Bonanza Bros. is a Stealth-Based Run-and-Gun game released in 1990 by Sega. Originally produced for arcades, it later saw a slew of home ports, including the Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System, PC Engine CD, and various home computers. The game is notable for taking the cops-and-robbers formula and flipping it on its head; here, the players are the robbers.
The exact story of the game varies between regions (and ports for that matter), but the gameplay premise is simple: Robo and Mobo Bonanza (Mike and Spike in the US Genesis version) are tasked with retrieving a set amount of items from a certain location, ranging from bags of cash, trophies, televisions, and even bombs. Each stage begins with the boys viewing the building they’ll be targeting and the goods they’ll need to steal on a projector screen, after which they break in and rob the place blind. Inevitably, these establishments are crawling with security guards itching to get their mitts on the brothers and send them up the river. Combatting their persistence will require strategy and a grain of patience, as you must take advantage of each stage’s layout, using things like the ever-trusty doors to slam the guards, and alcoves to hide in and launch surprise attacks with your stun gun. Don’t linger, though–you’ve only got three minutes to complete each job.
In 1993, the character style of Bonanza Bros. would be put to use in the Puzzle & Action series, a spin-off of sorts that consisted of wacky mini-game compilations with nods to pop culture and other Sega titles. Fittingly, the first game in that series, Tant-R, was packaged with Bonanza Bros. in Volume 6 of the Sega Ages 2500 series on PlayStation 2. It’s also been confirmed that both Bonanza Bros. and Ichidant-R will be appearing together on the upcoming Mega Drive Mini 2. Additionally, a slot machine themed after the game would be produced by Aristocrat Technologies in 2010.
The boys made a rather surprising appearance as playable characters in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, driving the Get-a-Way Wagon. They were axed from the roster of the sequel, but were included as holographic statues in the final course, Race of Ages.
Tropes found in this game include:
- Adapted Out: The bonus stages are missing from the Genesis version.
- Badass Boast: In the original Japanese flyers for the game, there's a quote from the brothers —Robo and Mobo: We're going to capture all of your valuable treasures!! Here we go, you gang of clowns!!
- Bash Brothers: Quite literally in this case. Although they tend to assist in stealth more than fighting, in Co-Op, expect the Bros. to be doing double damage.
- Bonus Stage: The arcade, PC Engine, Master System, and Sharp X68000 versions have a bonus stage after some levels where the objective is collecting bags of money (or other treasure) without being seen by the spotlights. You can hide in alcoves to avoid them, but there's a 20-second time limit to look out for.
- Bowdlerise: Outside Japan, the Bros. are not currently criminals, but retired. The police chief of Badville, a city plagued with high crime, hires the brothers to help him based on their experience. Their job is to test his security forces, as well as recover evidence.
- The Casino: The third level.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: Robo's red, Mobo's blue, as are their respective gun bullets.
- Company Cross References: The Comet Museum stage is full of references to other Sega games of the time as paintings. It has, among others:
- The title screen from The Revenge of Shinobi.
- One of the transformation scenes from Altered Beast (1988).
- Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone.
- The title screen from Sword of Vermilion.
- The skeleton from the character select screen in Golden Axe.
- A group of blocks from Columns.
- Zana Keene (in helmet) and her ship from Arrow Flash.
- Continuity Nod: The duo's bio in All-Stars Racing says they like solving puzzles — referring to the Puzzle & Action game series.
- Cool Airship: Mobo and Robo's getaway vehicle of choice in their robberies. After they've got all the evidence/goods they need to collect, they have to get up onto the roof of the building, where the airship will be waiting to pick them up.
- The Door Slams You: An easy way to stop a guard... or for a guard to stop you.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: In the international version, the boys are still sent to prison when they get a Game Over, even though here, they're helping the police recover evidence. However, it may have something to do with their status as retired criminals in this version — not having to serve their sentences if they succeed, and vice versa.
- Dub Name Change: The brothers are known as Mike and Spike in the US Genesis release. Later retconned in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, where they're referred to by their original names.
- The city of Badville is known as "Badtown" in Japanese.
- Every 10,000 Points: A player gets an extra life every 200,000 points.
- Evil Laugh: Whenever they get some treasure. Doubles as a Signature Laugh —"Eh heh heh!"
- Family-Friendly Firearms: The duo's signature weapons are handguns that don't kill anyone, but can effectively knock any targets they hit out-cold for a little while.
