|Bonanza Brothers Review by: Eirinn
So fun, it's criminal
This one is a classic game from my childhood. I first picked the controller up to play this unusual game around age seven. In the game you play as a wanted thief, who is sent on a mission to help "clean up badville once and for all" by sneaking in and stealing evidence from "those crooked joints that are run by counterfieters and cheating casino operators". With that briefing, you and your buddy (who never appears during single player mode) embark on ten different missions, in which your objective is simple: grab all of the items on your list, and leave before the guards catch you. Once you get all of the evidence needed, you race to the roof (or top floor, depending on which level you're in) to a rendezvous point where you will be picked up by an escape blimp. You read that right, it's an escape blimp. As you progress through the game, you of course encounter a larger variety of enemies, which include two varieties of simple security guards, one wielding a nightstick, and the other a gun, two varieties of armored guards with shields which can only be shot in the back or side, some with knives (or some sort of blade anyway) and some with guns, guard dogs, and at least two other enemies, but I'll leave them for the player to find. Along with facing all of these guards there are other obstacles, including cans, that when kicked, get nearby guards on alert, trap doors, and the infamous toony rake gag. There are a few laughs to be had along the way, such as taking heads from the robots in the lab and placing them over your own to shake dumb guards that can't tell the difference. And squishing guards by opening doors while they are standing behind them. The paper thin guard will then slide back off of the wall after a moment, and regain his shape. No harm done. Indeed, no one is ever seriously harmed in the game, as guards will only fall to the ground, momentarily stunned when you shoot them. There is no eliminating an enemy, only stalling. Add to this a three minute time limit on each level, and you have a somewhat chaotic ride at times. Stealth is a useful tool, but you must also be mindful that you do not always have time for stealth. Sometimes all you can do is run through and tear up jack, trying to stay alive while guns blaze and guards chase you.
Now for the rating.
Not exactly a jewel among Genesis games in the graphics department, Bonanza Bros. doesn't offer what I would consider poor graphics, but they aren't great either. The designers obviously weren't shooting for the best graphics, but rather light hearted, humorous ones. They hit it right on the head too. The characters have no necks. Instead they simply have heads that sit on their shoulders, and bounce up in the air while walking. Again, this was obviously intentional. They didn't want the game to take itself too seriously, and I personally really enjoy the graphics. However I won't rate on preference. The sprites have enough detail in them, but some of the items can be a bit difficult to make out, and some of the background items are a bit more blocky than they had to be on the Genesis. Still nice enough though. The view of the city in the background that you can see from the rooftops and through windows is nice too. This game delivers nice toony graphics. I feel a seven is a bit unjust, but I fear an eight might be nostalgia talking more than anything. That said, the graphics are perfect for the game, if they could only polish up the objects a bit.
Okay, let me start off by saying that alot of people are going to disagree with me on the sound, but I feel this game deserves a solid nine in the sound department. No the sounds aren't realistic, but they aren't meant to be. Remember, the graphics and gameplay scream "toon". The sound effects follow suit. The music: Oh I love the music here. It isn't the greatest, but it isn't bad for a sixteen bit system, and it perfectly accents the gameplay and graphics.
The sound effects: Love them too. As I said, they're toony. By that, I mean they're funny, goofy, even silly. From the cheesey laugh everytime you bag an item, to the sound the enemies make when shot (I promise it sounds like they're saying "wow"), to the "squish" sound the guards make when squished behind doors or under weights. The guns make a sound that is more akin to a burst of air from a hose than a gun, but it hardly detracts from the sound any.
Not really much of a story here. What story we do get is sufficient, but we are left with the question of why our heros are wanted, unless it's because they were wanted in Badville for doing jobs like this one. I would say they were offered a deal by the police, but when you lose all of your tries, you are shown in a prison outfit, shackled. The problem being (or so I am told) in the Japanese version, they were simply thieves, but in the American version (and some others), they were good guys. This would explain the wanted poster, the prison themed "Game Over" scene, and the shadey appearance (or lack thereof) of the man sending you out in the opening scene. Whether it's true or not, I don't know. As for this opening scene, the player has to sit at the title screen a moment before it will play. Otherwise you will go straight into the game. All in all, it isn't a bad story, there just isn't much story to be had. Also, consider that probably the majority of games on this console didn't offer much more by way of storylines. Finally, we are offered a few pointless silent film type cutscenes that seem to be intended to make the player laugh. Also they're played from a projector, with slightly faded color quality for effect. These scenes seem to serve as footage for what happened in the previous stage (though they're not actually scenes of what the player did). And at the end you are merely offered a simple congratulations, and shown a much longer film that again appears to be footage captured over the course of the entire adventure. Whether this is footage from the thieves' personal collection, or security camera footage, is unclear. Though I would lean toward the opinion that it's footage from the thieves' collection, since it's played over a projector like every other film they use. These simple, but humorous moments are what caused me to boost the story rating from a five to what I feel is a well deserved six.
