The rich have a long tradition of being slightly eccentric. Take Jean Paul Getty, for example. More money than a giant redwood has atoms, and rumoured to like sleeping in a barrel. Or something. Anyway, the millionaire in Bonanza Bros is a case in point. He wants a couple of crims to rob his places of business just to prove it can be done. What a loony, eh? Probably spends his free time wearing pyjamas and ruing the loss of his sledge.
As befits a Japanese corn-op conversion, Bonanza Bros is replete with preposterous names. The screen glows with such luminaries as 'Mobo,' 'Robo,' er, 'Bonanza,' 'Sega,' 'US Gold,' and 'Program: Bonanza.' Actually. the game doesn't feature many stupid names at all. Only two in fact. Blimey, I seem to have exhausted the review already. Oh hang on, I could mention the game I suppose. It's a split-screen dash-about affair. with you (and a pal) playing Mobo (and Robo). You have to penetrate ten swish and snazzy buildings, and clear them out under the noses of the security guards. In your favour you've got paint guns that stun the guards for a few seconds, and a fleet pair of pegs. On the downside, there are oodles of guards, a load of booby traps and the lawyers from Twentieth Century Fox to contend with (This is a mightily obscure reference to the Bonanzas' catchphrase. 'I'm Mobo/Robo, who the hell are you?' which just happens to be exactly the same as Bart Simpson's. Not that I ever watch The Simpsons of course, my house remains satellite-free. Although they were good when they were on The Tracy Ullman Show. Um, or at least someone who watched The Tracy Ullman Show tells me. Erm, I think I'll close this bracket now.)
MEANWHILE, BACK WITH THE GAME
onanza Bros is one of those games that sound far more fun than they really are. It is a good laff jogging around the place, zapping guards and blagging swag. It's best with two players, because then you can divide up the workload and send your pal off to do the hard bits while you head straight for the exit. (Heh heh heh.) Um, and that's all there is to it - run around, shoot robots and pick up objects. Variety comes in the shape of extra baddies, more cluttered buildings and the occasional special effect (like the rope slides on Level Two). Apart from that, gameplay is pretty much of a muchness.
In its favour, it is rather playable in a five-minute wonder sort of way. The prob is, it's an exceedingly pernickety game. For a start, the controls are awful - pressing fire shoots your paint gun, but to jump you have to hold the button down, then release it and jiggle the joystick. Very annoying, and more than a little frustrating when you're trying to leg it away from the bad guys (Or should that be good guys? But I digress.) Secondly, getting onto the raised platforms that litter the floors is a task in itself. Thirdly although the screen scrolls smoothly and quickly in one-player mode, two-player mode causes Mobo's bit to go horribly jerky. Fourthly... well, it'd take ages to go through the lot. Suffice it to say that the game is really fiddly to play, which is in shame.
So. Overall, a fun little Spy vs Spy-ish game that falls down in two important areas. long-term appeal (there isn't any) and gameplay (you end up throwing a wobbly 'cos of the exacting controls.) Apart from that, it's pretty darn spanky.
Far too fiddly to make the grade, but a quick blag now and then is good fun.
BURGLARY MASTERCLASS WITH PROFESSOR FINGERS
'Ello. This week, how to break into a mansion with the aid of Mobo, Robo and this handy-dandy map.Right. Here we are on Level One. The first thing to do is take a squint at where you are. You're on the bottom screen of the two, which is where the interesting things will happen. And here we go. (Cough.) Straight ahead as you enter the place is a guard with a paintproof shield. Nip along the back wall to let him pass, grabbing the goodies as you go. A hop, skip and a jump away you'll come across one of the guards in the peaked caps. These little blighters move along like billy-o, so leap up onto the furniture to avoid them.Up some steps, jink through the doors (be sure to jump over the raised platform in the floor) and zap the guards when their backs are turned. Unsporting I know, but all's fair in love and housebreaking. That's what my Uncle Ab used to say, before they shot him.One quick shufti round the building later and you're ready to make your getaway. Bolt for the roof and hang around anxiously for your airship. There - easy, wasn't it? One security force thoroughly tested, nine to go.
TOP CRIMS THROUGH HISTORY
The Black PhantomThe Black Phantom struck over twenty times from 1930 to 1936. His target each time was Mrs Libbo's Laundry on East 15th Street, New York. At the dead of night he would sneak into the building and make off with any laundry that was lime green.Sandy EbbulenceSandy was the criminal mastermind behind The Other Great Train Robbery of 1963. While the attention of the police was diverted by the original heist, Sandy and her crew nipped in and made off with a 40962a/C Little Smokey diesel engine.Robert Maxwell(Hold it right there! Jane the Publisher)
While Sneezy O'Toole went toe-to-toe with a closed door, Sneaky Jim sat on the stairs.
"Go to exit!" spat the angry shopkeeper. "Hurry up!" He was like that, was old Mr Semblance.
Humble Jack Smoo outwitted the guards by jumping on a plinth and impersonating a vase.