BONANZA BROS. / Sega / Genesis
At its core Bonanza Bros. has an interesting concept that is largely underused in gaming - you're burgling people's houses, and with two player split-screen cooperative play to boot. Though a little B&E seems a tame thing compared to the chainsawing of hookers and killing sprees with railguns that we frequently see on offer these days, Sega feels the need to pull its punches for the mass market and overlays a story about "testing security" for some mysterious goon rather than going on a pro-active wealth redistribution mission. The concept is very cutesified - the Bonanza Bros look like some sort of genetic crossbreed of the Blues Brothers and Fisher-Price toys - but that's fine by me as long as the gameplay holds up. Sadly, it does not.
First of all, the basic mechanics - you're on a flat 2D side-scrolling plane but you can duck into the background in certain parts to hide and walk around things. Your burglars have the ability to jump, and to shoot a sort of stun gun that knocks guards out for a few seconds. Upon beginning the game you get to open a door onto some poor slob and slam him into the wall, which leads you to believe that the game will be filled with these sorts of clever Spy v.s. Spy sorts of moments, but that's actually pretty much the only environmental attack you can use in the game and it is just used over and over again. The game's level design doesn't work very well with it's play mechanics - stealth is nearly impossible because guards are scattered so widely and so frequently clumped together, and you can only knock them out for a very short period before they are back on their feet. You more frequently find yourself mobbed by guards and having to blast your way through rather than being able to cleverly employ stealth, and you're at a major disadvantage here because they have guns and clubs that kill you instantly and riot shields that block your attacks.
So it all winds up being rather clunky and cludgy, the two player mode adds little to the experience, and it has one of the most grating soundtracks I've ever heard in a game. Most definetly not reccomended.
* Gameplay Video