- Fat and Skinny: Robo and Mobo. Robo's taller and thinner, whilst Mobo is shorter and fatter.
- Floating Limbs: The game’s signature art style depicts all the characters without any legs, meaning their bodies simply float in mid-air. This is played a bit more straight with the guard dogs, who not only lack any limbs whatsoever, but the orbs making up their body aren’t even connected.
- Not as easily noticeable as the above, but the purple guards' orbicular shoulders aren't connected to their bodies. This is best seen when they get slammed by a door.
- Friendly Fireproof: When playing Co-Op, your shots can’t hurt the other player. That cannot be said for the Mint presses, however…
- Giant Mook: The large, purple-clad guards.
- Idle Animation: Both brothers have a few: Impatiently staring at the screen, sprucing themselves with a mirror, or swatting flies.
- Kevlard: Normal enemies can only take one hit before being knocked out, but the big fat guards take four hits to KO. It's rather easy to shoot them repeatedly if they're on their own, but in tighter places or alongside other guards, it's a totally different story.
- Meaningful Name: The city of Badville (Badtown in Japanese versions), the crime-infested city where the game takes place. The Ultimate Genesis Collection description of the game even points out the unfortunate name.
- Mecha-Mooks: The Master System version features unique orange robot enemies exclusive to the Laboratory stage. They’re indestructible, but you can easily outrun or hop over them.
- Notice This: Items you're supposed to collect always emit white flashes.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Robo, Mobo, and every guard character (and the dog) minus the big purple ones get knocked out in one hit.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Simply taking some fruit or a robot head and placing it on yourself is enough to fool the guards into thinking you’re not around.
- Precision F-Strike: On the front covers of some of the home versions, you get this bit of dialogue from the brothers. Nothing too major for today's standards, but back then —"I'm Mobo. Who the hell are you?"
"I'm Robo. Who the hell are you?"
- Retired Badass: In the international versions of the game, Mobo and Robo are both retired former criminals — who have been brought out of retirement by the Police Chief of Badville in order to put their experience as burglars to good use by recovering evidence from crime scenes and ill-gotten gains from corrupt businesses/institutions.
- Scarf of Asskicking: In all versions of the game, Mobo and Robo both wear snazzy white scarves.
- Shield-Bearing Mook: One of the earliest examples in gaming, in the form of riot shield guards who can only be shot in the back and side, or slammed with doors.
- Ship Level: Stage 8, Deluxe Liner, takes place on a cruise ship.
- Shout-Out: Robo and Mobo have made a handful of cameos outside their home game:
- In Episode 9 of Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls, the girls find the Bonanzas in a tavern and attempt to hire them to assist in collecting Spirit Stones needed for medals. Robo and Mobo don't accept the job, as they're only there to attempt a dine-and-dash (which is thwarted as meals require an upfront ticket).
- The now-defunct Sega Splash! Golf featured usable golf clubs modeled after Robo, Mobo, a blue guard and a riot shield guard.
- In Shenmue & Shenmue II, there are three capsule toys based on the game you can collect; Robo slipping on a banana peel, Mobo with a bag of stuff, and the Bros. together holding their guns.
- Various characters from the game show up in Picross S GENESIS/Mega Drive & Master System/Mark III edition for Nintendo Switch.
- As mentioned above, the Bonanza Bros. drive together as a playable character in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, and appear in the sequel's final track as hologram statues.
- Squashed Flat: This can happen to anyone unlucky enough to be caught under an activated press in the Mint stage, be it friend or foe.
- Sunglasses at Night: Even in the night-time stages, the duo both wear fancy sunglasses. It's lampshaded in one of the flyers for the U.S. Gold home conversions of the game —Ask them why they wear dark glasses, and they'll tell you; "Our future's so bright, we've gotta wear shades!"
- Timed Mission: Every stage has a three-minute time limit. If it runs out, a life is lost and the stage is reset. Using a continue will reset the timer, but not the stage itself, allowing you to continue where you left off. A point bonus is also rewarded for the amount of time remaining upon stage completion.
- Villains Out Shopping: Some of the posters◊ for the game depict the boys doing various things outside of their usual burglary — including attending a football game, watching TV, playing golf, riding skateboards, and reading newspapers together.
- Villain Protagonists: As seen in their original Japanese backstory and the Sega Superstars bio, Robo and Mobo are professional burglars. Averted in the U.S. versions, where they're reformed villains who are hired by the Badville Chief of Police to recover evidence from crime scenes and various crooked businesses and institutions.