This is one of the few games that I planned on playing again before I even finished the final cutscene. I enjoyed myself so much in fact, that I plan to play through it at least once on every difficulty level. It's short, simple, and humorous gameplay worked their charm and made me realize just what a classic this was. And with the ability to toggle the amount of tries you get for each credit, and how many credits you get, you can easily play through this game five or six times on each difficulty level, with a greater challenge each time.
Although there isn't much to do but grab the items and go, I feel that I could easily rate this a five when comparing it to other Genesis games. Still, I don't want to let partiality take over, so I'll play it safe and say four. The things that keep this from being lower are the aforementioned ability to toggle tries and credits, and the option to play it stealthily, or go blasting through like some sort of Robin Hood meets Rambo game. There is potential for a good amount of depth, but the player must impose these new rules on him/her own self, as the game itself never changes to any degree. This fact keeps me from rating it any higher.
Very easy. I didn't intend to write this review yet, simply because I didn't intend to finish the game yet, and I fail to see how I have any business writing a review on a game I haven't finished, as I wouldn't know the answer to many of the questions that are asked (difficulty, story, depth) if I hadn't played it through at least once. I intended to simply play a quick round of it, and go find something else to do, but instead I ended up beating it, quite unexpectedly. In my opinion, when you unintentionally beat a game (in your first try at that), there wasn't too much of a challenge offered. To me, this is a good thing. I think the "easy" difficulty level, should be easy. If you want a challenge, that's what the other difficulty levels are for. That said, I could see how this game could be very easy, or rather difficult, depending on which difficulty the player selects, the amount of credits he/she alots themselves, and how many tries per credit they choose to have. There probably is a good challenge to be had if the player so chooses, but it's also easy enough for most anyone to finish, so long as they try.
I feel comfortable giving this a seven, honestly. I myself would probably give it a personal rating of eight, or eight and a half, but my review rating is no better and no worse than a seven. I reach this by finding the average of each catagory's rating, excluding the difficulty. That said, I can stand by this particular rating confidently.
In conclusion, Bonanza Bros. is a game for the ages, and I recommend everyone try it at least once. I definitely enjoyed myself, and still do each time I fire it up. I think you'll enjoy yourself too, if you like some humor, and platformer action. It's toony feel makes me smile everytime I play. From each tune, to each "wow" from a stunned guard, to the final scene, it's a lighthearted approach to gaming that just wants a laugh and a good time. Now pardon me, while I go and play another round.
Graphics 7 Sound 9 Addictive 9 Depth 4 Story 6 Difficulty 2
Bonanza Brothers Box Description: Robo and Mobo, the Bonanza Bros., are the clumsiest thieves around. They're in deep trouble now, and they need your help to avoid becoming jailbirds!
Bonanza Brothers Description: Mobo and Robo Bonanza are enjoying their favorite television show when the picture crackles and a shadowy figure of a mysterious stranger appears on screen. This figure asks them to collect certain items that he has placed inside various buildings to test his security force. If they return the items successfully, Mobo and Robo will be rewarded. The two of them state that they will get the job done in just three minutes. However, little do they know that each building is packed with security guards who will raise the alarm if they are caught red-handed. Fortunately both Mobo and Robo are equipped with bullets that can knock the guards unconscious for a few seconds. An $100 reward will be given out if Mobo and Robo are apprehended.
As either Mobo or Robo, you must collect all the treasures before leaving the ten buildings and shoot any security guards that get in your way. Remember that you are under a time limit. An in-game map will help you locate the treasures. There is a bonus stage after three buildings, where the object is to collect the gold bars in a limited amount of time without one of the three spotlights shining on you. If it is possible, hide behind open doors. If you manage to get all the gold bars, 10,000 points is added to your score. There are three of these bonus stages, but each of them varies.