Bonanza Bros. (U. S. Gold) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Bonanza Bros.
By U. S. Gold
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #82

Bonanza Bros

Now look, let's get this straight. You're a top TV star, right? And your house has just been burgled, OK? (Well, it's not OK, but you know what we mean.) Not surprisingly, you want to put a stop to all this and (not surprisingly) you decide to hire a security company to take a look at your own security arrangements... and this security company sends a couple of robots to test out your system...

Wait a minute. A couple of robots? It's true. They're actually reformed (could even be recycled, perhaps) villains who were, until that fateful phonecall, sat at home watching television (there's not much else for reformed villains to do). Aha! - now's their chance to put their felonious talents into a good cause.

Needless to say, the houses are guarded. And the guards don't take too kindly to being shot at. And the tougher ones can survive long enough to lay you out even though you've blasted them with your stun-gun - which means evasive action is sometimes necessary. It's often enough just to move to the front/back of the screen and watch the baddy go by. Or you can jump on the furniture until the danger's over.

Bonanza Bros

Hang on, though, what's all this about the 'front' and 'back' of the screen? Well, Bonanza Bros is kind of 3D. Only kind of, though, because although you can move front to back on the screen as well as side to side, you can't move by much. And you soon work out that you're either at the front or the back - there's no middle ground. Hmm, bit of black mark then on the gameplay front...

Now the security system wouldn't be much good if they didn't lock the doors, would it? However, you can blast through them with your stun gun (keep pushing on the 'stick at the same time). If there's a baddie on the other side you might just knock them out in the process!

There are worse problems than the doors, though. Much of the treasure is resting on platforms or shelves and you have to jump up to get it. Now jumping is a pretty spontaneous thing, right? Not if you're Robo or Mobo, though. To jump, keep the Fire button pressed for a bit long than you would if you were just shooting. Confused? Well, it's pretty confusing to do, too - you always seem to be firing when you should be jumping and jumping when you wanted to fire. Grrr.

Bonanza Bros

Anyway, once you're in the air you simply move the 'stick to guide Robo (or Mobo) to his chosen landing point.

You often have to jump to get past steps in the floor and other obstacles. These aren't always easy to make out, though - especially changes in the height of the floor. After a while you get to know what to look for, but it's still a bit of a pain. The answer? If you're stuck, jump!

Phew. Has all this made you scared of breaking into strange houses on your own? Well, get a mate to help you out! Bonanza Bros has a simultaneous two-player mode - each player has his or her own view of the action via a split-screen display.

Bonanza Bros

Now in theory, Robo and Mobo have different characteristics. Robo is supposed to be the brainy one, while Mobo is thick but strong. Robo is the red one, while Mobo is blue. But they behave in exactly the same way in the game (thick and weedy).

The two-player option nevertheless does add an extra dimension to the gameplay (it needs it), since Mobo and Robo can now co-operate as they try to clean out the houses. Unfortunately, twice the action can mean half the speed - in this case, screen update speed. Things can get mighty slow with a lot going on.

The guards are annoying gimps who don't stay down once you've shot them with your stun-gun {guess that's why ifs called a 'stun-gun') Some take a bit more shooting than others, but they're all guaranteed to jump back up again at the worse possible moment (needless to say).

Bonanza Bros

The Junior Security Guards are dead weedy and you can knock them out no trouble. Senior Security Guards are more of a nuisance. Start shooting at long range, or you'll be the one who gets decked (losing one of your lives in the process). Potentially more serious still are the Catering Staff, who chuck plates at you and the Heavies who lob bombs. Oh, and took out too for guard dogs (who look like little pink poodles).

You only meet the tougher guards on the later levels. Sounds like you've got your work cut out, eh? You have... but once you realise how the game works, things get a lot easier. You've got to collect all the items of treasure in the house and then hot-foot it away to the roof and your waiting airship. All the treasure is clearly visible and the house layouts don't need much exploring.

Once you've cleared each house you get whisked off to the next challenge. In all, there are ten houses to successfully burgle. Will you stick with it that long, though?

Bonanza Bros

Graphically, Bonanza Bros is a bit weak. You can see what's going on, but the sprites are blocky and the backgrounds are about as basic as you can get.

Sound is limited to phut-phut shooty noises, plus one of those jingly title tunes which is quite tolerable the first 60 times you hear it, but gets a bit wearing after that.

Bonanza Bros is built around a cute idea, but what really carried the game in the arcades was its amazing ray-traced graphics. Needless to say, the CPC version doesn't have ray-traced graphics. You're left with a game that's no better than average.

Second Opinion

Bonanza Bros

I don't like the control method - it's really awkward. Jumping is fiddly, and you need to do it so often it drives you mad.

First Day Target Score

Clear level three on your own.


Graphics 60%
The pseudo-3D is deceptive, and the whole presentation is a bit crude.

Bonanza Bros

Sonics 55%
The title tune's nice and jolly, but there's not much to listen to during the game.

Grab Factor 68%
It looks like it's going to be fun, but the sluggish animation and controls put you off.

Staying Power 51%
Which will finish you off first - the duff controls or the limit of ten levels?

Overall 63%

Adam Peters

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