Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bonanza Bros.

7.5 [Great]

Gameplay: 7
Visuals: 6
Music: 6
Sound: 5
Value: 7

Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
Multiplayer: Local co-op
Console(s): Genesis, Wii (Xbox 360 and PS3 in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, PlayStation 2 and PSP in Sega Genesis Collection)
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
ESRB rating: ???
BMR rating: E (Mild Cartoon Violence)

The Good Points:

Hilarious misadventures - Great co-op - Fast-paced action required quick thinking - Challenging level progression

The Not So Good Points:

Pretty lame in single-player


I won't blame you if you've never heard of Bonanza Bros., let alone played it. It appears to be just another old Genesis game forgotten by time, hardly worth paying attention to. However, you would be quite wrong on all accounts to think in such a way, as Bonanza Bros. is actually an overlooked gem that I have only recently had the pleasure of playing. You play as a master thief with a mission. Your goal? Sneak into various buildings and steal lots of stuff without getting caught! The game's unique gameplay, co-op multiplayer, and oddly hilarious style set it apart from other side-scrollers, and makes for a very good time.

Gameplay: 7

Bonanza Bros., as I mentioned before, is a side-scrolling action game for the Genesis. You control your little thief guy around various buildings and attempt to make your way past the guards and other such obstacles while collecting all the treasures in the area, and then escape via a blimp on the roof. There are multiple planes in the level structure, allowing you to duck behind walls and have semi-3D fights with the enemies. You can fire bullets at the guards, which will stun them for a time, but they'll hop right back up again when they regain their senses. You can also dispose of them in more humorous ways, such as swinging open a door into an unsuspecting guard on the other side, smashing him against the wall Looney Tunes-style. This plays into one of the game's best aspects: crazy chases filled with funny moments.

This becomes far, far better when another player joins the fray, since you can both go out on insane missions together. Expect to get into many a cops and robbers chase scene as you hop over couches, cover each other's backs, and desperately try to avoid getting caught in the act of the crime. It's all surprisingly advanced for a Genesis game, and I certainly found myself laughing at the various scenarios I would regularly land myself in.

Graphics: 6

Bonanza Bros. clearly isn't pushing the Genesis to its limit, but at the same time, it's quite enjoyable to look at. All the characters have a kind of rounded toy-like look to them, without much detail but a lot of charm. The scenery itself sports a similar design, with amusing little touches throughout.

Music/Sound: 6/5

Bonanza Bros.' soundtrack won't go down in history, and its sound effects aren't particularly memorable either. However, the sound design sets a fitting stage for crazy break-ins, so what more can you really ask for? The music is often high-paced and the sound effects do the job.

Value: 7

I haven't completed Bonanza Bros. yet, but the first time I played it, I was at least doing it for an hour or two (granted, I was a perfectionist and tried to conserve as many lives as humanely possible). There are quite a number of levels to work you way through, and since they're large and open-ended, they are very replayable, which is a very good thing indeed.


So there you have it: Bonanza Bros.: an underrated Genesis game with hectic and spectacular co-op, and one I highly recommend. You could get it off the Wii Shop channel, or get the original one of the Genesis. However, I recommend purchasing Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, since it not only comes with Bonanza Bros., but a TON of other Sega classics. Be warned that your time would be better spent on other games if you don't have a partner in crime to play with you, but if you're fortunate enough to utilize the co-op mode, definitely take a look at Bonanza Bros.

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