Bonanza Brothers
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  • Sega
  • Sega
  • Action - General, Other
  • 1991
  • 2
  • No
  • 3
  • $5.00
  • ?
5  |  Bonanza Brothers--Mario and Luigi They Ain't
Scoots , 3/4/2003 8:35:35 AM
I had never heard of this game before I saw it sitting next to Herzog Zwei on a lonely shelf in my local Salvation Army thrift store. I was immediately struck by its resemblance to Keystone Kapers for the Atari 2600, a game that I was quite fond of, but probably haven’t played in 20 years. Even though the graphics have a slightly saccharine and cartoony appearance, the premise of the game--breaking into various buildings and stealing valuables--seemed like an entertaining concept. This juxtaposition of childlike innocence and criminal subversion was too strong to pass up—I plunked down my $2 and bought Bonanza Brothers (yes, and Herzog Zwei of course).

Probably few videogame historians would trace GTAs lineage back to so innocuous a title as Bonanza Brothers, but in reality, gameplay consists of little more than: 1)shooting security guards and dogs, 2)looting buildings, and 3)evading capture by the authorities. Not exactly the most wholesome concepts, but they’ve managed to inject enough political correctness into the proceedings so that even the most fault-finding parent shouldn’t have cause to raise a murmur of protest. First off, you’re not a burglar, you’re an “investigator” who is hired to test the security forces of some mysterious businessman by attempting to steal items from his buildings without the guards catching you. The gun you fire is actually a “stun gun” and all the characters are extremely geometrical and robotic looking, including the dogs. There’s nothing immoral about shooting a robotic dog with a stun gun, right?

While Bonanza Brothers is a fun play, there are few surprises awaiting you after the first level. The levels get bigger and stocked with more enemies but that’s about it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in a game; Burgertime adheres to the same formula for example, and is a genuine classic. Bonanza Brothers however does not have the same fast-paced style of gameplay as other ladder/maze games and so its repetitiveness seems much more pronounced. I made it halfway through the entire game in less than an hour—usually not a good sign. That may actually be an asset in this case since it’s doubtful that you’ll be hunkering down for a weekend-long marathon session of Bonanza Brothers. It’s enjoyable in small doses, but will likely go a couple weeks or more without finding its way back into rotation. I give it a 5 out of 10.

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