GEN – #46 – Bonanza Brothers


I feel like I’ve seen these characters before, but I know I’ve never played the game.


I’ve seen this game get brought up from time to time, and I know it’s been ported around a bit, but that’s about it. I don’t even know how to categorize this one yet! As far as expectations go, I’ve got nothing, which could be good, open mind and all that…

Day 1:


So this was pretty fun to just jump right into, and I was actually pleasantly surprised with the game that was waiting for me! It’s kind of an arcadey platformer where your objective is to locate and collect all the treasures shown on the map while avoiding guards and other various obstacles, then make it to the stage’s exit, all within three minutes. It’s like a very hectic stealth game.


Despite looking very primitive, the game manages to take on a fun and unique style that I actually quite like. There’s a real quirky humor to this game. As it progresses, every stage gets more and more difficult either by making the routes more complex, or by adding new types of enemies and obstructions.


Your only abilities are to move, jump and shoot. Maybe I’m used to more sophisticated games, but I was actually surprised to see that there was no penalty to using my weapon. I know that’s weird, but for a while I actually was actually not using my gun because of that way of thinking!


I was having a lot of fun, closing in on the final stage, when catastrophe struck! I currently have two 6-button official Sega controllers and two 3-button official Sega controllers. One of the 6-buttons is confirmed broken, and I was using the other. Suddenly, I was unable to move left or right! I paused the game and swapped in one of my 3-button controllers only to find that down on the D-pad was stuck! As I was swapping out for another controller… I bumped the cartridge…


And… freeze. After resetting the console I was able to confirm that both 3-button controllers were on the fritz, but the working 6-button was, well, working again. It’s serendipitous that I ordered a Hyperkin Genesis controller just this morning, though I’m skeptical about the quality. Hopefully my one maybe working controller will behave long enough for me to finish this one tomorrow…

Day 2:

Good news? If last night sounded a but ridiculous that three of my controllers would all fail… it was. Add on to the fact that additional troubleshooting revealed that they worked fine in the second controller port and we find that the issue is actually with the console itself. This morning I grabbed my spare Genesis 1 out of the garage and swapped it in. All three controllers now work just fine! Looks like we’re on for tonight.


Man, this game seems to have a lot of bad luck attached to it… Now that I had a working Genesis I was, in fact, able to beat the game! Hurray! Except that my PVR kind of freaked out at the end and I lost my recording! I thought about just cutting my losses, but really this game is fun and short enough I decided to just play through it a second time!


One thing I’ll mention is that I sure love playing with my classic 3-button controller again. Something about it just invokes the feel of playing a Sega Genesis, plus it’s much sturdier than the 6-button. Speaking of Sega Genesis-ness, playing through the game for a third time allowed me to take special notice of the Museum stage, shown above. Every painting and exhibit references a Sega game, which was a really fantastic touch. I especially enjoyed the Columns mural and the Shinobi painting, though that Altered Beast one on the right above is pretty rad as well.


This game really rewards memorization, so playing through it repeatedly made my final run much quicker, clocking in at just over 20 minutes.


So Bonanza Brothers proved to be a nice little surprise for me, and it’s a game I’ll most likely pick up and play again. Mechanically the game didn’t really have any missteps. Controls were tight and simple, level designs were clever and the flow of the game was exciting.

The visuals, while again not very exciting, still managed to convey a real sense of style. I can’t really say the same for the game’s music, which while not at all offensive still just ran the same track on loop for the entirety of the game.

All in all, this was a really fun little arcadey title that makes for some great short pick up and play sessions. The co-op, while I wasn’t able to try it, looks to be even more fun!


– Fun, easy to understand gameplay.
– Entertaining graphics style.
– Being able to tear through stages undetected felt very rewarding.


– Music could be grating.


Bonanza Brothers



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