Saturday, 15 April 2017

Bonanza Bros: why I think it should have been the start of a series of games.


I have previously talked about Alien Storm and Gain Ground as being games which Sega made which I feel should have been the start of franchises, well here is another game I feel falls in that category the game is Bonanza Bros.

Bonanza Bros is a game which I find a little hard to explain I guess, I have seen it described as a shooting platform game but I dont think that really does it justice. It has something in common with Gain Ground and thats the fact that it was originally on the Sega System 24 arcade system board.

So in Bonanza Bros you take on either the role of Robo, or Mobo (they are referd to as Mike and Spike in some PAL versions), who were apparently modeled after Jake and Elwood The Blues Brothers. Robo and Mobo are basically expert burglers and the objective of the game is for the player(s) to make there way through the various levels which include a bank, a casino and an art gallery amongst others and steel the loot and make your get away with it by making your way up to a blimp which is on the roof. Sure you can shoot, but you can also try to be stealthy. I am not going to say that this game was the first of its kind both the plot and the gameplay is very simmilar to an older title on the Atari 2600 called Keystone Kapers but I feel that Bonanza Bros just hit all of the right notes in the right ways, it was a particularly good game mostly due to the atmosphere it creates with its look and feel. I find this game particularly enjoyable in Two playe mode where you play cooperatively at the same time.

There is a slight regional diffrence when it comes to plot which I feel I should mention this is that in the Japense version the players characters are simply thieves attempting to steal valuable treasures for there own personal profit whilst avoiding the law; in other regions they are instead merly experts who are recruited by the Police Chief to test security facilities, its kind of funny really how back then there seemed to be such regard for wether the player could really play what essentially is a villian or not when now days you can easily pick up games in any region where your a criminal.

So as Robo or Mobo basically you walk around the various levels using the limited skills you have but mostly with your wits to try and get the goods and get away with it. You can jump, you can shoot and you can move in to the background, hiding behind columns or furniture, in the shaodows, you cant actually kill guards you can only stun them for a few seconds to get away from them, either by shooting them or by slamming a door open onto them. The game is very simplistic but that works for it, its quick to pick up and play and always good for a quick burst of fun especially in two player mode.

The arcade version was the original but clearly it was popular enough to get around enough back in the day it was ported to the Sega Mega Drive which is the version I am most fammiliar with but it also found itse way on to the Sega Master System, many home computers such as the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad in Europe at least as well as the Amiga and Atari ST and proberbly a whole host of conversions I am unaware of. The game despite this popularity never got a proper sequel but there was a few spin off games, they are spin offs because they dont follow the gameplay style of the original they are instead puzzle games so in my oppinion at least they dont count, they along with the characters inclusion as playable characters in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, a cameo in the "Race of AGES" track in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. alongside them getting there own "Bonanza Bros." slot machine shows that the characters havent been completly forgotten. To be honest its not just the characters that have remained in peoples minds it the game too. Its popularity doesnt seem to have gone away as in recent years it has cropped up here and there, it was included in the Japanese version of Sonic Gems Collection, It also got a Sega Ages release on the PlayStation 2, and that version was included in the English compilation Sega Classics Collection. It was in the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PSP. The game next appeared in Sonic's/Sega's Ultimate Genesis/Mega Drive Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. As well as making its way on to various online stores such as the Wii's virtual console and Steam and some models of mobile phone.

So one of the reason I think we need more Bonanza Bros is because there is nothing quiet like it, I also think that we need far more offline multiplayer co-operative games, now days mutliplayer tends to mean online, it also tends to mean competitive a lot of the time, I think that a download title for modern consoles which takes what was in the original Bonanza Bros and builds on it would be something to behold.

Now I want to go off on a slight tangent and mention a game I played recently which I feel has an element of Bonanza Bros in it and that game would be Not a Hero. It shares a degree of its graphical style with Bonanza Bros, it also has a lot of humour and very simple but tight gameplay, it differs from Bonanza Bros in the fact that it throws in a darker type of humour, bad language and mega violence at the screen, its like Bonanza Bros meets Hotline Miami and while I very very highly recomend it its not one to show your kids, thats why I would like a new Bonanza Bros and why I think it should have been the start of a series, as long as there are new machines and new kids getting in to gaming then we could do with more of this kind of thing.

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