And you thought GTA was the birth of Virtual Crime!
Release Date: December 1991
Platforms: Megadrive, Master System, PC Engine CD, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amiga, Atari ST
When it comes to collecting Megadrive games, most people are after Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Mortal Kombat – you know the titles. Bonanza Brothers is one of those games that gets overlooked, maybe picked up for a fiver at a car boot sale. People aren’t really interested and that’s such a shame. Because a blast on Bonanza can be a very rewarding experience!
I used to play this game a lot with my friend Chris, usually on a Saturday evening while we waited for Match of the Day to start. And it’s the two-player mode that really makes this game shine!
I’m skipping ahead here, let’s reign it back in. Bonanza Bros was made by Sega in the early nineties. You play as one of two brothers – Robo and Mobo – And the obective is to sneak through houses, banks and Casinos, looting all the valuables…. to “test the security” (Yeah right!) A helpful map shows you where the desirables are located, and standing in your way are a vast legion of guards and night watchmen.
These guards are the reason BB is so much fun. You can stun them, either with your gun or by splatting them into a wall by opening a door in their face…. but they can’t be killed. Stunned enemies are back up in a few seconds, making them an ever-present threat. They’re attracted to loud noises, and are able to duck and dodge behind cover. They can also summon their friends and before you know it, you’ll be outnumbered and fleeing. Guards will happily chase you all over the level too!
So it’s very important to play this game smart. If you time it right, you can sneak into a room, stun the guard, grab the treasure (with a cool “ah-hah-ha!” sound effect) and be out the door before anyone knows what’s happened. As I’ve mentioned, two player is twice the fun, as you can split up and tackle the level between you, or double-team and really give those guards a bad day. The levels are colourful, the music is brilliant and the controls are simple, yet effective.
There aren’t too many levels, but the difficulty spikes quite quickly, making later levels a real challenge. There are neat twists to the levels as well, booby traps, hazards and ziplines are all here to be played with!
A possible reason for this game being overlooked is the single player mode. Going “on the rob” solo is quite tough, and it’s not helped by the fact that half the screen is occupied by a giant prompt.
Wanna see some gameplay? I have a blast with the first few levels, but I do apologize about audio quality here, microphone issues. Nothing’s ever simple!
I’d wholeheartedly reccommend Bonanza Bros. It’s an enjoyable romp, and the controls are so simple, anyone can pick up and play. It’s quite cheap to get hold of, and was released in the “sega ages collection” on PS2, as well as the “Megadrive ultimate collection” on PS3/Xbox 360! The game’s quite short, but if you expect to finish it you’ll have to put some real work into it. Because old games aren’t soft like the new ones haha!
Graphics: Standard Megadrive fare. Nice and colourful with some neat touches – 7
Sound: Nifty music but sound effects leave a little to be desired – 6
Gameplay: Sneaking, dodging, stealing. Easy to play, and hard to master! 8
Lifespan: Quite a challenge, and you’ll come back for more co-op fun! 7