|Arcade system||Cabal-related hardware|
Blood Bros.[a] is a 1990 arcade game developed and published by TAD Corporation in Japan and Europe, and later published in North America by Fabtek. It is a spiritual sequel to the 1988 game Cabal, with almost identical mechanics. A bootleg of Blood Bros. is known as West Story.
In Blood Bros., two blood brothers, a cowboy and an Indian, team up to hunt down "the most wanted outlaw in Dodge City," Big Bad John. The gameplay mechanics are extremely similar to TAD Corporation's earlier game, Cabal, however this game did not seem to have a trackball-controlled variant.
The player's characters are seen from behind. Some screens feature protective walls (which can get damaged and shattered by enemy fire). The players have limitless ammunition for their primary gun, but a limited number of sticks of dynamite, with which they must fend off enemy troops. An enemy gauge at the bottom of the screen depletes as foes are destroyed and certain structural features of the screen (usually the ones that collapse when destroyed, rather than simply shattering) are brought down. At the successful completion of a level by fully depleting the enemy gauge, all the remaining buildings on-screen collapse and the player progresses to the next stage, reprising the amusing "victory dance walk" into the horizon from Cabal. Boss fights, however, start from the beginning if a player dies.
Power-ups appear from time to time, being released from objects destroyed on-screen or special characters who may run across, such as the small Indian Chief figure or warthogs. Points and weaponry can also be dispensed from the tin can, if the player shoots it into the air and juggles it with subsequent shots. Some power-ups give special weapons with increased firepower, others grant extra dynamite or additional points. There is also a game mode that allows two players to play the game cooperatively.
An adaptation of Blood Bros. was in development for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System but Mr. Fusaki, the main game designer, suffered a stroke and had to leave the company, resulting in the project being eventually canceled.
Reception and legacy
In Japan, Game Machine listed the game on their February 15, 1991 issue as being the tenth most-popular table arcade unit of the month. Likewise, RePlay reported Blood Bros. to be the second most-popular arcade game at the time. In the May 1991 issue of Japanese publication Micom BASIC Magazine, the game was ranked in the number eighteen spot in popularity. Writing for British gaming magazines The One for Amiga Games and The One for ST Games in their May 1991 issues respectively, John Cook compared it to Cabal but praised the graphics and gameplay, stating that "Blood Bros. has the core gameplay of Cabal, furthermore stating that it has "New sprites, new sound effects, same gameplay. Sounds like something of a recipe for boredom, but the fact that the playability of the original has been retained, maybe even enhanced, has ensured that [Blood Bros.] is going to be one of the favourite PCB games this summer." Martin Gaksch and Heinrich Lenhardt of German magazine Power Play gave the game a mixed outlook. Brad Cook of AllGame gave the title a negative review. Natsume designer Shunichi Taniguchi stated that Blood Bros. and Dynamite Duke served as influences during development of Wild Guns.
- Yanma (February 1991). "Super Soft Hot Information: Video Game! - ブラッド ブラザーズ". Micom BASIC Magazine (in Japanese). No. 104. The Dempa Shimbunsha Corporation. p. 247.
- Plasket, Michael (January 10, 2010). "Blood Bros". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on November 21, 2019. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
- "The Unconverted: Blood Bros". Retro Gamer. No. 74. Imagine Publishing. March 2010. p. 51.
- Labiner, Michael (February 1991). "Coin-Op". Amiga Joker (in German). No. 14. Joker-Verlag. pp. 106–107.
- Castro, Emmanuel (June 28, 2013). "Retro: Blood Bros. — Recordamos la recreativa que nos llevó al salvaje Oeste y nos regaló diversión pura y dura sin complicaciones ni grandes artificios: ¡Acción noventera a golpe de botón!". Vandal (in Spanish). El Español. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
- Carroll, Martyn (December 2016). "Ultimate Guide: Cabal". Retro Gamer. No. 163. Future Publishing. p. 43.
- Miccoli, Maurizio (April 1991). "Killed Games: Blood Bros". Computer+Videogiochi (in Italian). No. 4. Gruppo Editoriale Jackson. p. 81.
- BackintoysTV (August 7, 2015). Toki arcade "making of" - REVIEW 60fps English subtitles (Retro Game Test) (39min 15sec). YouTube. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- Cook, Brad (1998). "Blood Brothers - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on 2014-11-16. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
- Wilson, David (May 1991). "Dosh Eaters: Blood Brothers (Tad Corporation/50p a go) - Slotties Chart". Zero. No. 19. Dennis Publishing. pp. 40–41.
- "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 397. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 February 1991. p. 25.
- "The Player's Choice - Top Games Now in Operation, Based on Earnings-Opinion Poll of Operators: Best Software". RePlay. Vol. 16, no. 5. RePlay Publishing, Inc. February 1991. p. 4.
- Yanma (May 1991). "Super Soft Hot Information: Video Game! (ビデオゲーム) - Hot 30". Micom BASIC Magazine (in Japanese). No. 107. The Dempa Shimbunsha Corporation. p. 255.
- Cook, John (May 1991). "Arcades: Blood Brothers - Fabtek". The One for Amiga Games. No. 32. EMAP. p. 115.
- Cook, John (May 1991). "Arcades: Blood Brothers". The One for ST Games. No. 31. EMAP.
- Gaksch, Martin; Lenhardt, Heinrich (April 1991). "Power News / Trends & Leute: Frankfurter Messe Rundschau - Blood Brothers". Power Play (in German). No. 37. Future Verlag. pp. 138–142.
- "ワイルドガンズ". Shooting Gameside (in Japanese). Vol. 5. Micro Magazine. 31 May 2012. pp. 88–91. ISBN 978-4896373899. (Translation by Shmuplations. Archived 2018-07-06 at the Wayback Machine).