Are the Bonanza Bros Sega’s Laurel & Hardy, or just a couple of stooges? ADRIAN PITT investigates...

It has to be said, there’s nothing really that original about Bonanza Brothers — apart from the well peculiar graphics of the Bros themselves! BB is basically another run around, collect objects and shoot anything that gets in your way. But the simplest, most well-used ideas often produce the best games and Bonanza Bros is certainly a lot of fun.

Robo and Mobo, the Bros, are supposedly hardened criminals, thieves and burglars of the worst sort, but we all have a devious streak inside us and through them we’re allowed to plunder willy nilly through a varied assortment of buildings, nicking booty by the sack load. This is a Sega game though, so it’s all for a good cause — the two thugs have been enlisted by the local Badville rozzers to check out a local man’s businesses.

The police know that his casino is rigged and the mint produces counterfeit money, but they need proof. Robo and Mobo must race as quickly as they can through each of the ten locations, which include a department store, a laboratory and a pyramid (?!), collecting damaging pieces of evidence, (money bags, safes, briefcases and the like) that will eventually land this shady character in jail. Hopefully, if they do a good job, Badville will become Goodville overnight and the police will forgive the Bros for being naughty boys. If however, brotherly love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and the two blokes make a hash of the job, the Old Bill might just think about taking a peek at the two brothers’ criminal records. And they ‘ain’t a pretty sight!

Sacks of credit

Both the MD and MS games play and look almost identical. The graphics in both are crisp, colourful and nicely shaded. Animation of the characters is adequate, but then this ain’t a furious beat-’em-up, so what there is in the animation department is pretty nifty. Watch as the two guys fling their swag bags over their shoulders and attempt to look mean and hard.

The two versions move along at quite a pace, the scrolling is fast and incredibly smooth. Each have a great front end to them, with a fair amount of options. In the MD game, you can choose the level of difficulty and how many lives per credit, (up to seven lives per four credits). The MS game offers five lives per credit and the option to change the time limit. You’re allowed three minutes to complete each level, however in the MS game, this can be raised to six minutes.

If trundling round the locations all gets a bit too much and wildly confusing, there’s a handy map on screen, showing your present location, the whereabouts of each item to be collected and the route to the exit. (Press pause on the MS to access the map).

Rotund villains

Each version has its own plus points. For example, the Master System game has a bonus stage to complete after levels 2, 4 and 7. This involves leaping on a series of platforms, collecting bags of dosh, whilst avoiding crosshairs that swirl around the screen. This sub-game isn’t included in the MD version. Even so, Mega Drive Bonanza Brothers definitely has the edge over its little brother. Basically, because the 16-bit game offers a two-player option, with you and a friend helping each other out in the split-screen world of deceit and skullduggery. In the MS game Robo is an only child!

The MD game is more of a challenge too. The security men, who’s job it is to guard the loot, are slightly harder to handle and there are more of ‘em. There are also rather rotund-looking bad guys who have a fetish for throwing bombs plus hazards such as drinks cans and garden rakes lying around, just waiting to trip up bungling burglars.

By contrast the MS version is rather too easy. I reached level six on my first play! — and in some style too, raising the time limit to six minutes seems rather pointless as each level is completed fairly quickly. The only advantage in having an extended limit is you get a huge time bonus at the end of the level!

Arcade perfection

As an arcade machine conversion, the game has been transferred well to both consoles and if you are familiar with the coin-op you will enjoy this, with both the MS & MD providing great playability with tongue—in—cheek graphics and sound. As ever, two-player mode is great fun and deciding who does what in a break-in adds human and tactical interest — especially if your plonker partner (ie Paul) is always needing to be helped out! The MS version sadly lacks this element, although the mini-game is some compensation as are impressive graphics. If the thought of sneaking through well guarded establishments at night — in the service of improved security, of course — is appealing, then this original, playable and not over’) difficult game is well worth considering.

ADE

Comparing the MS and MD versions was not easy, but then also comparing these to the coin-op, well my work never stops! But enough, on to the games, both are great fun to play and have good graphics, with the sound being slightly disappointing on the MS and the first six levels being rather too easy. After that the game does get tougher and it won’t be a push over to complete! However the MD version has the edge, not because of graphics which are fairly close, but mainly because of the simultaneous two-player option which provides just that bit more fun. The pace of the game is fast and the characters are a joy to control. If you’re a Bonanza Bros fan buy the MD version now, and give the MS version a whirl too. This isn’t a barnstormer of a game, just fun and amusing.

PAUL

  • Master System version
Producer
Sega
Memory
256K
Players
1
Price
£29.99

SF Rating

Presentation
80% - Nice options, useless level time change
Visuals
85% - Smart, clear and close to the coin-op
Sonics
77% - Irritating tunes, mumbled speech
Playability
83% - Illegality always gets the heart pumping
Lastability
82% - Addictive but maybe slightly easy

80%

Good conversion and great to play

  • Mega Drive version
GG
TBA
Producer
Sega
Memory
512K
Players
2
Price
£34.99

SF Rating

Presentation
64% - Good options, great loading screens
Visuals
66% - Identical coin-op graphics, nice shading
Sonics
63% - Tuneful little ditties and nice speech
Playability
64% - Easy to get into, addictive and tough
Lastability
63% - Will still be around in a few months

64%

Better than the MS version and very good anyway

Rating
80
Reviewer
Sega Force magazine
Region
UK
Scans
Sega Force - Issue 02

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