomb guys take in more than one shot. Once you know when and where to shoot enemy you’ll simple revel in ability and the game will become somewhat of a breeze for you.
So, what better way to spend your day then to rob big corporations, steal ancient treasure from a pyramid, and shoot pellets at fat guys. Bonanza Bros. is a very original and addictive game, which is great with a friend. The challenge is immaculate, being tricky but not mind bustlingly difficult. Also the comedic plot crisis is something that most people should see anyway.