The original gangsters.

When we think of the classic notion – ‘partners in crime’ – many may recite the names of Bonnie and Clyde, or perhaps Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In my opinion, there’s only one duo worthy of such a notorious title. Victims may simply know them as the Bonanza Brothers, an organised pair of siblings with an unquenchable lust for loot.

Masters of the five-finger-discount, Robo (Red) and Mobo (Blue) have gained notoriety through successfully pulling off a number of daring thefts around the world. From banks to mansions, to art galleries and casinos; no establishment is safe from Sega’s no.1 criminal masterminds.

With such a measly reward available, no wonder the police never got any help.

Daylight Robbery

Originally an arcade title, Bonanza Bros was later ported to a smorgasbord of consoles; including the Sega Mega Drive. In all honesty, I can’t actually remember the reasoning behind my purchase of Bonanza Bros. Perhaps it was because I too had a brother. Or maybe it was the fact that these strange characters (who seemed to be a mish-mash of Lego and Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street) were carrying objects which one could only presume to be hand-guns. Actually, it was probably the cool shades that they were wearing. Shades are oddly the pinnacle of cool when you’re young; at least they were for me… Whatever the reason, Bonanza Bros is one of those games which remains lodged in the retro recesses of my memory.

It’s funny what you remember, but genuinely, I’ll never forget the ‘Mweheha!’ sound bite that plays when Robo and Mobo swag a valuable item. Maybe it negated away from the fact that these two individuals were no good dirty, cat-burglars; however, it was nice to share in their joy of robbing someone blind.

The Heist

If you’re going to attempt a successful robbery, then there’s three things you must remember:

  1. Make sure you have a plan of action.
  2. Time is of the essence. Get in. Get out.
  3. Make sure you have a getaway vehicle.

Thankfully, the Bonanza Brothers have all the bases covered. Once the brothers are inside, a large, cut-away map displays the exact lay out of the building and, crucially, the precise locations of the treasure. Simple, effective and extremely useful.

Adhering strictly to rule number two, the Bonanza Brothers always ensure that they work under a set time-limit in which they must locate and nab the desired loot. You get in, you get the hell out.

Finally, and without question, probably the most important rule. Do the Bonanza Brothers have a getaway vehicle? Escaping in a car is so cliché, and often detrimental to a criminals chances of escape. Instead, after the treasure has been collected, the Bonanza Brothers wisely head up to the roof, where they escape to safety by means of an awaiting airship. That’s how they roll.

This Heist makes Ocean’s 11 look like child’s play.

Stay Out Of Jail

Bonanza Bros is a relatively simple concept, though the game itself is actually quite difficult. One or two players can guide Robo and Mobo through the designated buildings, attempting to steal the loot and make a getaway before the time limit runs out. A second player can join at any time as the screen is always split into two.

Robbing is best done with friends. Though then it becomes a conspiracy…

Stealth is the main aim of the game here as any confrontations with the guards should be strictly avoided as if the player receives one too many bullets, our anti-heroes will end up behind bars. If Robo or Mobo is shot, they will drop any loot that they are carrying, which they will need to carefully pick back up, avoiding any incoming bullets whilst keeping an eye on the timer.

Though it may have seemed like a 2-D platformer on first appearance, Bonanza Bros allows the player to move between different planes of a pseudo 3-D corridor (think LittleBigPlanet).

Though it may have seemed like a 2-D platformer on first appearance, Bonanza Bros allows the player to move between different planes of a pseudo 3-D corridor (think LittleBigPlanet). Players are able to hide behind alcoves, walls and furniture. This is an important game mechanic in Bonanza Bros due to the fact each enemy guard has a ‘field of vision’. Patience is required as you should only advance at the most opportune moment, avoiding the enemy guards’ gaze.

Robo and Mobo also have stun gun at their disposal which can down an enemy guard for a short period of time. Sometimes this is the only viable option if the player is to proceed past a certain point or nab a well-guarded treasure. Of course, this tactic of wait, move, shoot isn’t always as easy as it sounds, as each guard can pose a different problem due to their patrol timings, weapons or whether they can block your stun gun. Other obstacles include traps such as comedy garden rakes.

The treasure’s good and all, but nothing beats a nice show of appreciation.

Gotta Pick A Pocket Or Two

Bonanza Bros has been included in a number of collections such as the Sega Mega Drive: Ultimate Collection, and is also available to download on Steam. It’s still a charming game with a quirky personality and a splendid BGM. I definitely recommend tackling it with a partner, as it makes life a lot easier, sorry; robbing a lot easier.

So just remember, the next time someone asks you to name a famous pair of partners in crime, tell them of the tale of Robo and Mobo, the Bonanza Bros; the world’s finest cat burglars. Mweheha!

P.S. I do not condone robbery in any shape or form.

Prefer moving pictures and sound? Then watch our video retro reflection here.

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