It’s the Super Bonanza Brothers Show! I’m not reviewing this game for any particular reason; I guess I’ll be honest about that. Just something to pass the time with, and we could use some more retro reviews.
Here’s a nice little co-op stealth arcade game that nobody remembers anymore. It was ported to the Genesis way back in 1991, but you can find it in various Genesis Collection titles that have seen been released on many different systems. There isn’t much reason to play this one single-player; if you’re going to play Bonanza Bros, it better be with a friend. You play as two Lego people named Bo and Nanza, or hell if I know, and your goal in life is to steal all the money and valuables hidden in each level. Watch out for the coppers. Crush them against the wall by slamming open a door on them. Or… shoot them down if you gotta!
That’s right, a game for kids where you shoot cops. How awesome is that? Unfortunately your bullets go about the speed of a rampaging snail, and the bullets seem to give the cops little more than a 5-second stomachache. But hey, it’s enough for you to get past them and nab the golden rubies.
The screen is split horizontally in two, so you and your friend can coordinate how you’re going to get through the level without getting mowed down by the cops. There are nooks that you can hide back in to try to lay low for a bit (e.g. in hopes that a patrolling cop will pass you), but to be frank the stealth element of the game is kind of terrible. The cops seem to always know where you’re hiding, and the controls are really stiff in general. It’s a tough game to navigate through, and since there’s a rather short time limit for each level you don’t have much choice but to pedal to the metal and hope for the best.
So this isn’t the best co-op out there, but it can still be pretty fun. There’s something about old co-op arcade games that make for an enjoyable diversion, even if the gameplay itself isn’t all that great. And in the case of Bonanza Bros, there’s something charming about its simplistic graphics, goofy character designs, bright colors, and silly sound effects. So next time you and your friends are in the mood to rob a bank, why not give this old-school title a spin for a few rounds? See how much the stealth genre has improved on these humble beginnings.